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A Story of the Golden Age of Greek Heroes by  James Baldwin

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NOTES


NOTE 1.—ODYSSEUS AND HIS NURSE. Page 12.

[273] IN the Odyssey, Book I., lines 425-444, a similar incident is related concerning Telemachus and Euryclcia. Many of the illustrations of life and manners given in this volume have been taken, with slight changes, from Homer. It has not been thought necessary to make distinct mention of such passages. The student of Homer will readily recognize them.


NOTE 2.—APOLLO AND THE PYTHON. Page 43.

Readers of the "Story of Siegfried" cannot fail to notice the resemblance of the legends relating to that hero, to some of the myths of Apollo. Siegfried, like Apollo, was the bright being whose presence dispelled the mists and the gloom of darkness. He dwelt for a time in a mysterious but blessed region far to the north. He was beneficent and kind to his friends, terrible to his foes. Apollo's favorite weapons were his silver bow and silent arrows; Siegfried's main dependence was in his sun-bright armor and his wonderful sword Balmung. Apollo slew the Python, and left it lying to enrich the earth; Siegfried slew Fafnir the dragon, and seized its treasures for his own.—See The Story of Siegfried.


NOTE 3.—SISYPHUS. Page 50.

"Yea, and I beheld Sisyphus in strong torment, grasping a monstrous stone with both his hands. He was pressing thereat [274] with hands and feet, and trying to roll the stone upward toward the brow of the hill. But oft as he was about to hurl it over the top, the weight would drive him back: so once again to the plain rolled the stone, the shameless thing. And he once more kept heaving and straining; and the sweat the while was pouring down his limbs, and the dust rose upwards from his head."—Homer's Odyssey, XI. 595.


NOTE 4.—A SON OF HERMES. Page 50.

Autolycus was said to have been a son of Hermes, doubtless on account of his shrewdness and his reputation for thievery. Hermes is sometimes spoken of as the god of thieves.


NOTE 5.—THE CHOICE OF HERACLES. Page 61.

This moral lesson is, of course, of much later date than that of our story. It Is the invention of the Greek sophist Prodicus, who was a contemporary of Socrates.


NOTE 6.—MELEAGER. Page 68.

Readers of the "The Story of Roland" will readily recognize several points of resemblance between the legend of Meleager's childhood and the story of Ogier the Dane. It is, indeed, probable that very much of the latter is simply a mediæval adaptation of the former.—See also the account of the three Norns in The Story of Siegfried.


NOTE 7.—THE DEATH OF ASCLEPIUS. Page 91.

The story of Balder, as related in the Norse mythology, has many points of resemblance to that of Asclepius. Balder, although a being of a higher grade than Asclepius, was the friend and benefactor of mankind. He was slain through the jealousy of the evil one: his death was bewailed by all living beings, birds, beasts, trees, and plants.—See The Story of Siegfried.


NOTE 8.—PARIS AND OENONE. Page 109.

A very beautiful version of this story is to be found in Tennyson's poem entitled "Œnone." It will well repay reading.


NOTE 9.—THE SWINEHERD'S STORY. Page 119.

This story was afterwards related to Odysseus under very different circumstances. The curious reader is referred to the Odyssey, Book XV., 390-485.


NOTE 10.—PRAYERS. Page 129.

"The gods themselves are placable, though far

Above us all in honor and in power

And virtue. We propiate them with vows,

Incenses, libations, and burnt-offerings,

And prayers for those who have offended. Prayers

Are daughters of almighty Jupiter,—

Lame, wrinkled, and squint-eyed,—that painfully

Follow Misfortune's steps; but strong of limb

And swift of foot Misfortune is, and, far

Outstripping all, comes first to every land,

And there wreaks evil on mankind, which Prayers

Do afterwards redress. Whoe'er receives

Jove's daughters reverently when they approach,

Him willingly they aid, and to his suit

They listen. Whosoever puts them by

With obstinate denial, they appeal

To Jove, the son of Saturn, and entreat

That he will cause Misfortune to attend

The offender's way in life, that he in turn

May suffer evil, and be punished thus."

The Iliad (Bryant's Translation), IX. 618-636.

A sacrifice to Poseidon similar to that described here is spoken of in the Odyssey, III. 30-60.


NOTE 11.—THE LABORS OF HERCULES. Page 140.

It seems to have been one of the unexplainable decrees of fate, that Heracles should serve Eurysthcus twelve years, and that at his bidding he should perform the most difficult undertakings. The account of the twelve labors of Heracles, undertaken by command of his master, belongs to a later age than that of Homer. The twelve labors were as follows:—

  1. The fight with the Nemean lion.
  2. The fight with the Lernæan hydra.
  3. Capture of the Arcadian stag.
  4. Destruction of the Erymanthian boar.
  5. Cleansing the stables of Augeas.
  6. Putting to flight the Harpies, or Stymphalian birds.
  7. Capture of the Cretan bull.
  8. Capture of the mares of Thracian Diomede.
  9. Seizure of the girdle of the queen of the Amazons.
  10. Capture of the oxen of Geryones.
  11. Fetching the golden apples of the Hesperides.
  12. Bringing Cerbcrus from the lower world.


NOTE 12. Page 151.

The description of the palace of Tyndareus given here has many points of resemblance to the description of the palace of Alcinous.—See Odyssey, VII. 85.


NOTE 13.—THE VENGEANCE OF ODYSSEUS. Page 221.

Palamedes, according to the ancient story, went to Troy with the heroes, where he distinguished himself by his wisdom and courage. But Odysseus, who could never forgive him, caused a captive Phrygian to write to Palamedes a letter in the name of Priam, and bribed a servant of Palamedes to conceal the letter under his master's bed. He then accused Palamedes of treachery. [277] Upon searching the tent, the letter was found, and Palamedes was stoned to death. When Palamedes was led to death, he exclaimed, "Truth, I lament thee, for thou hast died even before me!" There are other stories as to the manner of the death of Palamedes. Some say that Odysseus and Diomede induced him to descend into a well, where they pretended they had discovered a treasure; and when he was below, they cast stones upon him, and killed him. Others state that he was drowned by them while fishing; and others that he was killed by Paris with an arrow.—See Smith's Classical Dictionary.


NOTE 14.—THE GARDEN OF LYCOMEDES. Page 230.

The curious reader may find in the description of the garden of Alcinous (Odyssey, VII. 85, et seq.) some resemblance to the description here given of the garden of Lycomedes.


NOTE 15.—THE CASKETS OF ZEUS. Page 233.

"Beside Jove's threshold stand

Two casks of gifts for man. One cask contains

The evil, one the good; and he to whom

The Thunderer gives them mingled sometimes falls

Into misfortune, and is sometimes crowned

With blessings. But the man to whom he gives

The evil only stands a mark exposed

To wrong, and, chased by grim calamity,

Wanders the teeming earth, alike unloved

by gods and men."

The Iliad, XXIV, 663-672.

NOTE 16.—DEATH OF AJAX. Page 258.

"The soul of Ajax, son of Telamon, alone stood apart, being still angry for the victory wherein I prevailed against him, in the suit by the ships concerning the arms of Achilles that his lady mother had set for a prize; and the sons of the Trojans made award and Pallas Athené. Would that I had never prevailed and won such a prize!"—Odyssey, XI. 544-548.


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