A HYMN BY CALLIMACHUS
The Text and Extensive Commentary
Foto taken by the author of an alabaster statue of Zeus in his possession, who places it in the Public Domain.
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Here follows the hymn to Zefs (Ζεύς) by the Alexandrian poet Kallímakhos (Καλλίμαχος. Born 310/305, died 240 BCE), who was originally from Kyrínî (Κυρήνη). We begin in ancient Greek followed by the translation by A.W. Mair and G.R. Mair published in 1921. One alteration has been made to the text: every appearance of the word God and Gods has been capitalized out of respect.
ΚΑΛΛΙΜΑΧΟΥ ΥΜΝΟΙ I. ΕΙΣ ΔΙΑ
Ζηνὸς ἔοι τί κεν ἄλλο παρὰ σπονδῇσιν ἀείδειν
λώιον ἢ θεὸν αὐτόν, ἀεὶ μέγαν, αἰὲν ἄνακτα,
Πηλαγόνων ἐλατῆρα, δικασπόλον οὐρανίδῃσι;
πῶς καί μιν, Δικταῖον ἀείσομεν ἠὲ Λυκαῖον;
ἐν δοιῇ μάλα θυμός, ἐπεὶ γένος ἀμφήριστον. 5
Ζεῦ, σὲ μὲν Ἰδαίοισιν ἐν οὔρεσί φασι γενέσθαι,
Ζεῦ, σὲ δ᾽ ἐν Ἀρκαδίῃ: πότεροι, πάτερ, ἐψεύσαντο;
‘Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται:’ καὶ γὰρ τάφον, ὦ ἄνα, σεῖο
Κρῆτες ἐτεκτήναντο: σὺ δ᾽ οὐ θάνες, ἐσσὶ γὰρ αἰεί.
ἐν δέ σε Παρρασίῃ Ῥείη τέκεν, ἧχι μάλιστα 10
ἔσκεν ὄρος θάμνοισι περισκεπές: ἔνθεν ὁ χῶρος
ἱερός, οὐδέ τί μιν κεχρημένον Εἰλειθυίης
ἑρπετὸν οὐδὲ γυνὴ ἐπιμίσγεται, ἀλλά ἑ Ῥείης
ὠγύγιον καλέουσι λεχώιον Ἀπιδανῆες.
ἔνθα σ᾽ ἐπεὶ μήτηρ μεγάλων ἀπεθήκατο κόλπων 15
αὐτίκα δίζητο ῥόον ὕδατος, ᾧ κε τόκοιο
λύματα χυτλώσαιτο, τεὸν δ᾽ ἐνὶ χρῶτα λοέσσαι.
Λάδων ἀλλ᾽ οὔπω μέγας ἔρρεεν οὐδ᾽ Ἐρύμανθος,
λευκότατος ποταμῶν, ἔτι δ᾽ ἄβροχος ἦεν ἅπασα
Ἀρκαδίη: μέλλεν δὲ μάλ᾽ εὔυδρος καλέεσθαι 20
αὖτις: ἐπεὶ τημόσδε, Ῥέη ὅτ᾽ ἐλύσατο μίτρην,
ἦ πολλὰς ἐφύπερθε σαρωνίδας ὑγρὸς Ἰάων
ἤειρεν, πολλὰς δὲ Μέλας ὤκχησεν ἁμάξας,
πολλὰ δὲ Καρνίωνος ἄνω διεροῦ περ ἐόντος
ἰλυοὺς ἐβάλοντο κινώπετα, νίσσετο δ᾽ ἀνὴρ 25
πεζὸς ὑπὲρ Κρᾶθίν τε πολύστιόν τε Μετώπην
διψαλέος: τὸ δὲ πολλὸν ὕδωρ ὑπὸ ποσσὶν ἔκειτο.
καί ῥ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ἀμηχανίης σχομένη φάτο πότνια Ῥείη:
‘Γαῖα φίλη, τέκε καὶ σύ: τεαὶ δ᾽ ὠδῖνες ἐλαφραί.’
εἶπε καὶ ἀντανύσασα θεὴ μέγαν ὑψόθι πῆχυν 30
πλῆξεν ὄρος σκήπτρῳ: τὸ δέ οἱ δίχα πουλὺ διέστη,
ἐκ δ᾽ ἔχεεν μέγα χεῦμα: τόθι χρόα φαιδρύνασα,
ὦνα, τεὸν σπείρωσε, Νέδῃ δέ σε δῶκε κομίζειν
κευθμὸν ἔσω Κρηταῖον, ἵνα κρύφα παιδεύοιο,
πρεσβυτάτῃ Νυμφέων αἵ μιν τότε μαιώσαντο, 35
πρωτίστῃ γενεῇ μετά γε Στύγα τε Φιλύρην τε.
οὐδ᾽ ἁλίην ἀπέτεισε θεὴ χάριν, ἀλλὰ τὸ χεῦμα
κεῖνο Νέδην ὀνόμηνε: τὸ μέν ποθι πουλὺ κατ᾽ αὐτὸ
Καυκώνων πτολίεθρον, ὃ Λέπρειον πεφάτισται,
συμφέρεται Νηρῆι, παλαιότατον δέ μιν ὕδωρ 40
υἱωνοὶ πίνουσι Λυκαονίης ἄρκτοιο.
εὖτε Θενὰς ἀπέλειπεν ἐπὶ Κνωσοῖο φέρουσα,
Ζεῦ πάτερ, ἡ Νύμφη σε Θ̔εναὶ δ᾽ ἔσαν ἐγγύθι Κνωσοὖ,
τουτάκι τοι πέσε, δαῖμον, ἄπ᾽ ὀμφαλός: ἔνθεν ἐκεῖνο
ὀμφάλιον μετέπειτα πέδον καλέουσι Κύδωνες. 45
Ζεῦ, σὲ δὲ Κυρβάντων ἑτάραι προσεπηχύναντο
Δικταῖαι Μελίαι, σὲ δ᾽ ἐκοίμισεν Ἀδρήστεια
λίκνῳ ἐνὶ χρυσέῳ, δὺ δ᾽ ἐθήσαο πίονα μαζὸν
αἰγὸς Ἀμαλθείης, ἐπὶ σὲ γλυκὺ κηρίον ἔβρως.
γέντο γὰρ ἐξαπιναῖα Πανακρίδος ἔργα μελίσσης 50
Ἰδαίοις ἐν ὄρεσσι, τά τε κλείουσι Πάνακρα.
οὖλα δὲ Κούρητές σε περὶ πρύλιν ὠρχήσαντο
τεύχεα πεπηήγοντες, ἵνα Κρόνος οὔασιν ἠχὴν
ἀσπίδος εἰσαΐοι καὶ μή σεο κουρίζοντος.
καλὰ μὲν ἠέξευ, καλὰ δ᾽ ἔτραφες, οὐράνιε Ζεῦ, 55
ὀξὺ δ᾽ ἀνήβησας, ταχινοὶ δέ τοι ἦλθον ἴουλοι.
ἀλλ᾽ ἔτι παιδνὸς ἐὼν ἐφράσσαο πάντα τέλεια:
τῶ τοι καὶ γνωτοὶ προτερηγενέες περ ἐόντες
οὐρανὸν οὐκ ἐμέγηραν ἔχειν ἐπιδαίσιον οἶκον.
δηναιοὶ δ᾽ οὐ πάμπαν ἀληθέες ἦσαν ἀοιδοί. 60
φάντο πάλον Κρονίδῃσι διάτριχα δώματα νεῖμαι:
τίς δέ κ᾽ ἐπ᾽ Οὐλύμπῳ τε καὶ Ἄιδι κλῆρον ἐρύσσαι,
ὃς μάλα μὴ νενίηλος; ἐπ᾽ ἰσαίῃ γὰρ ἔοικε
πήλασθαι: τὰ δὲ τόσσον ὅσον διὰ πλεῖστον ἔχουσι.
ψευδοίμην ἀίοντος ἅ κεν πεπίθοιεν ἀκουήν. 65
οὔ σε θεῶν ἐσσῆνα πάλοι θέσαν, ἔργα δὲ χειρῶν,
σή τε βίη τό τε κάρτος, ὃ καὶ πέλας εἵσαο δίφρου.
θήκαο δ᾽ οἰωνῶν μέγ᾽ ὑπείροχον ἀγγελιώτην
σῶν τεράων: ἅ τ᾽ ἐμοῖσι φίλοις ἐνδέξια φαίνοις
εἵλεο δ᾽ αἰζηῶν ὅ τι φέρτατον: οὐ σύ γε νηῶν 70
ἐμπεράμους, οὐκ ἄνδρα σακέσπαλον, οὐ μὲν ἀοιδόν:
ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν μακάρεσσιν ὀλίζοσιν αὖθι παρῆκας
ἄλλα μέλειν ἑτέροισι, σὺ δ᾽ ἐξέλεο πτολιάρχους
αὐτούς, ὧν ὑπὸ χεῖρα γεωμόρος, ὧν ἴδρις αἰχμῆς,
ὧν ἐρέτης, ὧν πάντα: τί δ᾽ οὐ κρατέοντος ὑπ᾽ ἰοχύν; 75
αὐτίκα χαλκῆας μὲν ὑδείομεν Ἡφαίστοιο,
τευχηστὰς δ᾽ Ἄρηος, ἐπακτῆρας δὲ Χιτώνης
Ἀρτέμιδος, Φοίβου δὲ λύρης εὖ εἰδότας οἴμους:
ἐκ δὲ Διὸς βασιλῆες, ἐπεὶ Διὸς οὐδὲν ἀνάκτων
θειότερον: τῶ καί σφε τεὴν ἐκρίναο λάξιν. 80
δῶκας δὲ πτολίεθρα φυλασσέμεν, ἵζεο δ᾽ αὐτὸς
ἄκρῃσ᾽ ἐν πολίεσσιν, ἐπόψιος οἵ τε δίκῃσι
λαὸν ὑπὸ σκολιῇσ᾽ οἵ τ᾽ ἔμπαλιν ἰθύνουσιν:
ἐν δὲ ῥυηφενίην ἔβαλές σφισιν, ἐν δ᾽ ἅλις ὄλβον:
πᾶσι μέν, οὐ μάλα δ᾽ ἶσον. ἔοικε δὲ τεκμήρασθαι 85
ἡμετέρῳ μεδέοντι: περιπρὸ γὰρ εὐρὺ βέβηκεν.
ἑσπέριος κεῖνός γε τελεῖ τά κεν ἦρι νοήσῃ:
ἑσπέριος τὰ μέγιστα, τὰ μείονα δ᾽, εὖτε νοήσῃ.
οἱ δὲ τὰ μὲν πλειῶνι, τὰ δ᾽ οὐχ ἑνί, τῶν δ᾽ ἀπὸ πάμπαν
αὐτὸς ἄνην ἐκόλουσας, ἐνέκλασσας δὲ μενοινήν. 90
χαῖρε μέγα, Κρονίδη πανυπέρτατε, δῶτορ ἐάων,
δῶτορ ἀπημονίης. τεὰ δ᾽ ἔργματα τίς κεν ἀείδοι;
οὐ γένετ᾽, οὐκ ἔσται, τίς κεν Διὸς ἔργματ᾽ ἀείσαι.
χαῖρε πάτερ, χαῖρ᾽ αὖθι: δίδου δ᾽ ἀρετήν τ᾽ ἄφενός τε.
οὔτ᾽ ἀρετῆς ἄτερ ὄλβος ἐπίσταται ἄνδρας ἀέξειν 95
οὔτ᾽ ἀρετὴ ἀφένοιο: δίδου δ᾽ ἀρετήν τε καὶ ὄλβον.
The Hymn to Zeus by Kallímakhos of Kyrínî/Alexandria
At libations to Zeus what else should rather be sung than the God himself, mighty for ever, king for evermore, router of the Pelagonians, dealer of justice to the sons of Heaven?
How shall we sing of him – as lord of Dicte or of Lycaeum? My soul is all in doubt, since debated is his birth. O Zeus, some say that thou wert born on the hills of Ida; others, O Zeus, say in Arcadia; did these or those, O Father lie? “Cretans are ever liars.” Yea, a tomb, O Lord, for thee the Cretans builded; but thou didst not die, for thou art for ever.
In Parrhasia it was that Rheia bare thee, where was a hill sheltered with thickest brush. Thence is the place holy, and no fourfooted thing that hath need of Eileithyia nor any woman approacheth thereto, but the Apidanians call it the primeval childbed of Rheia. There when thy mother had laid thee down from her mighty lap, straightway she sought a stream of water, wherewith she might purge her of the soilure of birth and wash thy body therein. But mighty Ladon flowed not yet, nor Erymanthus, clearest of rivers; waterless was all Arcadia; yet was it anon to be called well-watered. For at that time when Rhea loosed her girdle, full many a hollow oak did watery Iaon bear aloft, and many a wain did Melas carry and many a serpent above Carnion, wet though it now be, cast its lair; and a man would fare on foot over Crathis and many-pebbled Metope, athirst: while that abundant water lay beneath his feet.
And holden in distress the lady Rheia said, “Dear Earth, give birth thou also! Thy birthpangs are light.” So spake the Goddess, and lifting her great arm aloft she smote the mountain with her staff; and it was greatly rent in twain for her and poured forth a mighty flood. Therein, O Lord, she cleansed they body; and swaddled thee, and gave thee to Neda to carry within the Cretan covert, that thou mightst be reared secretly: Neda, eldest of the nymphs who then were about her bed, earliest birth after Styx and Philyra. And no idle favour did the Goddess repay her, but named that stream Neda; which, I ween, in great flood by the very city of the Cauconians, which is called Lepreion, mingles its stream with Nereus, and its primeval water do the son’s sons of the Bear, Lycaon’s daughter, drink.
When the nymph, carrying thee, O Father Zeus, towards Cnosus, was leaving Thenae – for Thenae was nigh to Cnosus – even then, O God, thy navel fell away: hence that plain the Cydonians call the Plain of the Navel. But thee, O Zeus, the companions of the Cyrbantes took to their arms, even the Dictaean Meliae, and Adrasteia laid thee to rest in a cradle of gold, and thou didst suck the rich teat of the she-goat Amaltheia, and thereto eat the sweet honey-comb. For suddenly on the hills of Ida, which men call Panacra, appeared the works of the Panacrian bee. And lustily round thee danced the Curetes a war-dance, beating their armour, that Cronus might hear with his ears the din of the shield, but not thine infant noise.
Fairly didst thou wax, O heavenly Zeus, and fairly wert thou nurtured, and swiftly thou didst grow to manhood, and speedily came the down upon thy cheek. But, while yet a child, thou didst devise all the deeds of perfect stature. Wherefore thy kindred, though an earlier generation, grudged not that thou shouldst have heaven for thine appointed habitation. The ancient poets spake not altogether truly. For they said that the lot assigned to the sons of Cronus their three several abodes. But who would draw lots for Olympus and for Hades – save a very fool? for equal chances should one cast lots; but these are the wide world apart. When I speak fiction, be it such fiction as persuades the listener’s ear! Thou wert made sovereign of the Gods not by casting of lots but by the deeds of thy hands, thy might and that strength which thou hast set beside thy throne. And the most excellent of birds didst thou make the messenger of thy signs; favourable to my friends be the signs thou showest! And thou didst choose that which is most excellent among men – not thou the skilled in ships, nor the wielder of the shield, nor the minstrel: these didst thou straightway renounce to lesser Gods, other cares to others. But thou didst choose the rulers of cities themselves, beneath whose hand is the lord of the soil, the skilled in spearmanship, the oarsman, yea, all things that are: what is there that is not under the ruler’s sway? Thus, smiths, we say, belong to Hephaestus; to Ares, warriors; to Artemis of the Tunic, huntsmen; to Phoebus they that know well the strains of the lyre. But from Zeus come kings; for nothing is diviner than the kings of Zeus. Wherefore thou didst choose them for thine own lot, and gavest them cities to guard. And thou didst seat thyself in the high places of the cities, watching who rule their people with crooked judgements, and who rule otherwise. And thou hast bestowed upon them wealth and prosperity abundantly; unto all, but not in equal measure. One may well judge by our Ruler, for he hath clean outstripped all others. At evening he accomplisheth that whereon he thinketh in the morning; yea, at evening the greatest things, but the lesser soon as he thinketh on them. But the others accomplish some things in a year, and some things not in one; of others, again, thou thyself dost utterly frustrate the accomplishing and thwartest their desire.
Hail! greatly hail! most high Son of Cronus, giver of good things, giver of safety. Thy works who could sing? There hath not been, there shall not be, who shall sing the works of Zeus. Hail! Father, hail again! and grant us goodness and prosperity. Without goodness wealth cannot bless men, nor goodness without prosperity. Give us goodness and weal.
NOTES TO THE TEXT: The following incorporates Mair’s notes to the poem, as well as additional material gathered from various sources. Mair’s comments are adjacent to quotes from the poem (in bold print). Their content is identical to the original publication but, for the benefit of the students, our method of transliteration has been incorporated which reflects Reuchlinian pronunciation while providing the ancient Greek words for clarity. Where there is additional material not in the original Mair publication, citations are provided.
At libations to Zeus what else should rather be sung than the God himself - “This briefly suggests a dramatic scene. We are at a symposium, and libations to Zeus are being poured. The poet breaks into song.” 
router of the Pelagonians - The Pelagonians refers to the Yígantæs (Γίγαντες), the sons of Yi (Γῆ). In grammatical context, Kallímakhos is using Πηλογόνων, which is a form of: πηλόγονος, born from clay.
dealer of justice to the sons of Heaven – i.e., the sons of Ouranós (Οὐρανός).
lord of Dicte – Díktî (Δίκτη) is a mountain in Krítî (Κρήτη), where there is a cave that is said to be the place of the birth of Zefs.
...or of Lycaeum – This refers to Mount Lýkaion (Λύκαιον) in Arkadía (Αρκαδία).
born on the hills of Ida – Mount Ída (Ἴδη or Ἴδᾳ) is a mountain in Krítî.
“Cretans are ever liars” - This proverbial saying, attributed to Æpimænídîs (Ἐπιμενίδης, the Cretan seer and poet), is quoted by St. Paul, Epistle to Titus Chapter 1 at 12,
“One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said,
‘The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies’ ”
…and seems to be alluded to by Φαινόμενα Ἀράτου του Σολέως 30. The explanation given by Athînódôros (Ἀθηνόδωρος) of Ærǽtria (Ερέτρια) [quoted by Πτολεμαῖος Χέννος (also known as Ptolemaeus Chennus) in Βιβλιοθήκη τοῦ Πατριάρχου Φωτίου Α´; see Photii Bibliotheca by August Emmanuel Bekker p. 150] is that Thǽtis (Θέτις) and Mídeia (Μήδεια), having a dispute as to which of them was the fairer, entrusted the decision to Idomænéfs (Ἰδομενεύς) of Krítî. He decided in favour of Thǽtis, whereon Mídeia said,
“Cretans are always liars”
and cursed them that they should never speak the truth. The scholiast on the present passage says that Idomænéfs divided the spoils of Troy unfairly.
Yea, a tomb... - The Cretan legend was that Zefs was a prince who was slain by a wild boar and buried in Krítî. His tomb was variously localized and the tradition of “the tomb of Zefs” attaches to several places even in modern times, especially to Mount Yioukhtas (Juktas or Iuktas; Γιούχτας). See A. B. Cook, Zeus, vol. i. p. 157 ff.
Mount Iuktas - Mount Yioukhtas is a mountain in north-central Kríti, near the Minoan palaces of Knôssós (Κνωσσός) and Phourní (Φουρνί). At its peak is located an important sanctuary, Psilí Korphí (Ψιλή Κορφή), said to be “the tomb of Zefs.” In reality, it is not certain what deities were honored there. There is also evidence that it was thought to be the birthplace of Zefs.
In Parrhasia it was that Rhea bare thee - Parrasía (Παρρασία) was one of the six sub-divisions of Arkadía (Αρκαδία), in southern Arkadía. It was named after Parrásios (Παρράσιος; not the late 5th century BCE painter), a son of Lykáôn (Λυκάων). When used in its form as an adjective, Parrhasian, the ancient poets often meant generically Arcadian.
...and no four-footed thing... – Compare to Ἀργοναυτικὰ Ἀπολλωνίου Ῥοδίου 4.1240.
...and no four-footed thing that hath need of Eileithyia – Eileithia (Εἰλείθυια) is the Goddess of childbirth and labor pains, so Kallímakhos is referring to a pregnant animal. ...nor any woman approacheth thereto... "Sexual intercourse, giving birth, and dying were thought to entail pollution and so were banned from sacred enclosures." 
but the Apidanians call it the primeval childbed of Rheia - The Apidanians are the ancient Arcadians (schol., ed. Ἀρκάδες Ἀπιδανῆες) But why the Arcadians? According to Dionýsios Pæriïyitís (Διονύσιος ὁ Περιηγητής) (415): ‘Apidaneans...Arcadians...because it (sc. Arcadia) has no (α-) springs (πίδακες)...’ 
There when thy mother had laid thee down from her mighty lap, straightway she sought a stream of water, wherewith she might purge her of the soilure of birth and wash thy body therein. “The spot is isolated, and it can therefore hide the birth from Krónos (Κρόνος). But an effect of the isolation is that there is no running water to wash the baby.” 
But mighty Ladon flowed not yet – Ládôn (Λάδων) is a river in Arkadía.
nor Erymanthus clearest of rivers – Ærýmanthos (Ερύμανθος) is a river in Arkadía.
full many a hollow oak did watery Iaon bear aloft – Iáôn (Ἰάων, named after Ἴων, the son of Ἀπόλλων and Κρέουσα) is a river in Arkadía.
and many a wain did Melas carry - Mǽlas (Μέλας):
Διονυσίου Ἀλεξανδρέως Οἰκουμένης περιήγησης (Survey of the World by Dionysius [the Voyager] of Alexandria) 415 ff. Ἀρκάδες Ἀπιδανῆες ὑπὸ σκοπιὴν Ἐρυμάνθου, ἔνθα Μέλας, ὅθι Κρᾶθις, ἵνα ῥέει ὑγρὸς Ἰάων, ἧχι καὶ ὠγύγιος μηκύνεται ὕδασι Λάδων.
Ἱστορίαι Ἡροδότου 145 has Ὤλενος ἐν τῷ Πεῖρος ποταμὸς μέγας ἐστί.
Γεωγραφικὰ Στράβωνος 386 has Ὤλενος, παρʹ ὃν ποταμὸς μέγας Μέλας where it has been proposed to read παρʹ ὃν <Πεῖρος> and to omit Μέλας.
M. T. Smiley, in Classical Quarterly v. (1911) p. 89 f., suggests that the Styx (Στύξ) is meant, which supplies the waterfall near Nóhnakris (Νώνακρις) in North Arkadía and later becomes a tributary of the Kráthis (Κράθις) (Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 8.18.4 Ἀρκαδίας). When Leake discovered the waterfall in 1806 the natives did not know the name Styx for it but called it the Black Water (Μαύρο νερό) or the Dragon Water. The name Πεῖρος in any case suggests a connexion with the underworld.
and many a serpent above Carnion, - Karníôn (Καρνίων) is a river in Arkadía, Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 8.34 Ἀρκαδίας.
and a man would fare on foot over Crathis - Kráthis (Κράθις) is a river in Arkadía (and Achaea), Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 7.25.11 Ἀχαΐας, and Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 8.15.5 and 8.18.4 Ἀρκαδίας.
and many-pebbled Metope – Mætóhpî (Μετώπη, not, in this case, the architectural feature) is a river in Arkadía.
and gave thee to Neda to carry within the Cretan covert - Cf. Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 4.33.1 Μεσσηνία: “The Messenians say that Zeus was reared among them and that his nurses were Ithóhmî (Ιθώμη) and Nǽda (Νέδα), after whom the river got its name.” Compare to Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 8.38 Ἀρκαδίας ff.
earliest birth after Styx - Styx, daughter of Ôkæanós (Ὠκεανός) and Tithýs (Τηθύς), Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 361.
earliest birth after Styx and Philyra – Philýra (Φιλύρα), daughter of Oceanus, mother of Heirôn (Χείρων) by Krónos (Κρόνος).
but named that stream Neda - Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 4.20.2 Μεσσηνία. The river Nǽda (Νέδα) rises in Mount Lýkaios (Λύκαιος), flows into Mæssinía (Μεσσηνία) and forms the boundary between Mæssinía and Ílis (Ἦλις). Compare to Γεωγραφικὰ Στράβωνος 348 who says it rises in Lýkaios from a spring which Rǽa (Ῥέα) caused to flow in order to wash the infant Zefs.
which, I ween, in great flood by the very city of the Cauconians – The Káfkohnæs (Καύκωνες) were a people of Triphylía (Τριφυλία), Ὀδύσσεια Ὁμήρου 3.366.
which is called Lepreion - Ἱστορίαι Ἡροδότου 4.148 says that Lǽpreion (Λέπρειον = Λέπρεον) in Triphylía was founded by the Minýai (Μινύαι) after driving out the Káfkohnæs.
mingles its stream with Nereus - Niréfs (Νηρεύς) = the Sea.
sons of the Bear – Arkás (Ἀρκάς), the ancestor of the Arcadians, was the son of Zefs and Kallistóh (Καλλιστώ), daughter of Lykáôn (Λυκάων), who was changed into a bear.
Cnosus - Knôsós (Κνωσός, Κνωσσός) was the royal city of Krítî (Κρήτη). It was originally called Kairatos (Καίρατος) after a river that flowed beneath its walls. Knôsós was the home of Mínohs (Μίνως) and the Minóhtavros (Μινώταυρος).
hence that plain the Cydonians call the Plain of the Navel - Kydohnía (Κυδωνία) was a town in Krítî.
the Plain of the Navel – Scholia Αλεξιφάρμακα του Νικάνδρου του Κολοφωνίου 7: Ὀμφαλὸς γὰρ τόπος ἐν Κρήτῃ, ὡς καὶ Καλλίμαχος· πέσε . . . Κύδωνες.
Βιβλιοθήκη ἱστορικὴ Διοδώρου Σικελιώτου 5.70 tells the story (he says that Zefs was carried by the Κούρητες) and gives the name of the place as Omphalós (Ὀμφαλὸς) and of the plain around as Ompháleion (Ὀμφάλειον).
the companions of the Cyrbantes – The Kýrvandæs (Κύρβαντες) are also called Korývandæs (Κορύβαντες) or Kourîtæs (Κούρητες), and belong to a class of mystical beings having other names as well.
Strávôn (Στράβων) (64 BCE - 24 CE), the Greek historian, geographer, and philosopher, states that the Kýrvandæs are thought to be the same as the Kouritæs, or closely related. 
even the Dictaean Meliae - The ash-tree nymphs, compare to Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου187.
and Adrasteia laid thee to rest in a cradle of gold - Compare Ἀργοναυτικὰ Ἀπολλωνίου Ῥοδίου 3.132 ff. Διὸς περικαλλὲς ἄθυρμα | κεῖνο, τό οἱ ποίησε φίλη τροφὸς Ἀδρήστεια | ἄντρῳ ἐν Ἰδαίῳ ἔτι νήπια κουρίζοντι | σπαῖραν ἐυτρόχαλον; i.q. Nǽmæsis (Νέμεσις), sister of the Kouritæs (schol.).
and thou didst suck the rich teat of the she-goat Amaltheia - Amáltheia (Ἀμάλθεια) is the nymph or she-goat who suckled Zefs; Βιβλιοθήκη ἱστορικὴ Διοδώρου Σικελιώτου 5.70, Βιβλιοθήκη Ἀπολλοδώρου 1.5, schol. Ἄρατος 161. Publii Ovidii Nasonis Fasti 1.115 ff.
and thereto eat the sweet honey-comb. For suddenly on the hills of Ida, which men call Panacra, appeared the works of the Panacrian bee - Mountains in Krítî (Steph. Byz. s.v. Panakra). Zefs rewarded the bees by making them of a golden bronze colour and rendering them insensible to the rigours of the mountain climate (Βιβλιοθήκη ἱστορικὴ Διοδώρου Σικελιώτου 5.70).
"The infant Zeus was then concealed in a cave on Mount Dicte, which was full of sacred bees, who fed him on honey, and the goat Amaltheia gave him her milk.” 
This cave where Zefs was hidden was forbidden entry by God or man, but four men donned armor and somehow entered the cave, intending to steal the honey, but at the sight of the cradle and swaddling clothing of the God, the armor fell off and the bees and Zefs himself attacked them. But Thǽmis (Θέμις) and the Mírai (Μοῖραι) prevented blood from being spilled and defiling the cave; Zeus, instead, turned the men into birds. The bees, in later mythology, were said to be nymphs or priestesses, but they retained the name Mǽlissai (Μέλισσαι), the bee-maidens. (condensed from )
And lustily round thee danced the Curetes - Βιβλιοθήκη Ἀπολλοδώρου 1.4:
“The Curetes in full armour, guarding the infant in the cave, beat their shields with their spears that Cronus might not hear the child’s voice.”
a war dance, beating their armor - πρύλις, the Cyprian name for the πυρρίχη (Ἀριστοτέλους τμῆμα
476, schol. Πυθιόνικαι Πινδάρου 2.127) or dance in armour (Ἰούλιος Πολυδεύκης [Pollux] 4.96 and 99).
Wherefore thy kindred, though an earlier generation, grudged not that thou shouldst have heaven for thine appointed habitation - This has been supposed to refer to the fact that Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος was the youngest of the sons of Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ (ed. Hellenistic Pharaohs of Egypt).
For they said that the lot assigned to the sons of Cronus their three several abodes - Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου
15.187 ff.; Compare to Βιβλιοθήκη Ἀπολλοδώρου 1.7, Ὀλυμπιονῖκαι Πινδάρου 7.54 ff.
Thou wert made sovereign of the Gods not by casting of lots by the deeds of thy hands, thy might and that strength – Vía (Βία) and Krátos (Κράτος) appear as personifications of the might and majesty of Zefs in Aiskhýlos (Αἰσχύλος), P.V., Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 385, etc.
And the most excellent of birds didst thou make the messenger of thy signs – The most excellent of birds refers to the eagle.
to Artemis of the Tunic – Ártæmis Hitôhnía (Ἄρτεμις Χιτωνία, Athen. 629 c), so called from the tunic (χιτών) in which as huntress she was represented; not, as the scholiast says, from the Attic deme Chitone.
One may well judge by our Ruler - Πτολεμαῖος II Φιλάδελφος, ruler of Egypt 285-247 B.C.
Hail! greatly hail! most high Son of Cronus, giver of good things, giver of safety. Thy works who could sing? There hath not been, there shall not be, who shall sing the works of Zeus. Hail! Father, hail again! and grant us goodness and prosperity. Without goodness wealth cannot bless men, nor goodness without prosperity. Give us goodness and weal. Frank Nisetich translates this impressive stanza thus:
“Farewell, Son of Kronos, high above all, Giver of good, Giver of security. Who could sing of your achievements? He hasn’t been born, he won’t be: sing of Zeus’ achievements. Farewell, Father, again farewell. Give us virtue and wealth. Prosperity knows not how to lift men high without virtue, nor virtue without wealth: give us virtue and prosperity together!” 
 CALLIMACHUS: Hymns, Epigrams, Select Fragments by Stanley Lombardo and Diane Rayor, 1988. The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press (Baltimore MD USA and London), p. 93
 The Poems of Callimachus by Frank Nisetich, 2001. Oxford Univ. Press (UK, USA, worldwide), p. 201.
 Nisetich, p. 201.
 Greek Literature Vol. 7: Greek Literature in the Hellenistic Period by Gregory Nagy, 2001, Routledge (New York and London), p. 125
 Γεωγραφικὰ Στράβωνος 3.3.
 THE SACRED BEE in Ancient Times and Folklore by Hilda M. Ransome, Dover 2004 (originally 1937), p. 91-92
 Nisetich, p. 23
The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
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The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
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