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pass without dying, and live under the happy rule of Rhadamanthus. The Elysium of Hesiod and Pindar is likewise in the Western Ocean, on the Islands of the Blessed, the Fortunate Isles. From this dream of a western Elysium may have sprung the legend of the island Atlantis. The blissful region may have been wholly imaginary. It is, however, not impossible that the myth had its origin in the reports of storm-driven mariners who had caught a glimpse of occidental lands. In these Islands of the Blest, the Titans, released from Tartarus after many years, dwelt under the golden sway of the white-haired Cronus.1
There was no heavy heat, no cold,
Nor wither with the waning time,
When first he won the fairy clime.
Nor ever burns the heat of noon;
Shines, as in silver dawns of June
All these their mirth and pleasure made
Within the plain Elysian,
The fairest meadow that may be,
And every scented wind to fan,
And sweetest flowers to strew the lea;
To fetch them every fruit at will
And water from the river chill;
Throstle, and merle, and nightingale,
Brings blossoms from the dewy vale,—
With these doth each guest twine his crown
And wreathe his cup, and lay him down
1 Hesiod, Works and Days, 169!
2 From the Fortunate Islands, by Andrew Lang.
§ 49. Pluto, or Hades was brother of Jupiter. To him fell the sovereignty of the lower world and the shades of the dead. In his character of Hades, the viewless, he is hard and inexorable. By virtue of the helmet or cap given him by the Cyclopes, he moved hither and yon, dark, unseen, — hated of mortals. He was, however, lord not only of all that descends to the bowels of the earth, but of all that proceeds from the earth; and in the latter aspect he was revered as Pluto, or the giver of wealth. At his pleasure he visited the realms of day, — as when he carried off Proserpina; occasionally he journeyed to Olympus; bijt otherwise he ignored occurrences in the upper world, nor did he suffer his subjects, by returning, to find them out. Mortals, when they called on his name, beat the ground with their hands, and, averting their faces, sacrificed black sheep to him and to his queen. He is know^i also as Dis, Orcus, and Tartarus.
§ 50. Proserpina (Persephone) was the daughter of Ceres and Jupiter. She was queen of Hades, — a name applied both to the ruler of the shades and to his realm. When she is goddess of spring, dear to mankind, Proserpina bears a cornucopia overflowing with flowers, and revisits the earth in duly recurring season. But when she is goddess of death, sitting beside Pluto, she directs the Furies, and, like her husband, is cruel, unyielding, inimical to youth and life and hope. In the story of her descent to Hades will be found a further account of her attributes and fortunes.
51. The Lesser Divinities of the Underworld were : — (1) .ffiacus, Rhadamanthus, and Minos, sons of Jupiter and judges of the shades in the lower world. ^Eacus had been during his earthly life a righteoOs king of the island of ^Egina. Minos had been a famous lawgiver and king of Crete. The life of Rhadamanthus was not eventful.
J (2) The Furies (Erinyes, or Eumenides), Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera, bor n of the blood of the wounded Uranus. They were attendants of Proserpina. They punished with the frenzies of remorse the crimes of those who had escaped from, or defied, public justice. The heads of the Furies were wreathed with serpents.
^ (3) Hecate, a mysterious divinity sometimes identified with Diana and sometimes with Proserpina. As Diana represents the moonlight splendor of night, so Hecate represents its darkness and terrors. She haunted cross-roads and graveyards, was the goddess of sorcery and witchcraft, and wandered by night, seen only by the dogs, whose barking told of her approach.
M (4) Sleep, or Somnus (Hypnos), and Death (Thanatos), sons of Night.1 They dwell in subterranean darkness. The former brings to mortals solace and fair dreams, and can lull the shining eyes of Jove himself. The latter closes forever the eyes of men. Dreams, too, are sons of Night.2 They dwell beside their brother, Death, along the Western Sea. Their abode has two gates, — one of ivory, whence issue false and flattering visions; the other of horn, through which true dreams and noble pass to men.3
1 Iliad 14 : 231; 16: 672.
a Odyssey 24 : 12; 19 : 560. Ovid. Metamorphoses 11 : 592.
§ 52. There were two dynasties of the sea. The Older, which flourished during the rule of Cronus, was founded by the Titans, Oceanus and Tethys, from whom sprang three thousand rivers, and ocean-nymphs unnumbered. The palace of Oceanus was beyond the limits of the bountiful earth,2 surrounded by gardens and all things fair. From ages immemorial another dweller in the glimmering caves of Ocean was Pontus (the </<r<r/ sea, or the water-way), who became, by Mother Earth, father of Nereus. This Nereus, a genial old man of the sea, was distinguished for his prophetic gifts, his knowledge, his love of truth and justice. Taking to wife one of the daughters of O.ceanus, the nymph Doris, he was blessed with a family of fifty fair daughters, the Nereids. Of these daughters the most famous are Galatea, Thetis, and Amphitrite; the last of whom gave her hand to Neptune, brother of Jove, and thus united the Older and the Younger dynasties of the sea.
§ 53. Of the Younger Dynasty of the waters Neptune and Amphitrite were the founders. Neptune's palace was in the depths of the sea, near ^Egae in Eubcea; but he made his home on Olympus when he chose. The symbol of his power was the trident, or three-pronged spear, with which he could shatter rocks,
1 For references to poetry and works of art, see Commentary.
call forth or subdue storms, and shake the shores of earth. He created the horse, and was the patron of horse races. His own steeds were brazen-hoofed and golden-maned. They drew his
peter of Ocean. By his blast on the sea-shell he stirred or allayed the waves.
(2) Proteus, an attendant, and according to certain traditions, a son of Neptune. Like Nereus, he was a little old man of the sea. He possessed the prophetic gift and the power of changing his shape at will.
(3) The Harpies, foul creatures, with heads of maidens, bodies, • wings, and claws of birds, and faces pale with hunger. They are
the offspring of Thaumas, a son of Pontus and Gaea.
(4) The uncanny offspring of Phorcys and Ceto, — children of Pontus, — who rejoiced in the horrors of the sea : —
(</) The Graeae, three hoary witches, with one eye between them
which they used in turn. (/') The Gorgons, whose glance was icy death. (c) The Sirens, muses of the sea and of death, who by their
sweet singing enticed seafarers to destruction. (</) Scylla, also destructive to mariners, a six-headed monster,
whose lower limbs were serpents and ever-barking dogs.
(5) Atlas, who stood in the far west, bearing on his shoulders
1 For genealogical table, see Commentary, §§ 52-54.