Crazy, Deceptive Women. Or Maybe Birds: The Odyssey Scholia on the Sirens

From Bob Dylan’s Nobel Lecture:

“In a lot of ways, some of these same things have happened to you. You too have had drugs dropped into your wine. You too have shared a bed with the wrong woman. You too have been spellbound by magical voices, sweet voices with strange melodies.”

Schol. V ad Od. 12.39

“Sirens: According to many, the Sirens were the daughters of Akhelôos and Steropê, the daughter of Porthaôn. But according to others, they were daughters of Akhelôos and one of the Muses, Terpsikhorê. When they attained maidenhood, they were hated by Aphrodite and she changed them into birds and moved them to a Turrhenian island called Anthemoussa. They were named Aglaophêmê, Thelksiepeia, Peisinoê, and Ligeia. But according to Homer, there were two of them, for he uses the dual form.”

Σειρῆνας] κατὰ μὲν τοὺς πολλοὺς ᾿Αχελῴου καὶ Στερόπης τῆς Πορθάονος αἱ Σειρῆνες, κατ’ ἐνίους δὲ ᾿Αχελῴου καὶ Τερψιχόρης μιᾶς τῶν Μουσῶν. ἑλόμεναι δὲ παρθενίαν ἐμισήθησαν ὑπὸ ᾿Αφροδίτης καὶ ἔχουσαι πτερὰ ἀπέπτησαν εἰς τὸ Τυρρηνικὸν κλίμα, καὶ νῆσον κατέσχον ᾿Ανθεμοῦσσαν ὀνομαζομένην. ὀνόματα δὲ αὐτῶν ᾿Αγλα-οφήμη, Θελξιέπεια, Πεισινόη καὶ Λίγεια. κατὰ δὲ ῞Ομηρον δύο· Σειρήνοιν γὰρ λέγει. V.

Schol. HQT ad Od. 12.39

“Sirens: According to many, the Sirens were the daughters of Akhelôos and Steropê, the daughter of Porthaôn. But according to others, they were daughters of Akhelôos and one of the Muses, Terpsikhorê. When they attained maidenhood, they were hated by Aphrodite and she changed them into birds and moved them to a Turrenian island called Anthemoussa. They were named Aglaophêmê and Thelksiepeia. People claim that they were enraged when Odysseus escaped and they hurled themselves into the sea. Homer does not mention their lineage; nor does he say they had wings.”

τὰς Σειρῆνας ᾿Αχελῴου καὶ Τερψιχόρης μιᾶς τῶν Μουσῶν, οἱ δὲ Στερόπης τῆς Πορθάονος, ἀγαπησάσας τὴν παρθενίαν ἀπεστύγησεν ᾿Αφροδίτη καὶ ὠρνίθωσεν. αἱ δὲ ἀπέπτησαν εἰς τὴν Τυρρηνίαν περὶ νῆσον ᾿Ανθεμοῦσσαν. ὀνόματα δὲ αὐτῶν ᾿Αγλαοφήμη καὶ Θελξιέπεια. φασὶ δὲ ὡς ᾿Οδυσσέως φυγόντος αὐτὰς ὀργισθεῖσαι καθῆκαν ἑαυτὰς εἰς θάλασσαν. ῞Ομηρος δὲ οὔτε γένος αὐτῶν παρίστησιν οὔτε πτερωτὰς αὐτάς φησιν εἶναι. H.Q.T.

Schol. B ad. Od. 12.39

“The Sirens were either loud-voiced birds on the shore or bewitching and deceptive women; or this is flattery. For they bewitched, deceived, and drove many to death.”

αἱ Σειρῆνες ἢ ὄρνιθες κέλαδοι ἦσαν ἐν λειμῶνι, ἢ γυναῖκες θελκτικαὶ καὶ ἀπατητικαὶ, ἢ αὐτὴ ἡ κολακεία. πολλοὺς γὰρ θέλγει καὶ ἀπατᾷ καὶ ὡσανεὶ θανατοῖ. B.

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