ORPHIC FRAGMENT 31 - OTTO KERN

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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

SUMMARY: This fragment consists of what is likely a liturgical text from a papyrus manuscript (Gurôb Papyrus) dated at the beginning of the third century BCE which includes a listing of most of the Toys of Diónysos.

31. Papyri tertii a. Chr. saec. fragmentum in vico Gurob repertum et editum cum commentario bonae doctrinae plenissimo a J. Gilbart Smyly Greek Papyri from Gurôb Dublin 1921 n. 1 tab. I. II; edo ex tabulae imagine et apographo mihi a Smylyo comiter misso. Gurôb Papyrus Col. 1: 

Translation note: The first half of each line is lost, hence the strangeness of the translation. 

I (versuum exitus).      

. ας ταε . . . να εὐρηι
ωμα . . . υν λεγε
διὰ τὴν τελετὴν
(. διοτοκιν τελετην* or [καρ] διοφορειας τελετήν+)
ἔτεμον ποινὰς πατέ<ρων> ([τὸν θεόν] ἔτεμον ποινὰς πατ[έρων ἔτεισα]+)
σῶισομ με Βριμώ με 5
Δημήτηρ τε Ρέα
Κούρητές τε ἔνοπλοι
ωμεν.
>να ποιῶμεν ἱερὰ καλὰ
. νηι κριός τε τραγός τε
10 ([κοι]νῆι κριός τε τραγός τε+)
ἀπερίσια δῶρα ([Καβείρων] ἀπερίσια δῶρα+)
. ου καὶ ἐπὶ ποταμοῦ νομωι
ανων τοῦ τράγου ([τὴν καρδίαν λαμβ]ανων τοῦ τράγου+)
τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ κρέα ἐσθιέτω (τὰ δὲ λοι[[κρα]] κρέα ἐσθιέτω*)
ος μὴ ἐφοράτω 15
χου ἀναθεὶς εἰς τὸ ἀνηιρε (λλου ἀναθεὶς εἰς τὸ ἀνηιρε* or [εὔ]χου ἀναθεὶς εἰς τὸ ἀνηιρε[μένον λίκνον]+)
αλων εὐχή· ([Γάλ]λων εὐχή·+)
[Πρωτογο*]νον καὶ Εὐβουλέα καλῶ
. ας ευιηας κικλήσκω (.ας Ευιηας κικλήσκω*)
. . ιτοφίλους σὺ ἀπαυάνας 20
Δ>ήμητρος καὶ Παλλάδος ἡμῖν
λευ Ἰρικεπαῖγε σῶισόμ με (λευ Πίκεπαιγε σῶισόμ με*)
ητα˙ εἷς Διόνυσος σύμβολα (ιτα˙ εις Διονυσος συμβολα*)
υρα θεὸς διὰ κόλπου ([εὗρον σωτ]υρα θεὸς διὰ κόλπου+)
. . . ν ἔπιον ὄνος βουκόλος 25 (ρ[.]ν επιον ονος βουκολος*) ([εὔφαγο]ν ἔπιον ὄνος βουκόλος+)
γιας σύνθεμα ἄνω κάτω τοῖς ([θυσ]ιας σύνθεμα ἄνω κάτω τοῖς+)
καὶ ὅ σοι ἐδόθη ἀνηλῶσαι (ς διο σοι εδοθη ανηλωσαι*)
ε>ἰς τὸν κάλαθον ἐμβαλῖν
κ>ῶνος ῥόμβος ἀστράγαλοι
ἡ ἔσοπτρος
30

*lines which differ from Kern in the manuscript found in The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 16, 1922, A New Ritual of the Orphic Mysteries by Michael Tierney, pp. 77-87.

+possible solutions proposed by Michael Tierney in the above article.

Verily, you may be finding
the raw pieces . . . Lay the wild swine
for the sake of the tælætí (τελετὴ).
“I sacrificed as retribution for the fathers
Save me, Vrimó (Βριμώ), 5
Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ), Rǽa (Ρέα),
and the armed Kourîtæs (Κούρητες)!
...We spoke out!
There we want to make beautiful sacrifices,
a ram and a he-goat 10
unblemished gifts.”
and yet near the river by the pasture
from the lords of the goat.
He should eat the remaining meat
but he should not watch. 15
man dedicating from the ashes
the prayer from the threshing floors.
I summon Protogónos (+) and Euvouléfs (Εὐβουλεύς).
I call Eviás (Εὐιάς+).
...the beloved ones having withered away. 20
... (the good things) from Dîmítîr and Pallás (Παλλάς)
Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος) save me!
Diónysos setting out symbols
the God through the bosom
I drank, the ass, the herdsman 25
I conclude the sacrifice (+) following this medley (of ritual elements)
and what has been given to you for your expenditure.
Place into the basket:
cone (κῶνος), rómvos (ῥόμβος), knucklebones (ἀστράγαλοι),
and the mirror (ἔσοπτρος). 30

(trans. by the author)


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).


PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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