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M. She was the daughter of Minos, king of Crete. She was violently in love with Theseus, and delivered him “out of the Labyrinth by the means of a thread. She followed him in his return to the island of Naxus, and there Theseus persidiously and ungratefully left her. But Bacchus pitied her miserable condition,and married and gave
her a crown that was illuminated with seven stars, which he had before received from Venus. This crown was called Gnossia Corona, and Ariadne herself, was surnamed Gnossis, from the city of that name in Crete. After the death of Ariadne, the same was carried among the stars, and made a constellation in the heavens. It was thought that Diana caused the death of Ariadne, because she preserved not her virginity.
P. What great actions did Theseus perform ?
M. His actions were so famous, that they accounted him a Hercules. For, 1. He killed the Minotaur. 2. He overcame the Centaurs. 3. He vanquished the Thebans. 4. He defeated the Amazons. 5. He went down into hell ; and returned back into the world again.
P. Why did he go down into hell?
M. He and Pirithous, his most intimate friend, the lawful son of Ixion, agreed never to marry any women except Jupiter's daughters. Theseus married Helena, the daughter of Jupiter and Leda, and none of Jupiter's daughters remained on earth for Pirithous; therefore they both went down into hell to steal Proserpine away from her husband Pluto. As soon as they entered hell, Pirithous was unfortunately torn in pieces by the dog Cerberus ; but Theseus came alive into the palace of Pluto, who fettered him, and kept him till Hercules was sent into hell by Euristheus to rescue him.
P. And who were those Amazons that you mentioned just now?
M. They were women animated with the souls and bravery of men; a military race, inhabi ing that part of Scythia which is washed by the river Tanażs. They
-4 Propert. 1. 3, el. 17.
were called Amazons, aeither because they cut off one of their breasts, or bbecause they lived together without the society of men. They were a nation of women, who, that the country might have inhabitants and not be depopulated, when the present race of women died, admitted the embraces of the neighbouring men, and had children by them. They killed the boys at their birth, but brought up the girls. They cut off their right breast, that they might more conveniently use their hands in shooting their arrows, and brandishing their weapons against their enemy. These female warriors, by their frequent excursions, became possessors of a great part of Asia, when Hercules, accompanied with Theseus, made war upon them, and defeated them ; and taking Hippolyte, their queen, prisoner, he gave her in marriage to Theseus.
Theseus had by Hippolyte his son Hyppolytus, who was very beautiful, and mightily addicted to hunting, and a remarkable lover of chastity: for when Phædra, his step-mother, the daughter of king Minos, whom Theseus had preferred to her sister Ariadne) solicited him to commit wickedness, when he was grown a man, he refused to comply. This repulse provoked her so inuch, that when her husband returned, she accused him wrongfully, as if he had offered to ravish her. Theseus gave ear to the wicked woman, and believed her untruth against his son Hynpolytus, who perceiving it, fled away in his chariot. In his flight he met several monstrous sea-calves, which frighted his horses, so that they threw him out of his seat, his feet were entangled in the harness, and he was dragged through the thickets of a wood, and torn to pieces miserably. Æsculapius afterward, at the request of Diana, restored him to life again. But he however left Greece and came into Italy, where he changed his name to Virbiusd because he had been a man twice. Phedra was gnawn with the stings
a Ab a privativo et malès mamma. b Ab õua simul et för vivere.
c Ovid. in Ep. Phædr. & Quod vir bis esset.
of her own conscience, and hanged herself. And not long after, Theseus, being banished from his country, ended an illustrious life with an obscure death.
CASTOR AND POLLUX. P. Who are those two handsome, beautiful young men, that ride upon white horses?
M. They are twin brothers, athe sons of Jupiter and Leda : their names are Castor and Pollux.
P. What Leda was that?
M. The wife of Tyndarus, king of Laconia, whom Jupiter loved, but could not succeed in his amour till he changed himself into a swan ; bwhich swan was afterward made a constellation. In this form he gained the mutual love of Leda, by the sweetness of his singing; and flying into her bosom, as it were, that he might secure himself from the violence of an eagle which pursued him, he enjoyed her, though she was then big with child by her husband. Leda brought forth two eggs which were hatched, and produced the twin brothers that you see.
P. You mean that one came out of one egg, and the other out of the other egg. M. No. Out of the egg which Leda had conceived by
came Pollux and Helena, who sprang from divine seed, and were therefore immortal. But out of the other, which she conceived by Tyndarus, her hus
came Castor and Clytemnestra, who were mortal, because they were begotten by a mortal father. Yet both Castor and Pollux are frequently called Tyndaride by the poets, as Helena is also called Tyndaris, from the same king Tyndarus.
P. What memorable actions did Castor and Pollur perform?
a Pind. in Pythag.