The Argonautica of Apollonius by R. L. Hunter

By R. L. Hunter

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6cv8pi eoiKos | ei8coAov, 'a phantom resembling a man labouring hard' {Phaen. 91 Apollonius' Heracles is not, as so much recent criticism would have it, Jason's polar opposite, a straight-talking, unsubtle hero who throws Jason's shortcomings into relief. 1052-7), and thus the use of guile is sanctioned by the memory of Heracles just as that part of the epic where 'guile' is most important begins. The contrast between the two heroes is, of course, 89 N o t e 1403 OCKVT)CTTIV ~ 90 Cf. A r a t u s , Phaen.

Viii) Demeter is compared to a bird in hurried flight, Heracles to a bull (note 44 uaiouevri ~ 1270 uaiucocov). (ix) Polyphemus and Hecate play similar messenger - roles. (x) Demeter, Polyphemus and Heracles all react very swiftly (note 61 ~ 1243). (x*) The 122 Death and some deaths 41 The stories of Persephone and Hylas are both narratives of sexual transition, of the founding of cult, and of boundaries and margins. Unlike Demeter, however, Heracles himself acquired his 'child' by rape. The use of the Homeric Hymn brings the contradictions inherent in Heracles sharply into focus.

103 Here at Lemnos it is the silence which predomi102 103 Cf. 2455-71; F. Cairns, JHS 102 (1982) 203-4; W. G. Thalmann, 'Thersites: comedy, scapegoats and heroic ideology in the Iliad', TAP A 118 (1988) 1-28 (with full bibliography). Cf. above pp. 18-20. 36 Modes of heroism nates. The point is not that we should laugh at the 'heroism' of either Jason or Heracles; rather, Apollonius' poem proves to be a meditation upon the problems of 'epic' leadership, within the parameters bequeathed by Homer.

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