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The boundaries are-on the south, the coast of the Black Sea, from the mouth of the Danube to the Palus Maeotis; on the east, the Persian Gulf and the Don or Tanais, to its rise out of the lake Ivan; on the north, a line drawn from this lake to that out of which the Tyrus (or Danaster) flows; lastly, the western boundary was a line from thence to the Danube. Thus the figure of Scythia is that of an irregular oblong, which Herodotus ascribes to it).
66. Thesea ...fide. The friendship of Theseus and Piri. thous, like that of Orestes and Pylades (see p. 130), was proverbial. Compare Hor. Od. 4. 7, 27
Nec Lethaea valet Theseus abrumpere caro
Vincula Pirithoo.' With regard to Pirithous and his punishment in the infernal regions see Hor. Od. 3. 4, 80, Virgil Ae. 6. 601 and 617; also Hom. Odyss. 11. 650, Apollod. 2. 5, 12, and note of Heyne.
75, 76. It will be seen from the various readings that the best MSS. agree in presenting this couplet under the form given in the text. As it stands it is perfectly unintelligible.
Three MSS. have ‘Mettius' instead of Priamus, seven others have 'equos ;' taking these for his guides, Heinsius thus remodelled the lines,
Sic doluit Mettus, tunc cum in contraria versos
Vltores habuit proditionis equos,' according to which emendation Ovid will here allude to the punishment inflicted by Tullus Hostilius on Mettius Fufetius, dictator of Alba, on account of his treachery towards the Romans in a battle with the Fidenates, as recorded by Livy 1. 27 and 28.
86. Pietas, dutiful affection. This word signifies properly reverence and affection entertained towards a superior. Hence the epithet 'pius' so frequently bestowed upon Aeneas in consequence of his devotion to his father. Here it denotes the love and duty of a wife to her husband.
88. Dedit... manus, 'submitted,' a figurative expression taken from captives, who in token of submission, held out their hands to be fettered.
89. Ferri. “Ferre' and 'efferre' are the technical words employed in reference to bearing forth bodies on the bier for interment.
1 Heeren's Historical Remarks, Vol. 2, p. 253, English Transl.
QVA DOCET OVIDIVS
TR. III. 10.
MANET ORBIS PARTE FVGATVS.
The subject of this elegy is sufficiently explained by the title.
The town to which Ovid was banished, called by himself i and Strabo‘Tomis’ (Tópis)?, by Pliny, Ptolemy, and most other writers, ‘Tomi' (Touoi), was a Milesian colony, situated on the western shores of the Pontus Euxinus, about ninety miles 3 south of the Sacrum Ostium, the most southern mouth of the Ister (Danube). The name 4 gave rise to the legend that this was the spot where Medea, in her flight with Jason, tore to pieces her brother Absyrtus, or, according to others, where her father Aetes collected and buried the mangled limbs of his son 5. Thus Ov. Trist. 3. 9, I ' Hic quoque sunt igitur Graiae, quis crederet? urbes,
Inter inhumanae nomina barbariae..
Inque Getis Graias constituere domos.
Constat ab Absyrti caede fuisse, loco.
Inde Tomis dictus locus hic: quia fertur in illo
Membra soror fratris consecuisse sui.' The student may compare the description of a Scythian winter in Virgil G. 3, especially the lines 349, seqq. which are almost identical in thought, and even in expression, with many passages in the poem before us.
1. Istic, 'there,' i.e. at Rome.
1 E. ex. P. 4. 14, 59; 3. 9, 35.
But the more recent editors of Strabo, following Stephan. Byzant., read Topeùs and Touéa in 7. 6, § 1, and 7.5, § 13.
3 Strabo makes the distance 750 stadia.
4 Toueùs 'a cutter;' Tour the act of cutting ;' Tómosó a cut;' Tópus 'a surgical instrument,' &c.
5 Apollod. 1. 9, 24.
3. Suppositum. Ovid, deceived by the severity of the winters on the Euxine, seems never to have suspected that his new abode was but little to the north of Rome, and that the stars which remained constantly above the horizon of Tomi, were, with
very few exceptions, the same as those which never set in Italy. The latitude of Rome is 41° 53' N., while Tomi is about 43° 46' N., being under nearly the same parallel with Florence.
5. The Sauromatae (Eavpopátai), or, as they frequently were called by Roman writers, the Sarmatae, were considered by Herodotus (4. 21) as a race distinct from the Scythians, and occupied, in his time, the vast steppe which extends from the Tanais (Don) as far as the Rha (Wolga), on the north and east, and the Caucasus on the south. In after times Sarmatia comprehended the whole tract of country contained between the 45th and 85th meridians of E. Longitude, and stretching from the 47th parallel of N. Latitude to the confines of the known world on the north, being thus bounded on the west by the banks of the Vistula, on the east by the shores of the Mare Hyrcanum (Caspian Sea), on the south by the coasts of the Euxine and the Palus Maeotis (Sea of Azof), and divided by the Tanais into “Sarmatia Europaea' and 'Sarmatia Asiatica.' In Ovid the Sauromatae are classed along with the Getae, and other barbarian hordes, who dwelt along the northern bank of the Danube towards its mouth.
Bessique. «The Bessi occupy the greater portion of Mount Haemus, and from their depredations are called robbers; they dwell in huts, and lead a wild life.' So Strabo. 7. 5, § 13.
The incursions of the Bessi upon the Tomitae would be from the south, while the attacks of the Sauromatae and Getae were from the north. The Bessi are mentioned by Herodotus as belonging to the great tribe of the Satrae, the only Thracian people which had never been subdued (7.10).
Getaeque. The Getae seem at this period to have been considered identical with the Daci, and occupied the country called Dacia, which was bounded on the south by the Danube, on the west by the Tibiscus (Teiss), on the east by the Euxine, and on the north by the Tyras or Danaster (Dniester), which divided it from the seats of the Bastarnae, in European Sarmatia, thus occupying the modern Moldavia, Wallachia, and a considerable portion of Hungary. These limits, however, varied much from time to time, and at no period were they very accurately defined. The Getae or Daci dwelt originally on the south of the Danube, where they possessed the whole valley of Moesia as far as Mount Haemus, now Servia and Bulgaria ; they were driven to the north of the Danube by Philip of Macedon and Alexander, and from that time are generally spoken of in connection with Scythian and Sarmatian tribes.
11, 12. Critics have hitherto failed in their attempts to explain these words as they are exhibited in the best MSS., nor has any emendation been proposed which can be received with confidence. The true reading has probably not yet been discovered, but there seem no grounds for supposing the couplet to be altogether spurious.
27. Papyrifero...amne. The Nile, one of the few streams in the world where the papyrus is found, whose inner coats were employed by the ancients in the manufacture of paper, which derives its name from this plant. The process is minutely described by Pliny H. N. 13. II, 12. Compare Ov. Met. 15. 752
' Scilicet aequoreos plus est domuisse Britannos,
Victrices egisse rates.'
Multa per ora. The Danube is said by Ovid to have seven mouths, Trist. 2. 189
Solus ad egressus missus septemplicis Istri,
Parrhasiae gelido virginis axe premor.' So the Nile, Met. 5. 187
' At Nileus, qui se genitum septemplice Nilo
Ementitus erat.' which in like manner is called septemgeminus' by Virgil. The mouths of the Nile are now reduced to two, while geographers reckon five as belonging to the Danube. Of these two only are navigable.
38. Testa, which signifies properly any piece of pottery, is here used to denote the smooth brittle crust of ice.
41. Leandre. The story of Leander, 'the young, the beautiful, the brave,' who was wont to swim across the Hellespont by night from Abydos, to visit his beloved Hero, the fair priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos, and was at length drowned during a storm, is fully detailed in the two epistles of Ovid ', addressed to each other by the fond pair; and in a Greek
1 Ov. Her. 18 and 19.
poem, of uncertain date, which bears the name of Musaeus '. Virgil also alludes to the tale when descanting on the force of love:
Quid iuvenis, magnum cui versat in ossibus ignem
Nec moritura super crudeli funere virgo’ G. 3. 258. There can be little doubt that the history was founded on some local legend: that the feat is possible has been proved by the successful attempts of Lord Byron and Mr. Ekenhead, both of whom achieved the task. The distance between the two castles is one mile and a quarter, but it is almost impossible to swim straight across, in consequence of the rapidity of the current.
52. The words redundatas flumine...aquas would strictly mean 'water proceeding from the overflowing river,' as in Fast. 6. 401
'Hoc, ubi nunc fora sunt, udae tenuere paludes:
Amne redundatis fossa madebat aquis,' but in the passage before us the expression must be taken as equivalent to the waters of the brimming river,' as opposed to the waters of the sea in the line above.
55. Equo pollens. Like the Cossacks of our own day.
63. Laremque suum. Compare v. 30 of preceding Extract.
Hamatis, 'hooked,' i. e. barbed. 64. Nam refers to 'misere confixa' in the preceding line. Tinctile virus, 'poison in which they have been dipped.' 70. Situ. See note, p. 231.
72. Musta lacus. The 'lacus' was the large vat in which the juice of the grape (mustum ') was received when pressed out of the 'prelum.'
73. Acontius was a youth of Cea, who having repaired to Delos to witness certain solemn rites, became desperately enamoured of a noble maiden Cydippe, engaged in ministering to Diana. In order to gain his wish, he inscribed upon an apple the words 'Per Dianam iuro me Acontii futuram coniugem.' He then threw down the fruit, which was picked
1 Musaei Carmen de Herone et Leandro.