ORPHIC FRAGMENT 32 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: This fragment consists of the contents of several famous “gold tablets,” prayers or poems found in the graves of what is assumed to be Orphic practitioners. 

32. Lamellae aureae:

a) Peteliae (apud Strongoli) inventa, nunc Londini in museo Britannico. Saec. 1V-III a. Chr. n. 1G XIV 638; Comparetti 32; Diels 1]3 175 n. 17; Olivieri 12 b, a; v. E. Curtius Griech. Quell- und Brunneninschr. 1859 (Abhdlg. Ges. d. Wiss. Goett. VIII), 17.:

εὑρήσσεις δ’ Ἀίδαο δόμων ἐπ' ἀριστερὰ κρήν|ην,
πὰρ δ’ αὐτῆι λευκὴν ἑστηκυῖαν κυπάρισσον·
ταύτης τῆς κρήνης μηδὲ σχεδὸν ἐμπελάσειας.
|
εὑρήσεις δ’ ἑτέραν, τῆς Μνημοσύνης ἀπὸ λίμνης |
ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ προρέον· φύλακες δ’ ἐπίπροσθεν ἔασιν· |
εἰπεῖν· ‘Γῆς παῖς εἰμι καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος,
αὐτὰρ ἐμ|οὶ γένος οὐράνιον· τόδε δ’ ἴστε καὶ αὐτοί.
δίψηι δ’ εἰμ[] αὔ|η καὶ ἀπόλλυμαι· ἀλλὰ δότ’ αἶψα
ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ προρέ|ον τῆς Μνημοσύνης ἀπὸ λίμνης.’
καὐτ<οί> σ<ο>ι δώσουσι |
πιεῖν θείης ἀπ<ὸ κρή>νης,
καὶ τότ’ ἔπειτ’ ἄ<λλοισι μεθ’> ἡρώε|σσιν ἀνάξει<ς.>
. . . . . . . . . . ιης το δειγ . . .
16 litt. . . . | θανεῖσθ<αι>
. . . . . . . . τόδ’ ἔγραψ<α . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
|
τογλως είπα . σκότος ἀμφικαλύψας.

“Thou shalt find to the left of the House of Hades a Well-spring,
And by the side thereof standing a white cypress.
To this Well-spring approach not near.
But thou shalt find another by the Lake of Memory,
Cold water flowing forth, and there are Guardians before it.
Say: ‘I am a child of Earth and of Starry Heaven;
But my race is of Ouranos. This ye know yourselves.
And lo, I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly
The cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory.’
And of themselves they will give thee to drink from the holy Well-spring,
And thereafter among the other Heroes thou shalt have lordship...”
(Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion by Jane Ellen Harrison, 1903

b) Eleuthernae in insula Creta reperta, nunc in museo Atheniensi, saec. II a. Chr. Comparetti 37; Diels II3 176 n. 17a; Olivieri 14 b: 

Archetypi restitutio difficilis. Temptat Olivieri: 

A. ‘δίψαι αὖος ἐγὼ καὶ ἀπόλλυμαι.’ B.ἀλλὰ πίε μμου
κράνας αἰενάω ἐπὶ δεξιά, τῆ
<ι> κυφάριζος.
τίς δ’ ἐζί;
[πῶ δ’ ἐσί;]A. Γᾶς υἱός ἠμι καὶ Ὠρανῶ ἀστερόεντος.

A. “ ‘I am dry with thirst and am perishing. B. But permit me drink from the everlasting spring on the right, there by the cypress.’ ‘But who are you? [Where do you come from?]’ A. ‘I am a son of Earth and starry Sky!’ ” (trans. by the author)

 

Ad Cretensium religionem Orphicam spectat etiam epigramma conclamatissimum saec. II a. Chr. Phaesti quondam in lapide repertum et optime editum a G. de Sanctis Monum.  ant. d. r. Accademia dei Lincei XI 1901, 542 (Blass Griech. Dialektinschr. III 2, 360 nr. 5112), de quo fusius egit Kern 1. 1. 557 (cf. etiam Herm. LII 1917, 475). Inscription:

θαῦμα μέγ’ ἀνθρώποις | πάντων Μάτηρ πρ<ο>δίκνυτι, |
τοῖς ὁσίοις κίγκρητι καὶ οἳ γον|εὰν ὑπέχονται,
τοῖς δὲ πǁαρεσβαίνονσι θιῶν γέν
|ος ἀντία πράτ<τ>ει.
πάντ
ε|ς δ’ εὐσεβίες τε καὶ εὔγλωθ|(τ)οι πάριθ’ ἁγνοὶ
ἔνθεον ἐς
| Μεγάλας Ματρὸς ναόν, ǁ ἔνθεα δ’ ἔργα
γνωσῆ
<θ’> ἀθανάτας ἄξια τῶδε ν|ἁῶ.

A great wonder for men, the Mother of all makes visible,
for she pours (sustenance) for the holy, and those who uphold their generation,
But for those who transgress, the race of Gods effects the opposite.
And all the pious and sweet-speaking, and the pure enter
into the divine temple of the Great Mother, and the divine works
you will discover of the immortal one, worthy of this temple.” 
(trans. by the author)

 

c) Lamella Thuriis in agro Sybaritico reperta cum d. e. f; nunc in museo Neapolitano. Saec. IV-III a. Chr. n. IG XIV 641, 1; Comparetti 17; Diels II3 176 n. 18; Olivieri 4 A cum imagine 26 supra.: 

ἔρχομαι ἐκ κοθαρῶ<ν> κοθαρά, χθονί<ων> βα|σίλεια,
Εὐκλῆς Εὐβο
<υ>λεύς τε καὶ ἀ|θάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι·
καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼν
| ὑμῶν γένος ὄλβιον εὔχομαι | εἶμεν,
ἀλ
<λ>ά με Μο<>ρ[α] ἐδάμασ<σ>ε | καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι
- ᴗ ᴗ - ᴗ ᴗ - ᴗ καὶ ἀσ|στεροβλῆτα κεραυνόν.
κύκλο
<υ> δ’ ἐξέπταν βαρυπενθέος ἀργα|λέοιο·
ἱμερτο
<> δ’ ἐπέβαν στεφά|νο<υ> ποσὶ καρπαλίμοισι,
Δεσσ|ποίνας δ
[] ὑπὸ κόλπον ἔδυν χθονί|ας βασιλείας·
ἱμερτο<ῦ> δ’ ἀπέβαν
| στεφάνο<υ> ποσὶ καρπασίμοι|σι
‘ὄλβιε καὶ μακαριστέ, θεὸς δ
 ἔ|σηι ἀντὶ βροτοῖο.’
ἔριφος ἐς γάλ’ ἔπετο|ν.
 

“Pure, I come from the pure ones, queen of the earthy deities,
Efklís (Εὐκλῆς), Evvouléfs (Εὐβουλεύς), and the other deathless Gods;
for also I pray, being of your happy lineage.
But Destiny (Μοῖρα) overcame me and the other deathless Gods
. . . . . . . and the lightning-hurler thunderbolt.
But I sped away from the circle of grievous trouble
and set out with rapid feet for the long-desired crown.
And I have entered into the bosom of Dǽspina (Δέσποινα), the earthy queen.
And I have prevailed with rapid feet for the long-desired crown.
‘Blessed and happy one, you will be a God and no longer mortal!’
A kid, I fell into the milk!”
(trans. by the author)


d) Thuriis (v. c. e) reperta IG XIV 641, 2; Comparetti 21; Diels II3 176 n. 19; Olivieri 9 b cum imagine 26 infra: 

ἔρχομα<ι> ἐ<κ> κα<θα>ρῶ<ν>[ς χ<θ>ον<ι>ων] | καθαρά, χ<θ>ονίων βασ<ί>λ[η]ει<α>, |
Εὖκλε καὶ Εὐβουλεῦ[ι] καὶ <ὅσοι> θεοὶ δαίμο<ν>|ε<ς> ἄλλοι·
καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼν ὑμῶ<ν> γένο<ς> εὔχομα|ι ὄλβιο<ν> εἶναι,
πο<ι>νά<ν> δ’ ἀνταπέ[ι]τε[σε]ι<σ’> | ἔργω<ν> ἕνεκ[α] οὔτι δικα<ί>ων, |
εἴτε με Μο<>ρ[α] ἐδαμάσ<σ>ατ[ο] εἴτ[ε] ἀστεροπῆτι κ<ε>ραυνῶν. |
νῦν δ’ ἱκέτ<ς ἥ>κω[ι] πα<> ἁγ<αυ><ν> Φε<ρ>σε|φόνε<ι>αν,
ὥς με
[ι] πρόφ<ρ>ω<ν> πέ<μ>ψη<ι> ἕδρα[ι]ς ε<>ς εὐαγέ[ι]ω<ν>.


“Pure, I come from the earthy pure ones, earthy queen,
(I call) Efklís (Εὐκλῆς) and Evvouléfs (Εὐβουλεύς) and the other many Gods and daimonæs (δαίμονες)!
For I pray also, being of your happy lineage.
I have paid retribution for (my) unjust works.
Either Destiny (Μοῖρα) overpowered me, or the thunderbolts of the lightning-hurler.
But now, I, the suppliant, come to purple-clad Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη),
so that she may graciously send me to the seats of brightness.”
(trans. by the author) 


e) Thuriis (v. c. d) inventa, IG XIV 641, 3; Comparetti 19; Diels II3 176 ad n. 19; Olivieri 10 c cum imagine 27 supra.:

[ι]ρχομαι ἐ<κ> κοθαρῶ<ν> κοθ|<αρά, χθ>|ο<νίων> βασί<λεια>,
[υρ] Εὖκλε[υα] κα<> Εὐ|βο<υ>λεῦ τε καὶ θεοὶ δ<αί>μο|νες ἄλλο<ι
καὶ γὰρ ἐ<γ><ν><μῶν> | γένος εὔχομα<ι> ε<>να<ι> ὄλβιο<ν>,
ποινὰν δ’ ἀνταπ|έτε<ισ’> | ἔργω<ν ἕνεκ’> ο<>τι δικ|α<ί>ων,
ε<>τ<ε> με Μο<>ρ[α] <ἐδαμάσσ’> | ‘ε<>τ[ε] <ἀστε>ροπῆτι [κη] κερα|υν<ῶν>.
νῦν δ[] <>κ<έτς> ἥκω | [ἥκω] παπ ἁ<γαυὴν> Φ<ερ’>σεφ<όνειαν>, |
ὥς με <π>ρόφ<ρων> πέ<μ>ψ<ηι> [ἔμ’] | ἕδρας ἐς εὐ<α>γ<έ>ω<ν>.
 

“Pure, I come from the pure ones, earthy queen,
(I call) Efklís (Εὐκλῆς) and Evvouléfs (Εὐβουλεύς) and the other Gods and daimonæs (δαίμονες)!
For I pray also, being of your happy lineage.
I have paid retribution for (my) unjust works.
Either Destiny (Μοῖρα) overpowered me, or the thunderbolts of the lightning-hurler.
But now, I, the suppliant, come to illustrious Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη),
so that she may graciously send me to the seats of brightness.”
(trans. by the author)


f) Thuriis cum c-e reperta. Saec. IV-I11 a. Chr. n. IG XIV 642; Comparetti 6; Diels II3 177 n. 20; Olivieri 15 c A2 cum imagine 27 infra. 

ἀλλ’ ὁπόταμ ψυχὴ προλίπηι φάος ἀελίοιο, |
δεξιὸν ΕΓΟΙΑΣΔΕΕΕΝΑΙ πεφυλαγμένον* | ε[ι]ὖ μάλα πάν[τ]α.
χαῖρε παθὼν τὸ πάθη|μα· τὸ δ’ οὔπω πρόσθ’ [ε] ἐπεπόνθεις·
θεὸς ἐγ|ένου ἐξ ἀνθρώπου· ἔριφος ἐς γάλα
| ἔπετες.
χαῖρ
<ε>, χαῖρε, δεξιὰν ὁδοιπόρ<ῶν> |
λειμῶνάς τ[ε] ἱεροὺς καὶ ἄλσεα | Φερσεφονε<ί>ας.


“But when the soul wants to forsake the light of the sun,
‘(Go to) the right . . . . being very wary of everything.
Kairæ (χαῖρε)! for you have suffered misfortune, but have not endured this yet before.
You have become a God from a man! A kid, you fell in the milk!
Kairæ! Kairæ! Travel on the right
to the holy meadows and groves of Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη)!’ ”
(trans. by the author)


g) Romae, ni fallimur, reperta, hodie Londini in museo Britannico; saec. II p. Chr. n. Comparetti 43; Diels Philtesia für P. Kleinert 1907, 39 et II3 178 n. 19 a; Olivieri 18 B2.:

ἔρχεται ἐκ καθαρῶν καθαρά, χθονίων βασίλεια,
Εὔκλεες Εὐβουλεῦ τε, Διὸς τέκος ἀγλά’, ἔχω δὲ
Μνημοσύνης τόδε δῶρον ἀοίδιμον ἀνθρώποισιν.
‘Καικιλία Σεκουνδεῖνα, νόμωι ἴθι δῖα γεγῶσα.’


“Pure, I come from the pure ones, earthy queen!
(I call) Efklís (Εὐκλῆς) and Evvouléfs (Εὐβουλεύς), splendid child of Zefs (Ζεύς), for I carry
this gift of Memory (Μνημοσύνη), famous with men.
‘Kaikilía Sækoundeina (Καικιλία Σεκουνδεῖνα), by law you shall come to be born divine!’ ”
(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.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

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