The Scironian Road and the Molurian Rock
With the advent of the modern highway and tunnels, it may be hard to imagine the perils of this rocky, precipitous road named after the robber Sciron. J. G. Frazer in his commentary on Pausanias describes this narrow pass between the cliffs and the sea as follows: “For six miles it ran along a narrow, crumbling ledge half way up the face of an almost sheer cliff, at a height of six to seven hundred feet above the sea. On the right rose the rock like a wall; on the left yawned the dizzy abyss, where, far below, the waves broke at the foot of the precipices in a broad sheet of white curdling foam. So narrow was the path that only a single sure-footed beast could make its way with tolerable security along it. In stormy or gusty weather it was dangerous; a single slip or stumble would have been fatal. When two mules met, the difficulty of passing each other was extreme” (2:547). Between the rocky crag (πέτρα –ας, ἡ a rock, a ledge or shelf of rock) and the narrow pass (τὸ στενόν) Alciphron (3.70) reports that travelers faced the added horror of robbers who lay in wait on unsuspecting travelers.
At the Molurian rock, Pausanias pauses to tell several stories. The first provides the founding tale of the Isthmian games as Ino leaps into the sea with her son Melicertes. After they are rescued by a dolphin and taken to land, he receives honors at the isthmus and their names are changed to Leucothea and Palaemon, respectively. We learn that her leap is precipitated by the animosity between Ino and her husband Athamas over the death of their older son Learchos. Read the culture essay on Ino and Melicertes.
The second tale centers around Theseus and Sciron, a villain who cast all who passed the Molurian rock into the sea. As one might expect, Theseus saves the day.
Finally, as one passes the border between Megara and Corinth, Pausanias lingers at the tomb of Eurystheus, Heracles’ taskmaster, to tell the little-known story of why he is buried in what might be called No Man’s Land.
Review indirect statement (λέγω, αἰσθάνομαι), -mi verbs.