aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Anonymous, c.330 B.C. Orphic text (SEG 27.226 bis)

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Here is a lovely little text, beautifully written on a thin gold sheet found in a grave in Thessaly. You can see a photograph of it here. I’ve given the Greek unpunctuated and in capitals to make it easier to compare it with the photograph, but I have added word-breaks and apostrophes for ease of reading.

ΔΙΨΑΙ ΑΥΟΣ ΕΓΩ ΚΑΠΟΛΛΥΜΑΙ
ΑΛΛΑ ΠΙΕ ΜΟΥ ΚΡΑΝΑΣ ΑΙΕΙΡΟΩ
ΕΠΙ ΔΕΞΙΑ ΛΕΥΚΗ ΚΥΠΑΡΙΣΣΟΣ
ΤΙΣ Δ’ ΕΣΙ ΠΩ Δ’ ΕΣΙ ΓΑΣ ΥΙΟΣ ΕΙΜΙ
ΚΑΙ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΥ ΑΣΤΕΡΟΕΝΤΟΣ
ΑΥΤΑΡ ΕΜΟΙ ΓΕΝΟΣ ΟΥΡΑΝΙΟΝ

“I am dry with thirst and I am dying.”
“But drink of me, an ever-flowing stream.
On the right is a white cypress.
But who are you, and where are you from?” “I am the son of Earth
and of starry Heaven,
but my race is heavenly.”

(Note that I have corrected the SEG reading in line 2; there is clearly an iota before the second rho on that line.)

This is presumably intended as an aide-mémoire for the dead person of the dialogue required to gain purification. Robert Parker discusses this kind of Orphic text in Miasma, Oxford 1983, ch.10.

Written by aleatorclassicus

July 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi

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