P. 258

Hyginus Fabula 198:

Nisus, son of Mars, or as others say, of Deion, and king of the Megarians, is said to have had a purple lock of hair on his head. An oracle had told him that he would rule as long as he preserved that lock. When Minos, son of Jove, had come to attack him, Scylla, daughter of Nisus, fell in love with him at the instigation of Venus. To make him the victor, she cut the fatal lock from her sleeping father, and so Nisus was conquered by Minos. He said that holy Crete would not receive such a criminal. She threw herself into the sea to avoid pursuit [?]. Nisus, however, in pursuit of his daughter, was changed into a halliaetos, that is, a sea-eagle. Scylla, his daughter, was changed into a fish which they call the ciris, and today, if ever that bird sees the fish swimming, he dives into the water, seizes it, and rends it with his claws (original Latin).

Ovid Ars Amatoria 1.331-32:

The Daughter (Scylla), having stolen the purple hair from Nisus, burdens the rabid dogs with her groin and loins (translated by Aaron J. Ivey).

Vergil Eclogues 6.74-77:

Wherefore speak
of Scylla, child of Nisus, who, ’tis said,
her fair white loins with barking monsters girt
vexed the Dulichian ships, and, in the deep
swift-eddying whirlpool, with her sea-dogs tore
the trembling mariners? (original Latin).

Vergil Ciris 54-91:

Many great poets tells us that Messalla (for let us confess the truth: Polyhymnia loves the truth) that she with limbs changed to far different form, troubled the rock of Scylla with voracious bulk; She it is, they say, of whom we read in the toils of Ulysses, how that, with howling monsters girt about her white waist, she often harried the Ithacan barques and in the swirling depths tore asunder with her sea-dogs the sailors she had clutched.  But neither do Homer’s pages suffer us to credit this tale nor does he who is the pernicious sources of those poets’ sundry mistakes. For various writers have commonly feigned various maidens as the Scyllas named by Colophon’s Homer. He himself says that Crataeis was her mother; but whether Crataeis or Echidna bare that twy-formed monster; or whether neither was her mother, and throughout the poem she but portrays the sin of lustfulness and love’s incontinence, or whether, transformed through scattered poisons, the luckless maiden (luckless, I say, for of what wrong had she been guilty? Father Neptume himself had embraced the frightened maid on the lonely strand, and broken his conjugal vow to chaste Amphitrite) beheld awful shapes plant themselves about her: how often, alas! did she marvel and grow pale at her strange limbs! how often, alas! did she turn in terror from her own baying! but still long afterwards she exacted penalty, for when the delight of his consort was riding upon the deep, she herself confounded the savage sea with much blood –or whether, as ’tis said, seeing that she excelled all women in beauty, and in avarice made wanton havoc of her eager lovers, she of a sudden became fenced about with fell fishes and dogs, for that she, a woman, dared to defraud the powers divine, and to withhold from Venus the vow-appointed price, even the payment which a base harlot, encompassed by a thronging crowd of youths, and stirred with a wild and savage spirit, had imposed upon her lovers that by this report she was with reason defamed, Pachynus has learned and so bears witness, speaking by the lips of Venus, queen of Old Paphos: whatsoever and howsoever each has spoken of such disastrous state, ’tis all dreams: rather let the Ciris become known, and not a Scylla who was but one of many maidens. (Translation by H. Rushton Fairclough; Original Latin).

Edited by Aaron J. Ivey, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Classics, University of Georgia, March 2016; Dan Mills, Graduate Assistant, Department of Classics, University of Georgia, March 2017.

Advertisements