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On the River of Forgetfulness I


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Posted by Quill Dragon on August 28, 2002 at 11:54:30:

Planescape : Torment (PS:T) suggests, that the waters of the river Styx causes forgetfulness to those, who drink from them. But is that true according to greek mythology? Did the waters of Styx, according to greek mythology, cause forgetfulness ? The answer is no. The waters of Styx did not cause forgetfulness according to greek mythology.

But if the waters of Styx did not cause forgetfulness what did the do then? Let us turn to Hesiod, who in his work "Theogony" will give us the answer:

[775] And there dwells the goddess loathed by the deathless gods, terrible Styx, eldest daughter of backflowing Ocean. She lives apart from the gods in her glorious house vaulted over with great rocks and propped up to heaven all round with silver pillars.
[780] Rarely does the daughter of Thaumas , swift-footed Iris, come to her with a message over the sea's wide back. But when strife and quarrel arise among the deathless gods, and when any one of them who live in the house of Olympus lies, then Zeus sends Iris to bring in a golden jug the great oath of the gods
[785] from far away, the famous cold water which trickles down from a high and beetling rock. Far under the wide-pathed earth a branch of Oceanus flows through the dark night out of the holy stream, and a tenth part of his water is allotted to her. [790] With nine silver-swirling streams he winds about the earth and the sea's wide back, and then falls into the main; but the tenth flows out from a rock, a sore trouble to the gods. For whoever of the deathless gods that hold the peaks of snowy Olympus pours a libation of her water and is forsworn,
[795] must lie breathless until a full year is completed, and never come near to taste ambrosia and nectar, but lie spiritless and voiceless on a strewn bed: and a heavy trance overshadows him. But when he has spent a long year in his sickness, [800] another penance more hard follows after the first. For nine years he is cut off from the eternal gods and never joins their councils or their feasts, nine full years. But in the tenth year he comes again to join the assemblies of the deathless gods who live in the house of Olympus.
[805] Such an oath, then, did the gods appoint the eternal and primeval water of Styx to be: and it spouts through a rugged place.

(Hesiod, Theogony, section 775-805)



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