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The Ship Most Excellent
Off Stand the Wolves: 1
The Ship Most Excellent
Argo was built by the shipmaker Argus,
Crafted under Thought-Lady’s eye,
To bear her crew of brave chieftains—
Goddess-crafted to brave the sea with oars,
Argo was a ship of Arete,
Well-suited to carry men of the same make:
The proud-born chieftains called Minyae [1]
And god-blooded heroes of Arete, [2]
Sailors on the Shadowed Sea of Fate,
Dipping oars for savage shores.
Notes
Argo’s construction was apparently a favorite subject for poets predating Apollonius, whose works have not survived.
Apollonius wrote: “But as poets before me have told that tale [of the ship’s excellent construction] I will content myself by recounted the names and lineages of her honorable crew.”
I have read into Apollonius’ rollcall of heroes for details on Argo and filled out what might be a shadow of an epic of nautical craftsmanship in brief.
1. These were mostly Jason’s stalwarts from the locale of King Pelius’ city, most of whom were, like Jason, descended from the Daughters of Minyas, a mythic figure.
2. A uniquely Hellenic concept that has taken one academic an entire volume to explain, which includes honor, athletic excellence, courage, daring, civic concern, tribal loyalty and ancestral-oriented notions of patrimony.
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