Page:The Mythology of the Aryan Nations.djvu/336

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MYTHOLOGY OF THE ARYAN NATIONS.

BOOK II. temptation of Sarama by Pani; but Danae is true to her child and to his father, and Polydektes resolves to be rid of the youth who stands thus in his way. So, like Eurystheus, he sends him away with a strict charge that he is not to return unless he brings with him the Gorgon's head, the sight of which can freeze every living being into stone. Thus the dawn is parted from her son, for Phoibos himself must leave his mother Leto and begin his westward journey.^ He starts alone, and as he thinks unbefriended, but with the high and generous spirit which marks the youthful Herakles in the apologue of Prodikos, and heavenly beings come to his aid as Arete promises to strengthen the son of Alkmene. From the dawn-goddess, Athene, he receives the mirror into which he is to gaze when he draws his sword to smite the mortal Gorgon, the fiend of darkness; from Hermes he obtains the sword which never falls in vain ; and the Nymphs bring him the bag in which he is to carry away the head of Medousa, the tarn- kappe or invisible helmet of Hades, and the golden sandals which will bear him along as swiftly as a dream, — in other words, the golden chariot of Helios, or the armour of Achilleus, which bears him up as a bird upon the wing. He is now the Chr}'sa6r, armed for the battle- and ready for his journey; and like the sun, he may veil himself in clouds when he wishes not to be seen. But he cannot reach the Gorgon's den until he has first passed the home of the Graiai, the land of the gloaming, whose solitary eye and tooth he refuses to restore until they have pointed out the road which shall bring him to his journey's end. In other words, the sun must go through the twilight-land before he can pierce the regions of utter darkness and reappear in the beautiful gardens of the Hyperboreans, the asphodel meadows of the tinted heavens of morning. When at length his task is done, and he turns to go to the upper world, the Gorgon sisters (the clouds of darkness) start up in fury, and their brazen talons almost seize him as he reaches the clear blue heaven, which is called the land of the brilliant Ethiopians. Here, again, the same war is going on in which he has already been the conqueror. The storm-cloud is seeking to devour the dawn and to blot out its

' If Niebuhr is right in connecting for their conflict with the dragon, who together the names Daunos, Danaos, represents both chaos and darkness, l.avinus, Lakinus, Latinus, ;c., the " and the chief weapon of the god who name Danae is only another form of maintains nocturnal Kosmic order is, Ahana and Athene, of Dahana and as of course, the sickle-shaped moon. " Daphne. Hence Perseus with the crescent moon

  • Pherekydes speaks of Perseus as cuts off the Gorgo, or full moon. This armed with the HarjK', the sickle which principle of reduplication has, as Mr. Kronos bore in his hand when he IJrown remarks, largely influenced the assailed Ouranos. It is the weapon growth of myths. — The i'tiicorti, ^i,. with which Bel anil .Merodach are armed