ORPHIC FRAGMENT 34 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: Fragment 34 names the Toys of Diónysos (Διόνυσος) from two sources.


34. (196) Λόγος Προτρεπτικὸς πρὸς Ἕλληνας Κλήμεντος του Ἀλεξανδρέως II 17, 2-18, 1 (I 14, 7 Staeh) ~ Euseb. Praep. ev. II 3, 23 (I 80, 26 Dind.):

Τὰ γὰρ Διονύσου μυστήρια τέλεον 1 ἀπάνθρωπα· ὃν εἰσέτι παῖδα ὄντα ἐνόπλῳ κινήσει περιχορευόντων Κουρήτων, δόλῳ δὲ ὑποδύντων Τιτάνων, ἀπατήσαντες παιδαριώδεσιν ἀθύρμασιν, οὗτοι δὴ οἱ Τιτᾶνες διέσπασαν, ἔτι νηπίαχον ὄντα, 2 ὡς ὁ τῆς τελετῆς ποιητὴς Ὀρφεύς φησιν ὁ Θρᾴκιος·

κῶνος καὶ ῥόμβος καὶ παίγνια καμπεσίγυια,

μῆλά τε χρύσεα καλὰ παῤ Ἑσπερίδων λιγυφώνων.

καὶ τῆσδε ὑμῖν 3 τῆς τελετῆς τὰ ἀχρεῖα σύμβολα οὐκ ἀχρεῖον εἰς κατάγνωσιν παραθέσθαι· ἀστράγαλος, σφαῖρα, στρόβιλος, μῆλα, ῥόμβος, ἔσοπτρον, 4 πόκος.

“The mysteries of Dionysos are wholly inhuman; for while still a child, and the Curetes danced around [his cradle] clashing their weapons, and the Titans having come upon them by stealth, and having beguiled him with childish toys, these very Titans tore him limb from limb when but a child, as the bard of this mystery, the Thracian Orpheus, says:

‘Cone, and spinning-top, and limb-moving rattles, And fair golden apples from the clear-toned Hesperides.’ “

And the . . . symbols of this mystic rite it will not be useless to exhibit . . . These are dice, ball, hoop, apples, top, looking-glass, tuft of wool.”  (trans. Rev. William Wilson, 1884.)

1. τελέως Lob.     2. νηπιαζοντα Eus. H.     3. ἡμῖν Eus. 10.     4. εἴσοπτρον Dind.

Arnob. Adv. nation. V 19 p. 191, 3 Reiff.: 

sed et illa desistimus Bacchanalia altera praedicare, in quibus arcana el tacenda res proditur insinuaturque sacratis, ut occupatus puerilibus ludicris distractus ab Titanis 1 Libersit, ut ab isdem membratim sectus atque in ollulas coniectus ut coqueretur, quemadmodum Iuppiter suavitate odoris inlectus, invocatus advolarit ad prandium conpertaque re gravi grassatores obruerit ful mine atque in imas Tartari praecipitaverit sedes. 5. Cuius rei testimonium argumentumque fortunae suis prodidit in carminibus Thracius 2 talos speculum turbines, volubiles rotulas et teretis pilas et virginibus aurea sumpta ab Hesperidibus mala.

1. titatis P, Titanibus Sabaeus.     2. thracios P; vates Thracius Gelenius; O. Thracius dubitanter Reiff.

“But those other Bacchanalia also we refuse to proclaim, in which there is revealed and taught to the initiated a secret not to be spoken; how Liber, when taken up with boyish sports, was torn asunder by the Titans; how he was cut up limb by limb by them also, and thrown into pots that he might be cooked; how Jupiter, allured by the sweet savour, rushed unbidden to the meal, and discovering what had been done, overwhelmed the revellers with his terrible thunder, and hurled them to the lowest part of Tartarus. As evidence and proof of which, the Thracian bard handed down in his poems the dice, mirror, tops, hoops, and smooth balls, and golden apples taken from the virgin Hesperides.” (trans. Hamilton Bryce and Hugh Campbell, 1886)

Cf. Epiphan. Cathol. et Apostol. Eccles. fiei expos. 10 p. 506 Oehl. παρἝλλησι δὲ πόσα μυστήρια καὶ τελεταί· ὡς αἱ μεγαρίζουσαι (μητριάζουσαι Checoz., δημητρίζουσαι Lob. II 832) γυναῖκες καὶ θεσμοφορίζουσαι ἀλλῆλαι πρὸς ἀλλῆλας διαφέρονται, ὅσα τὰ ἄλλα, τά τε ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι μυστήρια, Δηοῦς καὶ Φερεφάττης καὶ τῶν ἐκεῖσε ἀδύτων τὰ αἰσχρουργήματα, γυναικῶν ἀπογυμνώσεις, ἵνα σεμνότερον εἴπω, τύμπανα τε καὶ πόπανα, ῥόμβος τε καὶ κάλαθος, ἐρέα ἐξειργασμένη καὶ κύμβαλον καὶ κυκεὼν <έν suppl. Jahn> ἐκπώματι κατεσκευασμένος κτλ. V. R. van der Loeff Mnemos. XLV 1917, 361, Kern Arch. Religionsw. XIX 1916 --- 1919, 433.



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.


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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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