Wednesday’s Wondrous Water, 4: Islands That Swim!

This is the third (and final) installment of the Paradoxographus Florentinus’  Mirabilia de Aquis. Go here for number 3, number 2 and number 1

36 “Around Tarrakina in Italy, Isigonos says that there is a lake called Amuklaia and that there is a deserted city alongside it. The inhabitants there were deprived of the city because of the volume of the water.”

Περὶ δὲ Ταρρακίναν τῆς ᾿Ιταλίας φησὶν ᾿Ισίγονος λίμνην εἶναι ᾿Αμυκλαίαν καλουμένην καὶ παρ’ αὐτῇ πόλιν ἔρημον, ἧς τοὺς ἐνοικοῦντας στερηθῆναι τῆς πόλεως διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ὕδρων.

37 “In a lake in Italy which is called the Bakanos—and it is 500 stades in length—there is an island covered with mild plants. The Island swims and moves in the direction of the winds. This same phenomenon happens in another lake in Italy which is called Koutilia.”

᾿Επὶ τῆς ἐν ᾿Ιταλίᾳ λίμνης καλουμένης μὲν Βηνάκου, οὔσης δὲ τὸ περίμετρον σταδίων φ’, νῆσός ἐστιν οἰκουμένη κατάφυτος δένδρεσιν ἡμέροις ἐπινηχομένη καὶ μεταβαίνουσα πρὸς τὰς τῶν πνευμάτων φοράς. τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ τοῦτο καὶ ἐν ἑτέρᾳ λίμνῃ τῆς ᾿Ιταλίας Κουτιλίᾳ καλουμένῃ γίνεται.

38 “There is a lake called Ouadimônos in Italy which is not big but it similarly has many islands which are moved around by every wind.”

῎Εστι δὲ καὶ λάκκος Οὐαδίμωνος καλουμένη λίμνη οὐ μεγάλη ἐν ᾿Ιταλίᾳ, ὁμοίως ἔχουσα νησία πλείονα πάσῃ πνοῇ μετακινούμενα.

39 “Near Sardis there is a lake which is called Koloê. It produces a multitude of every kind of delicacy, but it also has islands settled deceptively. For they float around and move position with a gust of wind. This supports so great a number of aquatic birds that they sometimes starve.”

῾Η κατὰ Σάρδεις λίμνη, καλουμένη δὲ Κολόη, πλῆθος μὲν ὄψου πάμπολυ τρέφει· ἔχει δὲ καὶ αὐτὴ νήσους οἰκουμένας πρὸς ἀπάτην· ἐπινήχονται γὰρ καὶ τῇ τῶν ἀνέμων πνοῇ συμμετοικοῦσι· πτηνῶν δὲ τῶν ἐνύδρων τοσοῦτο τρέφει πλῆθος, ὥστε καὶ ταριχεύεσθαι.

40 “They say that it is the water around Sousiana which was processed for Medea’s poisonous medicines. It flows from some spring but is protected by the nearby inhabitants. The animals or equipment who are rubbed with it or moistened with it are kindled when fire comes near to them and they immediately are on fire. This is called naphtha. When it is separated from this land it loses its power, As Isigonos records.”

Τὸ δὲ κατὰ τὴν Σουσιανὴν ὕδωρ φασὶν εἶναι Μηδείας καὶ πεφαρμάχθαι καυστικοῖς φαρμάκοις, ὃ ῥεῖ μὲν ἐκ πηγῆς τινος, φυλάσσεται δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν ἐπιχωρίων. ἔχει δὲ δύναμιν τοιαύτην· τὰ γὰρ χρισθέντα ἢ βραχέντα ἐξ αὐτοῦ ζῷα ἢ σκεύη δειχθέντος μακρόθεν πυρὸς πρὸς αὑτὰ ἐπισπᾶται καὶ παραχρῆμα καίεται. καλεῖται δὲ νάφθα. ἐξενεχθέντα μέντοι τῆς χώρας ἀπόλλυσι τὴν δύναμιν, ὡς ἱστορεῖ ᾿Ισίγονος.

41 “In Italy there is a lake called Sabatos from which, whenever the water is clear, many foundations and temples and plenty of statues show through in the depth. The people who live nearby say that the city which once was there disappeared.

The same thing is said of lake Kiminos in Italy, that there was a city there and it disappeared suddenly.”

᾿Εν ᾿Ιταλίᾳ λίμνη Σάβατος καλουμένη, ἧς ὅταν τὸ ὕδωρ διαυγὲς γένηται, καταφαίνονται ἐν τῷ βυθῷ θεμέλιοι πολλοὶ καὶ ναοὶ καὶ πλῆθος ἀνδριάντων· φασὶ δὲ οἱ ἐπιχώριοι πόλιν ποτὲ οὖσαν καταποθῆναι. τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ λέγεται καὶ περὶ τοῦ Κιμίνου λάκκου ἐν ᾿Ιταλίᾳ, ὡς πόλεως πρότερον οὔσης καὶ αἰφνιδίως καταποθείσης.

42 “There is a lake in Macedonia which is called Luxnîtis and people sail across it for the purpose of investigation. For as they look down into the deep they see enormous benches and endless masses of silver work wondrous for its size and golden tablets and chalices and all the accompaniments of a feast in a wealthy palace.”

῾Η ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ λίμνη καλεῖται μὲν Λυχνῖτις, διαπλέουσι δὲ αὐτὴν ἱστορίας ἕνεκεν· ἐγκύπτοντες γὰρ εἰς τὸν βυθὸν ὁρῶσι τρικλίνους πολυτελεῖς, καὶ ἀργυρωμάτων ἄφθονον πλῆθος τῷ μεγέθει θαυμασίων, καὶ χρυσέων πινάκων τε καὶ ἐκπωμάτων, καὶ πάντων τῶν ἐν βασιλικῷ πλούτῳ πρὸς τρυφὴν  κατασκευασμάτων.

43 “In Lydia there is a lake called Tala which is sacred to nymphs and bears a multitude of reeds and one in the middle which the locals call the king. They propitiate it by making sacrifices and holding annual feasts. While they do these things, then the sound of their voices is on the shore, all the reeds dance and the king appears to dance with them toward the shore. The locals ring the king with sand and send him off, praying that in the future he is present for them as a guardian in a true sign [?] as Isigonos records in his second book of Unbelievable Things.

᾿Εν Λυδίᾳ ἔστι λίμνη †Τάλα† μὲν καλουμένη, ἱερὰ δὲ οὖσα νυμφῶν, ἣ φέρει καλάμων πλῆθος καὶ μέσον αὐτῶν  ἕνα, ὃν βασιλέα προσαγορεύουσιν οἱ ἐπιχώριοι. θυσίας δὲ καὶ ἑορτὰς ἐπιτελοῦντες ἐνιαυσίους ἐξιλάσκονται· τούτων δὲ ἐπιτελουμένων, ἐπειδὰν ἐπὶ τῆς ἠιόνος κτύπος συμφωνίας γένηται, πάντες οἱ κάλαμοι χορεύουσι καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς σὺν αὐτοῖς χορεύων παραγίνεται ἐπὶ τὴν ἠιόνα· οἱ δὲ ἐπιχώριοι ταινίαις αὐτὸν καταστέψαντες ἀποπέμπουσιν, εὐχόμενοι καὶ εἰς τὸ ἐπιὸν αὐτόν τε καὶ ἑαυτοὺς παραγενέσθαι ὡς εὐετηρίας ὄντι σημείῳ, ὡς ἱστορεῖ ᾿Ισίγονος ἐν δευτέρῳ ἀπίστων.

 

Image result for medieval manuscript water

British Library: Royal_ms_15_d_ii_f156r

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