Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Image: Rhodopis et Aquila

M0948 - M0949 - M0950

949. Rhodopis et Aquila. Rhodopin meretricem omnium Aegyptiorum ferunt pulcherrimam fuisse. Cui aliquando lavanti, Fortuna (inopinatorum atque inexspectatorum amans) contulit munus non isto animo, sed venustate dignum. Cum enim lavaret atque vestimenta famulae custodirent, aquila devolans alterum calceum abstulit eumque secum deportavit Memphim, iudicium exercente Psammeticho, et in eius sinum calceum iniecit. Psammetichus, miratus pulchritudinem calcei et fabricationis artem atque concinnitatem et avis factum, mandavit ut per universam Aegyptum quaereretur femina cuius is calceus esset, eamque inventam in matrimonium accepit.

M0949 (not in Perry). Source: Aelian, Historia 13.33. This fable is not in Perry’s catalog; Perry did not use Aelian as a source. The story of the slipper belonging to Rhodopis (whose name means “rosy-faced” in Greek) is often cited as a folktale of the Cinderella type. Herodotus connects Rhodopis with Aesop, explaining that they were both slaves of a certain Iadmon on the island of Samos. Herodotus then tells us how Rhodopis was taken to Egypt, gained her freedom, and became enormously rich; he does not include the legend of the slipper in his account of Rhodopis’s story. Psammetichus was the name of several different pharaohs of Egypt. For another tale of an animal’s intervention in a human love story, apparently at divine instigation, see the story of the donkey and the wedding, #948.

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