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Gilded spelter statue of Apóllohn, probably Victorian era, in the possession of the author. 

34. Ἀπόλλωνος

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Introduction to the Orphic Hymn to Apóllohn

The Orphic hymn to Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) is one of the longest of the Eighty-four Orphic Hymns and it is one of the most beautiful and important. Apóllohn and Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος) stand out as being particularly important deities in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. Why should they be thought of as linked together in some way? There are many reasons. The mighty sanctuary of Dælphí (Delphi; Gr. Δελφοί) is the Omphalós (Gr. Ὀμφαλός), the navel or center of the world; it is also the center of the ancient religion. Both Apóllohn and Diónysos hold the throne at this most sacred place. Why, if this is the center of the world and the center of the religion, would not this sanctuary be the seat of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), the father and king of both Gods and man? It is because of the will of Zefs, for Apóllohn sits at his right side and is his voice while Diónysos is the embodiment of the compassion of his father for he fulfills his providence and is his action on Earth.

Apóllohn enunciates the intentions and foreknowledge of his father and by doing so delivers the justice of mighty Zefs. Further, Apóllohn is the great protector of the Mysteries, and with his music, he propels our souls forward, if we are willing to accept his influence. He is the great God of enlightenment for which he is called Phívos (Phoebus; Gr. Φοίβος), the shining one and he is a mighty God of healing. Indeed, we could continue endlessly enumerating the splendid qualities of this God which make him a most worthy son of his father. So let us now examine the Orphic hymn to Apóllohn and gain greater insight into the nature of this magnificent deity.

Translation by Thomas Taylor [1] :

34. Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων)
The Fumigation from Manna (frankincense).

Blest Pæan, come, propitious to my pray'r,
Illustrious pow'r, whom Memphian tribes revere,
Slayer of Tityus, and the God of health,
Lycorian Phœbus, fruitful source of wealth.
Spermatic, golden-lyr'd, the field from thee
Receives it's constant, rich fertility.
Titanic, Grunian, Smynthian, thee I sing,
Python-destroying, hallow'd, Delphian king:
Rural, light-bearer, and the Muse's head,
Noble and lovely, arm'd with arrows dread:
Far-darting, Bacchian, two-fold, and divine,
Pow'r far diffused, and course oblique is thine.
O, Delian king, whose light-producing eye
Views all within, and all beneath the sky:
Whose locks are gold, whose oracles are sure,
Who, omens good reveal'st, and precepts pure:
Hear me entreating for the human kind,
Hear, and be present with benignant mind;
For thou survey'st this boundless Æther all,
And ev'ry part of this terrestrial ball.
Abundant, blessed; and thy piercing sight,
Extends beneath the gloomy, silent night;
Beyond the darkness, starry-ey'd, profound,
The stable roots, deep fix'd by thee are found.
The world's wide bounds, all-flourishing are thine,
Thyself all the source and end divine:
'Tis thine all Nature's music to inspire,
With various-sounding, harmonising lyre;
Now the last string thou tun'st to sweet accord,
Divinely warbling now the highest chord; 30
Th' immortal golden lyre, now touch'd by thee,
Responsive yields a Dorian melody.
All Nature's tribes to thee their diff'rence owe,
And changing seasons from thy music flow:
Hence, mix'd by thee in equal parts, advance 35
Summer and Winter in alternate dance;
This claims the highest, that the lowest string,
The Dorian measure tunes the lovely spring.
Hence by mankind, Pan-royal, two-horn'd nam'd,
Emitting whistling winds thro' Syrinx fam'd; 40
Since to thy care, the figur'd seal's consign'd,
Which stamps the world with forms of ev'ry kind.
Hear me, blest pow'r, and in these rites rejoice,
And save thy mystics with a suppliant voice.

Thomas Taylor's Notes to the Hymn

     Ver. 7.] Grunian. According to Strabo, lib. xiii. Grynæus (ed. Grýneion; Gr. Γρύνειον ) is a town of Myrinæus: likewise, a temple of Apollo, and a most ancient oracle and temple, sumptuously built of white stone.  Gyrald. Syntag. p. 237. (HO p. 161)

     Ver. 11.] Far-darting. Ἑκατηβελέτης (ed. Ekativælǽtis; Gr) Proclus (ed. Prόklos; Gr. Πρόκλος), on Plato's Cratylus (ed. Plátohn's Kratýlos [Plato; Gr. Πλάτων. Cratylus; Gr. Κρατύλος]), informs us he is so called, ὅτι χορηγὸς ὤς, ϰαὶ εξερομενος ἐπὶ πάντας ποιεῖ τας ενεργείας. (ed. όti khorigόs ohs, kai æxæromænos æpí pántas pií tas ænergeias) i.e., "because since he is the choragus or leader of the choir of the Muses, he produces energies in all things."  (HO p. 161)

     Ver. 29.] Now the last string, &c. Gesner well observes, in his notes to this Hymn, that the comparison and conjunction of the musical and astronomical elements are most ancient; being derived from Orpheus (ed. Orphéfs; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) and Pythagoras (Pythagóras; ed. Gr. Πυθαγόρας), to Plato (ed. Plátohn; Gr. Πλάτων). Now, according to the Orphic and Pythagoric doctrine, the lyre of Apollo is an image of the celestial harmony, or the melody caused by the orderly revolutions of the celestial spheres. But I cannot believe that Orpheus and Pythagoras considered this harmony as attended with sensible sounds, according to the vulgar acceptation of the word: for it is surely more rational to suppose, that they meant nothing more by the music of the spheres, than their harmonical proportions to each other. Indeed these wise men, to whom metaphors were familiar, may be easily conceived by vulgar sound and vulgar harmony to insinuate internal sound, and harmony subsisting in its origin and cause. Hence we may consider the souls of the celestial spheres, together with the soul of the world, as composing the choir of the nine Muses (ed. Mousai; Gr. Μοῦσαι) (who are called by the Platonists nine Syrens [ed. Seirínæs; Gr. Σειρῆνες]) and dancing in numerical order round Apollo the sun of the intellectual world. But these nine Muses are far different from the marine Syrens of the poets who, resident as it were in the sea of material delights, draw us aside by their alluring melody, from the paths of rectitude. For these are divine Syrens inviting us to the proper end of our nature; and forming from the eight tones of the eight spheres, one perfect and everlasting harmony. (HO p. 162-3)

The following quotation from the Platonic Nichomachus (ed. Nikhómakhos; Gr. Νικόμαχος), Harm. i. p. 6. illustrates the meaning of the Hypate (ed. Ypáti; Gr. Ὑπάτη) and Nete (ed. Næáti; Gr. Νεάτη), or the highest and lowest string. From the motion of Saturn (ed. Krόnos; Gr. Κρόνος), (says he) "The most remote of the planets, the appellation of the gravest sound, Hypate, is derived: but from the lunar motion, which is the lowest of all, the most acute sound is called νεάτη, Nete, or the lowest." But Gesner observes, that a more ancient, and as it were archetypal appellation, is derived from the ancient triangular lyre, a copy of which was found among the pictures lately dug out of the ruins of Herculaneum; where the highest chord next to the chin of the musicians is the longest, and consequently (says he) the sound is the most grave. Gesner proceeds in observing, that the three seasons of the year are so compared together in a musical ratio, that Hypate signifies the Winter, Nete the Summer, and the Dorian measure represents the intermediate seasons, Spring and Autumn. Now the reason why the Dorian melody is assigned to the Spring, is because that measure wholly consists in temperament and moderation, as we learn from Plut. de Mus. p. 1136. E. and consequently is with great propriety attributed to the Spring, considered as placed between Summer and Winter; and gratefully tempering the fervent heat of the one, and the intense cold of the other. (HO p. 163-4)

  Ver. 39.] Pan-royal. See the notes to the Hymn to Pan, To Hercules, and The Sun (HO p. 164) immediately below: 

From Thomas Taylor's notes to the Hymn to Pan: 

Pan (ed. Gr. Πᾶν), it is well known, is the same with the Universe, and is called by Orpheus (ed. Orphéfs; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) Πρωτογόνος (ed. Prohtogόnos), as we are informed by Damascius (ed. Damáskios; Gr. Δαμάσκιος) περὶ ἀρχῶν (ed. pærí arkhόhn). Now Jupiter (ed. = Zefs = Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) in the Orphic theology, is the Demiurgus (ed. Demiurge or Dimiourgós; Gr. Δημιουργός) of the universe, or the first intellect; and Apollo, in the intellectual world, is the same with Jupiter (ed. Zefs), as we have shewn in our notes to the Sun (ed. = Helios = Ílios; Gr. Ἥλιος). Hence the reason is obvious why Pan is called in this Hymn, all-fertile Pan. And if we compare the Orphic fragment, given in the Dissertation, with the present Hymn, we shall find a striking resemblance; as the king and father of universe, Protogonus or Jupiter is there celebrated as being all things; and is represented under the symbol of a divine body, whole members are the various parts of the world. (HO p. 130)


From Thomas Taylor's notes to the Hymn to Hercules (ed. = Heracles = Iraklís; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς): 

Since, according to the Orphic theology, there are two worlds, the intelligible and the sensible, the former of which is the source of the latter; so, according to the same theology, the first contains in a primary, causal, and intellectual manner, what the second comprehends secondarily and sensibly. (HO p. 1134)


From Thomas Taylor's notes to the Hymn to the Sun (ed. = Helios = Ílios; Gr. Ἥλιος): 

According to the Orphic and Platonic philosophers, the Sun is the same in the sensible, as Apollo in the intellectual, and Good in the intelligible World. Hence Proclus (Prόklos; Gr. Πρόκλος) in Theol. Plat. p. 289. from the occult union subsisting between Good, Apollo, and the Sun, calls the Sun βασιλεὺς τυ παντός (ed. Vasiléfs ty pantόs), or king of the universe: and it is well known that Jupiter (ed. = Zefs = Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) is the Demiurgus (ed. Demiurge or Dimiourgos; Gr. Δημιουργός) of the world. So that the Sun in perfect conformity to this Theology is called immortal Jove (ed. Jove = Jupiter = Zeus = Zefs). (HO p. 123)


     Ver. 40.] Emitting whistling winds. Johannes Diaconus, in Allegorcis Theogoniæ Hesiodi, quotes the following lines from Orpheus (ed. Orphefs; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).

Ζεὺς δέ τε πάντων ἐςὶ ϑεὸς, πάντων τε ϰερασὴς,
Πνεύμασι συριζων, φωναῖσι τε ἀερομιϰτοις·

(ed. Zefs dæ tæ pántohn æsí theós, pántohn tæ kærasís,
Pnéfmasi syrizohn, phohnaisi tæ aæromiktis.)

That is, "But Jupiter (ed. Zefs) is the God of all, and the mingler of all things; whistling with the breathing winds and aerial voices." And this perfectly agrees with Apollo, considered as Jupiter, or the sun of the intelligible world. (HO p. 164) 

     Ver. 41.] The figur'd seal. Since Apollo in the intelligible world is the Demiurgus (ed. Demiurge or Dimiourgós; Gr. Δημιουργός) of the universe, and consequently comprehends in his essence the archetypal ideas of all sensible forms, he may with great propriety be said to posses the figured seal, of which every visible species is nothing more than an impression. It is however necessary to observe, that in the great seal of ideas, all forms subsist in indivisible union and immaterial perfection: but in their imitative impressions in bodies, they are found full of boundless multitude, and material imperfection. (HO p. 164)

The original ancient Greek text:

34. Ἀπόλλωνος, θυμίαμα μάνναν

λθέ, μάκαρ Παιάν, Τιτυοκτόνε, Φοβε Λυκωρε,
τ', γλαότιμε, ήιε, λβιοδτα,
χρυσολύρη, σπερμε
ε, ρότριε, Πύθιε, Τιτάν.
Γρύνειε, Σμινθε
, Πυθοκτόνε, Δελφικέ, μάντι,
γριε, φωσφόρε δαμον, ράσμιε, κύδιμε κορε·  5
Μουσαγέτα, χαροποιέ,
κηβόλε, τοξοβέλεμνε,
Βάκχιε κα Διδυμε, κάεργε, Λοξία, γνέ·
ναξ, πανδερκς χων φαεσίμβροτον μμα,
χρυσοκόμα, καθαρ
ς φήμας χρησμούς τ' ναφαίνων·
θί μευ εχομένου λαν περ εφρονι θυμι.  10
τόνδε σ
γρ λεύσσεις τν πείριτον αθέρα πάντα,
αν τ' λβιόμοιρον περθέν τε κα δι' μολγο
ς ν συχίαισιν π' στεροόμματον ρφνην
ίζας νέρθε δέδορκας, χεις δέ τε πείρατα κόσμου
παντός· σο
δ' ρχή τε τελευτή τ' στ μέλουσα,  15
παντοθαλής· σ
δ πάντα πόλον κιθάρηι πολυκρέκτωι
ρμόζεις, τ μν νεάτης π τέρματα βαίνων,
λλοτε δ' αθ' πάτην, ποτ Δώριον ες διάκοσμον
πάντα πόλον κιρν
ς κρίνεις βιοθρέμμονα φλα,
ρμονίηι κεράσας τν παγκόσμιον νδράσι μοραν·   20
μίξας χειμ
νος θέρεός τ' σον μφοτέροισιν,
ς πάταις χειμνα, θέρος νεάταις διακρίνας,
Δώριον ε
ς αρος πολυηράτου ριον νθος.
νθεν πωνυμίην σε βροτο κλήιζουσιν νακτα
να, θεν δικέρωτ', νέμων συρίγμαθ' έντα·   25
νεκα παντς χεις κόσμου σφραγδα τυπτιν.
θι μάκαρ, σώζων μύστας κετηρίδι φωνι.


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

34. Apóllohnos, thymíama mánnan

Ælthǽ, mákar Paián, Tityoktónæ, Phivæ Lykohréf,
Mæmphít'a, aglaótimæ, iíïæ, olviodóhta,
khrysolýri, spærmeiæ, arótriæ, Pýthiæ, Titán.
Grýneiæ, Sminthéf, Pythoktónæ, Dælphikǽ, mándi,  

ágriæ, phohsphóræ daimon, ærázmiæ, kýdimæ kouræ.   
Mousayǽta, kharopiǽ, ækivólæ, toxovǽlæmnæ,
Vákkhiæ kai Didyméf, ækáæryæ, Loxía, agnǽ.
Díli'ánax, pandærkǽs ǽkhohn phaæsímvroton ómma,
khrysokóma, katharás phímas khrizmous t'anaphainohn.
klýthi mef efkhomǽnou laóhn ýpær éfphroni thymóï.   10
tóndæ si gar léfsseis ton apeiriton aithǽra pánda,
yaiän t'olviómiron ýpærthǽn tæ kai di'amolgou
nyktós æn isykhíaisin yp'astæröómmaton órphnin
rízas nǽrthæ dǽdorkas, ǽkheis dæ tæ peirata kózmou
pandós si d'arkhí tæ tæleftí t'æstí mǽlousa, n      15
pandothalís si dæ pánda pólon kitháriï polykrǽktoï
armózeis, otǽ mæn næátis æpí tǽrmata vainohn,
állotæ d'afth'ypátin, potǽ Dóhrion eis diákozmon,
pánda pólon kirnás kríneis viothrǽmmona phýla,
armoníii kærásas tin pangkózmion andrási míran.   20
míxas kheimóhnos thæreós t'íson amphotǽrisin,
eis ypátais kheimóhna, thǽros næátais diakrínas,
Dóhrion eis ǽaros polyirátou órion ánthos.
ǽnthæn æpohnymíin sæ vrotí klíïzousin ánakta
Pána, thæón dikǽroht'a, anǽmohn syrígmath'iǽnta.   25
ounæka pandós ǽkheis kózmou sphrayída typóhtin.
klýthi mákar, sóhzohn mýstas ikætirídi phohníi.


Ἀπόλλωνος - This is the title of the hymn. Ἀπόλλωνος is the genitive of Ἀπόλλων (nominative for Apollo). Titles are in the genitive in the ancient Greek tongue.

θυμίαμα (incense) μάνναν (mánna) The author suggests that an incense (θυμιαμα) offering of mánna (Gr. μάννᾰ) be made to the God.

Ἐλθέ (come), μάκαρ (blessed) Παιάν (healer) - Come, blessed Healer! Ἐλθέ is the aorist imperative of ἔρχομαι. Παιάν is the great title of the God meaning healer. Ἰή Παιῆον or Ἰὲ Παιῆον is "Hail Healer!" an oft heard exclamation.

ΤιτυοκτόνεΤιτυοκτόνοςslaying Τιτυός, a giant of uncertain parentage, a son of Zefs and Ælára (Elara; Gr. Ελάρα) or a son of Yaia (Gaia; Gr. Γαῖα). He attempted to rape Litóh (Leto; Gr. Λητώ), the mother of Apóllohn, for which Apóllohn and Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις) slew him, after which he was condemned to Tártaros (Tartarus; Gr. Τάρταρος), where, like the mythology concerning Promithéfs (Prometheus; Gr. Προμηθεύς), his liver was eaten by vultures every night, only to grow back to have the punishment repeated endlessly.

Φοῖβε (shining) Λυκωρεῦ - The Shining One of 
Parnassós (Parnassus; Gr. Παρνασσός). Λυκωρεύς refers to the highest summit of Parnassós (Parnassus; Gr. Παρνασσός) above Dælphí (Delphi; Gr. Δελφοί), called Λυκώρεια.

Μεμφῖτ'Μεμφῖτα, dweller of Mǽmphis (Memphis; Gr. Μέμφις), as in the Egyptian cityThe meaning of this epithet is obscure. There is an epithet of Apóllohn, Aiyíptios (Aigyptius; Gr. Αἰγύπτιος), which simply means "Egyptian," but it is thought to refer to the Egyptian God Horus who united Upper and Lower Egypt at Memphis.

ἀγλαότιμος, splendidly honored.

ἰήϊος, invoked with the cry ἰή or ἰὴ παιών (v. ἰή) , ἰήϊε παιάν, the exclamation of joy or enthusiasm; esp. used in the cult of Apóllohn.

ὀλβιοδώτης, bestower of bliss.

χρυσολύρης, with a lyre of gold.

σπερμεῖος, presiding over seeds, spermatic, generative.

ἀρότριος, agrarian, i.e. he who presides over husbandry, the cultivator of crops and animals.

Πύθιος, Pythian or Delphian, he who presides over the temple at Dælphí (Delphi; Gr. Δελφοί).

 - (Titan; Gr. Τιτάν, ΤΙΤΑΝApóllohn (Orphic Hymn 34.3) and his sister Ártæmis (Orphic Hymn 36.2) are called Titánæs (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες, plural.) because they are progeny of the Titan Goddess Litóh (Leto; Gr. Λητώ).

Γρύνειος is an epithet that refers to the city of Grýneion (Gr. Γρύνιον), the seat of an oracle to Apóllohn and where stood a beautiful white marble temple to the God.

Σμινθεύς. The meaning of this epithet is uncertain. It derives most likely from smínthos (Gr. σμίνθος), "mouse," the mouse being somehow associated with prophetic power, inspired by vapors arising from the earth; this association with the mouse is likely because there are representations of Apóllohn with a mouse. It is also possible that the God had been believed to have the ability to save from infestation by mice. Another possibility is that the epithet is derived from the name Smínthi (Sminthe; Gr. Σμίνθη) a town in the Troás (the Troad; Gr. Τρωάς, i.e. the Turkish peninsula), or a temple dedicated to the God near Amaxitós (Hamaxitus; Gr. Ἁμαξιτός) where the God saved them from such an infestation.

Πυθοκτόνος, he who slew the Pýthohn (Python; Gr. Πύθων).

Dælphic, he who presides over the temple at Dælphí (Delphi; Gr. Δελφοί). Δελφικός is the epithet, Δελφύνη being a name for the Pýthohn (Python; Gr. Πύθων) which he slew at Dælphí.

μάντις, the prophet.

ἄγριος, wild, living in the fields.

φωσφόρε (light producing) δαῖμον (divine soul) - light-producing divinity.

ἐράσμιος, the lovely one, beloved.

κύδιμε (glorious) κοῦρε (son, boy) - 
κύδιμος (= κυδάλιμοςκοῦρος, glorious, renowned son or boy.

ΜουσαγέταΜουσαγέτης is the leader of the Mousai (Muses; Gr. Μοῦσαι), and Apóllohn is, therefore, the fountain of culture.

χαροποιός, he who brings joy.

ἑκηβόλος, he who attains his aim (with his arrows).

τοξοβέλεμνος, he of the arrows and bow.

Βάκχιε καὶ Διδυμεῦ - (You are) V
ákkhos (Bacchus or Diónysos; Gr. Βάκχοςand Didyméfs (Διδυμεύς, i.e. Apóllohn the Didymæan), there being an intimate connection between the two Gods. They are both sons of Zefs and share the great sanctuary of Dælphí, the center of the world and the religion. They are both intimately connected with the Mysteries; Diónysos holds the Basket of the Mysteries (The Toys of Diónysos) and Apóllohn is the guardian of the Mysteries who, by strumming his lyre, sets the centers of the soul spinning, related to the Toys. Apóllohn expresses the will of his father where Diónysos is his father's action on Earth. Διδυμεύς is an epithet of Apóllohn referring to the town of Dídyma (Gr. Δίδυμα) where was an oracular sanctuary of the God. Yet another interpretation of the word, a surname of Apóllohn, so named from the double light imparted by him to mankind; the one directly and immediately from his own body; the other by reflection from the moon. [3] Or perhaps more simply, Didyméfs may simply mean twin, for he is the twin brother of his sister Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις). Apóllohn manifests shared characteristics with Ártæmis who in her hymn (Orphic Hymn 36.2) is called βρομία, a synonym for Vákkhic.

ἑκάεργεἑκάεργος, he who works from afar.

Λοξίας refers Apóllohn as the prophet and interpreter of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). [5]

ἁγνέἁγνός, pure, holy.

Δήλι' (Delian) ἄναξ (king) - King of Dílos (Delos; Gr. Δήλος), or referring to the temple of Apóllohn at Dílion (Delium; Gr. Δήλιον).

πανδερκὲς (all-seeing) ἔχων (bring) φαεσίμβροτον (light shining on mortals) ὄμμα (eye) - The all-seeing eye bringing the light which shines on mortals.

χρυσοκόμαχρυσόκομος or χρυσοκόμης, golden-haired.

καθαρὰς (clear, spotless) φήμας (utterance) χρησμούς (oracle) τ' ἀναφαίνων (bring to light) - You make clear oracular utterances.

κλῦθί (hear) μευ (me) εὐχομένου (pray) λαῶν (men, mankind) ὕπερ (on behalf of) εὔφρονι (gracious) θυμῶι (soul or heart) - Hear me with gracious soul as I pray on behalf of mankind!

τόνδε σὺ (you) γὰρ (for) λεύσσεις (gaze upon) τὸν (the) ἀπείριτον (boundless) αἰθέρα (Aithír [Aether]) πάντα (all) - You gaze upon all the boundless Aithír.

γαῖαν (earth) τ' ὀλβιόμοιρον (God-blessed) ὕπερθέν (from above) τε (you) καὶ (and) δι' ἀμολγοῦ (in the darkness) - And upon the blessed earth you look from above through the dark of night.

νυκτὸς (night) ἐν (in, into) ἡσυχίαισιν (restful) ὑπ' ἀστεροόμματον (starry-eyed night) ὄρφνην (darkness) - In the restful shadow of a night filled with stars...

ῥίζας (root) νέρθε (below) δέδορκας (see clearly) - clearly see the root below...

ἔχεις (bear) δέ (and) τε (you) πείρατα (boundary) κόσμου (arrange) - ...and you arrange and bear the boundary...

παντός (all) - ...of all.

σοὶ (you) δ' ἀρχή (origin) τε τελευτή (completion) τ' ἐστὶ (are) μέλουσα (object of care) - For the origin and completion are both in your care.

παντοθαλής - the cause of the blooming of all things

σὺ (you) δὲ (bind) πάντα (all) πόλον (axis) κιθάρηι (kith
ára or lyreπολυκρέκτωι (richly resonant) - With your resonant lyre you command the axis of the heavens,

ἁρμόζεις - placing all in harmony.

ὁτὲ (when, at which time) μὲν (indeed) νεάτης (uttermost) ἐπὶ (upon) τέρματα (end) βαίνων (advance to) - By which, indeed, you advance to the lowest pitch,

ἄλλοτε (at another time) δ' αὖθ' (again) ὑπάτην (highest) - and at another time the highest,

ποτὲ (at some time) Δώριον (Dorian) εἰς (into) διάκοσμον (setting in order) - at times playing in the Dorian mode

πάντα (all) πόλον (pole or axis) κιρνὰς (mix) κρίνεις (distinguish or separate) βιοθρέμμονα (life-supporting) φῦλα (race or tribe) - Tempering all the poles you keep the tribes of living creatures distinct.

ἁρμονίηι (harmony or joining) κεράσας (mingle) τὴν (the)
παγκόσμιον (common to all) ἀνδράσι (mortal man) μοῖραν (share) - You have mingled harmony into the share of all mortal men.

μίξας (half) χειμῶνος (winter) θέρεός (summer) τ' ἴσον (equal) ἀμφοτέροισιν (either or each) - Giving each an equal measure of winter and summer.

εἰς (into) ὑπάταις (the highest three strings) χειμῶνα (winter) - The highest three strings in the winter;

θέρος (summer) νεάταις (the lowest three strings) διακρίνας (arrange) - the lowest three strings for the summer.

Δώριον (Dorian) εἰς (into) ἔαρος (spring) πολυηράτου (lovely) ὥριον (produced in season) ἄνθος (blooming) - The Dorian mode produces the lovely and blooming spring.

ἔνθεν (thereupon) ἐπωνυμίην (call by the name of) σε (you) βροτοὶ (mortals) κλήιζουσιν (celebrate in song) ἄνακτα (lord) - Thereupon the mortals celebrate and call you lord and...

Πᾶνα - ...Pan...

θεὸν (God) δικέρωτ' (two-horned) - ...the two-horned (
Δικέρως) God...

ἀνέμων (winds) συρίγμαθ' (whistling like a pan-pipe) ἱέντα (send) - ...who sends the whistling winds.

οὕνεκα (wherefore) παντὸς (all) ἔχεις (carry) κόσμου (K
ózmos) σφραγῖδα (seal) τυπῶτιν (he who forms) - Wherefore you form and bear the seal of the entire Kózmos.

κλῦθι (hear) μάκαρ (blessed one) - Hear, Blessed One,

σώζων (save) μύστας (the initiates) ἱκετηρίδι (suppliant) φωνῇι (sound) - the supplicating voices of the initiates and save them!

A more literal translation of the hymn to 

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.

34. Apóllohn, Incense: mánna.

Come blessed healer, slayer of Tityós, the Shining One of Parnassós,  
Memphian, renowned, exclaimed with cries of joy, bestower of bliss,
Bearing a golden lyre, generative, agrarian, Pythian, Titan,
Gryneian, Sminthéfs, slayer of the Pýthohn, Dælphic, Oracular one,
Wild, radiant divinity, lovely one, glorious son,   5
Leader of the Mousai, cultivator of joy, whose arrows achieve their aim, mighty archer,
You are Vákkhos and the Twin, you who can achieve from afar, prophet, holy,
King of Dílos, all-seeing eye bringing the light which shines on mortals,
Golden-haired, making clear oracular utterances,
Hear me with gracious soul as I pray on behalf of mankind,   10
You gaze upon all the boundless Aithír,
And upon the blessed earth you look from above through the dark of night
In the restful shadow of a night filled with stars
You clearly see the root below and you arrange and support the boundary of all:
For the origin and completion are both in your care,   15
The cause of the blooming of all things, with your resonant lyre you command the axis of the heavens,
Placing all in harmony, by which, indeed, you advance to the lowest pitch,
Elsewhere to the highest, at times playing in the Dorian mode,
Tempering all the poles you keep the tribes of living creatures distinct,
You have mingled harmony into the share of all mortal men,   20
Giving each an equal measure of winter and summer,
The highest three strings in the winter, the lowest in the summer,
The Dorian mode produces the lovely and blooming spring,
Thereupon the mortals celebrate and call you lord and
Pan, the two-horned God who sends the whistling winds,   25
Wherefore you form and bear the seal of the entire Kózmos.
Hear, Blessed One, the supplicating voices of the initiates and save them.

Miscellaneous Comments Concerning the Hymn to Apóllohn

Line 19: There has been an unfortunate and recurring interpretation of this line of the hymn which must be discussed and corrected. Mr. Athanassakis translates line 19 as follows:

"balancing the poles harmoniously, as you keep the living races distinct" [4] 

 The Taylor is somewhat better at avoiding the misunderstanding with this translation:

"All Nature's tribes to thee their diff'rence owe" [5] 

This phrase has been interpreted by some modern Hellenic practitioners as condoning racism, which is entirely impossible, for as the insightful poet P
índaros (Pindar; Gr. Πίνδαρος) says:

"There is one race of men, one race of Gods; and from one mother do we both derive our breath." [6] 

The line is not talking about the races of man, but about the races of sentient beings; it is pointing out the ability of the God to actualize natural balance in the Kózmos by means of his music. 

The Greek is...

κρίνεις βιοθρέμμονα φῦλα
kríneis viothrǽmmona phýla (transliteration)

...which could be translated: "you judge the races of mortals" or "you separate the races of mortals by your judgment." Krínoh (κρίνω) means "to separate" or "to judge." 
[7] If the line were to be interpreted in reference to human beings, it would be making reference to Apóllohn as the administrator of the justice of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), and in this context, krínoh would refer to a judgment concerning ethics. Therefore, the interpretation is that Apóllohn makes a distinction or separation by justice, not by race; and this would be correct; Apóllohn distinguishes between the mortals who choose to live in justice and those who choose to live in injustice, and he keeps them separate. While this is true of the God, the context of the line in the hymn, being placed in the middle of the section concerning music, makes this translation unnecessary, and the racial interpretation even more implausible; it is out-of-place in context and, in any case, the character of deity is entirely benevolent and just, making a racial interpretation impossible.

Line 21: There is a reference in the hymn of summer and winter being equal in length. It is thought by some that this is a reference to when the poem was written: a 500 year period which occurs every 10,000 years. The last occurance of this phenomenon was 
1841‑1362 BCE, and then another 10,000 years previous to this. If this reference is correct, there are reasons to believe that Orphéfs, or the author of these poems, was writing during the more ancient period. See Konstantinos Chassapis (Κωνσταντίνος ΧασάπηςThe Greek Astronomy of the Second Millennium B.C.E. according to the Orphic Hymns «Η Ελληνική Αστρονομία της Β' Χιλιετηρίδας π.Χ., κατά τους Ορφικούς Ύμνους» (Athens 1967) where this theory is proposed.

The text calls for an offering of manna, but it is unclear what exactly this is. Please visit this page for more information: ΜΑΝΝΑ.

This hymn, like all the Orphic hymns, consists primarily of epithets. These names give many clues as to the character of Gods. For many more titles of Apóllohn, please visit this page: Epithets of Apóllohn.

Hymns and Prayers to Apóllohn: 


A list of abbreviations can be found at the bottom of this page: GLOSSARY HOME.

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 quotation may be found on pp. 161-165. In this first edition, 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 MusæusIt 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. 

[2] L&S p. 1139 left column: remembrance, memory.

[3] CM* p. 21 under Didymeus.

[4] Orphic Hymn 34. To Apóllohn, line 19, OH p. 49. (Athanassakis trans.)

[5] Orphic Hymn 34. To Apóllohn, line 19, HO p. 164. (Thomas Taylor trans.)

Píndaros (Pindar; Gr. Πίνδαρος) Nemean 6, For Alcimidas of Aegina, line number 1, translated by Sir J. E. Sandys, 1915. PI p. 369. PI = The Odes of Pindar Including the Principal Fragments translated by Sir John Sandys, 1915. We are using the 1968 edition published by William Heinemann LTD (London England) and Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA), Loeb Classical Library Series Vol. 56.

[7] Condensed from example 4 of L&S p. 996, left column:

κρίνω [ῑ], Ep. 3sg. ind. κρίνησι (δια-) f.l. in Theoc.25.46: fut. κρῐνῶ, Ep., Ion. κρῐνέω (δια-) Il.2.387: aor.
separate, put asunder, distinguish. II. pick out, choose. 2. decide disputes. b. decide a contest. c. win a battle. 3. adjudge, the sum adjudged to be paid. b. abs., judge, give judgement. c. Medic., bring to a crisis :—Pass., of a sick person, come to a crisis. 4. judge of, estimate. 5. expound, interpret in a particular way. 6. c. acc. et inf., decide or judge. 7. decide in favour of, prefer, choose; choose between. 8. c. inf.only, determine to do a thing. 9. form a judgement of a thing. III. in Trag., question. 2. bring to trial, accuse. 3. pass sentence upon, condemn

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; 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). 

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.

SPELLING: 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: 

PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information

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Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

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