ORPHIC CRITICAL TESTIMONY 68

OTTO KERN

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ARISTAEUS

SUMMARY: This testimony consists of two quotations; the first makes Aristaeus guilty for the death of Euridice; the second says he is the son of Apollo and Cyrene. There is also a brief acknowledgement of the opinions of some scholars from the time of Kern regarding the validity of the inclusion of Aristaeus in the myth of Orpheus and Cyrene.

ORPHIC CRITICAL TESTIMONY 68.

Publii Vergilii Maronis Georgica IV 453-558 contaminated the myth of Orpheus with the myth of Aristaeus, having followed a poet of the Alexandrian age, in the judgement of Maaß Orpheus 283. 289 n. 88 (Skutsch in Aus Vergils Frühseit 143 contradicted him, with which Malten in Kyrene 29 agrees); v. also Carl Robert in Griechische Heldensage I 403, rightly denied that cult of Orpheus had at any time been yoked with the religion of Aristaeus.

For certainly the verses of Vergil do not prove it IV 544:

post, ubi nona suos Aurora ostenderit ortus, inferias Orphei Lethaea papavera mittes et nigram mactabis ovem lucumque revises: placatam Eurydicen vitula venerabere caesa.

Translator’s note: Aristaeus, at the loss of his beloved bees, inquired of the seer Proteus for a solution to end his misery. Proteus told him that his troubles were the result of his responsibility in the death of Euridice. When Proteus swam back into the sea, Cyrene, the mother of Aristaeus, instructed him as to how to appease Euridice and Orpheus:

“Later, when the ninth Dawn displays her rising beams, you must offer to Orpheus funeral dues of Lethe’s poppies, slay a black ewe, and revisit the grove. Then with Eurydice appeased you should honour her with the slaying of a calf.”

(trans. H. R. Fairclough, 1916)

Not a mountain situated near Cyrene: Publius Nigidius Figulus as found in Scholia in Germanici Caesaris Aratea 154, 12 Alfred Breysig:

ab antiquis quidem dicitur Aristaeum Apollinis filium fuisse, quem Apollo fertur ex Cyrena procreasse, quam conpressit in monte Orpheo, qui Cyrenis est appellatus.

“Certainly since ancient times, it is said that Aristaeus is a son of Apollo, and it is said that Apollo sired him from Cyrene, with whom he had intercourse on Mount Orpheus*, which was called Cyrene.”

(trans. by the author)

* Perhaps meaning the Rodopi (Ροδόπη) Mountains which are associated with Orphic myth.

On Vergil’s scholiasts and mythographers v. nr. 64-66 and Keseling Il. 87 s.


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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