Friday, September 18, 2009

Typhoeus: A few loci classici

Hesiod, Theogony 820 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
Typhoeus; the hands and arms of him are mighty, and have work in them, and the feet of the powerful god were tireless, and up from his shoulders there grew a hundred snake heads, those of a dreaded drakon, and the heads licked with dark tongues, and from the eyes on the inhuman heads fire glittered from under the eyelids: from all his heads fire flared from his eyes' glancing; and inside each one of these horrible heads there were voices that threw out every sort of horrible sound, for sometimes it was speech such as the gods could understand, but at other times, the sound of a bellowing bull, proud-eyed and furious beyond holding, or again like a lion shameless in cruelty, or again it was like the barking of dogs, a wonder to listen to, or again he would whistle so the tall mountains re-echoed to it."

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 353 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"That destructive monster of a hundred heads (hekatonkaranos), impetuous (thouros) Typhon. He withstood all the gods, hissing out terror with horrid jaws, while from his eyes lightened a hideous glare."

Then, when Zeus had put him down with his strokes, Typhoeus crashed, crippled, and the gigantic earth groaned beneath him, and the flame from the great lord so thunder-smitten ran out along the darkening and steep forests of the mountains as he was struck, and a great part of the gigantic earth burned in the wonderful wind of his heat, and melted, as tin melts in the heat of the carefully grooved crucible when craftsmen work it, or as iron, though that is the strongest substance, melts under stress of blazing fire in the mountain forests worked by handicraft of Hephaistos inside the divine earth. So earth melted in the flash of the blazing fire; but Zeus in tumult of anger cast Typhoeus into broad Tartaros.

And from Typhoeus comes the force of winds blowing wetly, except Notos and Boreas and clear Zephyros. These are a god-sent kind, and a great blessing to men; but the others blow fitfully upon the seas. Some rush upon the misty sea and work great havoc among men with their evil, raging blasts; for varying with the season they blow, scattering ships and destroying sailors. And men who meet these upon the sea have no help against the mischief. Others again over the boundless, flowering earth spoil the fair fields of men who dwell below, filling them with dust and cruel uproar." (Theogony)

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