(4) In Nano's rendition of the "divine juggler's" shape shifting, we learn that the "fast and loose" soul was originally derived from Apollo, passed into Aethalides
, Mercury's son, to "goldy-locked" Euphorbus, who was killed in the Trojan war, to Hermotimus, then to Pyrrhus of Delos, a Greek philosopher.
When the Argonauts reach the island of Lemnos, Apollonius of Rhodes tells us, they send their herald Aethalides to the ruler of the island.
Apollonius finds new expression of these ideas in his messenger-figures, most notably Aethalides, a herald who does not speak.
Aethalides, the herald of the Argonauts, first appears in the catalogue when he is introduced along with his two half-brothers (1.51-5).
Aethalides is presented as a conventional herald with a traditional epithet ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 641) and the sort of lineage one might expect for a herald.
A scholium cites Pherecydes as confirmation: he, too, told a story in which Aethalides split his time between upper and lower worlds.
Their knowledge of the Nachleben of Aethalides invites them to fill in the missing name, while his silence allows Apollonius to preserve the norms observed elsewhere in the poem: he never mentions non-fictional persons by name.(13) In truth, the abrupt termination of the story saves the narrator from offering specifics about Aethalides' lives, thus allowing multiple interpretations of his tale.
The words used to describe Aethalides' experiences signal a self-conscious understanding of poetics.
Aethalides' ability to remember throughout cycles of death and rebirth suggests that memory is linked to immortality.
Aethalides is said to be protected from [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by the gift of memory from his father, Hermes.
Such meta-poetic language in the Aethalides digression mirrors issues of repetition and continuity that are found throughout the Argonautica.
The adverb suggests that the narrator is avoiding a detailed, blow-by-blow description of the entire Aethalides myth; however, an intertext with Callimachus offers an extra meta-narrative layer.