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THE ORPHIC HYMN TO POSEIDON
17. Ποσειδῶνος

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Introduction to the Orphic hymn to Poseidóhn 

Poseidóhn (Poseidon; Ποσειδῶν) is unique amongst the Olympian Gods, for not only is he an Olympian, making him one of the most important deities of all Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, but he is also brother of Zefs (Ζεύς) and shares his characteristics, to such an extent that he is called Zefs of the Sea. The Orphic hymn to the God concentrates on his connection to the Sea. This is his dominion, for the Sea as well as the Middle Sky going up to the moon belong to him, and within the soul there is a corresponding area and when this area has become erotic by means of the influence of Íra (Ἥρα), Poseidóhn helps us develop a bond with an Olympian with whom we have resonance and he helps us progress and move forward.

Author’s note: Our text, found in the 1818 book entitled: Orphica. Nova Editio Accurata in VSVM Praelectionum Academicarum et Scholarum, includes a second hymn to Poseidóhn. We have provided this text also, in both ancient Greek and in a new translation.


The original ancient Greek text

17. Ποσειδῶνος, θυμίαμα, σμύρναν.

Κλῦθι, Ποσειδάον γαιήοχε, κυανοχαῖτα,
ἵππιε, χαλκοτόρευτον ἔχων χείρεσσι τρίαιναν·
ὃς ναίεις πόντοιο βαθυστέρνοιο θέμεθλα,
ποντομέδων, ἁλίδουπε, βαρύκτυπος, ἐννοσίγαιε,
κυμοθαλής, χαριτῶπα, τετράορον ἅρμα διώκων,
εἰναλίοις ῥοίζοισι τινάσσων ἁλμυρὸν ὕδωρ·
ὃς τριτάτης ἔλαχες μοίρης βαθὺ χεῦμα θαλάσσης,
κύμασι τερπόμενος θηρσίν θ’ ἅμα, πότνιε δαῖμον.
ἕδρανα γῆς σώζοις καὶ νηῶν εὔδρομον ὁρμήν,
εἰρήνην, ὑγίειαν ἄγων, ἠδ’ ὄλβον ἀμεμφῆ.


Second hymn:

[Εἰς Ποσειδῶ hunc hymnum habet Thryll. N. lV.

Κλῦθι Ποσειδάων, Ζηνός παῖ πρεσβυγένεθλε,
οὐρανίων μακάρων τε θεῶν πάτερ ἠδὲ καὶ ἀνδρῶν.
ὃς ναίεις κορυφαῖος ἐπ’ Οὐλύμποιο καρήνων
δεύτερος ἐκ Διὸς εἰληχὼς πάντεσσιν ἀνάσσειν.
ἵππιε, χαλκοτόρευτον ἔχων χείρεσσι τρίαιναν.
εὐρύμεδον, χαριτῶπα, τετράορον ἅρμα διώκων.
ὦ ἄναξ παντοκράτωρ, ἱερώτατος, ἀγλαότιμε,
σεμνοῖς μυστοπόλοις χαίρων ὁσίοις τε σεβασμοῖς,
ἵλαος εἴης, εὐτυχίην μύστῃσι προφαίνων.]

 

Transliteration of the ancient Greek text: 

17. Poseidóhnos, thymíama, smýrnan.

Klýthi, Poseidáon yaiíokhæ, kyanokhaita,
íppiæ, khalkotórefton ǽkhohn kheiræssi tríainan;
os naieis póndoio vathystǽrnoio thǽmæthla,
pontomǽdohn, alídoupæ, varýktypos, ænnosíyaiæ,
kymothalís, kharitóhpa, tætráoron árma dióhkohn,
einalíis rízisi tinássohn almyrón ýdohr;
os tritátis ǽlakhæs míris vathý khévma thalássis,
kýmasi tærpómænos thirsín th' áma, pótniæ daimon.
ǽdrana yis sóhzis kai nióhn évdromon ormín,

eirínin, iyíeian ágohn, id' ólvon amæmphí.


Second hymn:

[Eis Poseidóh hunc hymnum habet Thryll. N. IV.

Klýthi Poseidáohn, Zinós pai prævyyǽnæthlæ,
ouraníohn makárohn tæ thæóhn pátær idǽ kai andrón.
os vaieis koryphaios æp’ Oulýmpoio karínohn
déftæros æk Diós eilikhós pándæssin anássein.
íppiæ, khalkotórefton ǽkhohn kheiræssi tríainan.
evrýmædon, kharitóhpa, tætráoron árma dióhkohn.
oh ánax pandokrátohr, iærótatos, aglaótimæ,
sæmnís mystopólis khairohn osíis tæ sævazmís,
ílaos eiis, eftykhíin mýstiisi prophainohn.]



BREAKDOWN OF THE HYMN

Ποσειδῶνος, - Ποσειδῶνος is the genitive of Ποσειδῶν. Titles in ancient Greek are placed in the genitive case.

θυμίαμα (incense) σμύρναν. (myrrh) - The author of this hymn is suggesting an incense-offering of myrrh (σμύρνα) be made to the God.

Κλῦθι, - Hear, 

Ποσειδάον (Poseidóhn) γαιήοχε, (earth-holding) - Poseidóhn who supports the Earth (γαιήοχος, earth-holding). Poseidóhn has dominion over the sea and the waters; since the river Okæanós (Ocean; Gr. Ὠκεανός) was believed to be a gigantic river encircling the earth, he is thought to have his arms holding our planet. 

κυανοχαῖτα, - dark-haired one. The hair of Poseidóhn is said to be dark blue (κυανοχαίτης), like the sea. 

ἵππιε, - horseman (ἵππιος). Poseidóhn, according to the mythology, is associated with and thought of as the creator of the horse. (Homer; Gr. Ὅμηρος. Iliás xxiii. 277) 

χαλκοτόρευτον (brazen) ἔχων (carry) χείρεσσι (hand) τρίαιναν· (trident) - wielding the brazen trident (τρίαιναin your hand. The trident is the symbol of the power and authority of Poseidóhn and was created by the Kýklohpæs (Cyclopes; Gr. Κύκλωπες). 

ὃς ναίεις (dwell) πόντοιο (sea) βαθυστέρνοιο (deep-bosomed) θέμεθλα, (foundations) - you abide at the bottom of the deep-bosomed sea,

ποντομέδων, - lord of the sea 

ἁλίδουπε, - sea-resounding (ἁλίδουπος). Poseidóhn can cause a disturbance in the sea which produces a massive, reverberant sound. 

βαρύκτυπος,loud-thundering (βαρύκτυπος). Like his brother Zefs, Poseidóhn can produce storms. 

ἐννοσίγαιε, - Earth-Shaker (Ἐννοσίγαιος) Because Poseidóhn is γαιήοχος, earth-holding, he can shake the earth and produce earthquakes. 

κυμοθαλής, - abounding with waves 

χαριτῶπα, - graceful of aspect (χαριτώπης). Despite his awesome power, Poseidóhn is graceful and also gracious. 

τετράορον (with four horses) ἅρμα (chariot) διώκων, (pursue, gallop) - you charge forward in your four-horsed chariot. This is a common picture of Poseidóhn, riding his four-horsed chariot through the briny waters.

εἰναλίοις (sea-faring) ῥοίζοισι (ῥοῖζος, rushing) τινάσσων (shake, brandish) ἁλμυρὸν (salty, briny) ὕδωρ· (water) - rushing through the sea and upsetting the salty water 

ὃς τριτάτης (third place) ἔλαχες (obtain by lot) μοίρης (portion) βαθὺ (deep) χεῦμα (stream) θαλάσσης, (sea) - the third portion you won by lot: the deep stream of the Sea. The mythology relates the story of the three brothers, Zefs, Ploutohn (Pluto; Gr. Πλούτων), and Poseidóhn drew lots for, respectively, the Sky, the Earth, and the Sea. 

κύμασι (swollen wave) τερπόμενος (gladden) θηρσίν (beasts) θἅμα, (at the same time) - while the sea's waves and wild beasts gladden your heart 

πότνιε (revered) δαῖμον. (divinity) - revered divinity. It seems the adjective here is derived from πότνια, a word more commonly applied to Goddesses.

ἕδρανα (supports, foundations) γῆς (earth) σῴζοις (save) καὶ (and) νηῶν (ships) εὔδρομον (running) ὁρμήν, (onrush) - preserve the foundations of the earth and the swift onrush of ships. As Poseidóhn has the ability to shake the earth and cause disturbance to the sea, he also assures the foundations of our world and assists seafarers.

εἰρήνην, (peace) ὑγίειαν (health) ἄγων, (part. of ἄγω, bringing) - bringing peace, health 

ἠδὄλβον (happiness) ἀμεμφῆ. (blameless) - and blameless happiness.

  

Second Hymn: 

Εἰς (to) Ποσειδῶ (Poseidóhn, acc.) To Poseidóhn 

Κλῦθι (hear) Ποσειδάων, (Poseidóhn) - Hear Poseidóhn 

Ζηνός (gen. Ζεύς) παῖ (child, voc.) πρεσβυγένεθλε, (πρεσβυγένεθλος voc., first-born) - first-born child of Zefs 

οὐρανίων (heavenly, gen.) μακάρων (happy, blessed; plu. gen.) τε () θεῶν (Gods, gen.) πάτερ (father, voc.) ἠδὲ καὶ (and also) ἀνδρῶν. (men, gen.) - father of the heavenly happy Gods as well as men. 

ὃς () ναίεις (dwell) κορυφαῖος (highest; epithet of Zefs, nom.) ἐπ () Οὐλύμποιο (Ὄλυμπος, gen.) καρήνων (peaks) - who dwells highest on Olympian peaks 

δεύτερος (second, next, nom.) ἐκ (out of) Διὸς (Ζεύς, gen.) εἰληχὼς (by lot, voc. nom.) πάντεσσιν (all. dat.) ἀνάσσειν. (rule) - by lot second after Zefs to reign over all 

ἵππιε, (voc. of ἵππιος) – master of horses 

χαλκοτόρευτον (wrought of bronze; χαλκοτόρευτος is nom.) ἔχων (holding) χείρεσσι (hands, dat.) τρίαιναν. (trident) - holding the bronze trident in your hands 

εὐρύμεδον, (voc. of εὐρυμέδων) – widely thinking monarch 

χαριτῶπα, (with graceful countenance, χαριτώπης is nom.) –with grace-filled eyes 

τετράορον (four-yoked) ἅρμα (chariot) διώκων. (chasing, pursuing) – driving forward a four-yoked chariot 

(oh) ἄναξ (king) παντοκράτωρ, (almighty one) – Oh king almighty one, 

ἱερώτατος, - most holy 

ἀγλαότιμε, (ἀγλαότιμος is nom.) – brightly venerated

σεμνοῖς (revered; dat. of σεμνός) μυστοπόλοις (initiator, guide; μυστοπόλος = μυστοδότης) χαίρων (rejoicing, joyful; part. nom.) ὁσίοις (pious, hallowed; dat. adj.) τε (and) σεβασμοῖς, (respect, reverence, σεβάσμιος) - drawing joy from the pious initiated ones and from the sacred reverence

ἵλαος (propitious, kind, gracious, nom.) εἴης, (be) – be kind

εὐτυχίην (success, prosperity; accu.) μύστῃσι (mystics, those initiated) προφαίνων. (bring forth) – bring prosperity to your initiates.


All this work yields a more literal translation of the Orphic hymn to Poseidóhn


17. Poseidóhn, incense: myrrh.

Hear, Poseidóhn who supports the Earth, dark-haired one,
Oh horseman, wielding the brazen trident in your hand,
You abide at the bottom of the briny deep,
Lord of the Sea, roaring through its waters, loud-thundering Earth-Shaker,
You ride through the waves, graceful, charging forward in your four-horsed chariot,
Rushing through the sea and upsetting the salty water,
The third portion you won by lot: the deep stream of the oceans,
While the sea's waves and its wild creatures gladden your heart, revered divinity;
Preserve the foundations of the earth and protect the swift onrush of sea-craft,
Bringing peace, health, and blameless happiness.


Second Hymn:

To Poseidóhn

Hear Poseidon, first-born child of Zefs,
Father of heavenly happy Gods as well as men.
Who dwells highest on Olympian peaks
Second after Zefs by lot to reign over all.
Master of horses, holding the bronze trident in your hands.
Widely thinking monarch, with grace-filled eyes, driving forward a four-yoked chariot.
Oh king almighty one, most holy, brightly venerated,
Drawing joy from the pious initiated ones and the sacred reverence,
Be kind, bring forth prosperity to your mýstai.



The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic 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 (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) 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 lyre of Apóllohn (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 

, 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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