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

AMOR PUERORUM (Lover of Young Men)

SUMMARY: This testimony has many quotations, beginning with the main quotation by the poet Phanokles, which say that after Eurydice died, Orpheus lost interest in women and turned his affections to young men, which infuriated the Thracian women, who then killed him.


Ἔρωτες ἢ Καλοί Φανοκλέους as found in Ἐκλογαὶ φυσικαὶ καὶ ἠθικαί Ἰωάννου Στοβαῖο IV 20, 47 (IV 461, 3 Hense) Anthol. lyr. ed. Theodor Bergk p. 165 fr. 1:

Ἢ ὡς Οἰάγροιο πάις Θρηίκιος Ὀρφεὺς

ἐκ θυμοῦ Κάλαϊν στέρξε Βορηϊάδην,

πολλάκι δὲ σκιεροῖσιν ἐν ἄλσεσιν ἕζετ’ ἀείδων

ὃν πόθον, οὐδ’ ἦν οἱ θυμὸς ἐν ἡσυχίηι,

ἀλλ’ αἰεί μιν ἄγρυπνοι ὑπὸ ψυχῆι μελεδῶναι 5

ἔτρυχον, θαλερὸν δερκομένου Κάλαϊν.

τὸν μὲν Βιστονίδες κακομήχανοι ἀμφιχυθεῖσαι ἔκτανον,

εὐήκη φάσγανα θηξάμεναι,

οὕνεκα πρῶτος ἔδειξεν ἐνὶ Θρήικεσσιν ἔρωτας

ἄρρενας, οὐδὲ πόθους ἤινεσε θηλυτέρων. 10

τοῦ δ’ ἀπὸ μὲν κεφαλὴν χαλκῶι τάμον, αὐτίκα δ’ αὐτὴν

εἰς ἅλα Θρηϊκίην ῥῖψαν ὁμοῦ χέλυϊ

ἥλωι καρτύνασαι, ἵν’ ἐμφορέοιντο θαλάσσηι

ἄμφω ἅμα, γλαυκοῖς τεγγόμεναι ῥοθίοις.

τὰς δ’ ἱερῆι Λέσβωι πολιὴ θάλασσα· 15

ἠχὴ δ’ ὡς λιγυρῆς πόντον ἐπέσχε λύρης,

νήσους τ’ αἰγιαλούς θ’ ἁλιμυρέας, ἔνθα λίγειαν

ἀνέρες Ὀρφείην ἐκτέρισαν κεφαλήν.

ἐν δὲ χέλυν τύμβωι λιγυρὴν θέσαν, ἣ καὶ ἀναύδους

πέτρας καὶ Φόρκου στυγνὸν ἔπειθεν ὕδωρ. 20

ἐκ κείνου μολπαί τε καὶ ἱμερτὴ κιθαριστὺς

νῆσον ἔχει, πασέων δ’ ἐστὶν ἀοιδοτάτη.

Θρῆικες δ’ ὡς ἐδάησαν ἀρήϊοι ἔργα γυναικῶν

ἄγρια, καὶ πάντας δεινὸν ἐσῆλθεν ἄχος,

ἃς ἀλόχους ἔστιζον, ἵν’ ἐν χροῒ σήματ’ ἔχουσαι 25

κυάνεα στυγεροῦ μὴ λελάθοιντο φόνου·

ποινὰς δ’ Ὀρφῆϊ κταμένωι στίζουσι γυναῖκες

εἰς ἔτι νῦν κείνης εἵνεκεν ἀμπλακίης.

“Or how Thracian Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς), the son of Íagros (Οἴαγρος),

deeply loved Kálaïs (Κάλαϊς), the son of Vorǽas (Βορέας).

and was often sitting in shady groves singing out

his desire, for his heart was not at rest;

indeed, he always passed sleepless nights under the force of his life, for thoughts 5

were consuming him, from gazing at exuberant Kálaïs.

A mischievous plot embracing them, the Vistonian women (Βιστονίδες) slew him,

having sharpened their well-pointed swords,

because he was the first to reveal the amours between males among the Thracians,

and he did not approve of love for women. 10

And they cut off his head with bronze, and at once

cast it into the Thracian sea with his lyre,

strengthening their bond with a nail, so that they were both carried together to the sea,

immersed in the gleaming waves.

And the gray sea brought them to shore on sacred Lǽzvos (Λέσβος). 15

Thus the sweet sound of the lyre spread over the sea,

the islands, and the salt-soaked shores, where

men buried the singing head of Orphéfs.

And in the tomb they placed the lyre,

which even persuaded dumb rocks and the hateful water of Phórkos (Φόρκος = Φόρκυς). 20

Since then, both songs and lovely kithára-playing

sustain the island, and it is the most tuneful of all places.

And as the warlike Thracian men learned of the savage deeds of the women,

and fearful distress entered all,

they were tattooing their wives, that by having dark signs on their skin 25

they would not forget their hateful murder;

and for their slaying of Orphéfs, the women still tattoo themselves

even now for the sake of penalties paid for their sins.”

(trans. by the author)

Publii Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoses X 83 (nr. 76) says the same as Phanocles:

ille etiam Thracum populis fuit auctor amorem

in teneros transferre mares citraque iuventam

aetatis breve ver et primos carpere flores.

“He was also the first of the Thracian people to turn his love to young men, of that life, that brief springtime within youth, and the first flowers to pick.”

(trans. by the author)

Ludwig Preller Rheinisches Museum für Philologie IV 1845, 402 (Orphischen Fragmenten. Phädons Lebensschicksale und Schriften. Phanokles und die Mythologie der Knabenliebe) = Ausgew. Aufs. 373; R. Heinze Ber. Sächs. Ges. Wiss. LXXI 1919, 90.

Pseudo-Hyginus De Astronomica II 7:

nonnulli aiunt, quod Orpheus primus puerilem amorem induxerit, mulieribus visum contumeliam fecisse; hac re ab his interfectum (DGN] fecisse illis ab hac re interfectum vulgo).

“Some affirm that Orpheus may have been the first to introduce the love of boys, and this, having been observed by the women, was taken as an affront; and for this he was killed by them.”

(trans. by the author)

Iunii Philargyrii Commentariolus in Bucolica et Georgica Virgilii IV 520 (II 346 Lion):

Orpheus autem quoniam post obitum Eurydices omnes feminas fastidiit, translato in pueros amore, discerptus est.

“But since Orpheus, after the death of Eurydice, disliked all women, and (his affections) had been transferred to the love of young men, he was torn into pieces.”

(trans. by the author)

Regarding v. 25 see v. Ἠθικὰ Πλουτάρχου· Περὶ τῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ θείου βραδέως τιμωρουμένων 44.12 p. 557 d:

οὐδὲ γὰρ Θρᾶικας ἐπαινοῦμεν ὅτι στίζουσιν ἄχρι νῦν, τιμωροῦντες Ὀρφεῖ τὰς αὑτῶν γυναῖκας.

“For we do not applaud the Thracians who tattoo their wives even now, to avenge Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς)”

(trans. by the author)

On the contrary, Apion says that Apollo is the lover (ἐραστής) of Orpheus, as quoted in Ὁμιλίᾳ Κλήμεντος Ῥώμης (pseudo-Clement) V 15:

καὶ ἵνα μὴ εἰς ἄπειρον ἐξήγησιν τὸν χρόνον δαπανῶ, πάντων μετὰ Διὸς θεῶν ἀφθόνους εὑρήσεις κοινωνίας, οἱ ἀνόητοι δὲ μοιχείας λέγουσι τῶν θεῶν μηδὲ τῶν ἀρρένων τὰς μίξεις φυλασσομένων ὡς αἰσχράς, ἀλλὰ ἐπιτηδευόντων καὶ τοῦτο ὡς εὐπρεπές. αὐτίκα γοῦν αὐτὸς ὁ Ζεὺς Γανυμήδους ἐρᾶι, – Ποσειδῶν Πέλοπος – Ἀπόλλων Κινύρου, Ζακύνθου, Ὑακίνθου, Φόρβαντος, Ὕλα, Ἀδμήτου, Κυπαρίσσου, Ἀμύκλα, Τρωίλου, Βράγχου, Τυμναίου, Πάρου, Ποτνιέως, Ὀρφέως.

“And not to spend the time in an endless exposition, you will find numerous unions with Jupiter of all the gods. But senseless men call these doings of the gods adulteries; even of those gods who did not refrain from the abuse of males as disgraceful, but who practised even this as seemly. For instance, Jupiter himself was in love with Ganymede: Poseidon with Pelops; Apollo with Cinyras, Zacyinthus, Hyacinthus, Phorbas, Hylas, Admetus, Cyparissus, Amyclas, Troilus, Branchus the Tymnæan, Parus the Potnian, Orpheus.”

(trans. Thomas Smith, 1886)

Compare to Wilamowitz Commentariolum Grammaticum II 1879, 14, who, with good reason, is of the opinion that this idea had originated from a passage from Pindar on Orpheus (nr. 58).

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).

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:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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

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

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

For more information: Inquire.hellenicgods@gmail.com

For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

© 2010 by HellenicGods.org. All Rights Reserved.