Apollo Almost Thinks About Consent

Pindar, Pythian 9. 17-25

“[Peneius] raised up his smooth-armed
Child, Kyrene. She had no interest in
The repetitive paths of the loom
Or the pleasure of meals at home with friends,
But instead she found the bronze javelins
And a sword for fighting and killing
The wild beasts–that’s how she made so much peace
For her father’s cattle and only just
Allowing that sweet bedmate, sleep,
To rest upon her eyelids upon descent at dawn.

Once Apollo, with his wide quiver, found her
Alone and unarmed, wrestling a powerful lion.
So he immediately called Kheiron from his home, and said,

“Come out, son of Philyra, and look
At this woman’s spirit and impressive power,
How she is pursuing this fight with a steady gaze,
This girl whose heart is stronger than suffering,
Whose thoughts are unclouded by fear!

What mortal gave birth to her? From what roots
Has she been cut to live in the forests
Of dark mountains, testing her limitless courage?

Should I lay my famous hand on her
And harvest the honey-sweet fruit from her bed?”

ὁ δὲ τὰν εὐώλενον
θρέψατο παῖδα Κυράναν· ἁ μὲν οὔθ᾿ ἱ-
στῶν παλιμβάμους ἐφίλησεν ὁδούς,
οὔτε δείπνων †οἰκουριᾶν μεθ᾿ ἑταιρᾶν τέρψιας,
ἀλλ᾿ ἀκόντεσσίν τε χαλκέοις
φασγάνῳ τε μαρναμένα κεράιζεν ἀγρίους
θῆρας, ἦ πολλάν τε καὶ ἡσύχιον
βουσὶν εἰρήναν παρέχοισα πατρῴαις,
τὸν δὲ σύγκοιτον γλυκύν
παῦρον ἐπὶ γλεφάροις
ὕπνον ἀναλίσκοισα ῥέποντα πρὸς ἀῶ.
κίχε νιν λέοντί ποτ᾿ εὐρυφαρέτρας
ὀβρίμῳ μούναν παλαίοισαν
ἄτερ ἐγχέων ἑκάεργος Ἀπόλλων.
αὐτίκα δ᾿ ἐκ μεγάρων Χείρωνα προσήνεπε φωνᾷ·
σεμνὸν ἄντρον, Φιλλυρίδα, προλιπὼν
θυμὸν γυναικὸς καὶ μεγάλαν δύνασιν
θαύμασον, οἷον ἀταρβεῖ νεῖκος ἄγει κεφαλᾷ,
μόχθου καθύπερθε νεᾶνις
ἦτορ ἔχοισα· φόβῳ δ᾿ οὐ κεχείμανται φρένες.
τίς νιν ἀνθρώπων τέκεν; ποίας
δ᾿ ἀποσπασθεῖσα φύτλας
ὀρέων κευθμῶνας ἔχει σκιοέντων,
γεύεται δ᾿ ἀλκᾶς ἀπειράντου;
ὁσία κλυτὰν χέρα οἱ προσενεγκεῖν
ἦρα καὶ ἐκ λεχέων κεῖραι μελιαδέα ποίαν;”

Akesandros of Cyrene (Jacoby 469) F4

“Akesandros tells the story in his Concerning Cyrene that when Eurypylos was king in Libya, Cyrene was taken by Apollo because there was a lion plaguing the land. Eurypylos put his kingship up as a prize for anyone who could kill a lion—and Cyrene killed the lion and gained the kingdom. Her children were Autoukhos and Aristaios. Phularkhos says that she came to Libya with a group, and when they went on a hunting expedition, she joined them too.”

᾽Ακέσανδρος δὲ ἐν τοῖς Περὶ Κυρήνης ἱστορεῖ, ἐπ᾽ Εὐρυπύλου βασιλεύοντος ἐν Λιβύηι ὡς ὑπὸ ᾽Απόλλωνος διακομισθείη ἡ Κυρήνη, λέοντος δὲ τὴν χώραν λυμαινομένου προθείη τὴν βασιλείαν ὁ Εὐρύπυλος ἆθλον τῶι ἀποκτενοῦντι τὸν λέοντα, τὴν δὲ(?) διαχρήσασθαι αὐτόν καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν λαβεῖν· παῖδας δὲ αὐτῆς γενέσθαι Αὐτοῦχον καὶ ᾽Αρισταῖον. φησὶ δὲ αὐτὴν Φύλαρχος (81 F 16) ἐλθεῖν μετὰ πλειόνων εἰς Λιβύην, τούτων δὲ ἐκπεμφθέντων ἐπὶ τὴν κυνηγίαν, τούτοις καὶ αὐτὴν συνεξελθεῖν.

Black and white photograph of a relief sculpture (marble) showing a woman face forward with a lion in a headlock)
Photograph of a statue of the personification of Cyrene. Plate from ‘History of the recent discoveries at Cyrene, made during an expedition to the Cyrenaica in 1860-61…’

2 thoughts on “Apollo Almost Thinks About Consent

  1. “She had no interest in / The repetitive paths of the loon”.
    Ah, yes, loons are known to follow repetitive paths. :-).

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