Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/386

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

350 The Binding of a God.

Aloeus' sons, fair Eeriboia, gave tidings to Hermes, and he stole away Ares, already pining, for the grievous prison- house was wearing him out."

I quote Dr. Leaf's translation, but the authorities are not quite agreed as to the meaning of the passage. The im- portant words are ^aX/cew S'eV Kepdfxw SeScTO. Paley says he was shut up in a brass-bound crock. Professor Blackie translates :

" Such wrong Mars felt, when the huge-statured Aloidian twain, Otus and Ephialtes, bound him with a tyrannous chain. Twelve months and three in brazen keep he knew the close-barred pain,"

where he blunders as to the duration of his bondage. Professor Newman says he was bound in " brass and brick," and mentions the chain which bound him. Merivale calls it " a brass-bound barrel."

Kepa/Mo^, according to Liddell and Scott, means " an earthen vessel or wine jar," and, secondly, " a prison or dungeon," to which this passage is referred, the Scholiast alleging this to be a Cyprian use of the word. There seems to have been at Cyprus a prison which was known as the Keramos.^ One sense of the word was undoubtedly a large earthen jar half buried in the earth, such as are to this day used in India and other eastern countries for hold- ing grain. The Indian type of the vessel could easily hold a man. There was another similar vessel known to the Greeks called a itlOo'^, and in recent excavations cases of burial in such vessels have been discovered ; and the cus- tom prevailed widely in South America. The practice of preserving the ashes of the dead in jars is as old as Homer,"'^ or even the early Aryans.^ This may have been one basis of the myth. At any rate I conclude that this sense of the word is more primitive than that of " prison : " the under-

" Smith, Dictionary of Antiquities, p. 197.

  • Iliad, xxiii. 243.

^ Schrader, Prehistoric Antiquities, p. 365.