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

SUMMARY: This testimony says that the bones of Orpheus were taken away from Libethra, after it had been destroyed by a flood; the bones were taken by the Macedonians in Dium (Δίον) to their own country, this according to a story heard by the geographer Pausanias.


Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις Παυσανίου 9.30.9 (Βοιωτία):

ἤκουσα δὲ καὶ ἄλλον ἐν Λαρίσηι λόγον, ὡς ἐν τῶι Ὀλύμπωι πόλις οἰκοῖτο Λίβηθρα, ἧι ἐπὶ Μακεδονίας τέτραπται τὸ ὄρος, καὶ εἶναι οὐ πόρρω τῆς πόλεως τὸ τοῦ Ὀρφέως μνῆμα· ἀφικέσθαι δὲ τοῖς Λιβηθρίοις παρὰ τοῦ Διονύσου μάντευμα ἐκ Θράικης, ἐπειδὰν ἴδηι τὰ ὀστᾶ τοῦ Ὀρφέως ἥλιος, τηνικαῦτα ὑπὸ συὸς ἀπολεῖσθαι Λιβηθρίοις τὴν πόλιν. οἱ μὲν δι᾽ οὐ πολλῆς φροντίδος ἐποιοῦντο τὸν χρησμόν, οὐδὲ ἄλλο τι θηρίον οὕτω μέγα καὶ ἄλκιμον ἔσεσθαι νομίζοντες ὡς ἑλεῖν σφισι τὴν πόλιν, συὶ δὲ θρασύτητος μετεῖναι μᾶλλον ἢ ἰσχύος. (10) ἐπεὶ δὲ ἐδόκει τῶι θεῶι, συνέβαινέ σφισι τοιάδε. ποιμὴν περὶ μεσοῦσαν μάλιστα τὴν ἡμέραν ἐπικλίνων αὑτὸν πρὸς τοῦ Ὀρφέως τὸν τάφον, ὁ μὲν ἐκάθευδεν ὁ ποιμήν, ἐπήιει δέ οἱ καὶ καθεύδοντι ἔπη τε ἄιδειν τῶν Ὀρφέως καὶ μέγα καὶ ἡδὺ φωνεῖν. οἱ οὖν ἐγγύτατα νέμοντες ἢ καὶ ἀροῦντες ἕκαστοι τὰ ἔργα ἀπολείποντες ἠθροίζοντο ἐπὶ τοῦ ποιμένος τὴν ἐν τῶι ὕπνωι ὠιδήν· καί ποτε ὠθοῦντες ἀλλήλους καὶ ἐρίζοντες ὅστις ἐγγύτατα ἔσται τῶι ποιμένι ἀνατρέπουσι τὸν κίονα, καὶ κατεάγη τε ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ πεσοῦσα ἡ θήκη καὶ εἶδεν ἥλιος ὅ τι ἦν τῶν ὀστῶν τοῦ Ὀρφέως λοιπόν. (11) αὐτίκα δὲ ἐν τῆι ἐπερχομένηι νυκτὶ ὅ τε θεὸς κατέχει πολὺ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ ὁ ποταμὸς ὁ Σῦς — τῶν δὲ περὶ τὸν Ὄλυμπον χειμάρρων καὶ ὁ Σῦς ἐστι —, τότε οὖν οὗτος ὁ ποταμὸς κατέβαλε μὲν τὰ τείχη Λιβηθρίοις, θεῶν <δὲ suppl. Musurus> ἱερὰ καὶ οἴκους ἀνέτρεψεν ἀνθρώπων, ἀπέπνιξε δὲ τούς τε ἀνθρώπους καὶ τὰ ἐν τῆι πόλει ζῶια ὁμοίως τὰ πάντα. ἀπολλυμένων δὲ ἤδη Λιβηθρίων, οὕτως οἱ ἐν Δίωι Μακεδόνες κατά γε τὸν λόγον τοῦ Λαρισαίου ξένου ἐς τὴν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ὀστᾶ κομίζουσι τοῦ Ὀρφέως.

“In Larisa I heard another story, how that on Olympus is a city Libethra, where the mountain faces, Macedonia, not far from which city is the tomb of Orpheus. The Libethrians, it is said, received out of Thrace an oracle from Dionysus, stating that when the sun should see the bones of Orpheus, then the city of Libethra would be destroyed by a boar. The citizens paid little regard to the oracle, thinking that no other beast was big or mighty enough to take their city, while a boar was bold rather than powerful. (10) But when it seemed good to the god the following events befell the citizens. About midday a shepherd was asleep leaning against the grave of Orpheus, and even as he slept he began to sing poetry of Orpheus in a loud and sweet voice. Those who were pasturing or tilling nearest to him left their several tasks and gathered together to hear the shepherd sing in his sleep. And jostling one another and striving who could get nearest the shepherd they overturned the pillar, the urn fell from it and broke, and the sun saw whatever was left of the bones of Orpheus. (11) Immediately when night came the god sent heavy rain, and the river Sys (Boar), one of the torrents about Olympus, on this occasion threw down the walls of Libethra, overturning sanctuaries of gods and houses of men, and drowning the inhabitants and all the animals in the city. When Libethra was now a city of ruin, the Macedonians in Dium, according to my friend of Larisa, carried the bones of Orpheus to their own country.”

(trans. W. H. S. Jones, 1918)

It is likely that these things occurred during the reign of Archelaüs (Ἀρχέλαος), construed from Βιβλιοθήκη ἱστορικὴ Διοδώρου Σικελιώτου XVII 16, 3. Carl Robert Griechische Heldensage I 409 n. 3.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic 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.

This logo 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).

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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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