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Book III

This webpage reproduces a Book of the


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

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 p161  Oppian, Cynegetica or The Chase


[Link to a page in Greek] So many are the species of wild beasts, so many in the shady wood their nuptial loves and companion­ships, their hates and deadly feuds, their couches in the wild. Now let us sing the great business of the toilsome hunters, both their valiant might and their prudent counsel, their cunning craft and their heart armed with manifold wiles; for verily that heart wars against wild races to whom God hath given strength and goodly courage and wits not far inferior to the hunters themselves.

[Link to a page in Greek] Many are the modes of glorious and profitable hunting: modes innumerable, suited to the various beasts and tribes and glens. Who with his single mind should comprehend them all and tell of them in order with euphonious song? Who could behold them all? Who could behold so much, being mortal? Only the Gods easily see all things.​1 But I shall tell what I have seen with my own eyes when following in the woods the chase, splendid of boons, and whatever cunning mysteries of all manner of delightful craft I have learned from them whose business it is; fain as I am to sing of all these things to the son of Divine  p163 Severus. And do thou of thy grace, O lady goddess, queen of the chase, declare those things for quick royal ears, so that knowing before all the lore of thy works the king may slay wild beasts, blessed at once in hand and song.

[Link to a page in Greek] Of wild beasts some are wise​2 and cunning but small of body; others again are valiant in might but weak in the counsel of their breasts; others are both craven of heart and feeble of body, but swift of foot; to others again God hath given all the gifts together — cunning counsel, valorous strength, and nimble knees. But they know each​3 the splendid gifts of his own nature — where they are feeble and where they are deadly.​4 Not with his horns is the Stag bold but with his horns the Bull; not with his teeth is the Oryx strong, but with his teeth the Lion; not in his feet doth the Rhinoceros trust, but feet are the armour of the Hare; the deadly Leopard knows the baleful venom of his claws and the dread Ram the mighty strength of his stony forehead, and the wild Boar knows the exceeding might of his tusks.

[Link to a page in Greek] Now whatever special arts and snares are used by deadly hunters amid the crags, the particular ways of hunting we shall tell for each sort of beast; but those things which are common to all, are sung in one lay. Common is hunting with nets, common  p165 are traps,​5 and common is the chase of all the swift-footed tribes by men with horses and dogs, or sometimes without dogs pursuing the quarry with horses only: those horses which pasture in the land of the Moors, or Libyan horses, which are not constrained by might of hand with the curb of the compelling bridle but obey the riding-switch,​6 wheresoever their rider directs their course. Wherefore the riders who are mounted on those horses leave their beloved dogs at home and ride forth trusting to their horses and the rays of the sun, without other helpers. Common, too, is hurling the javelin and shooting with the bow at the mightier wild beasts which fight amain with men.

[Link to a page in Greek] With reference to the net one must steer the course of the hunt and avoid the breath of the breeze and  p167 watch the wind. And even as men who ride in seafaring ships sit in the stern with the tiller in their hands and scan the sky and obedient to the white South Wind​7 spread the sails of their ships of canvas wings,​8 so on the dry land I bid the hunter scan on either hand the winds that blow, that so they may set up their nets and drive the game ever against the wind; since all wild beasts have keenest sense of smell, and if they perceive the scent either of the net-stakes or the spread net, they rush the other way and flee incontinently even in the very face of the men and make vain the labour of the hunt. Therefore I would have the slayers of wild beasts scan rushing winds and face the course of the wind when you attend to their stakes and the setting of nets; let them make back to the South when the clear North Wind rises; to the North if the dewy South Wind rages; when the East Wind gets up, let them run with the breezes of the West; when West Wind stirs, let them speedily make for the East.

[Link to a page in Greek] But I would have thee first of all lay to heart the excellent lion-hunt and the valiant spirit of the hunters. First they go and mark a place where among the caves a roaring well-maned Lion dwells a great terror to cattle and to the herdsmen themselves. Next they observe the great path with the worn tracks of the wild beast, whereby he often goes to the river to drink a sweet draught. There  p169 they dig a round pit,​9 wide and large; and in the midst of the trench they build a great pillar, sheer and high. From this they hang aloft a suckling lamb taken from its mother that hath newly yeaned. And outside the pit they wreath a wall around, built with close-set boulders, that the Lion may not see the crafty chasm when he draws near. And the high-hung suckling lamb bleats, and the sound strikes the Lion's hungry heart, hasting in the track of the cry and scanning this side and that with fiery eyes. And anon he comes nigh the snare, and he wheels about and a great hunger urges him, and straightway obeying the impulse of hunger he leaps over the wall, and the wide round chasm receives him, and he comes unwittingly to the gulf of a pit unlooked for. Everywhere he circles about, rushing ever backwards and forwards, even as a swift race-horse round the turning-post, constrained by the hands of his charioteer and by the bridle. And from their far-seen place of outlook the hunters see him and rush up, and with well-cut straps they bind and let down a plaited well-compacted cage, in which also they put a piece of roasted meat. And he, thinking straightway to escape from the pit, leaps in exulting; and for him there is no more any return prepared. Thus they use in the alluvial thirsty​10 land of the Libyans.

[Link to a page in Greek] But by the banks of the fair-flowing Euphrates they array bright-eyed, great-hearted horses for the  p171 warfare of the hunt; since their bright-eyed horses are swiftest in running and stubborn to fight amain, and they alone endure to face the Lion's roar, while other horses tremble and turn away their eyes, fearing the fiery eye of their lord the Lion: as I said before​11 when I sang of horses. Men on foot spread the circling hedge of flax, building up the nets on close-set stakes. And the wings on either side project forward as much as doth the horn of the new-born moon. Three hunters lie in ambush by the nets, one in the middle, the other two at the extreme corners, at such distance that when the man in the middle calls to them the men on the wings can hear. The others take their station after the manner of bloody war, holding in their hands on either side dry flaming torches. And each man of them holds a shield in his left hand — in the din of the shield there is great terror for deadly beasts — and in his right hand a blazing torch​12 of pine; for, above all, the well-maned Lion dreads the might of fire,​13 and will not look on it with unflinching eyes.​14 And when they see the lions of valiant heart the horsemen all rush on together, and the men on foot follow with them making a din, and the noise goes unto heaven. And the beasts abide them not, but turn and flee, gnashing their teeth with rage but unwilling to fight. And even as in the night crafty fishermen in their swift ships guide the fish toward their nets,  p173 carrying blazing torches;​15 and fishes tremble to behold them and do not abide the whirling gleam; so the kings of beasts shut their eyes and then, fearing the din of men and the flame of torches, of their own motion they approach the plaited flanks of the nets.

[Link to a page in Greek] There is a third manner of hunting among the Ethiopians, untiring, marvellous. And this do four valiant Ethiopians perform, trusting in their valour. They fashion with twisted withes plaited shields, strong and with round sides, and stretch dried ox-hides over the bossy shields to be a defence at once against strong claws and murderous jaws. They themselves array all their bodies in the fleeces of sheep, fastening them above with close-set straps. Helmets cover their heads; only their lips and nostrils and shining eyes could you see. And they go together to chase the beast, flashing in the air many a sounding whip. But the Lion leaps forth from his cave unflinchingly and opens his deadly gape in the face of the men and utters his roar, while with his bright eyes he looks blazing fire, blustering in his wrath like the thunder-bolts of Zeus. Not Ganges' stream, which sunward over the Indian land passes the Maryandean​16 people, bellows with such stupendous roar when it leaps forth from the precipices and covers the dark space of the shore; that stream which, although it is exceeding broad, yet by twenty other rivers is it swollen and arches the crest of its furious flood; not Ganges roars so loud as roar the boundless wood and the ravines with  p175 the deadly bellowing of the Lion, and all the sky resounds. And he straightway rushes, fain to glut him with flesh, like unto a winter storm, while the hunters steadfastly abide the onset of the fiery tempest. He with claws and deadly jaws incontinently assails and mauls any man that he can seize. Then another of the youths rushes on him from behind and calls his attention with clattering din and loud shout. And swiftly the lordly well-maned Lion turns and charges, leaving the man whom he had seized in his mouth; and again another on the flank provokes the bearded swarthy beast. Others on this side and on that in close succession harass him, trusting in hides and shields and baldricks, which neither the mighty teeth of his jaws can cleave nor the points of his iron claws pierce. And the Lion wears out his strength in vain labour, charging blindly — leaving one man, lifting another straightway from the ground and wrenching his neck,​17 and again incontinently rushing straight upon another. And as when in war a hostile ring of fierce battle surrounds a mighty warrior, and he, breathing the spirit of war, rushes this way and that, brandishing in his hand his gory sword, and at last a warlike company of men overcomes him, all pressing on him together, and he sinks to the ground, smitten by many long whistling arrows; even so the Lion, exhausted by ineffectual efforts, at last yields to the men all the prizes of battle, while he sheds to earth​18 the bloody  p177 foam and, like one ashamed, fixes his eye upon the ground. As a man who hath won many a crown of wild olive for boxing in the games, when he is overcome with wound on wound by a valiant adversary in close combat, stands at first bathed in torrents of blood, as if reeling with drink, and hanging his head to one side; then his legs give way and he is stretched upon the ground; even so the Lion stretches his exhausted limbs upon the sand. Then the hunters busy themselves much more, and, swiftly pressing all upon him, they bind him with strong bonds, while he makes no attempt to escape but is altogether quiet and motionless. O greatly daring men! what a feat they compass, what a deed they do — they carry off that great monster like a tame sheep!

[Link to a page in Greek] I have heard that with trenches and like devices men capture also the bold Jackals and deceive the tribes of Leopards:​19 only with much smaller trenches, and they cut not a pillar of stone but a beam of oak. And they do not hang aloft a kid,​20 but a puppy, the privy parts of which you bind with thin straps. In its agony it straightway howls and barks, and is cry is heard by the Leopards. The Leopard rejoices and rushes straight through the wood. As when fishermen set up a weel to ensnare fish, plaiting it of Salaminian broom,​21 and in the inside of it put a Poulpe​22 or Grey Mullet​23 roasted in the fire; the savour thereof comes unto the flat ledges and brings  p179 the fishes of their own will to the weel, and they are unable to get out again and meet a terrible death; so the Leopard, hearing the puppy from afar, runs and makes his spring, suspecting no guile, and obeying the call of hunger, enters the recesses of the pit.

[Link to a page in Greek] Leopards are overcome also by the gifts of Dionysus, when crafty hunters pour for them the crafty draught, shunning not the anger of holy Dionysus. Leopards are now a race of wild beasts, but aforetime they were not fierce wild beasts but bright-eyed women, wine-drinking, carriers of the vine branch,​24 celebrators of the triennial festival,​25 flower-crowned, nurses of frenzied Bacchus who rouses the dance. For Ino,​26 scion of Agenor, reared the infant Bacchus and first gave her breast to the son of Zeus, and Autonoe likewise and Agave joined in nursing him, but not in the baleful halls of Athamas,​27 but on the mountain which at that time men called by the name of the Thigh (Μηρός).​28 For greatly fearing  p181 the mighty spouse of Zeus and dreading the tyrant Pentheus,​29 son of Echion, they laid the holy child in a coffer of pine and covered it with fawn-skins and wreathed it with clusters of the vine, in a grotto where round the child they danced the mystic dance and beat drums and clashed cymbals in their hands, to veil the cries​30 of the infant.​31 It was around that hidden ark that they first showed forth their mysteries, and with them the Aonian​32 women secretly took paint rites. And they arrayed a gathering of their faithful companions to journey from that mountain​33 out of the Boeotian land. For now, now was it fated that a land,​34 which before was wild, should cultivate the vine at the instance of Dionysus who delivers from sorrow. Then the holy choir took up secret coffer and wreathed it and set it on the back of an ass. And they came unto the shores of the Euripus, where they found a seafaring old man with his sons, and all together they besought the fishermen that they might cross the water in their boats. Then the old man had compassion on them and received on board the holy women. And lo! on  p183 the benches of his boat flowered​35 the lush bindweed​36 and blooming vine​37 and ivy wreathed the stern. Now would the fishermen, cowering in god-sent terror,​38 have dived into the sea, but ere that the boat came to land. And to Euboea the women came, carrying the god, and to the abode of Aristaeus,​39 who dwelt in a cave on the top of a mountain at Caryae​40 and who instructed the life of country-dwelling men in countless things; he was the first to establish a flock of sheep;​41 he first pressed the fruit of the oily wild olive,​42 first curdled milk with rennet, and brought the gentle bees​43 from the oak​44 and shut them up in  p185 hives. He at that time received the infant Dionysus from coffer of Ino and reared him in his cave and nursed him with the help of the Dryads and the Nymphs that have the bees in their keeping and the maidens of Euboea and the Aonian women. And, when Dionysus was now come to boyhood, he played with the other children; he would cut a fennel​45 stalk and smite​46 the hard rocks, and from their wounds they poured for the god sweet liquor. Otherwhiles he rent rams, skins and all, and clove them piecemeal and cast the dead bodies on the ground; and again with his hands he neatly put the limbs together, and immediately they were alive and browsed on the green pasture. And now he was attended by holy companies, and over all the earth were spread the gifts of Dionysus, son of Thyone,​47 and everywhere he went about showing his excellence to men. Late and at last he set foot in Thebes, and all the daughters of Cadmus am to meet the son of fire. But rash Pentheus bound the hands of Dionysus that should not be bound and threatened with his own murderous hands to rend the god. He had not regard unto the white hair of Tyrian Cadmus nor to Agave grovelling at his feet, but called to his ill-fated companions to hale away the god — to hale him away and shut him up — and he drave away the choir of women. Now the guards of Pentheus thought to carry away Bromius​48 in bonds of iron, and so thought the other Cadmeans; but the bonds touched not the god. And the heart of the women worshippers was chilled, and they cast on the ground all the garlands for and the holy emblems of their hands, and the cheeks  p187 of all the worshippers of Bromius flowed with tears. And straightway they cried: "Io! blessed one, O Dionysus, kindle thou the flaming lightning of thy faith and shake the earth and give us speedy vengeance on the evil tyrant. And, O son of fire, make Pentheus a bull upon the hills, make Pentheus of evil name a bull and make us ravenous wild beasts, armed with deadly claws, that, O Dionysus, we may rend him in our mouths." So spake they praying and the lord of Nysa speedily hearkened to their prayer. Pentheus he made a bull of deadly eye and arched his neck and made the horns spring from his forehead. But to the women he gave the grey eyes of a wild beast and armed their jaws and on their backs put a spotted hide like that of fawns and made them a savage race. And, by the devising of the god having changed their fair flesh, in the form of Leopards they rent Pentheus among the rocks. Such things let us sing, such things let us believe in our hearts! But as for the deeds of the women in the glens of Cithaeron, or the tales told of those wicked mothers, alien to Dionysus, these are the impious falsehoods of minstrels.

[Link to a page in Greek] In this fashion does some hunter with his comrades devise a snare for the Leopards which love neat wine. They choose a spring in the thirsty land of Libya, a spring which, though small, gives forth in a very waterless place abundant dark water, mysterious and unexpected; nor does it flow onward with murmuring stream, but bubbles marvellously and remains stationary and sinks in the sands. Thereof the race of fierce Leopards come at dawn to drink. And straightway at nightfall the hunters set forth and carry with them twenty jars of sweet wine, which  p189 someone whose business is keeping of a vineyard had pressed eleven years before,​49 and they mix the sweet liquor with the water and leave the purple spring and bivouac not far away, making shift to cover are valiant bodies with goat skins or merely with the nets, since they can find no shelter either of rock or leafy tree; for all the land stretches sandy and treeless. The Leopards, smitten by flaming sun, feel the call both of thirst and of the odour which they love, and they approach the Bromian spring and with widely gaping mouth lap up the wine. First they all leap about one another like dancers; then their limbs become heavy, and they gently nod their heads downwards to the goodly earth; then deep slumber overcomes them all and casts them here and there upon the ground. As when at a banquet youths of an age, still boys, with the down upon their cheeks, sing sweetly and challenge each other after dinner with cup for cup; and it is late ere they give over, and the strength of the wine is heavy on head and eye and throws them over one upon the other; even so those wild beasts are heaped on one another and become, without mighty toil, the prey of the hunters.

[Link to a page in Greek] For Bears an exceeding glorious hunt is made by those who dwell on the Tigris and in Armenia famous for archery. A great crowd go to the shady depths of the thickets,​50 skilful men with keen-scented  p191 dogs on leash, to secure the mazy tracks of the deadly beasts. But when the dogs descry the signs of footprints, they follow them up and guide the trackers with them, holding their long noses nigh the ground. And afterwards if they descry any fresher track, straightway they rush eagerly, giving tongue the while exultingly, forgetting the previous track. But when they reach the end of their devious tracking and come to the cunning lair of the beast, straightway the dog bounds from the hand of the hunter, pitifully barking, rejoicing in his heart exceedingly. As when a maiden in the season of milky spring roams with unsandalled feet over all the hills in search of flowers and while she is yet afar the fragrance tells her of the sweet violet ahead; her lightsome heart is gladdened and smiles, and she gathers the flowers without stint and wreathes her head and goes singing to the house of her country-dwelling parents; even so the stout heart of the dog is gladdened. But the hunter for all his eagerness constrains him with straps and goes back exulting to the company of his comrades. And he shows them the thicket and where himself and his helper ambushed and left the savage beast. And they hasten and set up strong stakes and spread hayes and cast nets around. On either hand in the two wings they put two men at the ends of the net​51 to lie under piles of ashen boughs. From the wings themselves and the men who watch the entrance  p193 they stretch on the left hand a well-twined long rope​52 of flax a little above the ground in such wise that the cord would reach to a man's waist. Therefrom are hung many-coloured patterned ribbons, various and bright, a scare to wild beasts, and a suspended transfer are countless bright feathers, the beautiful wings of the fowls of the air, Vultures​53 and what Swans​54 and long Storks.​55 On the right side they set ambushes in clefts of rock, or with green leaves they swiftly roof huts a little apart from one another, and in each they hide four men, covering all their bodies with branches. Now when all things are ready, the trumpet sounds its tremendous note, and the Bear leaps forth from the thicket with a sharp cry and looks sharply as she cries. And the young men rush on in a body and from either side come in battalions against the beast and drive her before  p195 them. And she, leaving the din and the men, rushes straight where she sees an empty space of open plain. Thereupon in turn an ambush of men arises in her rear and make a clattering din, driving her to the brow of the rope and the many-coloured scare. And the wretched beast is utterly in doubt and flees distraught, fearful of all alike — the ambush of men, the din, the flute, the shouting, the scaring rope; for with the roaring wind the ribands wave aloft in the aire and the swinging feathers whistle shrill. So, glancing about her, the Bear draws nigh net and falls into the flaxen ambush. Then the watchers at the ends of the net near at hand spring forth and speedily draw tight above the skirting cord​56 of broom. Net on net they pile; for at that moment Bears greatly rage with jaws and terrible paws, and many a time they straightway evade the hunters and escape from nets and make the hunting vain. But at that same moment some strong man fetters the right paw of the Bear and widows her of all her force, and binds her skilfully and ties the beast to planks of wood and encloses her again in a cage of oak and pine, after she has exercised her body in many a twist and turn.

 p197  [Link to a page in Greek] In hunting the swift-footed tribes of the Hare the hunter should run in front and head them off from upward-sloping rock or hill and with cunning prudence drive them downhill. For the moment that they see hounds and huntsmen they rush uphill;​57 since they well know that their forelegs​58 are shorter. Hence hills are easy for Hares — easy for Hares but difficult for mounted men. Moreover, the hunter should avoid much-trodden ways and the beaten track and pursue them in the tilled fields. For on the trodden way they are nimbler and light of foot and easily rush on. But on the ploughed land their feet are heavy in summer and in the winter​59 season they carry a fatal shoe​60 that reaches to the ankle.

[Link to a page in Greek] If ever thou art hunting a Gazelle, beware that after a very long and extended course and term of toil it do not halt a moment and relieve​61 nature. For in Gazelles beyond all others the bladder swells in the midst of their course and their flanks are burdened by involuntary warm waters and they squat upon their haunches. But if they take breath a little with their noisy throats, they flee far more strongly and more swiftly with nimble knees and lighter loins.

[Link to a page in Greek] The Fox is not to be captured by ambush nor by  p199 noose nor by net. For she is clever in her cunning at perceiving them; clever too at severing a rope and loosing knots and by subtle craft escaping from death. But the thronging hounds take her; yet even they for all their strength do and overcome her without bloodshed.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Dion. P. 1169 μοῦνοι δὲ θεοὶ ῥέα πάντα δύνανται, imitated from Hom. Od. X.305 χαλεπὸν δὲ τ’ ὀρύσσειν | ἀνδράσι γευνητοῖσι θεοὶ δέ τε πάντα δύνανται; Od. IV.379 θεοὶ δέ τε πάντα ἴσασιν.

2 A stock theme; A. P. A. 662 B33 δέδωκε γὰρ ἡ φύσις τοῖς μὲν ὄνυχας, τοῖς δ’ ὀδόντας μαχητικούς, τοῖς δ’ ἄλλο τι μόριον ἱκανὸν ἀμύνειν; Lucr. V.862 Principio genus acre Leonum saevaque saecla Tutata est virtus, volpes dolus et fuga cervos; Cic. N. D. II.50.127 Iam illa cernimus, ut contra metum et vim suis se armis quaeque defendat: cornibus Tauri, apri dentibus, morsu Leones; aliae fuga se, aliae occultatione tutantur; atramenti effusione sepiae, torpore torpedines: multa etiam infectantes odoris intolerabili foeditate depellunt; cf. Ov. Hal. 1 ff.

3 Ael. IX.40 οἶδε δὲ ἄρα τῶν ζῴωον ἕκαστον ἐν ᾧ μέρει κέκτηται τὴν ἀλκήν; Ov. Hal. 7 Omnibus ignotae mortis timor, omnibus hostem Praesidiumque datum sentire et noscere teli Vimque modumque sui.

4 δαφοινός is sometimes definitely of colour = πυρρός, reddish; Hom. Il. II.308 δράκων ἐπὶ νῶτα αφοινός; X.23 δαφοινὸν δέρμα λέοντος, but often merely - φόνιος, φοβερός; cf. 37 infr.,º Hes. and Suid.s.v., E. M. s. ἀρθρέμβολα.

5 The caltrop, ποδάγρα (A. P. VI.296 ἀστεμφῆ ποδάγρην) or ποδοστράβη (Poll. V.32 καλοῖτο δ’ ἂν καὶ ποδοστράβη), was employed chiefly for Deer, but also for wild Swine (Poll. l.c., Xen. Cyr. I.6.28). It corresponds to the Lat. pedica dentata (Gratt. 92 Quid si dentatas iligno robore clausit Venatur pedicas?) and is said to have been invented by Aristaeus (Plut. Mor. 757D εὔχονται δ’ Ἀρισταίῳ δολοῦντες ὀρύγμασι καὶ βρόχοις λύκους καὶ ἄρκτους ὃς πρῶτος θήρεσσιν ἔπηξε ποδάγρας; cf. Nonn. V.234). It is described Poll. l.c., Xen. C. 9.11 ff. It consisted of a wooden hoop (στεφάνη) containing a framework (πλόκανον) in which were set nails of wood and iron alternately (Poll. seems to say that the nails were in the στεφάνη but Xen. describes them as ἐγκαταπεπλεγμένους ἐν τῷ πλοκάνῳ and acc. to Poll. πλόκανον ἐν μέσῳ τῷ πλέγματι πέπλεκται). Inside the frame is set a noose (βρόχος) and attached to it by a rope (σειρίς, ἁρπεδόνη) is a clog (ξύλον); trap, rope, and clog are all sunk in the grand and covered over. When the trap is sprung (ἀνεστραμμένη) by the beast treading on it, the noose entangles the foot or feet of the farm while the clog hampers its movements and by its trail on the ground indicates the path of its flight.

6 Arr. C. 24.3 Λιβύων παῖδες ὀκταέτεις ἔστιν οἳ αὐτῶν, οἱ δὲ οὐ πολλῷ πρεσβύτεροι, ἐπὶ γυμνῶν τῶν ἵππων έλαυνουσιν, ῥάβδῳ χρώμενοι ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς ὅσα Ἕλληνες χαλινῷ; Strab. 828 σχεδὸν δέ τε καὶ οὗτοι (οἱ Μαυρούσιοι) καὶ οἱ ἐφεξῆς Μασαισύλιοι διὰ κοινῶς Λίβυες . . . μικροῖς ἵπποις χρώμενοι, ὀξέσι δὲ καὶ εὐπειθέσιν ὥστ’ ἀπὸ ῥάβδου οἰακίζεσθαι; Verg. A. IV.41 Numidae infreni; Nemes. 263 ff. Nec pigeat quod turpe caput deformis et alvus Est ollis quodque infrenes . . . Nam flecti facilis lascivaque colla secutus Paret in obsequium lentae moderamine virgae. Verbera sun praecepta fugae, sunt verbera Freni; Auson. Ad Grat. Imp. XIV mirabamur poetam (sc. Vergilium) qui infrenos dixerat Numidas et alterum (sc. Nemes.) qui ita collegerat ut diceret in equitando verbera et praecepta esse fugae et praecepta sistendi; Luc. IV.682 Et gens quae nudo residens Massylia dorso Ora levi flectit frenorum nescia virga; Sil. I.215 Numidae, gens nescia freni; id. II.64 nullaque levis Gaetulus habena; Liv. XXXV.11 equi sine frenis; XXI.46 frenatos equites Numidis; Polyb. III.65 κεχαλινωμένην ἵππον Νομαδικοὺς ἱππεῖς; Claud. Bell. Gild. I.439 sonipes ignarus habenae: Virga regit; Mart. IX.22.14 Et Massyla meum virga gubernet equum; Herodian VII.9 οἱ δὲ Νομάδες . . . ἱππεῖς ἄριστοι ὡς καὶ χαλινῶν ἄνευ ῥάβδῳ μόνῃ τὸν δρόμον τῶν ἵππων κυβερνᾶν.

7 Hom. Il. XI.306; XXI.334 ἀργεστᾶο, where the ancient critics interpreted the epithet either as (1) = λευκός; cf. Λευκόνοτος, Hor. C. I.7.15 Albus ut obscuro deterget nubila Caelo Saepe Notus neque parturit imbres Perpetuos; A. Probl. 942 A34 ὁ νότος, ὅταν μὲν ἐλάττων ᾗ, αἴθριός ἐστιν, ὅταν δὲ μέγας, νεφώδης; or (2) = ταχύς.

8 Aesch. P. V. 468 λινόπτερα ναυτίλων ὀνήματα.

9 Xen. C. 11.4 ἔστι δὲ οἷς αὐῶν καὶ ὀρύγματα ποιοῦσι περιφερῆ μεγάλα βαθέα, ἐν μέσῳ λείποντες κίονα τῆς γῆς, ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦτον εἰς νύκτα ἐπέθεσαν δήσαντες αἶγα καὶ ἔφραξαν κύκλῳ τὸ ὄρυγμα ὕλῃ, ὥστε μὴ προορᾶν, εἴσοδον οὐ λείποντες. τὰ δὲ ἀκούοντα τῆς φωνῆς ἐν τῇ νύκτι κύκλῳ τὸν φραγμὸν περιθέουσι καί, ἐπειδὰν μὴ εὐρίσκῃ δίοδον, ὑπερπηδᾷ καὶ ἁλίσκεται.

10 Verg. E. I.65 sitientes Afros Plin. X.21 perpetuo Sitientia Africae.

11 i.e. C. I.304.

12 Thackeray, Timbuctoo (The Lion Hunt, XI Quick issue out, with musket, torch, and brand, The sturdy blackamoors, a dusky band.

13 A. 629 B21 ἀληθῆ τὰ λεγόμενα, τό τε φοβεῖσθαι μάλιστα τὸ πῦρ, ὥσπερ καὶ Ὅμηρος ἐποίησεν "καιόμεναί τε δεταί, τάς τε τρέει ἐσσύμενός περ" (Hom. Il. XI.554 - XVII.663); cf. Ael. VI.22; VII.6; XII.7; Plin. VIII.52; Claud. In Rufin. II.252 vacuo qualis discedit hiatu Impatiens remeare Leo quem plurima cuspis Et pastorales pepulerunt igne catervae.

14 See C. I.208 n.

15 Cf. H. IV.640 ff.

16 Possibly the people mentioned in Ptolemy, Geogr. VII.2.14 ὑπὸ δὲ τούτους (sc. Γαγγανούς) Μαροῦνδαι μέχρι τῶν Γαγγαριδῶν, ἐν οἷς πόλεις πρὸς τῷ Γάγγῃ ποταμῷ κτλ.

17 αὖ ἐρύων, i.e. αὐερύων, i.e. ἀνϝερύων, from ἀνάἐρύω. In Homer the verb occurs (1) with reference to sacrifices (Il. I.459, II.422 αὐέρυσαν μὲν πρῶτα), where scholl. interpret it of drawing the victim's head backward and upward, (2) of drawing a bow (Il. VIII.325 αὐερύοντα παρ’ ὠμόν), (3) of pulling up the palisade (στῆλαι) of a wall (Il. XII.261). To Oppian it was probably two words.

18 σχερόν appears to mean "ground," cf. Hesych. σχερός· ἀκτή, αἰγιαλός, which would equate it with ξερὸν ἠπείροιο (Hom. Od. V.402).

19 Ael. XIII.10 describes a somewhat similar method used by the Moors.

20 Cf. H. III.388.

21 Cf. C. I.156, H. III.341. The ref. of Σαλαμινίδι — whether to the island or to the town in Cyprus — is unexplained, but no plausible emendation has been proposed.

22 For the Poulpe or Octopus cf. H. I.306 n.; for broiled Poulpe as bait, H. III.345.

23 Cf. H. I.111 n. The schol. here is worth quoting for its absurdity: κεστρῆα· κενὸς λῶρος. Read κεντητὸς λῶρος. The schol. has confused κεστρεύς with κεστός, a girdle; cf. Zon. κεστός· ὁ κεντητὸς λῶρος.

24 In more restricted sense ὠσχο(ὀσχο‑)φόροι were two youths of each tribe chosen from noble families (τῶν γένει καὶ πλούτῳ προεχόντων Suid. s.v.), who, dressed in female garb (ἐν γυναικείαις στολαῖς E. M. s.v., Procl. ap. Phot. p322 n.) led the procession of women at the Oschophoria from temple of Dionysus to temple of Athena Sciras at Phalerum (Hesych. s. ὠσχοφόριον),º carrying ὦσχοι (ὦσχαι, ὄσχοι), i.e. vine-branches laden with grapes; cf. schol. Nicand. A. 109 ὀσχοφόροι λέγονται Ἀθήνῃσι παῖδες ἀμφιθαλεῖς (i.e. having both parents alive; cf. Callim. Ait. III.1.3; Poll. III.40, etc.) ἁμιλλώμενοι κατὰ φυλὰς, οἳ λαμβάνοντες κλήματα ἀμπέλου ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ τοῦ Διονύσου ἔτρεχον εἰς τὸ τῆς Σκιράδος Ἀθηνᾶς ἱερόν . . . . . ὄσχαι κυρίως οἱ κλάδοι τῆς ἀμπέλου.

25 See C. I.24 n.

26 Cadmus, s. of Agenor, had by Harmonia four daughters, Autonoë, Ino, Semele, Agave. Semele, m. by Zeus of Dionysus (Bacchus), died at his birth and the child was conveyed by Hermes to Ino (Apollod. II.4.3).

27 Athamas, s. of Aeolus and king of Boeotia, married Ino as his second wife.

28 When Dionysus was born untimely, Zeus sewed the infant in his thigh (μηρός). After Athamas and Ino, driven mad by Hera, had slain their children, Hermes conveyed the child Dionysus πρὸς νύμφας ἐν Νύσῃ κατοικούσας τῆς Ἀσίας (Apollod. l.c.) and the name Meros was given to a hill there. The location of Meros thus depends on the location of Nysa which is usually placed in India; Strabo 687 Νυσαίους δή τινας ἔθνος προσωνόμοσαν καὶ πόλιν παρ’ αὐτοῖς Νῦσαν Διονύσου κτίσμα καὶ ὄρος τὸ ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως Μηρόν; Plin. VI.79 Nysam urbem plerique Indiae adscribunt montemque Merum Libero Patri sacrum, unde origo fabulae Iovis femine editum; cf. id. XV.144; Solin. LII.16; Dion. P. 1159. But there were other localizations; see note on 251 below.

29 King of Thebes, s. of Echion and Agave, opposed the worship of Dionysus. Spying upon the Bacchants on Cithaeron he was torn in pieces by his mother who mistook him for a wild beast (Apollod. III.5.2).

30 The prosody of κλαυθμυρισμῶν is no reason for altering the text. It is no worse than Lucan's "distincta zmaragdo" (X.121), cf. Mart. V.11.1, and even Homer has ὑλήεντι Ζακύνθῳ and the like.

31 Cf. the legend of the Curetes and the infant Zeus; Callim. H. I.51 ff.

32 Boeotian.

33 i.e. Meros (241 n.). As obviously a hill in Boeotia is intended, that implies a Boeotian Nysa. Now though Nysa is generally put in India, Herodotus puts it in Ethiopia: Herod. II.146 Διόνυσόν τε λέγουσι οἱ Ἕλληνες ὡς αὐτίκα γενόμενον ἐς τὸν μηρὸν ἐνερράψατο Ζεὺς καὶ ἤνεικε ἐς Νύσην τὴν ὑπὲρ Αἰγύπτου ἐοῦσαν ἐν τῇ Αἰθιοπίῃ; cf. ibid. III.97. Diod. IV.2 puts it μεταξὺ Φοινίκης καὶ Νείλου; cf. III.65; Hom. H. XXXIII.8; Steph. Byz. s. Νῦσαι enumerates ten — on Helicon, in Thrace, in Caria, Arabia, Egypt, Naxos, India, Caucasus, Libya, Euboea. Oppian, we must suppose, is thinking of the Heliconian Nysa: cf. Strabo 405 γράφουσι δὲ καὶ τοῦτο (sc. Hom. Il. II.508 Νίσάν τε ζαθέην) "Νῖσάν τε ζαθέην." κώμη δ’ ἐστὶ τοῦ Ἑλικῶνος ἡ Νῦσα. Cf. Paus. I.39.

34 Euboea. Cf. Steph. Byz. s. Νῦσαι . . . δεκάτη ἐν Εὐβοίῃ ἔνθα διὰ μιᾶς ἡμέρας τὴν ἄμπελόν φασιν ἀνθεῖν καὶ τὸν βότρυν πεπαίνεσθαι.

35 Similar miracles take place when Dionysus is carried off by Tyrrhenian pirates; Hom. H. VII.35 ff.; Nonn. XLV.105 ff.; Apollod. III.5.3; Philostr. Imag. I.19; Ov. M. III.577 ff.

36 Smilax aspera.

37 No doubt the vine is intended. Nonn. XII.299, speaking of the vine, has ἀγριὰς ἡβώωσα πολυγνάμπτοισι σελίνοις (cf. Dion. P. 1157 ἕλικές τε πολυγνάμπτης ἑλίνοιο), whence it might be argued that Oppian used σέλινος for vine-tendril. But (1) σέλινος (for σέλινον) seems not to occur; (2) the penult of σέλινον is long (except A. P. VII.621.2).

38 Pind. N. IX.27 ἐν γὰρ δαιμονίοισι φόβοις φεύγοντι καὶ παῖδες θεῶν.

39 S. of Apollo and Cyrene, patron of all rural life, of flocks and herds, hunting, bee-keeping, etc. Pind. P. IX.59 ff.; Nonn. V.229 ff., XIII.253 ff.; Diod. IV.81 f.; Verg. G. I.14, IV.315 ff. When Ceos was suffering from pestilence owing to the heat of the Dog-star, Aristaeus went there and built an altar to Zeus Icmaeus, i.e. Zeus as God of Moisture, and established an annual sacrifice to Zeus and Sirius on the hills of the island. Ever after Zeus caused winds to blow for forty days after the rising of Sirius. Hence Aristaeus was worshipped in Ceos as Zeus Aristaeus (Callim. Ait. III.1.33 ff. [Loeb]; Ap. Rh. II.516 ff.; Nonn. V.269 f.; XIII.279 ff.). In the present passage he seems to be conceived as dwelling in Euboea.

40 κεράεσσιν ὑπ’ ἄντρου (Schneid. and Lehrs) seems to have no probability. We know no example of κέρατα applied to a cave (Claud. Paneg. Prob. et Ol. 209 has "curvis Tiberinus in antris") and ὄρευς κεράεσσιν ὑπ’ ἄντρῳ (suggested by Schneid. in note) would be preferable. We venture to read Καρύῃσιν (practically the reading of the MSS.) and suppose that Caryae = Carystus, founding upon Callim. Ait. III.1.56 ff., where we are told that Xenomedes recounted the legendary history of Ceos, ἄρχμενος ὡς νύμφῃσιν ἐναίετο Κωρυκίῃσι τὰς ἀπὸ Παρνησσοῦ λῖς ἐδίωξε μέγας, | Ὑδροῦσσαν τῷ καί μιν ἐφήμισαν, ὥς τε Κιρω . . . | . ο . . . θυσ . τὸ . . . ᾤκεεν ἐν Καρύαις, coupled with Heraclid. Περὶ πολιτειῶν IX (Müller, F. H. G. II p214) ἐκαλεῖτο μὲν Ὑδροῦσα ἡ νῆσος· λέγονται δὲ οἰκῆσαι Νύμφαι πρότερον αὐτήν. φοβήσαντος δὲ αὐτὰς λέοντος εἰς Κάρυστον διαβῆναι. Also acc. to one version (schol. Ap. Rh. II.498 Carystus was the father of Aristaeus.

41 Nonn. V.261 ff.

42 Ib. 258 ff.

43 Ib. 242 ff.

44 Before the invention of the artificial hive, only honey known was "wild honey" (μέλι τὸ καλούμενον ἄγριον Diod. XIX.94; μέλι ἄγριον N. T. Matt. iii.4) "deposited in the hollow of old trees and in the cavities of rocks" (Gibbon, c. X). Claud. In Ruf. II.460 ff.

45 Ferula communis.

46 Num. xx.11 Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice; and the water came out abundantly.

47 Semele (Pind. P. III.99; Hom. H. XXXIV.22).

48 Dionysus (Pind. fr. lxxv.10; Aesch. E. 24).

49 From Hom. Od. III.391 οἴνου ἡδυπότοιο, τὸν ἑνδεκάτῳ ἐνιαυτῷ (i.e. eleven years after it was made) | ὤιξεν ταμίη καὶ ἀπὸ κρήδεμνον ἔλυσε.

50 αὐτολύγοις of most MSS. seems meaningless. αὐτολύτοις (Schneid.) means "on a slip-leash." Cf. Hes. s. αὐτόλυσις· δέμα ἐφ̓’ ᾧ ἀνκύλη ἐφῆπται καὶ οὐχ ἅμμα γέγονεν.

51 The word ἀκρολίνους gives much the same sense as ἀκρωλένια (with which, of course, it has no etymological connection) or "elbows" of Xen. C. 2.6, which Poll. V.29 defines as τὰ πέρατα τῶν ἀρκύων. μειλινέοισι πάγοισι — if correct — seems to mean "piles" or "heaps" of ashen boughs.

52 The formido of Latin writers, a line hung with feathers and ribbons of various colours by which the game is scared and driven in the desired direction. Verg. A. XII.749 Inclusum veluti si quando flumine nactus Cervum aut puniceae saeptum formidine pennae Venator cursu canis et latratibus instat; G. III.371 Hos (cervos) non inmissis canibus, non cassibus ullis Puniceaeve agitant pavidos formidine pennae; Senec. Hipp. 46 Picta rubenti linea penna Vano claudat terrore feras; De ira II.11.5 cum maximos ferarum greges linea pennis distincta contineat et in insidias agat, ab ipso defectu dicta formido; De clem. I.12.5 Sic feras lineae et pennae clausas continent. Easdem a tergo eques telis incessat; temptabunt fugam per ipsa quae fugerant procalcabuntque formidinem; Luc. IV.437 Sic dum pavidos formidine cervos Claudat odoratae metuentes aera pennae.

53 For the feathers used in the formido cf. Gratt. 77 ff. Tantum inter nivei iungantur vellera cygni, Et satis armorum est; haec clara luce coruscant Terribiles species; ab vulture dirus avaro Turbat odor silvas, meliusque alterna valet res; Nemes. 312 ff. Dat tibi pinnarum terrentia millia vultur, Dat Libye, magnarum avium fecunda creatrix, Dantque grues cygnique senes et candidus anser, Dant quae fluminibus craseisque paludibus errant Pellitosque pedes stagnanti gurgite tingunt. Of Vultures two species are distinguished: A. 592 B6 τῶν δὲ γυπῶν δύο ἐστὶν εἴδη, ὁ μὲν μικρὸς καὶ ἐκλευκότερος, ὁ δὲ μείζων καὶ σποδοειδέστερος. The former is Neophron percnopterus L., which nests in Greece, its arrival about 21st March being reckoned by shepherds as the beginning of Spring (Momms. p1); the latter Vultur fulvus Briss. and perh. V. cinereus.

54 Both Cygnus Musicus, the Whistling Swan or Whooper, and C. olor, the Mute Swan, are found in Greece, but only the latter appears to nest there (Momms. pp286 ff.).

55 Ciconia nigra and C. alba are both visitors in Greece, the latter being resident in Macedonia (Momms. pp285 f.).

56 Cf. I.156. The περίδρομος is a rope passing through the meshes along the upper and lower margins of the net, which, when the game is driven in, the ambushed hunter pulls and so closes the mouth of the net. Hes. s. περίδρομοι· τοῦ δικτύου τὸ διειρόμενον σχοινίον; Poll. V.28 ἔστι δὲ περίδρομος τῆς ἄρκυος σχοινίον ἑκατέρωθεν τῶν ἄνω τε καὶ κάτω βρόχων διειρόμενον, ᾧ συνέλκεταί τε τὰ δίκτυα καὶ πάλιν ἀναλύεται; Xen. C. 2.4 ὑφείσθωσαν δὲ οἱ περίδρομοι ἀνάμματοι, ἵνα αὔτροχοι ὦσι. The περίδρομοι might also be attached to the net by loops (τοὺς δὲ περιδρόμους ἀπὸ σροφέων Xen. C. 2.6; cf. Poll. V.29 προβάλλονται δὲ τοῖς δικτύοις ἀπὸ στροφέων): Xen. C. 10.7 τὸν περίδρομον ἐξάπτειν ἀπὸ δένδρου ἰσχυροῦ. Xen. C. 6.9 speaks of fastening the περίδρομοι to the ground (καθάπτων τοὺς περιδρόμους ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν). Here he must be referring to the skirting-rope at the lower margin of the net from which the upper rope was sometimes distinguished as ἐπίδρομος: Poll. V.29 τινὲς δὲ τούτους ἐπίδρομους ὠνόμασαν, οἱ δὲ δύο ὄντων τὸν μὲν ἐκ τοῦ κάτω περίδρομον, ἐπίδρομον δὲ τὸν ἄνωθεν.

57 Xen. C. 5.17 θέουσι μάλιστα μὲν τὰ ἀνάντη . . . τὰ δὲ κατάντη ἥκιστα.

58 Xen. C. 5.30 σκέλη τὰ ὄπισθεν μείζω πολὺ τῶν ἔμπροσθεν.

59 Xen. C. 8.8 ταχὺ γὰρ ἀπαγορεύει διὰ τὸ βάθος τῆς χιόνος καὶ διὰ ὁ κάτωθεν τῶν ποδῶν λασίων ὄντων προσέχεσθαι αὐτῷ ὄγκον πολύν.

60 i.e. their feet are caked with mud. The metaphor is illustrated by the use of κρηπίς to mean a species of cake ἐξ ἀλεύρου καὶ μέλιτος Poll. VI.77.

61 Cf. A. 579 A12 (of Deer, ἔλαφοι) ἐν δὲ τῷ φεύγειν ἀνάπαυσιν ποιοῦνται τῶν δρόμων καὶ ὑφιστάμενοι μένουσιν ἔως ἂν πλησίον ἔλθῃ ὁ διώκων· τότε δὲ πάλιν φεύγουσιν. τοῦτο δὲ δοκοῦσι ποιεῖν διὰ τὸ πονεῖν τὰ ἐντός· τὸ γὰρ ἔντερον ἔχει λεπτὸν καὶ ἀσθενὲς οὕτως ὥστε ἐἂν ἠρέμα τις πατάξῃ, διακόπτεται τοῦ δέρματος ὑγιοῦς ὄντος; Plin. VIII.113 et alias semper in fuga acquiescunt stantesque respiciunt, cum prope ventum est rursus fugae praesidia repetentes. Hoc fit intestini dolore tam infirmi ut ictu levi rumpatur intus.

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