THE ORPHIC HYMN TO ÁRTÆMIS

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36. Ἀρτέμιδος

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Introduction to the Orphic Hymn to Ártæmis

Ártæmis (Artemis or Diana; Gr. Ἄρτεμις), the mighty Goddess of 
Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, is rightly thought of as one of the greatest of all deities, for she is an Olympian. With her arrows she hunts the beautiful souls, those who strive for virtue, and pushes them forward to great progress. She is called a virgin because she possesses a great purity. She and her brother Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) work together as a pair and they are called twins because they share certain characteristics.

The Orphic hymn to Ártæmis creates a very colorful portrait of the Goddess, giving us access not only to understand her better, but also as a means of worship. Let us examine the hymn, breaking it down word by word.


Translation by Thomas Taylor [1] :

36. Ártæmis
The Fumigation from Manna.

Hear me, Jove's daughter, celebrated queen,
Bacchian and Titan, of a noble mien:
In darts rejoicing and on all to shine,
Torch-bearing Goddess, Dictynna divine;
O'er births presiding,* and thyself a maid, 
To labour-pangs imparting ready aid:
Dissolver of the zone and wrinkl'd care,
Fierce huntress, glorying in the Sylvan war:
Swift in the course, in dreadful arrows skill'd,
Wandering by night, rejoicing in the field:
Of manly form, erect, of bounteous mind,
Illustrious dæmon, nurse of human kind:
Immortal, earthly, bane of monsters fell,
'Tis thine, blest maid, on woody hills to dwell:
Foe of the stag, whom woods and dogs delight,
In endless youth who flourish fair and bright.
O, universal queen, august, divine,
A various form, Cydonian pow'r, is thine:
Dread guardian Goddess, with benignant mind
Auspicious, come to Mystic rites inclin'd;
Give earth a store of beauteous fruits to bear,
Send gentle Peace, and Health with lovely hair,
And to the mountains drive Disease and Care.

     Ver. 5.] O'er births presiding. In the original, λοχεία: and Proclus, in Plat. Theol. p. 403. observes that this epithet is given to Diana by theologians, because she is the inspector of natural progression and generation.


The Original Ancient Greek Text:

36. Ἀρτέμιδος, θυμίαμα μάνναν.

Κλῦθί μου, ὦ βασίλεια, Διὸς πολυώνυμε κούρη,
Τιτανίς, βρομία, μεγαλώνυμε, τοξότι, σεμνή,
πασιφαής, δαιδοῦχε, θεά Δίκτυννα, λοχείη,
ὠδίνων ἐπαρωγὲ καὶ ὠδίνων ἀμύητε,
λυσίζωνε, φίλοιστρε, κυνηγέτι, λυσιμέριμνε,
εὔδρομε, ἰοχέαιρα, φιλαγρότι, νυκτερόφοιτε,
κληισία, εὐάντητε, λυτηρία, ἀρσενόμορφε,
Ὀρθίη, ὠκυλόχεια, βροτῶν κουροτρόφε δαῖμον,
ἀμβροτέρα, χθονία, θηροκτόνε, ὀλβιόμοιρε,
ἣ κατέχεις ὀρέων δρυμούς, ἐλαφηβόλε, σεμνή,
πότνια, παμβασίλεια, καλὸν θάλος, αἰὲν ἐοῦσα,
δρυμονία, σκυλακῖτι, Κυδωνιάς, αἰολόμορφε·
ἐλθέ, θεὰ σώτειρα, φίλη, μύστηισιν ἅπασιν
εὐάντητος, ἄγουσα καλοὺς καρποὺς ἀπὸ γαίης
εἰρήνην τ' ἐρατὴν καλλιπλόκαμόν θ' ὑγίειαν·
πέμποις δ' εἰς ὀρέων κεφαλὰς νούσους τε καὶ ἄλγη.


Transliteration of the ancient Greek text: 
(
See this page: Transliteration of Ancient Greek)

36. Artǽmidos, thymíama mánnan.

Klýthi mou, oh Vasíleia, Diós polyóhnymæ kouri,
Titanís, Vromía, mægalóhnymæ, toxóti, sæmní,
pasiphäís, daidoukhæ, Thæá Díktynna, lokheiï,
ohdínohn æparohyǽ kai ohdínohn amýïtæ,
lysízohnæ, phílistræ, kyniyǽti, lysimǽrimnæ,
évdromæ, iokhǽaira, philagróti, nyktæróphitæ,
kliïsía, evánditæ, lytiría, arsænómorphæ,
Orthíï, ohkylókheia, vrotóhn, kourotróphæ daimon,
amvrotǽra, khthonía, thiroktónæ, olviómiræ
i katǽkheis orǽohn drymous, ælaphivólæ, sæmní,
pótnia, pamvasíleia, 
kalón thálos, aiǽn æousa,
drymonía, skylakíti, Kydohniás, aiolómorphæ:
ælthǽ, Thæá Sóhteira, phíli, mýstiïsin ápasin
evánditos, ágousa kalous karpous apó yaiïs
eirínin t'æratín kalliplókamón th'iyíeian:
pǽmbis d'eis orǽohn kæphalás nousous tæ kai ályi.



BREAKDOWN OF THE HYMN

Ἀρτέμιδος - Ἀρτέμιδος is the genitive of Ἄρτεμις. Titles in ancient Greek are always placed in the genitive case.

θυμίαμα (incense) μάνναν (mánna) - The author of the hymn is suggesting an incense offering of mánna to Ártæmis.

Κλῦθί (hear) μου (me) - Hear me

 (oh) βασίλεια (queen) - Oh Queen

Διὸς (Zefs) πολυώνυμε (having many names) κούρη (daughter) - many-named daughter of Zefs. Many of the Gods have numerous names and those of Ártæmis are legion, here indicating her grandeur.

Τιτανίς (Titán, fem.) - TitánÁrtæmis is called a Titan because she is the daughter of the Titanís Litóh (Leto; Gr. Λητώ) as is her twin brother Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων).

βρομία - (Vákkhic) - Vákkhic (Βρόμιος). Ártæmis is Vákkhic, Dionysian, because she participates in the providence of her father, facilitating the works of Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος) who, with his Mysteries, frees us from the vicious circle of rebirths (See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Sixth King). Ártæmis manifests twin characteristics with her brother Apóllohn who in his hymn is called ΒάκχειοςVákkhic (Orphic Hymn 34.7).

μεγαλώνυμε - renowned (μεγαλώνυμος)

τοξότι - archeress (τοξότις)

σεμνή - exalted (σεμνός is masculine; σεμνή is feminine.)

πασιφαής - shining on all, Cf. πασιφάεσσα.

δαιδοῦχε - torch-bearer (δᾳδοῦχος, masc.)

θεά (Goddess) Δίκτυννα (Díktynna) - the Goddess Díktynna, Goddess of the chaseÁrtæmis is sometimes equated with Vritómartis (Britomartis; Gr. Βριτόμαρτις), a Goddess associated with Minoan religion. Vritómartis may have been a priestess of Ártæmis; she was deified by the Goddess and is also called Díktynna.

λοχείη - protectress of childbirth (Λοχεία)

ὠδίνων (childbirth travail) ἐπαρωγὲ (aid) καὶ (and) ὠδίνων (pain of childbirth) ἀμύητε (not participate) - you aid in a woman's travail while never having yourself the pain of childbirthÁrtæmis is known to help women when giving birth but she herself is mythologically a virgin, symbolic of a type of purity actually having nothing to do with sex. 

λυσίζωνε - freeing woman from maidenhoodÁrtæmis is known by the epithet λυσίζωνος (Etym. λύσις "releasing" + ζώνη "belt or girdle") because in helping in childbirth, a maiden ceases to be a virgin. Taylor translates this, "dissolver of the zone;" this is an antiquated way of describing the loss of virginity.

φίλοιστρε - frenzy-loving (φίλοιστρος)

κυνηγέτι - huntress, (κυνηγέτις, fem. of κυνηγέτηςÁrtæmis hunts the beautiful souls, those who have made an effort to achieve virtue, and shoots them with her arrows, propelling them to great progress.

λυσιμέριμνε - you drive our cares away (λυσιμέριμνος)

εὔδρομε - youthful runner (εὔδρομοςÁrtæmis is usually depicted as an athletic maiden shooting arrows, running in a short tunic accompanied by a dog or a deer.

ἰοχέαιρα - archer

φιλαγρότι - huntress (φιλαγρέτις, lover of the chase, as in hunting)

νυκτερόφοιτε - you roam through the night (νυκτερόφοιτος = νυκτίφοιτος, night-roaming)

κληισία - you bring glory to the virtuous (κλῄζω, make famous)

εὐάντητε - gracious one (εὐάντητος)

λυτηρία - liberator (λύτειρα, fem. of λυτήρ)

ἀρσενόμορφε - of manly form (ἀρσενόμορφος) As Apóllohn is always depicted as an ǽphivos (ephebe; Gr. ἔφηβος), a young man and still somewhat pretty and girlish, Ártæmis is thought of as athletic and somewhat manly.

Ὀρθίη - you wail (in your revels) (from ὀρθἱάζω). Also, Ártæmis was called Ὀρθία in Lakohnía (Laconia; Gr. Λακωνία) and Arkadía (Arcadia; Gr. Αρκαδία).

ὠκυλόχεια - giver of quick childbirth

βροτῶν (mortal) κουροτρόφε (child-rearer) δαῖμον (divinity) - you foster the fledgling mortalsÁrtæmis protects children, not only of humans but also of wildlife, this being a twin characteristic she shares with her brother Apóllohn.

ἀμβροτέρα - immortal (ἄμβροτος)

χθονία - earthy. This word, khthonía or chthonic is often confused with ypokhthónios (Gr. ὑποχθόνιος), which refers to that which is under the earth, but khthonía actually means of the earth, earthy.

θηροκτόνε - slayer of wild beasts (θηροκτόνος)

ὀλβιόμοιρε - blessed (ὀλβιόμοιρος = ὀλβιοδαίμων)

(you) κατέχεις (possess) ὀρέων (mountain) δρυμούς (forests) - you dwell in the mountains and forests

ἐλαφηβόλε - hunter of deer (ἐλαφηβόλος)

σεμνήrevered (σεμνός masc. nom., σεμνή being the feminine.)

πότνια - mistress

παμβασίλεια - queen of all

καλὸν (beautiful) θάλος (scion) αἰὲν (ever) ἐοῦσα (be) - beautiful scion (καλός θάλος) forever to be

δρυμονία -  haunting the woods (δρυμόνιος, masc. nom.)

σκυλακῖτι - protectress of dogs (σκυλακῖτις). 

Κυδωνιάς - Kydohnian (Κυδωνιάτης). Of the ancient Cretan city of Κῠδωνία, ancient Kríti (Crete; Gr. Κρήτη) being associated with the Mysteries.

αἰολόμορφε· - many-shaped (αἰολόμορφος)

ἐλθέ - Come

θεὰ (Goddess) σώτειρα (savior) - Goddess and Deliverer

φίλη - beloved

μύστηισιν (mystic initiates) ἅπασιν (all together) - to all your mystics

εὐάντητος - be accessible

ἄγουσα (carry) καλοὺς (beautiful) καρποὺς (fruits) ἀπὸ (from) γαίης (earth) - bring the splendid fruits of earth

εἰρήνην (peace) τ' ἐρατὴν (lovely) καλλιπλόκαμόν (beautiful locks of hair) θ' ὑγίειαν· (health) - lovely peace, beautiful locks of hair and health

πέμποις (send away) δ' εἰς (into) ὀρέων (mountains) κεφαλὰς (head) νούσους (disease) τε (both and) καὶ (and) ἄλγη. (pain) - drive away disease and pain to the mountains.


A more literal translation of the hymn to Ártæmis:

The translations presented in this series are not intended to replace the beautiful work of Thomas Taylor in our rituals. If anything, they make obvious his brilliance in capturing the spirit of the hymns while framing them in lovely poetry. Rather, we are simply trying to deepen our understanding of each hymn producing a more scholarly translation, word-for-word accurate.

36. Ártæmis, Incense: mánna.

Hear me, oh Queen, many-named daughter of Zefs,
Τιτανίς, Vákkhic, renowned, archeress, exalted,
Shining on all, torch-bearer, Goddess Díktynna, protectress of childbirth,
You aid in a woman's travail while never having yourself the pain of childbirth,
Freeing women from maidenhood, inspiring zeal, huntress, driving cares away,
Youthful runner, shooter of arrows, huntress, you roam through the night, 
You bring glory to the virtuous, gracious one, liberator, manly one,
You wail in your revels, bestowing quick childbirth, you foster the fledgling mortals,
Immortal, earthy, slayer of wild beasts, blessed,
You dwell in the mountains and forests, hunter of deer, revered,
Mistress, queen of all, beautiful scion forever to be,
Haunting the forests, protectress of dogs, Kydohnian, many-shaped,
Come, Goddess Deliverer, beloved one, to all your mystics.
Be accessible, bring us the splendid fruits of the earth,
Lovely peace, beautiful locks of hair and health;
Drive away disease and pain to the mountains.


NOTES:

[1] The Hymns of Orpheus, trans. by Thomas Taylor, 1792; we are using a facsimile of the original edition, London, England (printed for the author), where this translation and commentary may be found on pp. 165-166. The hymn to Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις) should be counted as 36, not 35 as we find in this first edition of the hymns. Taylor did not number the hymn to Ækáti (Hecate; Gr. Ἑκάτη), which caused all of his numbering to be off by one increment; he included it in the opening section entitled To Musæus; the hymn to Ækáti should have been counted as the first hymn. This numbering problem has been corrected in the current edition of the Taylor translations published by Prometheus Trust and entitled Hymns and Initiations, 1994 and revised again in 2003.

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.



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; Gr. 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; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 



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, 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.


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.

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