Saturday, June 4, 2022

Daphne's Escape: Pseudo-Palaephatus XLIX

 Content Warning: attempted rape

**Greek text forthcoming**

De Ladone Narratio

Terrae visum fuit cum Ladone fluvio ad coitum descendere et posteaquam cum eo se miscuit, ex cuius compressu concipiens, Daphnem gignit. Hanc Apollo Pythius amavit, verbaque amatoria ad illam faciebat; sed cum ipsa castitatem servare vellet, illum minime audire volebat, necesseque ei ob id erat puellam aversantem insequi, veluti sic illam denique persequebatur: quae cum fugeret, denegare ei quicquam non prius ausa est, quam terram matrem suam in auxilium advocaret, a qua precibus petebat, ut sese iterum intra se admitteret, ac in eadem virginitate talem, qualis nata erat, custodiret, quod et mater fecit, Daphne nanque intra se occultavit. Post vero tempus, illud e terra egressa Daphne, arborque facta, eodem in loco pullulabat, cuius ramis, cum propeter amoris impatientiam, deus inhaereret, illi quo minus in lauram commutaretur resistere nullo modo potuit. Nam manus illius iam intra arboris truncu comprehendi caputque et reliqua corporis frondibus ornari coepere, sine quibus lauri foliis ut dicitur Tripos in Boeotia, ubi antrum erat, nullo modo erigi poterat.

--Pseudo-Palaephatus, Peri Apiston / Incredibilia XLIX; Translated into Latin by Phillip Phasiannus (1542)

Ladon’s Tale

Mother Earth manifested herself into a body to mate with the river Ladon; she conceived from this union and gave birth to Daphne. Pythian Apollo fell in love with her, and wooed her with words; however, Daphne wished to preserve her chastity, and refused to be wooed.  Apollo therefore pursued her, then finally hunted her down; she was forced to flee.

When Daphne could no longer hold out against him, she called for Mother Earth to help her. She begged to be swallowed up into the earth again in order to preserve the virginity. Mother Earth answered her prayers, and hid Daphne within herself. After some time, a laurel tree emerged from the earth. Apollo, eager for love, took her blossoming branches in his arms, refused to leave it.  He took her branches in his hands and began to adorn his temples with her leaves.



Name:  Palaephatus

Date:  4th century BCE

Works:  On Unbelievable Tales



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Little is known about the life and time period of Palaephatus, but his book, On Unbelievable Tales, was a popular text in the ancient world. In this work, Palaephatus attempts to find logical explanations for popular Greek myths. Due to the high level of interest in the topic and the relatively straightforward grammar and syntax, Palaephatus’ work is a popular text for intermediate Ancient Greek classrooms.


ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)

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