SONGS OF THE ABDUCTION AND RETURN OF PÆRSÆPHÓNÎ

(The beginning of Part Two of PARS POSTERIOR FRAGMENTA ORPHICORUM)


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

SUMMARY: These fragments, for the most part, speak of the search by Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ) for her daughter Pærsæphónî (Φερσεφόνης). 

Parian Marble (Marmor Parium) testimonium nr. 221: 

Ὀρφεύς - τὴ<ν ἑ>αυτοῦ πόησιν (ποίησιν?) ἐξ<έ>θηκε Κόρης τε ἁρπαγὴν καὶ Δήμητρος ζήτησιν καὶ τὸν αὐτοῦ <εὑρεθέντα ὑπ’ αὐτῆς σπόρον καὶ τὸ πλῆ>θος τῶν ὑποδεξαμένων τὸν καρπόν.

“Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) set forth a poem of his own, of Kórî (Κόρη) and her abduction, and of the search (for her) by Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ), who had herself invented the sowing of seed, and, thus, of the great many having received the fruit of the earth.” (trans. by the author)

  

Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά 26 test. nr. 224:

Δήμητρός τε πλάνην καὶ Φερσεφόνης μέγα πένθος, Θεσμοφόρος θὡς ἦν. 

“(I sing) of Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ) and her wandering, and her great sorrow for Pærsæphónî (Φερσεφόνης), and her giving laws.” (trans. by the author)

  

Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου, Book 9 Βοιωτία 27, 2: 

Ὠλῆνος δὲ ὕστερον Πάμφως τε ἔπη καὶ Ὀρφεὺς ἐποίησαν· καί σφισιν ἀμφοτέροις πεποιημένα ἐστὶν ἐς Ἔρωτα, ἵνα ἐπὶ τοῖς δρωμένοις Λυκομίδαι καὶ ταῦτα ἄιδωσιν· ἐγὼ δὲ ἐπελεξάμην ἀνδρὶ ἐς λόγους ἐλθὼν (add. Sylburg) δαιδουχοῦντι. 

“Later than Olen, both Pamphos and Orpheus wrote hexameter verse, and composed poems on Love, in order that they might be among those sung by the Lycomidae to accompany the ritual. I read them after conversation with a Torchbearer.” (W. H. S. Jones, 1918)

  

Hymnorum hi loci ad raptum pertinent ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 18 Εἰς Πλούτωνα 12-15:


Εὔβουλ’, ἁγνοπόλου Δημήτερος, ὅς ποτε παῖδα
νυμφεύσας λειμῶνος ἀποσπαδίην διὰ πόντου,
τετρώροις ἵπποισιν ὑπ’ Ἀτθίδος ἤγαγες ἄντρον
δήμου Ἐλευσῖνος, τόθι περ πύλαι εἴσ’ Ἀίδαο.

 

“(ὦ Εὔβουλε·) With captive Proserpine (παῖς τῆς Δήμητρος), thro’ grassy plains,
Drawn in a four-yok’d car with loosen’d reins,
Rapt o'er the deep, impell’d by love, you flew
'Till Eleusina's city rose to view;
There, in a wond’rous cave obscure and deep,
The sacred maid secure from search you keep,
The cave of Atthis (Ἀτθίδος), whose wide gates display
An entrance to the kingdoms void of day (οἶκος τοῦ Ἅιδου).” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1787)

 

ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 29 Ὕμνος Περσεφόνης @ 9: 

Ὡρῶν συμπαίκτειρα 

“conspirator of the Órai (the Seasons)” (trans. by the author)

  

@ 12:

λειμωνιάσιν χαίρουσα πνοῆισιν 

“rejoicing in the breezes of the meadows” (trans. by the author)

  

@ 14:

ἁρπαγιμαῖα λέχη μετοπωρινὰ νυμφευθεῖσα. 

“In autumn you were stolen in marriage.” (trans. by the author)

  

ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 41 Μητρὸς Ἀνταίας 3-8 (cf. Lobeck II 829): 


ἥ ποτε μαστεύουσα πολυπλάγκτωι ἐν ἀνίηι,
νηστείαν κατέπαυσας Ἐλευσῖνος ἐν γυάλοισιν
ἦλθές τ’ εἰς Ἀΐδην πρὸς ἀγαυὴν Περσεφόνειαν,
ἁγνὸν παῖδα Δυσαύλου ὁδηγητῆρα λαχοῦσα,
μηνυτῆρ’ ἁγίων λέκτρων χθονίου Διὸς ἁγνοῦ,
Εὔβουλον τέξασα θεὸν θνητῆς ἀπ’ ἀνάγκης.


“Who widely wand’ring once, oppress’d with grief,
In Eleusina's valley found’st relief,
Discovering Proserpine thy daughter pure
In dread Avernus (Ἅιδης), dismal and obscure;
A sacred youth while thro’ the world you stray
Bacchus* (παῖδα Δυσαύλου), attending leader of the way;
The holy marriage of terrestrial Jove
Relating, while oppress’d with grief you rove” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1787)
 

*The son of Dysávlîs (Δυσαύλης) is Évvoulos (Εὔβουλος), his name being an epithet of Vákkhos (Βάκχος), yet Évvoulos is also a character in the mythology.

  

ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 43 Ὡρῶν 7-9: 


<ἁγνῆς?> Περσεφόνης συμπαίκτορες, ἡνίκα Μοῖραι
καὶ Χάριτες κυκλίοισι χοροῖς ποτὶ φῶς ἀνάγουσι
Ζηνὶ χαριζόμεναι καὶ μητέρι καρποδοτείρηι


“Attending Proserpine, when back from night,
The Fates and Graces lead her up to light;
When in a band-harmonious they advance,
And joyful round her, form the solemn dance:
With Ceres (μήτηρ καρποδότειρα) triumphing, and Jove (Ζεύς) divine.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1787)
 

 

Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά 1191-1196 in Kern (lines 988-993 in Eugenius Abel (1885); lines 1196-1201 in Siegfried Pyrrhus Petrides and Orphica - Nova Editio Accurata in VSVM Praelectionum Academicarum et Scholarum 1818):

ὧν πέρι μύθον άπαντ’ ἔκλυες, Μουσαίε δαΐφρον,
ὥς ποτε Φερσεφόνην τέρεν’ ἄνθεα χερσί δρέπουσαν
εξάπαφον συνόμαιμοι αν’ ευρύ τε καί μέγα ἄλσος·
αυτάρ ἔπειθ’ ὥς μιν Πλουτεύς, κυανότριχας ἵππους
ζευξάμενος κούρην επεβήσατο δαίμονος αἴσηι·
ἁρπάξας δ’ ἔφερεν διὰ κύματος ἀτρυγέτοιο.


“You have heard the whole tale, prudent Mousaios,
how once Pærsæphónî (Φερσεφόνη) was plucking delicate flowers with her hands.
Her kinsfolk deceived her in the broad and spacious grove,
when next Ploutôn, with his dark horses yoked,
set upon the girl by divine decree,
and snatched her off carrying her across the barren wave.” 
(trans. by the author)


Spectare videtur ad has res etiam Σοῦδα λεξικόν βάραθρον ~ Schol. Aristoph. Plut. 431 (Abel fr. 213; Malten Arch Religionsw. XII 1909, 421 n. 1): 

βάραθρον· χάσμα τι φρεατῶδες καὶ σκοτεινὸν ἐν τῆι Ἀττικῆι, ἐν ὧι τοὺς κακούργους ἔβαλλον. ἐν δὲ τῶι χάσματι τούτωι ὑπῆρχον ὄγκινοι, οἱ μὲν ἄνω οἱ δὲ κάτω. ἐνταῦθα τὸν Φρύγα τὸν τῆς Μητρὸς τῶν θεῶν ἐνέβαλον ὡς μεμηνότα, ἐπειδὴ προέλεγεν, ὅτι ἔρχεται μήτηρ εἰς ἐπιζήτησιν τῆς κόρης. δὲ θεὸς ὀργισθεῖσα ἀκαρπίαν ἔπεμψε τῆι χώραι· καὶ γνόντες τὴν αἰτίαν διὰ χρησμοῦ τὸ μὲν χάσμα κατέχωσαν, τὴν δὲ θεὸν θυσίαις ἵλαον ἐποίησαν. 

(Lexicon entry) “várathron (βάραθρον): a pit (ὄρυγμα), like a dark well in Attikí (Ἀττική), where they threw in the criminals. But in this chasm, first came hooks, indeed, facing upwards. Here they threw in a Phrygian, enraging the Mother of the Gods. After that they proclaimed, that the mother returns seeking after the daughter. But the Goddess was angered and sent infertility to the land, and they came to know the reason through an oracle, and indeed, the chasm was filled in, and they made propitiatory sacrifices to the Goddess.” (trans. by the author)

  

Cf. eundem Σοῦδα λεξικόν: 

μητραγύρτης· ἐλθών τις   εἰς τὴν Ἀττικὴν ἐμύει τὰς γυναῖκας τῆι Μητρὶ τῶν θεῶν, ὡς ἐκεῖνοί φασιν. οἱ δὲ Ἀθηναῖοι ἀπέκτειναν αὐτὸν ἐμβαλόντες εἰς βάραθρον ἐπὶ κεφαλήν. λοιμοῦ δὲ γενομένου ἔλαβον χρησμὸν ἱλάσασθαι τὸν πεφονευμένον, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ὠικοδόμησαν βουλευτήριον, ἐν ὧι <τόπωι?> ἀνεῖλον τὸν μητραγύρτην, καὶ περιφράττοντες αὐτὸ καθιέρωσαν τῆι Μητρὶ τῶν θεῶν, ἀναστήσαντες καὶ ἀνδριάντα τοῦ μητραγύρτου. ἐχρῶντο δὲ τωῖ Μητρώιωι ἀρχείωι καὶ νομοφυλακείωι, καταχώσαντες καὶ τὸ βάραθρον, cf. Thalheim RE2 II 2853. 

(Lexicon entry) “mîtrayýrtîs (μητραγύρτης· ὁ ἱερεύς τῆς Κυβέλης); who had returned to Attikí (Ἀττική) to be initiated into the Mysteries of the Mother of the Gods, so they say. The Athenians killed him and threw him into the várathron (βάραθρον), head downwards. And they were then seized with plague (and commanded by) oracle to conciliate his murder. Thus, through (decision of the) council, they built a temple, (and) in (that place) they raised up the mîtrayýrtîs (priest of Kyvǽlî/Κυβέλη), and enclosing him within, they dedicated it to the Mother of the Gods, having set up a statue of the priest. They then consulted the Hall of the Mother and her office, and thus (so commanded), they filled in the várathron.” (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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