Page 436. " a flower into which Hyacinthus was metamorphosed "
Death of Hyacinth
Public DomainDeath of Hyacinth - Credit: Alexander Kiselev

Hyacinth, or Hyacinthus, is a mythological Greek hero, the beautiful young lover of the god Apollo.  He was also admired by the West Wind, Zephyrus.  Hyacinth died while throwing the discus with Apollo; as Hyacinth was running to catch the discus, jealous Zephyrus blew it off course, causing it to strike and kill him.

Apollo, distraught, forbade Hades to claim the boy for the Underworld, and instead made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid’s account, Apollo’s tears stained the newly formed petals. 

 

Hyacinths
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHyacinths - Credit: Elena Schifirnet
Page 438. " the roads, since so many turnpike acts, are grown worse "

Turnpike trusts were bodies set up by individual Acts of Parliament, with powers to collect road tolls for maintaining the Britain’s principal roads, from the 17th century.  At the peak, in the 1830s, over 1,000 trusts administered around 48,000 km of turnpike road in England & Wales, taking tolls at almost 8,000 toll-gates and side-bars.

The term "turnpike" originates from the similarity of the gate used to control access to the road, to the barriers once used to defend against attack by cavalry.  The turnpike consisted of a row of pikes or bars, each sharpened at one end, and secured at the other end to an upright pole or axle, which could be rotated to open or close the gate.

The first Turnpike Act was passed in 1696, for the repair of the highway between Reigate in Surrey and Crawley in Sussex. 

The Hyde Park Gate in London, pictured, was erected by the Kensington Turnpike Trust, and was the first toll point encountered along the Bath Road, when leaving London.

Page 438. " Thalestris at the head of her Amazons "

According to the ancient Greek myths, Queen Thalestris of the Amazons brought 300 women to Alexander the Great, with plans to breed a great race.  According to legend, she stayed with the Macedonian king for 13 days and nights in the hope that the great warrior would father a daughter by her. The truth of the tale is disputed by ancient biographers, and has been rejected by modern scholars as myth.

Page 448. " with the appellation of Hottentot "
A Khoikhoi man
Public DomainA Khoikhoi man - Credit: SA Museum

The Khoisan people, called the Khoikhoi, have lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD.  They were originally part of a pastoral culture and language group found across Southern Africa. They lived in large groups and raised herds of cattle.  The San, in contrast, were nomadic hunter-gatherers.  When European colonialists arrived in South Africa, they labeled the Khoikhoi Hottentots, and the San bushmen. 

The Khoi initially came into contact with European explorers and merchants in about 1500. When the Dutch East India Company began actively colonising South Africa from 1652, the settlers and the Khoi engaged in numerous armed clashes.  Over the following century the Khoi were steadily driven off their land. 

In the context of the quote, the phrase is used to indicate primitiveness.