"Under whose king the world of old was chaste"
Mouth of the cave said to be the birthplace of Zeus
Creative Commons AttributionMouth of the cave said to be the birthplace of Zeus - Credit: Henry Hartley

(Canto 14, line 96)

This passage alludes to the mythical era when mankind was ruled over by the god Saturn, traditionally viewed as a sort of paradisic time on the Earth. According to the myth of Zeus' birth referred to below, his mother Rhea gave birth to him on mount Ida on Crete (now known as Mt. Psiloritis). Because his father, Cronus (the Greek equivalent of Saturn) was prophesized to be overthrown by one of his children, he had devoured all the previous children born by Rhea. To save the life of Zeus, Rhea hid him in a cave on the mountain and let her Kouretes, dancers, make noises whenever he started crying.