a gold funerary crown, Kerameikos Cemetery


The 'Orphic'

#1: (From Petelia: IV-III B.C.) (See Powell, 5th ed., p. 313-316.)

"You will find a spring on the left of the halls of Hades, and beside it a white cypress growing. Do not even go near this spring. And you will find another, from the Lake of Memory, flowing forth with cold water. In front of it are guards. You must say, 'I am the child of Ge and starry Ouranos; this you yourselves also know. I am dry with thirst and am perishing. Come, give me at once cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory.' And they themselves will give you to drink from the divine spring, and then thereafter you will reign with the other heroes."

#2: (from Eleutherae in Crete: second century B.C.)

"A: 'I am dry with thirst and am perishing.'
B: 'Come, drink please, from the ever-flowing spring on the right, where the cypress is. Who are you, and where do you come from?'
A: 'I am the son of Earth and Starry Heaven.'"

#3: (from Thurii, in south Italy: (Fourth or third century B.C.)

"A: 'I come from the pure, o Pure Queen of the earthly ones, Eukles, Eubouleus, and You other Immortal Gods! I too claim to be of your blessed race, but Fate and other Immortal Gods conquered me, the star-smiting thunder. And I flew out from the hard and deeply-grievous circle, and stepped onto the crown with my swift feet, and slipped into the bosom of the Mistress (Kore), the Queen of the Underworld. And I stepped out from the crown with my swift feet.'
B: 'Happy and blessed one! You shall be a god instead of a mortal.' A: 'I have fallen as a kid into milk.'"

#4: (from Thurii)

"I come pure from the pure, Queen of the Underworld, Eukles, Eubouleus, and all other gods! For I too claim to be of your race. And I have paid the penalty for unjust deeds, whether Fate conquered me . . . [lacuna] . . . with the thunderbolt and the lightning flash. Now I come as a suppliant to noble Persephone, that she may be kind and send me to the seats of the pure."

#5: (from Rome)

" A: 'I come pure from the pure, Queen of the Underworld, Eukles, Eubouleus, noble child of Zeus! And I have this gift of Memory, prized by men!'
B: 'Caecilia Secundina, come, made divine by the Law!'"

#6: (from Thurii)

"But whenever a soul leaves the light of the sun--enter on the right, where one must, if one has kept all well and truly. Rejoice at the experience! This you have never before experienced. You have become a god instead of a man. You have fallen as a kid into milk. Hail, hail, as you travel on the right, through the Holy Meadow and Groves of Persephone."

#7: (from Thurii)

"To Earth, first-born Mother, Cybelean Kore said: . . . [lacuna] . . .
... of Demeter . . . all-seeing Zeus.
O Sun, Fire, you went through all towns, when you appeared with the Victories and Fortunes and All-wise Fate, where you increase the brightness of the festival with your lordship, O glorious deity! By you all things are subdued, all things overpowered, all things smitten! The Decrees of Fate must everywhere be endured. O Fire, lead me to the Mother, if the fast can endure, to fast for seven nights and days! For there was a seven-day fast, O Olympian Zeus and all-seeing Sun . . ."

January 22, 2010 10:06 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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