Gaia and Pontos (page 17)

Chapter 1: The Early Gods

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♠ Aischylos, Hoplôn Krisis fr 174 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 3, p. 289, ed. S. L. Radt. Göttingen 1985.

♠ Homer, Odyssey 24.47-59

And thy mother came forth from the sea with the immortal sea-nymphs, when she heard the tidings, and a wondrous cry arose over the deep, and thereat trembling laid hold of all the Achaeans. Then would they all have sprung up and rushed to the hollow ships, had not a man, wise in the wisdom of old, stayed them, even Nestor, whose counsel had before appeared the best. He with good intent addressed their assembly, and said: “‘Hold, ye Argives; flee not, Achaean youths. ‘Tis his mother who comes here forth from the sea with the immortal sea-nymphs to look upon the face of her dead son.’ “So he spoke, and the great-hearted Achaeans ceased from their flight. Then around thee stood the daughters of the old man of the sea wailing piteously, and they clothed thee about with immortal raiment. Greek Text

♠ Proklos, Aithiopis – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 64, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

♠ Pindar, Isthmian 6.6

in honor of the lord of the Isthmus and the fifty Nereids. Greek Text

♠ Hesiod, Theogony 265-69

And Thaumas wedded Electra the daughter of deep-flowing Ocean, and she bore him swift Iris and the long-haired Harpies, Aello (Storm-swift) and Ocypetes (Swift-flier) who on their swift wings keep pace with the blasts of the winds and the birds; for quick as time they dart along. Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 11.201

“Hector, son of Priam, peer of Zeus in counsel, Zeus the father hath sent me forth to declare to thee this message.” Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 8.398-425

But when father Zeus saw them from Ida he waxed wondrous wroth, and sent forth golden-winged Iris to bear a message: “Up, go, swift Iris; turn them back and suffer them not to come face to face with me, seeing it will be in no happy wise that we shall join in combat. For thus will I speak and verily this thing shall be brought to pass. I will maim their swift horses beneath the chariot, and themselves will I hurl from out the car, and will break in pieces the chariot; nor in the space of ten circling years shall they heal them of the wounds wherewith the thunderbolt shall smite them; that she of the flashing eyes may know what it is to strive against her own father. But against Hera have I not so great indignation nor wrath, seeing she is ever wont to thwart me in whatsoe’er I have decreed.” So spake he, and storm-footed Iris hasted to bear his message, and went forth from the mountains of Ida to high Olympus. And even at the entering-in of the gate of many-folded Olympus she met them and stayed them, and declared to them the saying of Zeus:“Whither are ye twain hastening? Why is it that the hearts are mad within your breasts? The son of Cronos suffereth not that ye give succour to the Argives. For on this wise he threateneth, even as he will bring it to pass: he will maim your swift horses beneath your chariot, and yourselves will he hurl from out the car, and will break in pieces the chariot; nor in the space of ten circling years shall ye heal you of the wounds wherewith the thunderbolt shall smite you; that thou mayest know, thou of the flashing eyes, what it is to strive against thine own father. But against Hera hath he not so great indignation nor wrath, seeing she is ever wont to thwart him in whatsoe’er he hath decreed. But most dread art thou, thou bold and shameless thing, if in good sooth thou wilt dare to raise thy mighty spear against Zeus.” When she had thus spoken swift-footed Iris departed. Greek Text

Homer, Iliad 15.55

Go thou now among the tribes of gods and call Iris to come hither, and Apollo, famed for his bow, that she may go amid the host of the brazen-coated Achaeans, and bid the lord Poseidon that he cease from war. Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 15.144-200

But Hera called Apollo forth from out the hall, and Iris, that is the messenger of the immortal gods; and she spake and addressed them with winged words: “Zeus biddeth you twain go to Ida with all the speed ye may; and when ye have come, and looked upon the face of Zeus, then do ye whatsoever he may order and command.”  Continue   Greek Text

Iliad 24.77-99

So spake he, and storm-footed Iris hasted to bear his message, and midway between Samos and rugged Imbros she leapt into the dark sea, and the waters sounded loud above her. Down sped she to the depths hike a plummet of lead, the which, set upon the horn of an ox of the field, goeth down bearing death to the ravenous fishes. And she found Thetis in the hollow cave, and round about her other goddesses of the sea sat in a throng, and she in their midst was wailing for the fate of her peerless son, who to her sorrow was to perish in deep-soiled Troy, far from his native land. And swift-footed Iris drew near, and spake to her:“Rouse thee, 0 Thetis; Zeus, whose counsels are everlasting, calleth thee.” Then spake in answer Thetis, the silver-footed goddess: “Wherefore summoneth me that mighty god? I have shame to mingle in the company of the immortals, seeing I have measurehess griefs at heart. Howbeit I will go, neither shall his word be vain, whatsoever he shall speak.” So saying, the fair goddess took a dark-hued veil, than which was no raiment more black, and set out to go, and before her wind-footed swift Iris led the way; and about them the surge of the sea parted asunder. And when they had stepped forth upon the beach they sped unto heaven; and they found the son of Cronos, whose voice is borne afar, and around him sat gathered together all the other blessed gods that are for ever. Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 11.185-210

And he sent forth golden-winged Iris to bear his message: “Up go, swift Iris, and declare this word unto Hector: So long as he shall see Agamemnon, shepherd of the host, raging amid the fore-most fighters, laying waste the ranks of men, so long let him hold back, and bid the rest of the host fight with the foe in the fierce conflict. But when, either wounded by a spear-thrust or smitten by an arrow, Agamemnon shall leap upon his chariot, then will I vouchsafe strength to Hector to slay and slay until he come to the well-benched ships, and the sun sets and sacred darkness cometh on.” So spake he, and wind-footed swift Iris failed not to hearken, but went down from the hills of Ida to sacred Ilios. She found the son of wise-hearted Priam, goodly Hector, standing in his jointed car; and swift-footed Iris drew nigh him and spake unto him, saying: “Hector, son of Priam, peer of Zeus in counsel, Zeus the father hath sent me forth to declare to thee this message. So long as thou shalt see Agamemnon, shepherd of the host, raging amid the foremost fighters, laying waste the ranks of men, so long do thou give place from battle, but bid the rest of the host fight with the foe in the fierce conflict. But when either wounded by a spear-thrust or smitten with an arrow Agamemnon shall leap upon his chariot, then will Zeus vouchsafe strength to thee to slay and slay until thou come to the well-benched ships, and the sun sets and sacred darkness cometh on.” When she had thus spoken swift-footed Iris departed. Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 24.143-88

But the son of Cronos sent forth Iris to sacred Ilios: “Up, go, swift Iris; leave thou the abode of Olympus and bear tidings within Ilios unto great-hearted Priam that he go to the ships of the Achaeans to ransom his dear son, and that he bear gifts unto Achilles which shall make glad his heart; alone let him go, neither let any man beside of the Trojans go with him. A herald may attend him, an elder man, to guide the mules and the light-running waggon, and to carry back to the city the dead, even him that Achilles slew. Let not death be in his thoughts. neither any fear; such a guide will we give him, even Argeiphontes, who shall lead him, until in his leading he bring him nigh to Achilles. And when he shall have led him into the hut, neither shall Achilles himself slay him nor suffer any other to slay; for not without wisdom is he, neither without purpose, nor yet hardened in sin; nay, with all kindliness will he spare a suppliant man.”  Continue    Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 18.165-202

And now would he have dragged away the body, and have won glory unspeakable, had not wind-footed, swift Iris speeding from Olympus with a message that he array him for battle, come to the son of Peleus, all unknown of Zeus and the other gods, for Hera sent her forth. And she drew nigh, and spake to him winged words: “Rouse thee, son of Peleus, of all men most dread. Bear thou aid to Patroclus, for whose sake is a dread strife afoot before the ships. And men are slaying one another, these seeking to defend the corpse of the dead, while the Trojans charge on to drag him to windy Ilios; and above all glorious Hector is fain to drag him away; and his heart biddeth him shear the head from the tender neck, and fix it on the stakes of the wall. Nay, up then, lie here no more! Let awe come upon thy soul that Patroclus should become the sport of the dogs of Troy. Thine were the shame, if anywise he come, a corpse despitefully entreated.” Continue   Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 2.786-807

And to the Trojans went, as a messenger from Zeus that beareth the aegis, wind-footed, swift Iris with a grievous message. These were holding assembly at Priam’s gate, all gathered in one body, the young men alike and the elders. And swift-footed Iris stood near and spake to them; and she made her voice like to that of Polites, son of Priam, who was wont to sit as a sentinel of the Trojans, trusting in his fleetness of foot, on the topmost part of the barrow of aged Aesyetes, awaiting until the Achaeans should sally forth from their ships. Likening herself to him swifted-footed Iris spake to Priam, saying: “Old sir, ever are endless words dear to thee, now even as of yore in time of peace; but war unabating is afoot. Verily full often have I entered ere now into battles of warriors, but never yet have I seen a host so goodly and so great; for most like to the leaves or the sands are they, as they march over the plain to fight against the city. Hector, to thee beyond all others do I give command, and do thou even according to my word. Inasmuch as there are allies full many throughout the great city of Priam, and tongue differs from tongue among men that are scattered abroad; let each one therefore give the word to those whose captain he is, and these let him lead forth, when he has marshalled the men of his own city.” Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 3.125-40

She found Helen in the hall, where she was weaving a great purple web of double fold, and thereon was broidering many battles of the horse-taming Trojans and the brazen-coated Achaeans, that for her sake they had endured at the hands of Ares. Close to her side then came Iris, swift of foot, and spake to her, saying: “Come hither, dear lady, that thou mayest behold the wondrous doings of the horse-taming Trojans and the brazen-coated Achaeans. They that of old were wont to wage tearful war against one another on the plain, their hearts set on deadly battle, even they abide now in silence, and the battle has ceased, and they lean upon their shields, and beside them their long spears are fixed. But Alexander and Menelaus, dear to Ares, will do battle with their long spears for thee; and whoso shall conquer, his dear wife shalt thou be called.” So spake the goddess, and put into her heart sweet longing for her former lord and her city and parents. Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 5.353-69

And wind-footed Iris took her and led her forth from out the throng, racked with pain, and her fair flesh was darkened. Anon she found furious Ares abiding on the left of the battle, and upon a cloud was his spear leaning, and at hand were his swift horses twain. Then she fell upon her knees and with instant prayer begged for her dear brother’s horses with frontlets of gold: “Dear brother, save me, and give me thy horses, that I may get me to Olympus, where is the abode of the immortals. For sorely am I pained with a wound which a mortal man dealt me, Tydeus’ son, that would now fight even with father Zeus.” So spake she, and Ares gave her his horses with frontlets of gold; and she mounted upon the car, her heart distraught, and beside her mounted Iris and took the reins in her hand. She touched the horses with the lash to start them, and nothing loath the pair sped onward. Straightway then they came to the abode of the gods, to steep Olympus and there wind-footed, swift Iris stayed the horses and loosed them from the car, and cast before them food ambrosial. Greek Text

♠ Homer, Iliad 23.198-212

Then forthwith Iris heard his prayer, and hied her with the message to the winds. They in the house of the fierce-blowing West Wind were feasting all together at the banquet and Iris halted from her running on the threshold of stone. Soon as their eyes beheld her, they all sprang up and called her each one to himself. But she refused to sit, and spake saying: “I may not sit, for I must go back unto the streams of Oceanus, unto the land of the Ethiopians, where they are sacrificing hecatombs to the immortals, that I too may share in the sacred feast. But Achilles prayeth the North Wind and the noisy West Wind to come, and promiseth them fair offerings, that so ye may rouse the pyre to burn whereon lieth Patroclus, for whom all the Achaeans groan aloud.” When she had thus departed, and they arose with a wondrous din, driving the clouds tumultuously before them. Greek Text

♠ Homer, Odyssey 18.6-7

But Irus all the young men called him, because he used to run on errands when anyone bade him. Greek Text

♠ Hesiod, Theogony 780-86

Rarely does the daughter of Thaumas, swift-footed Iris, come to her with a message over the sea’s wide back. But when strife and quarrel arise among the deathless gods, and when any one of them who live in the house of Olympus lies, then Zeus sends Iris to bring in a golden jug the great oath of the gods from far away, the famous cold water which trickles down from a high and beetling rock. Greek Text

♠ Proklos, Kypria – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, pp. 38-43, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig, 1987

♠ Homeric Hymn to Apollo 3.102-14

But the goddesses sent out Iris from the well-set isle to bring Eilithyia, promising her a great necklace strung with golden threads, nine cubits long. And they bade Iris call her aside from white-armed Hera, lest she might afterwards turn her from coming with her words. When swift Iris, fleet of foot as the wind, had heard all this, she set to run; and quickly finishing all the distance she came to the home of the gods, sheer Olympus, and forthwith called Eilithyia out from the hall to the door and spoke winged words to her, telling her all as the goddesses who dwell on Olympus had bidden her. So she moved the heart of Eilithyia in her dear breast; and they went their way, like shy wild-doves in their going. Greek Text

♠ Homeric Hymn to Demeter 2.314-24

First he sent golden-winged Iris to call rich-haired Demeter, lovely in form. So he commanded. And she obeyed the dark-clouded Son of Cronos, and sped with swift feet across the space between. She came to the stronghold of fragrant Eleusis, and there finding dark-cloaked Demeter in her temple, spake to her and uttered winged words:

“Demeter, father Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, calls you to come join the tribes of the eternal gods: come therefore, and let not the message I bring from Zeus pass unobeyed.”

Thus said Iris imploring her. But Demeter’s heart was not moved. Greek Text

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, University of Georgia, July 2020

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