Vieille lettre NR10

Vieille lettre NR10

Vieille lettre NR10

Littera Antiqua
nr 10 (2015)
Greek Manuscript of 1st Corinthians 13
ISSN 2082-9264
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Instytut Filologii Klasycznej
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Al. Racławickie 14
20-950 Lublin
tel. 81/445-43-59
Redaktor naczelny
dr Katarzyna Kołakowska
tel. 604-586-792
e-mail: (email protected)
Zastępca redaktora naczelnego
dr Iwona Wieżel
tel. 697-282-221
e-mail: (email protected)
Sekretarz redakcji
dr Lesław Łesyk
tel. 510-643-272
e-mail: (email protected)
Redaktor językowy
dr Lech Giemza
e-mail: (email protected)
Sylwia Wilczewska
e-mail: (email protected)
Redaktor tematyczny
dr hab. Ewa Osek
e-mail: (email protected)
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Katarzyna Kołakowska – The John Paul II Catholic University
Greek manuscripts in Poland. Part I: Kraków, Toruń, Elbląg .............................................4-24
Ewa Osek – The John Paul II Catholic University
The Orphic Diet ............................................................................................................. 25-200
Dariusz Piasecki – Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Modlitwa Chrystusa w Centonach homeryckich ........................................................... 201-210
Apostolos Athanassakis - The University of California, Santa Barbara
Who sang the Orphic Hymns? ..................................................................................... 211-217
Edyta Gryksa - Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Śmierć jako pietas erga patriam w historiografii starożytnego Rzymu ......................... 218-228
Łukasz Halida – Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Color affectus jako źródło semantycznej ewolucji terminu pietas ................................ 229-241
Dannu Hütwohl – The Ohio State University
Pindar of Thebes: The Orphic Mystagogue .................................................................. 242-260
Dariusz Kubok – University of Silesia in Katowice
Allocriticism and Autocriticism in the Views of Xenophanes of Colophon .................. 261-281
Patrycja Matusiak – Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Devotio Decjuszy jako exemplum republikańskiej pietas ............................................. 282-293
Spetsialnyie istoricheskiie distsipliny, vyp. 1, otvestv. red. B.L. Fonkich, Rossiiskaia
Akademia nauk. Institut vseobshchei istorii. Otdel spetsialnykh istoricheskikh distsiplin,
Moskva: IVI RAN 2014, ss. 612 (Lesław Łesyk) .......................................................... 294-295
Andrzej Gillmeister, The Point of View. Tadeusz Zieliński on Ancient Religions, Akme.
Studia Historica: nr 11/2013, Warszawa, 67 pp. (Mariola Sobolewska) ....................... 296-300
Irene J.F. de Jong, Narratology and Classics. A Practical Guide, Oxford: Oxford
University Press 2014, ss. 230 (Iwona Wieżel) ............................................................. 301-308
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Greek manuscripts in Poland. Part I: Kraków, Toruń, Elbląg1
(The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)
The issue of Greek manuscript collections in Poland is highly complicated and, unlike
other European collections, very dynamic. Due to historical reasons, the fortunes of Polish
collections cause information chaos among foreign researchers, albeit not only.
Consequently, catalogues and directories prepared by them contain a lot of wrong
information concerning places of storage and number of manuscripts.
The largest catalogue of Greek manuscripts is Repertoire des Bibliotheques et des
Catalogues de Manuscrits Grecs de Marcel Richard by Jean-Marie Olivier,2 who, researching
manuscripts in Poland, based his information on three others (already outdated) catalogues
of Kurt Aland,3 Paul Canart4 and Yaroslav N. Ščapov.5 Unfortunately, due to the
aforementioned historical turbulence, the majority of information contained therein is either
incomplete or out-of-date, although the catalogue certainly provides a starting point for
detailed surveys and studies on Greek manuscripts in Poland.
Furthermore, data in catalogues and inventories of particular libraries also contain
mistakes: mainly in descriptions and dating of particular volumes, as well as their contents,
not to mention proper classification of palimpsests (obviously, without the use of suitable
equipment, the most serious problem is distinguishing between Old Serbian and Old Church
Slavonic palimpsests and between Greek and Old Church Slavonic ones). Most probably,
this is due to the lack of specialists in Greek palaeography because no Polish university
educates in this field.
Research on Greek manuscripts in Poland is conducted in the Department of Greek Studies
in The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin under the guidance of Katarzyna
Kołakowska, PhD, in cooperation with Lesław Łesyk, PhD. The author wishes to thank
Professor Boris L. Fonkich, PhD h.c., for introduction into the world of Greek palaeography
and manuscripts, scientific guidance and friendship.
2 Olivier 1995.
3 Aland 1956.
4 Canart 1974.
5 Щапов 1973.
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I Kraków
1. Jagiellonian Library
By far the biggest collection of Greek manuscripts is stored in the Jagiellonian
University Library. According to Olivier, the Library possesses 16 manuscripts of which
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three are palimpsests. In Eduard Gollob’s catalogue6 information can be found about thirteen
Greek manuscripts but it is supplemented with a handwritten note about the fourteenth
manuscript from 1589 with a text: ‚lek.-teolog.‛ – ‚medical-theological‛7 (Olivier’s catalogue
includes this information). This manuscript (or rather a document) contains notes about:
‚faith, Holy Trinity, fasting, two journeys to Jerusalem and Sinai, as well as Apocyphra
about Jesus and medical notes.‛8 This small collection was developed throughout the whole
period of existence of the Kraków Academy and then the Jagiellonian University, frequently
with personal and financial involvement of librarians who allocated their own funds to buy
or repurchase lost items.9 The vast majority of the manuscripts were written on paper (12).
They contain works of classical authors (3), theological (7) and philosophical writings (4), one
lexicon and one text difficult to classify (Ms. 2731). The time span is between the 14th (Ms.
788) and 18th (Ms. 2731, Illustr. 1st) c. It is worth verifying dates of the manuscripts with
‚double dating‛, e.g. 16th-17th c., and these with no specific date of origin (Illustr. 2nd).
Currently, the science of palaeography has developed well enough so that it is not only
possible to specify dates much more precisely (with approximation to half a century or even
a decade), but also to try and match handwriting to a given scribe, using the method devised
by one of the most eminent palaeographers – Boris L. Fonkich. Of course, these methods
were not known at the time when the abovementioned catalogues were compiled.
Apart from the manuscripts which the Jagiellonian Library owns, it also stores a huge
collection of Greek manuscripts from the Berlin State Library (Preußische Staatsbibliothek),
popularly called Stabi, in the deposit of the Polish State Treasury. The collection contains 140
Greek manuscripts. A detailed description of them can be found in the catalogue: Die
Handchriften-Verzeichnisse der Königlichen Bibliothek ze Berlin by Carl de Boor (Berlin 1897). It is
Verzeichnis der Griechischen Handschriften in Osterreich Auszerhalb Wiens von Eduard Gollob,
Wien 1903.
7 Gollob 1903: 27.
8 Щапов 1973: 260.
9 The remarkable and fascinating history of the collection of manuscripts in the Jagiellonian
Library is described in: Wisłocki 1877-1881: I-XXXV.
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not possible to discuss each manuscript here, even though the majority of them are worth
verifying. These are mostly palimpsests which, due to the lack of special non-invasive
equipment, were destroyed by the use of chemical agents that dyed parchment blue but did
not bring expected results (for instance, Graec. Fol. 28 described by de Boor under no. 266).
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The oldest and most damaged manuscripts should also be verified, as exemplified by the
manuscripts no. Graec. Fol. 43-47, written with Greek capital letters in two columns. They are
very worn and require immediate cleaning and restoration. One of them, namely Graec. Fol.
45 (de Boor 281, Illustr. 3rd), is dated to the 11th-13th c. However, a detailed analysis including
comparative material enables to specify its date of origin at the 10th c. Moreover, it is possible
to identify the origin of the manuscript at the first half of the 10th c. or mid-century at the
latest. The aforementioned comparative material (Ms. Harley 5694, Paris. gr. 451, Berlin,
Staatsbibliothek, Phillipps 1538)10 made it possible to find out that the manuscript was
created in the circle of writers gathered around a Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII
Porphyrogennetos (905-59). Moreover, comparing the handwriting of one of the authors it is
possible to find considerable similarity to a great writer Baanes11 who wrote for Arethas of
Caesarea.12 Thus, it is clear that de Boor’s mistake can reach even three hundred (!) years. The
manuscript contains the Evangelion consisting of 8 parts. The first part comprises John
Chrysostom’s homilies on the Book of Genesis, parts second to fifth contain homilies of St
Basil the Great, the sixth part presents fragments of the Gospel divided into weeks and St
Theodore’s holidays, the seventh part includes fragments of works by Ephraim the Syrian,
while the eight part contains mostly works of Pseudo-Epiphanius. Some of them are
unedited and in the case of two cards it is impossible to determine what text it is.13 Therefore,
the whole collection of Greek manuscripts is worth further research, while the majority of
manuscripts need a separate and in-depth study in monographic publications.
Among the Greek manuscripts there are also palimpsests. An example can be a
Slavonic manuscript no. 932 (according to Wisłocki: Old Slavonic-Serbian, Illustr. 4th) with a
See: Lefort – Cochez 1932.
Gamillscheg – Harlfinger – Hunger 1981: 43.
12 See: Fonkich 2014: 55-60. The author wishes to thank Marina A. Kurysheva, PhD, for
scientific assistance in specification of proper dating and comparative material.
13 See: K. Kołakowska Manuskrypty greckie w zbiorach krakowskich (in press).
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washed-off Greek text.14 Information about it can be found in an article of Eugenia E.
Granstrem who writes that under the top layer there is a liturgical text written with Greek
miniscule in the 13th/14th c.15 This manuscript was previously stored in a monastery in
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Macedonia (St Demetrius Monastery).16
Unfortunately, similarly as other libraries in possession of Greek manuscripts, the
Jagiellonian Library also suffered some losses, described in Wisłocki’s catalogue. The
Kraków librarian notes that: ‚The manuscripts previously marked as DD VII 1, DD X 11 and
DD X 13 have been lost. Bandtkie did not include them in his register of lacking manuscripts.
On the other hand, due to their character, it is impossible that he threw them away to scrap
paper in 1818. The ‘Register’ from 1777 enumerates these manuscripts, listed there between
‘Anonymous works’ on page 60, in the following way: ‚Liber Graecus, codex cartaceus in fol.
DD VII 1‛ and ‚Liber Graecus, cod. Cartaceus in 4to, DD X 11‛ and ‚Liber Graecus, cod.
Pergameneus (sic!) in4to DD X 13.‛17
2. The Princes Czartoryski Library
Similarly as in the aforementioned cases, the current shape of this collection was
significantly influenced by history of the whole library founded by the Princes Czartoryski
family. According to the Library’s guidebook, history of the book collection began in 1770
when the first catalogue of books and the private library of Prince Adam Kazimierz
Czartoryski was compiled. The library was housed in the Blue Palace in Warszawa. At that
time, the book collection comprised 1645 works, including several manuscripts. When the
library was moved to the palace in Puławy in 1784, the collection had already 7010 volumes
of foreign books and an unknown number of Polish works. As a repressive measure due to
involvement in the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794, the major part of the collection was taken
over by Russians. However, Prince Adam Kazimierz, who resided in Vienna and Sieniawa,
managed to reconstruct it, purchasing the lacking items on the antiquarian market.18 A
continuator of Adam Kazimierz’ work, his son Prince Adam Jerzy, whose wish was to create
Wisłocki 1877-1881: XVIII and 261.
Dating needs to be verified.
16 Гранстрем 1964: 218-22.
17 Wisłocki 1877-1881: XXXIII.
18 See: Lenkiewiczowa 2004: 6-7.
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a national library, ordered a search through monastic libraries and regularly supplemented
the resources, purchasing even the whole collections (for example so-called Poryck Library
which enlarged the Czartoryski collection with 8000 prints and 1550 manuscripts). Moreover,
in 1810 he regained possession of 102 rare Polish prints and 48 manuscripts from Sweden:
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from the Royal Library in Stockholm and the University Library in Uppsala, mostly
originating from the Chapter of Warmia and taken away from Poland during the Swedish
Deluge and the Second Northern War.19 The collection was made available to the public in
1810. Next repressive measures and considerable depletion of the collection occurred after
the collapse of the November Uprising. In 1831 Russians took away 47 cases with precious
prints and manuscripts to Petersburg. Some of them were given back pursuant to the Treaty
of Riga (1921) shortly before the World War II. The salvaged items were stored outside the
borders of the Russian rule in Sieniawa, Kórnik, Kraków and Krasiczyn. A part of the
collection was moved to Hôtel Lambert in Paris, and when it became endangered also there
(e.g. due to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the Paris Commune), Jerzy’s son
Władysław secured the collection by moving it to Kraków. Thanks to the municipal
authorities, he gathered the collection there in 1876 in rooms given by the city. In accordance
with the statute established by Władysław, the library and the museum were supported by
the Szaniawski Fee Tail (1898-1945). During the World War II the Library was officially
closed but many Polish scientists used it secretly. In 1961 the library was moved to 17 Św.
Marka Street where it exists until today. Since 1971 it has the status of a scientific library with
a humanist profile. Prince Adam Karol, a legal successor of the Czartoryski family from the
line of Adam Jerzy, established a family foundation in 1991 and made the private collection
available to the public, leaving it under supervision of the National Museum in Kraków.
Currently, the library consists of two departments: 1) Archive and Collection of Manuscripts
of the Czartoryski Family and 2) Book Collection of the Czartoryski Family.20
In Olivier’s Repertoir, the Princes Czartoryski Library is mistakenly identified with the
National Library.21 The French catalogue mentions three manuscripts, among them: no. 2852
See: Pezda 2011: 117.
See: Lenkiewiczowa 2004: 8-9.
21 Olivier, p. 438. Of course, distinguishing between the collections of both institutions, that is
the Princes Czartoryski Library and the National Library in Kraków, is problematic even to
Poles, and the more so to foreigners. Therefore, the mistake of J.M. Olivier can be
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containing hagiographic texts (i.a. Vita Constantini et Helenae, Illustr. 5th) and texts of John
Chrysostom, Symeon Metaphrastes and Alexander of Cyprus, dated to the 14th-15th c., and
no. 2853 (Illustr. 6th) with fragments of Plutarch’s work (Regum et imperatorum apophtegmata,
Apophtegmata Laconica, Instituta Laconica, Lacaenarum apophtegmata) dated to the 15th-16th c.22
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While the latter manuscript does not arise doubt, information concerning no. 2852 is more
puzzling. According to the Library’s inventory, the codex comes from the 12 th-13th c., so it is
much earlier than Olivier claims. Thus, what is the origin of this divergence? It is possible
that the authors of the descriptions were misled by renovation works during which the
manuscript was trimmed and folded again without keeping the original and proper
sequence of folios, which escaped attention of all those who were dealing with the discussed
manuscript. Moreover, on its initial and final pages the manuscript is a palimpsest, according
to the inventory – a Greek one,23 although there is a high probability that the bottom text was
written in an old Slavonic language. Another doubtful issue is identification of the text but
this will be discussed in a separate article.
As it has been mentioned above, Repertoir gives information about three manuscripts.
The last preserved codex in the Czartoryski collection is The Gospels (Ms. 1870, Illustr. 7).
Information about it can be found in the inventory available in situ. It dates the codex to the
13th c. (although this must be examined in detail). There is also information that the
manuscript lacks the illumination with the image of St Matthew the Evangelist (before p. 1
according to the top pagination and p. 7 according to the bottom pagination), but there is no
data about the lack of the whole folio volume (4 pages) with the beginning of the Gospel of St
John (no pagination, top or bottom, takes into account this lack).
Most probably, the abovementioned manuscripts (apart from The Gospels) were
purchased together with others: Turkish, Coptic, Malayan, Japanese, Hebrew and Armenian,
through political agents of Hôtel Lambert in the East and on the developing antiquarian
market.24 An excellent catalogue Zbiory rękopisów w Polsce25 in the section ‚Theology‛
understood. Both institutions are housed in the same place and have the same personnel, but
different catalogues. Nevertheless, all Greek manuscripts belong to the Princes Czartoryski
Library, not to the National Library.
23 Olivier 1995: 438.
24 Most probably, this is a suggestion of Dieter Harlfinger, who – according to the inventory –
worked on this manuscript.
24 Lenkiewiczowa 2004: 23.
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mentions that the collection of manuscripts, theological and philosophical treatises, sermons
and church chronicles decreased from 100 to 38, while the remaining ones got lost in the 19 th
c. Among them there could probably be Greek manuscripts, as well. Their lack is also noted
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following (in original catalogue notation):
in another register which enumerates four Greek manuscripts that got lost. These are the
a) No. 1222, Greek manuscript, St Chrysostom’s commentaries on Epistles to the
‚In 1831 taken away by Russians to Petersburg, currently in the National Library
in Warszawa. Catalogue number: Sygn. Grec. 145‛ (BCzart. Rkps. 12758). It burnt
down in Warszawa.
b) 1274 Greek homilies on parchment (no other information– K.K.)
c) Greek gospels
‚Greek book on parchment. 4 Evangelists‛ (BCzart. Rkps. 2855, p. 442)
d) De humana felicitate, in Hebrew, Greek and Latin
‚Manuscript on parchment with paintings and gilding. About Human Happiness in
Hebrew, Greek and Latin. These are adages of famous people and cited
examples.‛ (BCzart. 2855, p. 443)
Taken away to Petersburg.26
3. Archive of the Polish Province of the Congregation of the Mission
A short information about the Archive’s collection states that it contains a Greek
manuscript Vita Apolloni Tyanensis by Flavius Philostratus. This is a codex of Italian origin,
written on paper, dated to the 15th c., inside there is information about Thomas Rehdiger’s
II The Cyprian Norwid Library in Elbląg
Nowadays, Elbląg is a town not associated with education or universities. However,
it did not use to be like that. The Gymnasium established in the 1530s educated young
Kamolowa – Sieniatecka 2004: 160.
Pezda 2011: 141.
27 Makowski – Sapała 2014: 116.
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people from Prussia, Kingdom of Poland, Lithuania and Silesia. An important role in the
Gymnasium was played by the Library founded in 1601. It originated from the book
collection of Thomas Rothus, Gymnasium’s rector at that time, and numerous gifts from
Elbląg townsmen. In 1710 the remains of the book collection of Elbląg Dominican Friars were
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incorporated into the Library. In 1846 the Gymnasium Library became a property of the
According to Repertoire, Greek manuscripts can be found in the C.K. Norwid Regional
and Municipal Public Library, called today The Cyprian Norwid Library in Elbląg. The
French researcher informs that the Library should possess three manuscripts with the
catalogue numbers: F.1 (Dionysius of Halicarnassus), O.2 (Aristophanes, Cicero), O.10
(Aristophanes, Hesiod, Theocritus).29 All of them are dated to the 15th-16th c.
Unfortunately, this information has been long outdated. None of these codices can be
found there today. The history of these and many other precious manuscripts and antique
books from the Elbląg library is both sensational and dramatic. After the war it was decided
that the collection of the most valuable manuscripts and antique books should be deposited
with the University Library of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. The whole deposit
comprised 65 000 books and magazines, while 8 000 volumes were taken by the Baltic
Institute to Gdynia. Unfortunately, the night before the scheduled transport to Toruń, 18
cases with best manuscripts and antique books, as well as the remains of the card catalogue,
were stolen and taken away in an unknown direction. The salvaged items were taken to
Toruń and incorporated into the catalogue, but the stolen cases have never been found. The
deposit returned to Elbląg in 1995.30 On the basis of the information from the Head of the
Antique Collection Department it was found that out of 80 000 volumes (the condition as at
1938) 57 300 volumes returned to Elbląg. Of numerous manuscripts only 388 returned,
among them there were 2 medieval Latin manuscripts, the rest was the library
documentation and catalogues. Employees of the Elbląg Library say that even today it is
possible to come across ‚lost‛ manuscripts with the Library’s stamps at auctions. However,
due to the lack of a catalogue or an inventory confirming their provenance, it is not possible
to request their return.
Kamolowa – Sieniatecka 2004: 35-36.
Olivier quotes after: Neubaur 1894: 588.
See: Czyżak, 2000: 14.
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III Toruń
1. The Copernicus Regional Public Library in Toruń
Another place from Olivier’s list is abovementioned Toruń, the Nicolaus Copernicus
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Regional and Municipal Public Library, today: the Copernicus Regional Public Library in
Toruń. According to Repertoir, the Library should possess a manuscript from the 15th c.
containing Hermias’ Scholia to Plato’s Phaedrus. This manuscript (catalogue no. Rps KM 106)
was studied in detail in the Polish literature on the subject by Sławomir Wyszomirski who in
his article moved the dating of the manuscript to the years 1533-1534 on the basis of
identification of the filigree (no. 761) of the paper manufacturer in Udine (in the former
Republic of Venice).31
2. Nicolaus Copernicus University Library
The Repertoire contains no mention of the other Greek manuscript stored in the
Nicolaus Copernicus University Library in Toruń, with catalogue no. Rps 93/II of 1568,
namely: Carmen Graecum de coelestis doctrine studio omnibus aliis disciplinis et praestantia et
utilitate longe anteferendo inscriptum Illustrissimo principi ac domino domino Alberto Marchioni
Brandenburgico, duci Prussiae / Autore Gregorio Kregero Mesylaeo (Gregorius Cregerus
Mesylaeus), written in the mid-16th c. It comes from the State and University Library in
Königsberg.32 More information will be contained in the catalogue of modern-era
manuscripts prepared by the Library.33
History of the Nicolaus Copernicus University Library is connected with several
attempts to establish a university in Pomerania and dates back to the 15th c. However, the
official date of founding the Library is 1945. Its collection of manuscripts was based on the
so-called protected collection from West Pomerania, East Pomerania, Warmia and Masuria,
including a precious collection from Königsberg with the abovementioned Greek
manuscript. Manuscripts from Königsberg were obtained by the Library after the World War
II. They come from the former Castle Library in Königsberg established in 1534 on the
See: Wyszomirski 2004: 349-64.
See: Jähnig 2004: 223, 300.
33 The author of the record to this manuscript is Barbara Bibik, PhD, thanks to whom I
received the necessary data.
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initiative of Polyphemus – a Königsberg exile and thanks to donations of Prince Albrecht.
Before the World War II, the so-called Castle Library was housed in the University Library in
Königsberg together with other collections. Currently, the Nicolaus Copernicus University
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including at least one Greek
Library contains ca. 100 manuscripts from Königsberg,
J.M. Olivier’s Repertoir is the most complete catalogue containing a uniform list of
Greek manuscripts in Poland. However, due to historical reasons (three partitions, two
World Wars and post-war events) and unverified ‚second-hand‛ data (from previous
catalogues), it contains a number of mistakes and outdated information. In the near future,
information from particular catalogues and library inventories ought to be ordered and
corrected, all Greek manuscripts in Poland should be catalogued and the system of their
catalogue numbers needs to be standardized. The information concerning selected libraries,
presented above, demonstrates complexity of the problem. While further works in public
libraries should go on uninterrupted thanks to kindliness of people responsible for
manuscripts, there is still the issue of access to Greek manuscripts in private collections,
including church and monastic ones.
Kamolowa – Sieniatecka 2004: 341.
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Illustr. 1st – Ms. 788
Illustr. 2nd – Ms. 543
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Illustr. 3rd – Graec. Fol. 45
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Illustr. 4th – Ms. 932
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Illustr. 5th – Ms. 2852
Illustr. 6th – Ms. 2853
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Illustr. 7th – Ms. 1870
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Index of Greek manuscripts in Poland under the sources:
E. Gollob
K. Aland
P. Canart
Y. Ščapov
The Princes Czartoryski Library
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2852 (p. 438) –
i.a. Vita
Constantini et
2852 (p. 27)
2852 (p. 32)
2853 (p. 28)
2853 (p. 32)
(p. 556)
2852 (p. 260-1)
2853 (p. 438) Plutarch
2853 (p.
J.-M. Olivier
2853 (p. 260)
1870 (p. 438) –
1870 (p. 32) – Four
1870 (p. 260) –
Gospel Book
156 (p. 439)
620 (p. 439)
Jagiellonian Library
156 Bbb.II.17 – Ephraim
620 (F.F.V.4) – Boethius
2526 (p. 439)
932 (p. 29-30)
932 (p. 560)
932 (p. 260) euchologion
John the Priest (p. 23)
(p. 560)
2526 (F.F.VI.5; and: 339
B.2.) – Περὶ φύσεως
(p. 560-2)
(p. 23-5)
2528 (p. 439)
940 (p. 439)
620 (p. 559)
(p. 21-2)
932 (p. 439)
2363 (p. 439)
156 (p. 559)
(p. 26-7)
2528 (p. 29)
(p. 562-3)
940 – commentary
940 – i.a. Proclus
on Aristotle and
(p. 22-3)
Proclus; end of 17th
c. (p. 259)
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Akc. 33/64 – with
Akc. 33/64
notation: 1589 yr
(p. 439)
(liturgical texts)
24 (p. 439)
543 (p. 439)
544 (p. 439)
2731 (p. 439)
3206 (p. 439)
3246 (p. 439)
495 (p. 439)
letter of patriarch
Dionysius I from
1467 (today we
have only
translation, Greek
version is today
unknown) –
p. 260
24 (D.D.IV.92) –
Collectanea politica
(p. 18)
543 (D.D.VII.6) –
Odyssey (p. 19)
544 (F.F.15) –
Arithmetica of
Diophantus of
Alexandria (p. 19-21)
2731 – single folium
(p. 25) – difficult to say
what kind of text it is
3206 – prayers
(p. 25-6)
3246 (D.D.XII.18) –
Florilegium Graecorum
poetarum (p. 26)
495 (D.D.III.40) – the
fragment of the Gospel
of St John 23 (p. 27)
788 (D.D.III.5) –
788 (p. 439)
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Two copies of the
lexicon / dictionary
(p. 27)
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Aland K. 1956: Die Handschriftenbestände der polnischen Bibliotheken insbesondere an
griechischen und lateinischen Handschriften von Autoren und Werken der klassischen bis zum Ende
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der patristischen Zeit, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 19-25.
Boor de C. 1897: Verzeichniss der griechischen Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu
Berlin. Bd. 11., Berlin: A. Asher, 123-242.
Canart P. 1974: Notes sur quelques manuscrits grecs des bibliothèques de Pologne, in Serta
Turyniana. Studies in Greek Literature and Palaeography in honor of Alexander Turyn, eds. John L.
Heller – John K. Newman, Urbana – Chicago – London: University of Illinois Press, 547-63.
Czyżak D. 2000: Zanim księgozbiór elbląski do Torunia dotarł…, „Horyzont‛ 1, 10-8.
Czyżak D. 2002: Zanim księgozbiór elbląski do Torunia dotarł..., ‛Rocznik Elbląski‛ 18, 141-
Fonkich B.L. 2014: Scriptoria bizantini: risultati e prospettive della ricerca, in Б.Л. Фонкич,
Исследование по греческой палеографии и кодикологии IV-XIX вв., отв. ред. М. Курышева.
Монфокон 3, Москва: Рукописные Памятники Древней Руси, 55-60.
Gamillscheg E. – D. Harlfinger – H. Hunger 1981: Repertorium der griechischen Kopisten
800 - 1600. 1.Teil: Handschriften aus Bibliotheken Großbritanniens. Fasz. A: Verzeichnis der
Kopisten, Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Gollob E. 1903: Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften in Österreich auszerhalb Wiens,
Wien: C. Gerold's Sohn, 18-27.
Jähning B. 2004: Katalog der Handschriften der landesherrlichen Bibliothek in Königsberg
1700/1720, in A.E. Walter, Königsberger Buch- und Bibliothekgeschichte, Köln: Böhlau Verlag,
Kamolowa D. – T. Sieniatecka red. 2004: Zbiory rękopisów w Polsce. T. I. Zbiory rękopisów
w bibliotekach i muzeach w Polsce, Warszawa: Biblioteka Narodowa.
Kołakowska K., Manuskrypty greckie w zbiorach krakowskich (in press).
Lefort L. Th. — J. Cochez 1932: Album palaeographicum codicum Graecorum minusculis
litteris saec. IX et X certo tempore scriptorum, accedunt quaedam exempla codicum saec. XI-XVI,
Leuven, beheer van Philologische Studiën.
Lenkiewiczowa J. red. 2004: Biblioteka Książąt Czartoryskich. Informator o zbiorach,
Kraków: Fundacja Książąt Czartoryskich.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Makowski T. – Sapała P. red. 2014: Zbiory rękopisów w Polsce. T. II. Rękopisy w zbiorach
kościelnych, Warszawa: Biblioteka Narodowa.
Neubaur L. 1894: Katalog der Stadtbibliothek zu Elbing. Bd. 2., Elbing: Reinhold Kühn.
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Marcel Richard, Turnhout: Brepols.
Olivier J.-M. 19953: Répertoire des bibliothèques et des catalogues de manuscrits grecs de
Pezda J. 2011: Volumen hoc deest. Volument hoc desideratur. O brakach w zasobie rękopisów
Biblioteki Książąt Czartoryskich, „Rozprawy Muzeum Narodowego w Krakowie‛. Seria Nowa
TB, Kraków, 115-66.
Wisłocki W. 1877-1881: Katalog rękopisów Biblijoteki Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Część I.
Wstęp. Rękopisy 1-1875, Kraków: Drukarnia Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego.
Wyszomirski S. 2004: O toruńskim rękopisie «Scholiów» Hermiasza do «Fajdrosa» Platona,
in I. Mikołajczyk red., Sapere aude. Księga pamiątkowa ofiarowana profesorowi dr. hab. Marianowi
Szarmachowi z okazji 65. rocznicy urodzin, Toruń: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UMK 2004, 349-64.
ежегодник за 1963 год‛. Академия Наук СССР. Отделение Истории. Археографическая
Коммиссия. Москва, 218-22.
Щапов Я.Н. 1973: Греческие рукописи в собраниях Варшавы и Кракова, „Византийский
временик‛ 34, 257-61.
Katarzyna Kołakowska, PhD - assistant professor in Faculty of Classical Studies at the
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. Her researches base upon Greek classical
and Hellenistic literature, ancient philosophy (Presocratics, especially Empedocles),
Greek religion, especially Orphism (since 2009 Kolakowska have organized Colloquia
Orphica in Nieborów Palace) and Derveni Papyrus, papyrology and palaeography
(project: Greek manuscripts in Poland).
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
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The Orphic Diet
(The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)
Having discussed the Orphic dietary prescriptions, we meet a series of questions and
impediments. First of them comes the unsolved problem of chronology. When did the
legendary Orpheus, who gave the regimen to the Thracian people, live? Should we trust the
so-called Parian Marble (erected in 264 BC) that indicates the date 1398 BC,1 or 189 years
before the Trojan war? Besides, the related sources (collected in part six of the present paper)
are ranged from ca. 444 BC to ca. AD 1200. It amounts to over one and a half millennium! If
someone says that the Orphic way of life was known to Euripides and Plato (438–350 BC),
how to define the ―Orpheomania‖ of the later neo-Platonists (AD 400–529)? The 800 years
make a difference that can shift the Orphic phenomenon on another level.
The second problem is the close interrelation between the Orphic asceticism and the
Pythagoreans. Pythagoras, who flourished between 540 and 525 BC, migrated from the island
of Samos to Croton in the southern Italy where he founded the influential school that lasted
until the late 360s BC.2 The philosopher of Samos was to ascribe some of his own writings to
Orpheus,3 and to compose the hexametric poem under the Orphic title: ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο.4 Was it
true what is said by Pythagoras in his poem that Aglaophamus in Thrace had initiated him
into the Orphic mysteries?5 It would be a good reason why the Pythagorean brotherhood
adopted the Orphic lifestyle including some Orphic dietary taboos. But do we really believe
that Pythagoras came to Thrace to be initiated into the Orphic mysteries and described his
mystic experience in the Sacred Tale—the same that the neo-Platonists kept in their libraries?
Are we sure that Pythagoras himself composed the Sacred Tale which was, otherwise,
OF 1018ii = FGrHist 239 F14. The list of bibliographic abbreviations is found in part seven of the
present paper.
Pythagoras no. 8 Cardini = Pseudo-Iamblichus, Theology of Arithmetics 40 (52–53 Falco); Pythagoras
no. 10 Cardini = Aristoxenus fr. 19 Wehrli qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.46 (626
Dorandi); Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 36.265–67 (142–47 Deubner).
Ion of Chios, Triagmoi fr. 116 Leurini = FGrHist 392 F25a = OF 506 = Pythagoras fr. F Cardini.
Sotion of Alexandria (200–170 BC) qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.7 (604
Dorandi) = Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 2 Thesleff = Pythagoras fr. 19 Cardini.
OF 1144iii = Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 28.146 (82 Deubner); OF 1144iv
= Iamblichus of Chalcis, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus fr. 74 Dillon.
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attributed to Cercops the Pythagorean?6 Actually, the question concerns the unexplored
channels of transmission between the early Pythagoreanism that died out in 360s BC and its
neo-Pythagorean revival in Rome 300 years later (Kingsley 317–34).
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number of hymns that were sung during the Eleusinian Mysteries since ca. 300 BC or even
earlier.7 Moreover, we are informed about the dietetic regulations at Eleusis, obligatory for
the initiated and aimed at their purity, which were very similar to the Orphic ones.8 The
The third problem is of no less importance. We are told that Orpheus composed a
question is either the initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries had to be practicing ―Orphics‖ all
their lives long or only during eight days of the Eleusinia held between the 15th and 22th of
Boedromion. Euripides represented Hippolytus as a young Athenian keeping the Orphic diet
after he was initiated at Eleusis, against his father, Theseus, who imputed a hypocrisy to him. 9
Who was right, then, the father or his son? If Euripides‘ Theseus was, the Eleusinian fasting
would be a weekly abstinence from some foods like poultry, fish, eggs, beans, etc.—identical
with the dietetic restrictions during the Attic festivals of Demeter: Thesmophoria, held from
11th to 13th of Pyanopsion, and Haloa on the 26th of Poseideion10—whereas the extraordinary
diet Orpheus propagated in Thrace was to be a lifelong practice. So, was the Orphic diet
observed permanently—like Buddhist vegetarianism—or temporarily, in analogy to Christian
Lenten fasting?
The question is very important because it involves the next one. The fourth problem
concerns the participation in traditional bloody sacrifices. Could the Orphics (i.e. the people
who lived the Orphic lives) ever sacrifice animals to the gods if they refused to eat meat? We
know that Proclus (AD 412–85), a rigorous vegetarian who used to observe the Orphic
purifications, sometimes tasted a meat. Proclus did it ―from piety,‖ as his biographer remarks,
to have a sacrificial meal which was demanded by a given cult.11 Besides, Proclus must have
OF 406 = Epigenes of Alexandria (before 278 BC) qtd. in Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (1: 81 Stählin).
OF 682 + OF 531ii = Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.30.12 (3: 59 Rocha-Pereira).
Xenocrates of Chalcedon, fr. F170 Parente; Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence from Living Animals
4.16.6 (26–27 Pattilon).
OF 627 = Euripides, Hippolytus 952–54 (2: 216 Kovacs); Euripides, Hippolytus 25 (2: 126 Kovacs).
Scholia on Lucian‘s Dialogues of the Courtesans 7.4 s.v. ―Haloa‖ (280–81 Rabe); Clement of
Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2.19.3 (28 Marcovich).
Marinus of Neapolis, Life of Proclus 18–19 (75 Masullo).
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remembered that his master Plutarch of Athens enjoined him not to abstain from meat
completely,12 having pointed at semi-vegetarianism (Taormina 40–42). Seneca the Younger
tells a story that happened in his early years. He says that he had to abandon the vegetarian
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the emperor Tiberius in AD 19 persecuted all celebrants of foreign cults, and a young
vegetarian, as was he, would looked like one of them.13 We ask, then, if the vegetarian diet
regimen he used to keep for one year, under the influence of his Pythagorean teacher, because
was merely the Orphic dream that had never been realized in Graeco-Roman world, even by
so devoted partisans as Seneca and Proclus?
Now, after pointing these essential problems, I am going to do the only thing I can: to
trace the ancient sources and to follow them closely. Maybe the ancient testimonies, written in
Greek and Latin, will bring some answers to the questions I asked.
I. Orphic Lives, Orphic Taboos
Whereas the ancient sources leave us unsure if the Orphic sect ever existed (Burkert
1982, 194–204), there is no room for doubt that the Orphic lifestyle was something real. In the
times of Plato, ―the so-called Orphic lives‖ (὆ξƅηθνί ƄηλƂο ιƂγόκƂλνη βίνη) became proverbial
to characterize the people who completely abstained from meat, having sacrificed no living
animal to the gods, and never polluted the altars with sacrificial blood. Their offerings were
pure (ἁγλὰ ζύκƀƄƀ), for they used to sacrifice only cakes, honey, and fruit (T.1).14
Plato seems to summarize the longer tradition. So far as we know, the first historically
attested man who lived the Orphic life was Empedocles, the Italian man of aristocratic Greek
pedigree, born in Acragas, Sicily, ca. 490 BC and hosted at Thurii, Calabria, since 444 BC.15
He was an eclectic philosopher, ―both Pythagorean and Orphic‖ (T.2), or an unorthodox
Pythagorean (T.3). Empedocles was notorious for sacrificing no living thing to the gods and
credited with offering the animal-shaped cake, made of meal and honey, instead of living ox
(T.4a); the same anecdote, however, has been told on Pythagoras (T.4b). Empedocles‘ cake
was to be a symbolic refusal of animal sacrifice and meat-eating. The Sicilian philosopher
explained, in his inspired poem, the reason why he has gone out of these bloody practices. In
Plutarch of Athens fr. 2 Taormina qtd. in Marinus of Neapolis, Life of Proclus 12 (69 Masullo).
Seneca the Younger, Ad Lucilium epistulae morales 108.17–22 (454–56 Reynolds).
For references to the ancient testimonies see part six of the present paper.
Apollodorus of Athens, Chronica, FGrHist 244 F32.
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very emotional verses (―Alas that the pitiless day…‖) he repented that fatal day on which he
polluted his lips with flesh for the first time (T.5).
Empedocles‘ disgust with meat-eating foreshadows an Orphic-like inclination of the
giant figure of the Athenian theatre: Euripides. In his Hippolytus, he patterned a character of
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young Hippolytus, Theseus‘ son, after a contemporary Athenian youth, just initiated into the
Eleusinian Mysteries (line 25: ƃƂκλ῵λ ἐο ὄςηλ θƀὶ Ƅέιε κπƃƄεξίσλ). Hippolytus is said to be a
puritan to whom his father imputed to make a show with keeping a vegetarian diet under the
guidance of Orpheus—as his new in-style authority—and inhaling smokes of many books in
honor of his master (T.6). Theseus‘ disapproval would mean that no one in Athens—
including a candidate for an initiate into the Eleusinian Mysteries—observed the meatless
diet; otherwise, if someone did, the alleged Orphism might be imputed to him (Bernabé 2016:
―the vegetarian diet, characteristic of both Orphics and Pythagoreans… was very shocking to
the Athenians of the time‖). The Hippolytus was produced in 428 BC, in the beginning of the
Peloponnesian war, about 16 years after Empedocles moved in Thurii. Jan N. Bremmer may
be right in his opinion that the Orphic movement was an Italian import which came to Athens
from Magna Graecia, to infiltrate into higher classes of the Athenian society (Bremmer 65–
After Euripides died in Macedon in 406 BC, his fellow-citizen Aristophanes composed
the Frogs to mock on the Euripidean tragedies. The play-writer charged Euripides with a
crime of feeding his art only on a sea beet and a decoct from some books (T.7). Saying of his
diet, Aristophanes probably meant Euripides‘ interest in some esoteric writings signed with
Orpheus‘ seal, which propagated the Orphic lifestyle (including vegetarianism) that seemed
something bizarre to the contemporary Athenians (Scodel 79–81). In the Frogs, too,
Aristophanes mentions Orpheus‘ teaching on abstinence from killing—that must be nothing
else than a meatless diet—in connection to some mystic rites as revealed by Orpheus (T.8).
Should we assume, then, that the Orphic abstinence from meat to which Aristophanes refers is
the same as the vegetarianism of Euripides‘ Hippolytus? Perhaps we should because both of
them appear in the same period and the context of the mysteries (the Eleusinian ones in the
Hippolytus; some unspecified ones in the Frogs). Anyway, we can be sure that Aristophanes‘
words reflect the boom of the Orphic literature which propagated vegetarianism in Athens
during and after the Peloponnesian war.
In addition, we have a number of late ancient testimonies that can be related to
Aristophanes‘ Frogs. Firstly, Plutarch of Chaeronea, who wrote half a millennium after
Aristophanes and used to echo the classical Greek authors, having added nothing else, says
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that Orpheus, the ancient poet, was credited with eating no meat (T.9). One can interpret the
Plutarchean passage in the sense that the Orphic poetry, which was believed to be the oldest
poetic tradition transmitted in Greece, implied a vegetarian inclination.
Next, we meet an interesting testimony in Porphyry of Tyre who claims, in his work
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on vegetarianism, that the Theologian (viz. Orpheus16) prohibited the people from sacrificing
animals and recommended to them only bloodless offerings, like grains, honey, fruit, flowers.
Porphyry quoted only one line from the Theologian in question: κεƁὲ ἀƅ᾽ ᾑκƀγκέλεο ἐƃράξƀο
ἔƃƄσ Ƅὸ πῦξ (―Let not the fire burn on a bloodstained altar!‖)—and stopped speaking as the
one who is not allowed to recite the sacred text in full (T.10). It is worth of noting that
Porphyry in the same work referred a vegetarian song by Orpheus with no title (T.11).
Because the Porphyrian text has been transmitted only in Latin, it is difficult to say either
Orpheus‘ song was originally titleless or the translator failed.
Marinus of Neapolis, who provides us with very interesting material concerning
Proclus—the head of neo-Platonic school at Athens in AD 437–85 and an expert in the Orphic
poetry,17 represents his master as the one who rigorously observed the abstinence from animal
meat, except the occasions when he sacrificed animals to the gods (T.12a), and who used to
practice the Orphic purifications (T.12b). The Greek name of these practices: ὆ξƅηθνὶ
θƀζƀξκνί sounds like the title of lost Orphic poem on prohibited foods known to a Hellenistic
author of the Pythagorean Golden Verses (Thesleff 1961, 19; Thom 90) (T.13) and
Oenomaus of Gadara who composed his ŽνήƄσλ ƅώξƀ ca. AD 119 (T.14). Besides, one of
Empedocles‘ works might be entitled Κƀζƀξκνί, too (Wright 85–86). My conclusion is that
the conjectural title of Orpheus‘ song, known to Porphyry, was The Orphic Purifications
(὆ξƅηθνὶ θƀζƀξκνί) (contra: Bernabé in OF vol. 2, p. 207; Jiménez 427).
Apart from a meat, the sources attest two other dietary taboos, which were considered
as ―Orphic‖ or ―Orphic-and-Pythagorean‖. They concern the broad bean and eggs. We have a
problem with identifying the former one because the plant, which the ancient puritans used to
avoid, evolved ca. AD 500 and has not existed anymore (Prance 142). The Greek bean
(θύƀκνο ἗ιιεληθόο)—to use the term applied by Dioscorides (De materia medica 2.105 (1:
179 Wellmann))—had smaller and more orbiculate seeds than our broad beans that grow
today (Andrews 274). The image of the Greek bean, found in the so-called Vienna
For the discussion on identity of the ―Theologian‖ see Bernabé 2013, 122.
Marinus of Neapolis, Life of Proclus 20, 26–27 (77, 81–82 Masullo).
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Dioscorides—an illuminated manuscript created ca. AD 515—is to reproduce a Hellenistic
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pattern (fig. 1).
Fig.1. The θύƀκνο (fava beans)
in the Juliana Anicia Codex, 189v. Source of illustration:

Empedocles, whose emphatic lines on meat-eating have been recalled just before, was
notorious for his abomination to fava beans and composing the manifesto: ƁƂηινί, πάλƁƂηινη,
θπάκσλ ἄπν ρƂ῔ξƀο ἔρƂƃζƀη (―Fools, withhold your hands from beans!‖) (T.15). The famous
line, however, despite of being wide-spread and over-quoted in Hellenistic literature (T.16),
may be an antique pastiche (Wright 289). Didymus of Alexandria, the late ancient author of
the Georgics (T.17a), excerpted two lines from Orpheus, as he claims, on the abstinence from
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beans (T.17b). Of these lines, the former one is identical with the Empedoclean verse, while
the latter one: Ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƅƀγέƂηλ, θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ (―To eat beans is as much as to
eat your parents‘ heads‖) is attributed to Pythagoras‘ Hieros Logos by Holger Thesleff
(Thesleff 159). On the other hand, the same line was attributed to ―the poet,‖ or Orpheus
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(Borgeaud 277), by Heraclides Ponticus, the Hellenistic writer (ca. 339 BC), who composed
the special work on the Pythagoreans (T.18). Heraclides is the first to quote the verse in
question (Detienne 1970, 154 note 84). Likewise, the Orphic Hymns—a late ancient
compilation of older material of unknown provenance—banned on beans during the nocturnal
fumigation of grains and aromatic herbs to Gaia, the earth goddess (T.19). Similarly, Gregory
of Nazianzus, the well-informed Church father contemporary to Didymus of Alexandria,
mentions ―the Orphic beans‖ (T.20). To sum up, the ancient sources recognized the bean
taboo as a dietary prescription of Orphic origin.
Plutarch of Chaeronea knew another Orphic taboo: eggs (T.21a), which were
interdicted by ―the Orphic sacred tale‖ that had been kept in top secrecy against all profane
(T.21b). In the first-century Rome, where Plutarch placed a dramatic setting of his Table
Talks, the dietary restriction concerning eggs must have seemed something eccentric because
the chicken eggs belonged to everyday menu. Therefore, Plutarch explains, if someone
abstained from eating eggs, the Romans used to recognized him as an Orphic or Pythagorean
sectarian (T.22). The sectarians in question associated eggs with beans and, in turn, beans
with animal reproduction because θύƀκνη, the Greek word for beans, sounded like θύεƃηο
(―procreation‖) to their ears. Besides, these men thought that eating eggs does not differ from
eating the egg-born animals (T.23).
To summarize, vegetarianism was the most recognizable feature of the Orphic
asceticism in Graeco-Roman antiquity (Bernabé 2015, 29–31). The Orphic lives, then, meant
nothing but abstinence from meat-eating (ἀπέρƂƃζƀη ƃƀξθ῵λ ἐƁσƁ῅ο)—the term which can be
substituted with a modern ―vegetarianism‖ or ―veganism.‖ The abstinence from eggs and
beans, as associated with procreation of animals, could be a logical, or quasi-logical,
consequence of the Orphic veganism. The Orphic Hymns that recommended the initiated to
sacrifice nothing animated and displayed an obsessive fear of fava bean, horror fabae, seem
to be the most representative of the Orphic diet (Morand 151–52).
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II. What Foods Did Pythagoras Used to Eat?
The question: what foods did Pythagoras used to eat?, was seriously asked by many
The Pythagorean Diet in a False Mirror
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imitators of the Pythagorean lifestyle who sympathized with the Pythagoreans still living in
diasporas in Greek cities. They were styled Pythagorists (ΠπζƀγνξηƃƄƀί), as opposed to
Pythagoras‘ personal friends, the so-called Pythagorics (Ππζƀγνξηθνί), and to their disciples:
the Pythagoreans (ΠπζƀγόξƂηνη) (T.24). While the latter ones used to live the genuine
Pythagorean life (ΠπζƀγόξƂηνο Ƅξόπνο Ƅνῦ βίνπ), to use Plato‘s own words (T.25), the
Pythagorists did nothing but fed on a bizarre diet.
The middle Attic comedy mocks on these strange men and women who ate no meat
and drank no wine (T.26). What a severe fare, of prisoners or beggars! (T.27). The quotations
come from the fragments of comedy Tarentines (The Men from Tarentum) by Alexis, a native
of Thurii, that was inspired by Plato‘s third visit to Sicily (361 BC) and a circle of his Italian
friends who resided in the Academy after they emigrated, or were exiled, from their native
cities. It was Dion of Syracuse, Plato‘s student in the years 366–357 BC, and companions of
Archytas, the Pythagorean king of Tarentum who lost his throne ca. 360 BC (Edmonds 2: 479
note d; contra: Burkert 1972, 201 notes 49 and 51).
In common opinion of many, the Pythagorists never ate meat or sacrificed any living
things to the gods (T.28). They satisfied themselves only with bread, greens, and pure water
(T.29, T.30). Alexis, in his another comedy entitled Pythagorizousa (The Pythagorean
Woman), remarks that they sometimes consumed something else, like dried figs, olive-mush,
and cheese (T.31). The ordinary Athenians in the mid-fourth century BC—like the slave who
is speaking in Aristophon‘s comedy The Pythagorist—did not believe that the reason why the
Pythagorists ate neither meat or fish would be different from a poverty they actually lived in
(T.32). The poets of the middle comedy represent the Pythagorists as keeping the ascetic diet
similar to the Orphic one.
Aristoxenus’ Dementi
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Aristotle‘s disciple and successor, who lived in Athens
contemporaneously with Aristophon (T.33), refuted this satirical image as a pure fiction. He
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published the first biography of Pythagoras under the title On Pythagoras and His Circle
(T.34), of which some fragments are extant.18
Aristoxenus intended to represent Pythagoras as a sage absolutely free from any
superstitious beliefs and, then, to contrast an ideal figure, as was he, to his grotesque
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caricature—a Pythagorist. He aimed at demonstrating that the genuine Pythagoreanism never
focused on the question of diet. Especially, the biographer fought against the erroneous
opinions of most people that Pythagoras abstained from meat and the Greek beans (T.35).
What a nonsense, he says, Pythagoras never abstained from animal flesh (T.36); moreover,
the Samian philosopher both sacrificed and ate cocks, sucking goats and piglets (T.37). It
follows, from Aristoxenus‘ argumentation, that Pythagoras could have pork and beans for
dinner! According to the biographer, Pythagoras abstained from ploughing oxen and lambs
only (T.38, T.39). What about the alleged bean taboo? Aristoxenus argued that Pythagoras
loved to eat beans that were his favorite vegetables (T.40), and that the anti-bean line: ƁƂηινί,
πάλƁƂηινη, θπάκσλ ἄπν ρƂ῔ξƀο ἔρƂƃζƀη has been originally composed by Empedocles, the
Pythagorean (T.41); note that Callimachus attributed the same verse to Pythagoras (T.16).
The next legend Aristoxenus discredited was that Pythagoras neither drunk wine or ate
fish. It is true, he says, that the philosopher of Samos never drunk wine—but only during
daytime when drinking wine is incorrect—and rarely ate fish (T.42). Aristoxenus gave an
insight into the Pythagorean menu. He reports that the Pythagoreans used to eat for lunch
bread with honey or honey-comb (T.43), because these foods are healthy (T.44). For dinner,
he continues, they regularly consumed bread made of millet and vegetables, both raw and
boiled, and sometimes ate sacrificial meat except these parts of flesh that were prohibited
(T.45). During dinners, which they always had before the sunset, they used to drink wine but
rarely tasted fish (T.46). At last, they poured a libation of wine and swore not destroying any
cultivated plant or harmless animal (T.47).
Nevertheless, Aristoxenus‘ dementi awakes some suspicions. How did he know what
foods did Pythagoras used to eat? Why did he ignore the tradition transmitted through the
generations since Pythagoras‘ death (ca. 500 BC) and written down after the persecution of
the Pythagoreans in Italy (ca. 450 BC)? For, as Charles H. Kahn suggested, Aristoxenus—an
ex-Pythagorean conflicted with Plato and his Italian friends—showed the Pythagorean diet in
The fragments of Aristoxenus, to the best of my knowledge, have been edited twice, by Fritz Wehrli
(1967) and Maria Cardini (2010, rpt. 1958–64). In my opinion, none of these two editions is complete: the
several fragments, evidently taken from Aristoxenus‘ work, are lacking both in Wehrli and Cardini. These are
our T.35, T.37, T.42, and perhaps T.45. The editors distribute the extant fragments of Aristoxenus‘ work into
three distinct titles: On Pythagoras and His Circle, Pythagorean Maxims, and On the Pythagorean Life.
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equally tendentious light as did the middle comedy (Kahn 70–71). To sum up, Aristoxenus‘
dementi has nothing to do with the genuine Pythagoreanism.
The Pythagorean tradition transmitted a collection of Pythagoras‘ sayings that were
named acousmata after ―acousmatics‖—the most genuine heirs of Pythagoras‘ philosophy
(T.48), whom we can identify with the Pythagorics and the Pythagoreans (cf. T.24). The
acousmata (―things heard‖)—note that the name suggest an oral transmission—contained,
among others, the simple instructions what is to do or what is not to do (T.49). They were
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The Pythagorean Symbols
believed to be commandments and laws given by Pythagoras himself (T.50). The acousmata
have been also called ―symbols‖—the term that means ―things done‖ in the context—by the
early Pythagoreans, especially those who lived in diasporas (T.51). For, doing what
Pythagoras said signified that a person either was one of them or wanted to enter a
Pythagorean club (T.52). The Pythagorean Symbols became a secret code that had to be done
but never spoken in the presence of people from outside the Pythagorean brotherhood (T.53)
(Berra; Struck 96–107; Zhmud 169–74, 196; Parker 291–98).
The collection of the Pythagorean Symbols transmitted by the acousmatic tradition
contains a list of 75 precepts19 that are formulated in a brief imperative: ―do‖ or ―do not,‖ of
which ten items concern the food regulations (Delatte 1915, 289–94). These are prohibitions
on beans, sacred fish, white chickens, animal hearts and brains, non-sacrificial meat, and meat
in general (T.54). Despite of their name ―things heard,‖ the acousmata have been written
down, to trust Nicomachus of Gerasa (T.55), after the political catastrophe that decimated the
Pythagorean population in the southern Italy in the mid-fifth century BC (Baron 138 note 2).
Nevertheless, they were kept in secrecy for the next 100 years. The first man to publish them
was—according to Timaeus of Tauromenium—Diodorus of Aspendus (T.56), a shaggy-
haired Pythagorean poser who flourished ca. 350 BC (Burkert 1972, 202–03; Baron 156–58).
During the same period (approximately 350–100 BC), the Symbols were incorporated into the
Iamblichus transmitted the list of 39 Pythagorean Symbols (Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(133–51 Places)). The modern editions, by Fridericus Boehm (1905) and Kenneth S. Guthrie (1920, only in
English translation), complete Iamblichus‘ list to enumerate 75 Pythagorean Symbols. They give the same
number of them but differ in numeration and contents. The entire list of the acousmata can be enlarged to 120 or
even 200 items (Thom 2013, 77 note 2).
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Pythagorean Memoirs (lost), which have been excerpted by Alexander Polyhistor between 80
and 60 year BC (T.57).20
Since the first publication of the Pythagorean Symbols ca. 350 BC, the ancient readers
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with the topic, are known only by their titles: Explanation of the Pythagorean Symbols by
Anaximander Junior (T.58a) and On the Symbols by Androcydes (T.58b). Both of them
might be referred by Alexander Polyhistor in his lost work On the Pythagorean Symbols
required some clues to solve Pythagoras‘ puzzles. The fourth-century writings, which dealt
(T.58c). The most valuable, however, seems to be Aristotle‘s lost work On the Pythagoreans,
transmitted by several authors of the imperial period, which must have been known to his
disciple Aristoxenus of Tarentum who wrote the first biography of Pythagoras. So far as we
know, Aristotle utilized the Pythagorean Memoirs (the same as Alexander Polyhistor
excerpted 300 years after) and referred the Pythagorean Symbols too. It is worth noting that
all the works: by Anaximander, Androcydes, and Aristotle, were composed in the mid-fourth
century when the early Pythagoreanism was dead.
Because of the loss, the most important texts to throw the light on the Pythagorean
Symbols are two treatises by Iamblichus of Chalcis composed in the AD 290s, especially On
the Pythagorean Way of Life. The particular sections of the work stem directly from the
acousmatic tradition via Aristotle‘s On the Pythagoreans (Huffmann 61) and Androcydes‘ On
Symbols (Haussleiter 108). Iamblichus informs, after Aristotle, that some of the Pythagorean
Symbols had the reasons why someone should do something, or do not, attached to them from
the beginning (i.e. by Pythagoras himself or his disciples) and the other have not; the reasons
that have been added later seem more probable than the genuine ones that used to focus on
religious matters (T.59). He also relates, after Nicomachus of Gerasa (or Androcydes), the
Pythagorean Symbols concerning the food prohibitions and the reasons for them: the ban on
hearts and brains because they are the ruling organs of body; the abstinence from mallow that
is to symbolize the cosmic sympathy; the prohibition on blacktail and pandora for they are
fish sacred to the underworld gods; and, finally, the taboo on beans as they figuratively
pertain to the soul (T.60).
The passage on ritual purity belongs to the important testimonies on the Pythagoreans, recorded by
Alexander Polyhistor in his Successions of Philosophers and transmitted by Diogenes Laertius (Lives of Eminent
Philosophers 8.24–33 (613–18 Dorandi)). Alexander claims that he excerpted the material from the Pythagorean
Memoirs (T.57). The Pythagorean Memoirs have been an object of scholarly discussion. Charles H. Kahn
believes that Alexander referred a Hellenistic document dating from 350–100 BC (Kahn 82–83), but A. A. Long
does not accept his opinion (Long 139–40, 158).
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Iamblichus, in the final chapter of his another work: Exhortation to the Study of
Philosophy, enumerates the list of 39 Pythagorean Symbols to interpret them in an allegorical
way ―through symbols‖ (T.61). The source of which he derived the list and the interpretation
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Androcydes (Delatte 1915, 286), which seems very convincing to me.
is unknown. Arnaud Delatte suggested a neo-Pythagorean source that went back to
The reason why I discuss the Pythagorean Symbols in the paper on the Orphic diet is
following. As we have seen in part one, the Orphic taboos on meat, beans, and eggs were
enrooted in Orpheus‘ ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο, subtitled Κƀζƀξκνί (unless they were two different
works), that was the top secret in antiquity and has been lost. Of which, there are extant two
original lines: on the blood taboo (T.10 κεƁὲ ἀƅ᾽ ᾑκƀγκέλεο ἐƃράξƀο ἔƃƄσ Ƅὸ πῦξ) and the
famous ban on beans (T.18 ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ); the verse on the
sanctity of eggs is alluded but never quoted (T.21b ἀƂίƃσ μπλƂƄν῔ƃη). Likewise, some of the
Pythagorean Symbols recur in the Hieros Logos attributed to Pythagoras. For example, the
Pythagorean Symbol 14 (―Abstain from any living animals‖) is paired by the quotations from
Pythagoras‘ Hieros Logos that prohibit from bloody sacrifices to the gods: βσκὸλ ἐξƂύζνλƄƀο
κƀθάξσλ ζƂξκν῔ƃη ƅόλνηƃηλ (T.62) and from injuring any fruit trees or killing harmless
animals (T.63). The latter quotation can be linked to Aristoxenus‘ report on the Pythagorean
suppers after which the oath of not harming fruitful plants and tame animals was proclaimed
(T.47). Similarly, the Pythagorean Symbol 15 (―Eat not the heart‖) corresponds to the
hexametric line from the Hieros Logos quoted in Stobaeus (Delatte 1915, 35): ſƂίƁƂν Ƅ῅ο
δσ῅ο, κή κηλ θƀƄƀζπκνβνξήƃῃο (T.64).
Finally, we find in Herodotus the mention about the ἱξὸο ιόγνο that prohibited from
using woolen wrappings in the burial rituals (T.65). This is the earliest reference to the Sacred
Tale we have, but it occurs in unclear context, being Orphic, Bacchic, Egyptian, and
Pythagorean as well (Parker 290). Presumably, Herodotus alluded to the Italiotic beliefs (note
that he was a citizen of Thurii since 443 BC) and to the Pythagorean Symbol 14 (―Abstain
from any living animals‖), because a wool, as Flavius Philostratus explains, belongs to the
animals that are virtually dead (T.66).
Besides, Iamblichus of Chalcis mentions Pythagoras‘ Hieros Logos that was recited
aloud amid the initiated of the southern Italy (T.67). The sacred text he summarized contains,
among others, the Pythagorean Symbol 28 (―Honor the gods with cedar, laurel, cypress, oak,
and myrtle‖) and the Symbol 39 (―Roast what not is boiled‖). Above all, the Pythagorean
Symbol 11 (―Abstain from beans―) is linked to the famous line: ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ
θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ (T.68), which is attributed both to Pythagoras and Orpheus. From these,
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one can infer that the relation between these two Hieroi Logoi—the Orphic one and the
Pythagorean one that included the Pythagorean Symbols (Thesleff 1961, 18–19)—were very
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Symbol 12: Abstain from the Sacred Fish
The Pythagorean Symbols concerning particular foods are well documented. Aristotle
informs that Pythagoras banned on the fish that were sacred (ἱƂξνί)—note that ἱƂξνί was a
Greek word for ―tabooed‖ (Parker 328)—and dedicated to the gods (T.69). According to
Aristotle, the sacred fish were four in number: ἐξπζ(ξ)῔λνο, Ƅξίγιε, κƂιάλνπξνο, and ἀθƀιήƅε
(T.70a–c). The first three can be identified as follows: ἐξπζ῔λνο—pandora (Thompson 65–
67), Ƅξίγιε—red mullet (Thompson 264–68), and κƂιάλνπξνο—melanure that means
―blacktail‖ (Thompson 159–60). All of them are tasty and popular in the Sicilian cookery
until today.
The pandora is of brilliant red, whence Ovid says of rubens erythinus (Halietica 104
(78 Mikołajczak)) and the Italian name of the fish is fragolino (―strawberry‖) (Thompson 65;
Hoffman 264) (fig. 2).
Fig. 2. The
pandora, Pagellus erythrinus L. 1758 (ἐξπζ῔λνο). Source of illustration:

The red mullet has an intensive red flesh (fig. 3); the melanure, or
blacktail, is marked with a characteristic black spot on its tail according to its
Greek and English names (fig. 4).
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Fig. 3. The red mullet (Ƅξίγιε). Source of
Fig. 4. The
blacktail, Oblada melanura L. 1758 (κƂιάλνπξνο). Source of illustration:

The ἀθƀιήƅε is a marine creature. D‘Arcy Wentworth Thompson and Andrew Dalby
identify it with a sea-anemone (Thompson 5–6; Dalby 2003, 296). The identification, though
being compatible with Aristotle (History of Animals 531a–b, 590a), is failing because seaanemones are not tasty. It would make the prohibition from them an absurd (why prohibit
from something uneatable?); besides, it does not explain the link that Aristotle made between
ἀθƀιήƅε and κήƄξƀ (―uterus,‖ ―womb,‖ ―pork belly‖) in his work on the Pythagoreans
(T.70a–c). Three ancient authors bring the solution of the problem. Athenaeus of Naucratis, in
his article on the ἀθƀιήƅε, refers Aristophanes‘ Lysistrata 549 and remarks that the poet in a
comic way jumbled ἀθƀιήƅε and κήƄξƀ (T.71). We are not told why Aristophanes associated
these two. The cue is given by the physician Dioscorides who informs that the seed of plant
ἀθƀιήƅε, called also θλίƁε, is an aphrodisiac that opens the uterus when drunk with grape
syrup (T.72). The plant in question is stinging nettle, otherwise known as urtica Romana vel
urtica Graeca, that has globular thorny seeds (fig. 5).
Fig. 5a (left). Urtica Graeca in the Codex Neapolitanus 57. Source of illustration:
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 Fig. 5b (right). The stinging
nettle (Urtica pillulifera) found in the neighborhood of Plato‘s Academy, Athens. Photo by E. O.
The stinging seed of urtica Graeca resembles the sea urchin, called also urtica in Latin (cf.
T.70b), which is a globular creature endowed with long black thorns (fig. 6). The edible sea
urchin, il riccio di mare, has inside a coral-colored roe of which the delicious Sicilian sauce
for pasta is prepared.
Fig. 6. The Sicilian sea urchin (ἀθƀιήƅε). Source of
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My point is the ἀθƀιήƅε was a popular (not technical) term applied for one of edible
species of sea urchin that is similar to the seed of stinging nettle, of which an aphrodisiac for
women was produced. It explains the association, otherwise unexplained, between ἀθƀιήƅε
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With these four sea animals, the most popular delicacies were excluded from the
Pythagorean menu. What was the reason of ban on them? Androcydes delivered two
and κήƄξƀ in Aristophanes and Aristotle.
alternative explanations as concerns the blacktail. First of them was that the blacktail has been
prohibited because it is sacred to the underworld gods (T.73), who are opposite to the
heavenly ones (T.74). The second explanation concerns the black color (the fish has a dark
spot on its tail) that is to symbolize the obscurity of lies (T.75a), or the black characters of
bad people (T.75b).
Let us turn to the red fish. The pandora was prohibited from the same reasons as the
blacktail: for it belongs to the earth gods (cf. T.73). Besides, the name of pandora, ἐξπζ(ξ)῔λνο
in Greek, was etymologized as ἐξπζξόο that means ―red‖ and linked to the cognate verb
ἐξπζξηάσ that is ―to blush,‖21 so the ―coloristic‖ interpretation suggested by Androcydes goes
thus: receive not an unblushing and impudent man (T.76). As concerns the red mullet, we
have no strictly Pythagorean commentary on the prohibition on it. However, some texts of
classical and Hellenistic periods mention the ritual prohibition on the red mullet. Melanthius
of Athens, the well-informed author of the book on the Eleusinian Mysteries, says that the red
mullet was sacred to Hecate, the sea goddess (T.77). Apollodorus of Athens, an expert in the
Athenian cults, reports that the red mullet, which is Ƅξίγιε in Greek, was sacrificed to Hecate
because it bears her name (T.78). What it actually means is clear from the fragment of a lost
comedy by Charicleides that enumerates three cultic epithets of Hecate: ΤξηνƁ῔Ƅεο (―of threeway‖), Ƅξίκνξƅνο (―three-formed‖), and Ƅξηπξόƃσπνο (―three-faced‖) (T.79). The reason,
then, why the Ƅξη- fish is sacred to Hecate needs no comment (see, however, Delatte 1915,
Certainly, Nicomachus is right in his observation that some animals were excluded, in
the Pythagorean circles, from a common consumption because of honor of the gods to whom
they were devoted (T.80). Iamblichus‘ remark perfectly agrees with Aristotle‘s statement that
Pythagoras prohibited the sacred fish ―for it is not right that gods and men should be allotted
the same things, any more than free men and slaves‖ (T.69).
LSJ 692 s.v. ―erythriaō,‖ 693 s.v. ―erythros.‖
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Let us return, now, to the contradictory statements that appear in two quotations from
Aristotle‘s work on the Pythagoreans (compare T.70b and T.70c). There is no doubt that the
contradiction is due to the transmission of the text. The former quotation (T.70b ρξ῅ƃζƀη Ɓὲ
Ƅν῔ο ἄιινηο, ―they ate the other kinds (of fish)‖) appears in Aulus Gellius, the AD second-
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century author who was well-versed in the early Pythagorean writings. His point is that only
some species of marine creatures were excluded from the Pythagorean menu whereas the
other were not. The latter fragment (T.70c ἀπέρƂƃζƀη… ƃρƂƁὸλ Ɓὲ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ἄιισλ ζƀιƀƃƃίσλ
μπκπάλƄσλ, ―he recommended abstinence from… all seafood‖) means quite different thing:
that all seafood had been prohibited. The fragment has been transmitted by Porphyry of Tyre
who derived from Antonius Diogenes who, in his turn, used the second-hand quotation from
Aristotle. The quotation has been distorted by a neo-Pythagorean source with its vegetarian
ideology that can be seen also in Plutarch‘s Table Talks. According to Plutarch (T.81), the
Pythagoreans were credited with abstaining from any fish on the base of the funny wordplay
on the ἔιινς,22 a poetic epithet of fish (―mute‖, ―dumb‖), which corresponds to silence that
the Pythagoreans had to maintain during the five-year novitiate (Teodorsson 3: 241–42;
Gemelli 144).
The neo-Pythagorean ideology, however, vegetarianism, and absolute abstinence from
any fish have nothing to do with the early Pythagorean taboo on the so-called sacred fish:
pandora, red mullet, blacktail, and sea urchin. The more representative for the fish taboo of
the early Pythagoreans seems to be the quotation from Cratinus‘ comic play on Trophonius,
the hero worshipped at Lebadea (ca. 430 BC). Cratinus explains that the worshippers of the
Boeotian Trophonius used to avoid eating red mullet because of its intensive red flesh and
were afraid of melanure due to its black tail looking like a bad omen (T.82). The question of
color (black and red) might be a decisive reason why the early Pythagoreans considered these
fish: blacktail and red mullet, as sacred to the underground gods (T.73, T.74) and Hecate
Symbol 13: Not to Sacrifice a White Chicken
The Pythagorean taboo on black and red marine creatures can be completed by the
prohibition on white chickens, which seemed to Plutarch as ridiculous as the Egyptian book of
superstitions (T.83). By the way, the Symbol 13 might originate the late ancient legend on
The ἔιινς, a word of uncertain etymology (either ―mute‖ or ―scaled‖), was a common poetic epithet
of fish, see LSJ 537 s.v. ―ellops;‖ Beekes 413–14 s.v. ―ellops.‖
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Pythagoras as a rooster (Marcovich 1988). Iamblichus, after his anonymous neo-Pythagorean
source, quotes the Symbol 13: ―nourish a cock, but do not sacrifice it,‖ together with an
explanation that was originally added to it: ―for it is sacred to the Moon and the Sun‖ (T.84).
The Iamblichean explanation is paralleled by two other testimonies, however, none of them
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contains both Moon and Sun. The entry on Pythagoras in the Suda lexicon mentions only the
latter one: ―Pythagoras also recommended not eating a white rooster, as it is sacred to the
Sun‖ (T.85). Aristotle, in turn, knew the former one: ―not to eat white cocks, as being sacred
to the Month‖ (T.86). It does not matter that Alexander Polyhistor who has transmitted
Aristotle‘s text replaced the Moon (T.84 κήλῃ ) with the Hellenistic deity Men (T.86 Μελὸο),
associated with the moon goddess Selene (Mene) and the sun god Helios (CMRDM 86–87).
Nevertheless, a remark on symbolic meanings of the colors: black to represent the evil and
white to symbolize the good, is derived from the genuine Pythagorean tradition, like the
Pythagorean Memoirs.
The Symbols 12 and 13 did not exclude from the Pythagorean menu fish and fowl at
all but only the particular species. The cause of the exclusion was nothing else but the color:
black, red, and white. The blacktail was banned because of its blackness that represents the
evil and makes the fish sacred to the underground gods (T.73, T.74). The white roosters were
prohibited from sacrificing for their whiteness that made the white birds sacred to the
heavenly gods: Helios and Mene (or Men), and was to symbolize the good (T.86). It is worth
of noting that the Pythagoreans were notorious of wearing white clothes (Tigchelaar). What
about the other prohibited creatures: pandora, red mullet, and sea urchin? Both pandora and
red mullet have intensive red color, and the sea urchin is red inside, what follows that the
cause of the ban on them was the redness. Why the redness had been prohibited among the
Pythagoreans is clear from the link made between the red mullet and Hecate (T.77–T.79).
Since the goddess of gates and crossroads, according to the Orphic Hymn to Prothyraia
(Orphic Hymns 2 (29 Fayant)), patronized births and was responsible for generation of the
human race.
Symbol 18: Transplant but Do Not Eat Mallow
The prohibition against eating mallows belonged to the most essential Pythagorean
Symbols (T.54). Damascius reports that the neo-Platonist Proclus refused to feed on mallow
leaves—as contradicting the Pythagorean law—when his doctor Iacobus recommended
mallow instead of indigestible cabbage (T.87). Dioscorides, the famous physician, informs
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that the mallow leaves were good for intestines and were believed to be an antidote against
many internal diseases and venomous animals (T.88).
The plant in question is Malva silvestris L., a common mallow, called κƀιάρε in Attic
dialect and κνιόρε in vernacular Greek (LSJ 1077 s.v. ―malache;‖ Beekes 896 s.v.
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―malache‖). The illustrated codex of Dioscorides, produced ca. AD 515, offers an adequate
image of the sacred plant: it had deep purple flowers, an orange-colored root, and the extraordinary leaves shaped as the seven-pointed stars (fig. 7). The mallows that are found in
Greece nowadays, with pink flowers and five-pointed leaves, must be of some different kind.
Fig. 7. The mallow (κƀιάρε) in the
Juliana Anicia Codex, 228v. Source of illustration:

Aristotle, in his valuable work On the Pythagoreans, makes clear what part of the
plant was the object of worship: it was the mallow leaf (T.89). Furthermore, Androcydes
interprets the mallow as a symbol of the sympathy between heavenly and earthly things
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(T.90a). In the same vein, an unknown neo-Pythagorean quoted by Iamblichus comments on
the meaning of the Pythagorean commandment: the mallow, because of its turning with the
sun, is to symbolize the cosmic sympathy of all beings centered in Helios (T.90b). Both
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suggest (mallow as a symbol of the cosmic sympathy) resembles the neo-Pythagorean
arithmology of seven, the sacred number (Theology of Arithmetics 43 (57–58 Falco)).
authorities presumably refer a seven-pointed mallow leaf because the interpretation they
We have also a puzzling fragment, derived from the Chaldean Oracles, that indicates
that the abstention from mallow concerned the month of August alone (T.91). Because of
incompleteness of the Chaldean Oracles, it is difficult to say if the restriction on mallow had
anything to do with Pythagoreanism. If it really had, it might imply a periodical (monthly)
abstinence from mallow leaves in the Pythagorean circles of late antiquity.
Symbol 17: Eat of Sacrificial Animals Only
The Pythagorean Symbol: ―eat of sacrificial animals only,‖ attested by the best of our
sources since 350 BC, denies the alleged vegetarianism of the early Pythagoreans. Plutarch
informs in his Table Talks that the ―Pythagorics‖ (i.e. personal pupils of Pythagoras) were
allowed tasting only sacrificial meat (T.92). The rule implied, he continues, the prohibition on
fish of all kinds because no fish was sacrificed to the gods. Likewise Porphyry explains the
question of Pythagorean ―vegetarianism‖: the Pythagoreans, he says, abstained from flesh-
eating all their lives except the occasions of offering animals ―in place of themselves‖ (ἀλζ‘
ἑƀπƄ῵λ), while the non-sacrificial meat was absolutely prohibited (T.93). The early
Pythagorean regimen evidently was imitated by the neo-Platonist Proclus, a radical
vegetarian, who sometimes used to taste a sacrificial meat (T.12a).
Aristotle, quoted by Iamblichus, gives a good reason for the Symbol 17. He says that
the Pythagoreans believed that the human soul never enter the sacrificial animals whereas it
can incarnate into the other living things (T.94). The Aristotelian explanation can be linked to
the earliest source on Pythagoras‘ doctrine of transmigration of the souls, that is, an anecdote
told by Xenophanes of Colophon: when Pythagoras heard a puppy dog, beaten by someone,
he recognized the soul of his friend whining in it (T.95). The story seems to agree with the
explanation of the Symbol 17 as transmitted by Aristotle: the soul of Pythagoras‘ friend could
incarnate into a dog because dogs were not sacrificed in regular rites. We have also a
fragment from Empedocles who claims that some human souls incarnate into lions and laurel
trees (T.96). No-one ever sacrificed lions, so a special prohibition was not needed, but the
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laurel leaves were—and still are—used as a spice in the Greek cookery (fig. 8).
Unsurprisingly, among the extant fragments from Empedocles there is the prohibition from
picking bay leaves: ―keep completely from leaves of laurel‖ (T.97). The verse could also
Fig. 8a. The Ɓάƅλε (bay laurel) in the Morgan Dioscorides, 37r. Source of illustration:
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allude to the Symbol 28: ―Honor the gods with cedar, laurel, cypress, oak, and myrtle‖ (T.54).
Fig. 8b. The laurel branch, Laurus nobilis. Source of illustration: 
It has not been said clearly what animals were sacrificial and consumed during the
Pythagorean banquets. We can assume that pork and beef, the most popular sacrificial meat,
were allowed and considered as, to say, ―kosher‖. The sources highlight the special
prohibitions on working oxen, rams, and the pork belly23 (T.37–T.39, T.70a–c). What there is
left are piglets and calves, kids and sheep, domestic fowl and chickens except the whitefeathered ones.
Andrew Dalby claims that the Greek κήƄξƀ was not a pork belly but a swine womb after miscarriage
(Dalby 2003, 360 s.v. ―womb‖). However, the recipe for preparing the latter one (e.g. Athenaeus of Naucratis,
Learned Banqueters 3.101A–B (1: 548 Olson)) was more typical of the Roman kitchen than the Sicilian
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Symbols 15–16: Eat Not the Heart & Brain
The prohibition against eating hearts and brains has to be connected to the previous
one (―eat of sacrificial animals only‖). It means the Pythagoreans could consume flesh of
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some sacrificial animals except their hearts and brains. Why? The answers diverge in a few
The most obvious reason is that given by Androcydes: heart and brain of every animal
are ruling parts and seats of its thinking and living, and it is why they are excluded from any
sacrificial feasts (T.98). The Pythagorean Memoirs, quoted by Alexander Polyhistor, may
also be helpful in explaining that particular parts of soul are located in the heart and brain,
between which there is found the ἀξρή of the soul that draws nourishment from the blood
(T.99). As concerns the ἀξρή, Timaeus of Locri considered a brain as the ἀξρή of body
(T.100); likewise, Philolaus of Croton thought that the brain and heart constitute, respectively,
the ἀξρƀί of human and animal life (T.101). The quoted passages on the Pythagorean
psychology explains the Pythagorean prohibition on these organs (eating hearts and brains
would be as much as to consume the soul itself) and the Jewish law against eating blood of
sacrificial animals (for blood is equal to animal‘s life) (T.102).
Another reason is less evident. Aristotle, the best of our sources, links the ban on heart
to the taboos on pork belly and beans (T.103). At the first glance, it seems curious because
beans (vegetable) and heart (a part of animal) have nothing to do with each other. We can
quote, however, Athenaeus‘ short entry on pigs‘ brains, probably based on Aristotle, that
informs that the ancient philosophers do not permitted to eat the swine brain because it
contains almost all senses of the animal, and, moreover, brains are comparable with beans,
for, according to the well-known verse, eating beans is like devouring one‘s parents‘ heads
(T.104). We find, again, a ruling part of animal body (brain) linked to the beans.
Why the beans were associated with the hearts and brains? Perhaps, the answer has
been suggested by Empedocles (transmitted by Aristoxenus of Tarentum) who etymologized
the beans (θπάκνπο) as the testicles responsible for reproduction (ƀἴƄηνη Ƅνῦ θπƂ῔λ) of the
human race (T.105). There is no doubt that the testicles, as reproductive organs, are
responsible for procreation but the brains and the hearts are not. However, we find in Plutarch
the clear statement that brains and hearts are ―the first principle of generation‖ (ἀξρὴλ…
γƂλέƃƂσο), which makes them responsible exactly for procreation (T.106) (Teodorsson 1:
212). If the beans were identified with the testicles, and, in turn, the genitals were associated
with hearts and brains, it follows that the latter ones would be linked to the beans. The
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association between these three: beans, sexual intercourses, and hearts, is also attested by the
first-century temple inscription from Rhodes (T.107) (Robertson 231).
The Pythagorean taboo on hearts and beans belonged to the more general prohibition
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the acousmatic tradition and transmitted, via Androcydes (or Aristotle) and Antonius
on the particular parts of sacrificial animals. We have very interesting passage derived from
Diogenes, by Porphyry of Tyre (T.108). To trust them all, some parts of sacrificial animals,
namely loins, testicles, genitals, marrow, feet, and heads were believed to symbolize four
universal principles: γέλƂƃηο, ƀὔμεƃηο, ἀξρή, ƄƂιƂπƄή—or, in another version, preserved in
Plutarch: δσή, θίλεƃηο, γέλƂƃηο, ƅζνξά (T.109)—that constitute together the fifth: ὑπόζƂƃηο,
the fundament of all beings. Porphyry provides us with the following examples: testicles and
genitals belong to the cathegory of γέλƂƃηο (―generation‖); marrow is responsible for ƀὔμεƃηο
(―growth‖); legs and heads are to represent, respectively, ἀξρή (―beginning‖) and ƄƂιƂπƄή
(―end‖); and, finally, the loins symbolize ὑπόζƂƃηο (―fundament‖). It is clear that both hearts
and brains (unmentioned here) must belong to the category of γέλƂƃηο, as being identical with
testicles and genitals.
The discussed passages lead to the conclusion that the acousmatics imposed the further
restrictions on the consumption of sacrificial meat, namely the prohibitions against eating the
vital parts of animals: legs, heads, genitals, hearts, brains, marrow, and loins, what must have
resulted in ban on loin chops, roast beef, and pig‘s trotters.
On the other hand, the ancient sources since Aristotle preserved another explanation of
the Pythagorean Symbol 15. They claim that the prohibition against heart-eating means
nothing else but ―do not worry‖ (T.110, T.111) or ―do not give yourself up to melancholy‖
(T.112). It looks like an allegorical explanation of something else, perhaps the verse from the
lost Sacred Tale we have already quoted: ſƂίƁƂν Ƅ῅ο δσ῅ο, κή κηλ θƀƄƀζπκνβνξήƃῃο (T.64).
The context of the extant verse is not given. We can only imagine what it was and accept, if
we want to, the speculations of the modern scholars that the Pythagorean taboo on hearts
refers the Orphic myth according to which the Titans devoured Dionysus, the baby god, but
left his heart untouched (Burkert 1972, 181–82; Bernabé in OF 314–15, vol. 2, pp. 213–14).
The proposal, however, is not supported directly by any ancient testimonies.
Symbol 39: Roast What Not Is Boiled
The ordinance: ―roast what not is boiled‖ (T.54, T.67) looks like an instruction for
preparing the sacrificial meat that had to be grilled before cooking. The sequence is important
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here, because meat boiled before roasting is tasteless. Iamblichus, however, interpreted the
Symbol 39 in a moral way: ―gentleness does not need anger,‖ which brings no one
informative thing in understanding the instruction (T.113). Another explanation seems to be
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refers the prohibition against roasting a boiled meat to the sacred text recited during the
more tempting. There is a comment, preserved in book three of the Physical Problems, which
initiation, ƄƂιƂƄή (T.114). No one knows what the initiation was because the rituals like that
were wrapped with the veil of secrecy. It might be even some late ancient mysteries because
the text that mentioned ƄƂιƂƄή—the Physical Problems incorporated into the Corpus
Aristotelicum—dates from the AD third century (Sharples).
The hypothesis by Marcel Detienne (Detienne 1979, 69, 74), Martin L. West (West
1983, 160–61), and Alberto Bernabé (OF vol. 2, p. 203) is that the ἑƅζὸλ κὴ ὀπƄ᾵λ reflects
the myth on the young Dionysus, killed and torn into seven pieces by the Titans who first
boiled their victim in a cauldron, and next skewered his boiled limbs on spits to grill them
with fire (T.115). Were there any connections between the early Pythagorean instruction on
preparing sacrificial meat and the mystic crime of Titans referred since the AD second
century onward? I do not know the answer yet.
Symbol 14: Abstain from Any Living Things
The Pythagorean Symbol 14 makes a confusion. What was the need for the other
commandments of the Pythagorean catechism (―eat of sacrificial meat only,‖ ―do not sacrifice
a white chicken,‖ ―do not consume the heart and brain,‖ ―do not eat the sacred fish‖) if the
―orthodox‖ Pythagoreans had to eat no living animal? The later neo-Platonist Hierocles of
Alexandria, who composed a Commentary on the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans, must
have felt the same confusion when he wrote: ―The precept to abstain from the heart opposes
that of abstaining from animals… For partial abstinence is superfluous for those to whom the
entire animal has been forbidden‖ (T.116). What for, then, or for whom the partial abstinence
was? Hierocles supposes, in the quoted passage, that ―abstaining from the heart is prescribed
for beginners, whereas abstinence from living animals is for those already perfect.‖
Hierocles‘ speculation seems to be based on the earlier sources, especially
Nicomachus of Gerasa (ca. AD 151) whose work on Pythagoras has been extensively quoted
by Iamblichus in his On the Pythagorean Way of Life (Radicke 125 note 13). Nicomachus,
then, claims that Pythagoras forbade the theoretical philosophers (Ƅν῔ο ζƂσξεƄηθσƄάƄνηο Ƅ῵λ
ƅηινƃόƅσλ) to eat, sacrifice, or harm anything animate (T.117). At the same time, he says,
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Pythagoras permitted the others, as having being not purified yet, to consume certain animals
except a period of absolute abstinence from meat they had to observe (T.118). The next
section is more informative. Nicomachus explains ―the others‖ as acousmatics or politics, and
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never an ox. He also specifies what offerings the theoretical philosophers sacrificed: cakes,
flour, honey, frankincense, and fragrant stuffs (T.119). Perhaps the mention on the meat-
―certain animals‖ as the sacrificial victims: a cock, a lamb or another newborn animal, but
eating acousmatics, as opposed to the contemplative philosophers, has something to do with
another passage from Nicomachus where he comments on the schism inside the Pythagoreans
that took place in the second half of the fifth century BC (Burkert 1972, 192–208; Zhmud
169–205). The Pythagorean movement had split up there and divided into two competitive
factions: the acousmatics who preserved Pythagoras‘ authentic teachings and the
mathematicians who followed Hippasus24 (T.120).
Moreover, Nicomachus claims that the law-givers of the politics—like the theoretical
philosophers (T.119)—had to abstain from animals because all living beings, both humans
and animals, belong to the one great family as sharing the similar life and consisting of the
same elements (T.121). The argument from justice appears in Iamblichus Exhortation to the
Study of Philosophy where he gives the explanation for the Symbol 14: ―‗abstain from the use
of living creatures,‘ exhorts to justice, with a due regard for what is of a kindred nature, and a
sympathetic treatment of life which is similar to our own‖ (T.122). The argument for
vegetarianism from justice goes back to Pseudo-Pythagoras‘ Hieros Logos that links justice to
the restrictions against destroying fruit-trees and injuring tame animals (T.123a). Almost the
same text recurs in the Pythagorean oath: not to destroy any cultivated plants and not to harm
any harmless animals (T.123b). It is known from Aristoxenus that the Pythagoreans recited
the oath after every dinner (T.47).
The Pythagorean law was obligatory also for the animals that lived in the Pythagorean
communities. Nicomachus of Gerasa told a story about an ox of Tarentum that grazed in the
bean field. Pythagoras persuaded the animal not to taste the beans again—because beans were
prohibited among the Pythagoreans—and feed only on a human food, which the temple
Iamblichus informs that Hippasus of Metapontum (ca. 520–440 BC) was a great mathematician: ―On
the matter of Hippasus: he was a Pythagorean, but because of having disclosed and given a diagram for the first
time of the sphere from the twelve pentagons, he perished in the sea since he committed impiety. He acquired
fame as having made the discovery, but all the discoveries were of that man, for so they refer to Pythagoras, and
do not call him by his name.‖ (Iamblichus, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.88 (52 Deubner) = Hippasus no.
4 Cardini, trans. Dillon–Hershbell 111–13). Walter Burkert claims that ―Hippasus is the oldest Pythagorean we
know who worked at mathematics and music theory… and was one of the mathematici‖ (Burkert 1972, 206–07).
For more detailed treatment of Hippasus see: Horky 37–84.
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visitors offered to him (T.124a–b). Marcel Detienne, in his La cuisine de Pythagore,
speculates that if the ox did not stop feeding on beans, it would be punished and killed for
transgressing the Pythagorean law, by analogy to the ancient Athenian custom (Detienne
1970, 155–61). For, the ancient Athenians since the sixth century BC used to sacrifice the
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―criminal‖ bull for the alleged crime of tasting an offertory cake during the annual festival of
Bouphonia held on the 14th day of Skirophorion (Simon 8–12). There is nothing in the Greek
sources to support the hypothesis of Detienne, unless the Evangelical story on the fruitless fig
tree, punished by Jesus, hinted at it (T.125).
The ploughing oxen were under the special protection in the Pythagorean
communities, as being excluded from the number of animals the acousmatics could sacrificed
to the gods, because killing the animal that works for the people was against the Pythagorean
law (T.38, T.119). By analogy, the Jewish law contains a prescription against muzzling a
threshing ox (T.126). Besides, the Pythagorean Symbols include a special number 40 on
justice: ―always put salt on the table,‖ for salt that arises from the purest sources: sun and sea,
is to remind of what is right (T.127). The prescription, attested already by Aristotle, is alluded
by the Gospel of Matthew, in saying: ―You are the salt of the earth…‖ (T.128).
Anyway, another tradition prevailed. The Hellenistic sources ignored the
differentiations inside the early Pythagoreanism and the complicated code of prohibited foods
observed by the conservative acousmatics, to highlight the pure vegetarian faction. The
sources, since Timaeus of Tauromenium, cite a line from Pseudo-Pythagors‘ Hieros Logos on
―worshipping before altars unstained with blood‖, to support a view that the Pythagoreans
never sacrificed living animals to the gods (T.129a–c). The Hellenistic authors, one by one,
say that Pythagoras, having been a strict vegetarian and a blood-hater, introduced a vegetarian
lifestyle that was imitated by the Pythagoreans and the other philosophers, like Socrates,
Diogenes, and others. Eudoxus of Cnidus—who must have been close to the tradition of the
mathematicians via his teacher, Archytas of Tarentum (Burkert 1972, 200)—was convinced
that the historical Pythagoras was so shocked at every killing and blood-shedding that even
approached no butcher or hunter (T.130). The same legend on Pythagoras, a spokesman of
vegetarianism, recurs in Onesicritus of Astypalaia (T.131) and Callimachus of Cyrene
Vegetarianism became the most recognizable feature of the neo-Pythagorean way of
life. Seneca the Younger relates his own vegetarian experiment he took up place in his early
years. Having been influenced by a certain Sotion, a Pythagorean, the young Seneca went to
keeping the abstinence from animals, to use his words: abstinere animalibus, during a one
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year period until AD 19 when his father forced him to abandon the vegetarian diet, from a
fear of the imperial persecution (T.133).
Diogenes Laertios tried to persuade that Pythagoras, as the historical figure, fed only
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follows that the only one altar on which he could make offerings was the altar of Apollo at
on uncooked foods and drank pure water, and never sacrificed any animals to the gods, what
Delos where flour, meal, and cakes, with no fire or blood, used to be sacrificed. Pythagoras‘
point was, as he says, ―to practice people and accustom them to simplicity of life‖ (T.134).
Likewise, Iamblichus saw in the Symbol 14 an attempt of promoting peace by accustoming
the people to save life (T.135). None of these reasons, albeit they sound reasonable, is derived
from the genuine Pythagoreanism.
A Quest for Purity
The basic question: what for Pythagoras ordained these dietetic regulations, has been
answered in antiquity. Androcydes thought that Pythagoras pointed at moral excellence,
ἀξƂƄή, of his followers (T.136). The answer, given by Hierocles of Alexandria, is that the aim
of the Pythagorean Symbols was to be the moral progress that leads the human beings through
the partial abstinence from some foods (like the sacred fish, heads, hearts) to the absolute
abstention from animals, expressed in the Symbol 14, which is very close to the absolute
purification, θάζƀξƃηο, of the human soul from passion (T.137). The Pythagoreans themselves
would answer, as did the Pythagorean Memoirs, that the scope they had in mind was ἁγλƂίƀ,
the ritual purity achieved not only by means of ablutions with water but also by abstaining
from meat, red mullets, blacktails, eggs, egg-laying animals, and beans (T.138).
As concerns the origin of the Pythagorean taboos, the Greek authors are essentially
congenial with the modern scholarly view that ―food interdictions are mostly non-Greek‖
(Robertson 231) and that the Pytagorean lifestyle was related to the priesthood regulation in
ancient Egypt (Gemelli 139–41). Isocrates, in his speech entitled Busiris, represents
Pythagoras as the Samian sage who was especially interested in sacrificial rites and temple
rituals that were practiced in Egypt where he ventured to (T.139). Hermippus of Smyrna
made a remark on affinity between the Pythagorean Symbols and the Jewish and Thracian
beliefs (T.140).
The interesting comment has been provided by the neo-Platonist Iamblichus who saw
in Pythagoras ―a zealous admirer of Orpheus‖ and the religious reformer who mingled the
Orphic books, the ancient Egyptian cult regulations, some barbarian religions of the
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Chaldeans and of the Magi (perhaps he meant here Judaism and Zoroastrianism), and
innumerous Greek mystic rites from Eleusis, Imbros, Samothrace, and Lemnos (T.141). The
Iamblichean representation of Pythagoras, as the inventor of syncretistic religion, seems to be
quite convincing. It is true that the Pythagorean Symbols were convergent with the sacred law
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of Eleusis that reads: γνλƂ῔ο Ƅηκ᾵λ, ζƂνὺο θƀξπν῔ο ἀγάιιƂηλ, δῶƀ κὴ ƃίλƂƃζƀη (―to honor one‘s
parents, to worship the gods with fruit, never to hurt animals‖) (T.142).
Moreover, if Iamblichus actually had Judaism in mind, the Pythagorean Symbols can
be compared to the Holiness Code of the Jewish religion in the Bible: the sacred law that
divides all animals into clean and unclean (T.143), that recommends or prohibits from eating
the animals with the (νὐ) ƅάγƂƃζƂ formula (T.144), to make the Jewish people ―a holy
nation,‖ ιƀὸο ἅγηνο (T.145) (Houston). Making the holy race was the point at which
Pythagoras aimed too. Iamblichus was also right in attributing to Pythagoras‘ teachings an
Orphic contribution. Pythagoras‘ indebtedness in Orpheus will be discussed in the next
In the previous chapters, the Orphic and Pythagorean taboos on some foods have been
discussed. The collected testimonies lead to the conclusion that the adherents of Orphic
movement were strict vegetarians, having consumed no animals or eggs, observed the taboo
on beans, and sacrificed only pure offerings with no blood, which agrees with the remark
made by Leonid Zhmud on three Orphic taboos: meat, beans, and eggs (Zhmud 205 note
136), but diverges from the opinion by Gábor Betegh on pluralism in the Orphic diet (Betegh
154–59). On the other hand, the sources on the Pythagorean dietary regulations are abundant
and often misleading, to make difficult ―the navigation through the mire of dietary
perplexity,‖ to use the words by Michael Beer (Beer 36).
The analysis of the Pythagorean material shows the differentiation between the dietary
regulations of the acousmatics, with the taboos on black, white, and red things (for they
symbolize, respectively, evil, goodness, and birth), and the strict vegetarian regimen observed
by the theoretical philosophers and the law-givers of the politics who reduced the system of
the Pythagorean prohibitions to the only one Symbol 14: ―abstain from any living things.‖ My
conclusions at this point do not agree with any scholarly experts in Pythagoreanism.
What were the points of convergence between the Orphic and Pythagorean diets? I
think that the most reasonable is to accept the simplified view that the Pythagoreans shared
with the Orphics the taboos on meat (cf. T.54 Symbol 14 and T.6, T.8–T.11), on beans (cf.
T.54 Symbol 11 and T.15–T.20), and on eggs (cf. T.138 and T.21–T.22).
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III. Why Abstain from…
Let us start with the question why the ancient Orphics and Pythagoreans—the sources
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often make no distinction between them—abstained from meat. Two reasons are given in the
anonymous neo-Pythagorean Life of Pythagoras excerpted by Photius. The Pythagoreans ate
no flesh of animals, he says, because they blindly believed in reincarnation of the human soul
and were convinced that the carnivorous diet, too nutritive and heavy, dulls of mind (T.146).
The latter reason seems to appeal to the common sense but probably was so mystical as the
former one. The ancient authority, namely Xenocrates of Chalcedon (fl. 339–314 BC), who
wrote a special treatise on food derived from animals, argued that meat-eating makes the
humans similar to the irrational creatures they devoure; to say: you are what you eat (T.147).
Likewise, Diodorus of Sicily claims that the belief in reincarnation of the human soul in
animal bodies underlaid Pythagoras‘ rejection of meat-eating (T.148). It is the most probable
that the excerpt from Eubulus‘ dissertation on Mithras, preserved in Porphyry, concerned the
Pythagorean (or the neo-Pythagorean) dietary regulations and had nothing to do with the
Persian adherents of Zoroastrianism. The author associated abstinence from meat, both
temporal and permanent, with the belief in κƂƄƂκςύρσƃηο (T.149).
Now, let the ancient Orphic-and-Pythagorean speak for himself to explain why he has
abhorred an animal flesh:
There is a decree of Necessity, ratified long ago by the gods, eternal and sealed by
broad oaths, that whenever one in error, from fear, defiles his own limbs, having by
his error made false the oath he swore—daimons to whom life long-lasting is
apportioned—he wanders from the blessed ones for three times ten-thousand years,
being born throughout the time as all kinds of mortal forms, exchanging one hard way
of life for another. For the force of air pursues him into sea, and sea spits him out onto
earth‘s surface, earth casts him into the rays of blazing sun, and sun into the eddies of
air; one takes him from another, and all abhor him. I too am now one of these, an exile
from the gods and a wanderer, having put my trust in raving strife. (T.150)
The poet, who makes himself a Ɓƀίκσλ, says that the cycle of lives he passed by was
abnormally long (30,000 years!) because in one of his previous incarnations he had tasted an
animal flesh. The gods punished him and exiled from the happy netherland and now he is
here, in this body, to suffer and hate. Plutarch of Chaeronea interprets Empedocles‘
confession as acknowledgment of murder and cannibalism. (T.151). Why cannibalism?
Because Empedocles believed that both humans and animals belong to the same family of
living beings and are related to each others (T.152), to constitute the world soul (T.153). It
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follows that feeding on animal flesh is like cannibalism (eating kindred persons) or even selfeating (eating bodies that could be your own).
Let us dwell, for awhile, on the origin of the doctrine of metempsychosis. Aristoxenus
of Tarentum claimed that Pythagoras was the first to declare that the immortal soul used to
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move away from one body to another until it fulfills the cycle of Necessity (T.154); note that
the same divine agent, ἀλάγθε in Greek, has been mentioned by Empedocles (T.150).
Dicaearchus of Messana, transmitted by Porphyry of Tyre, is more precise when he says that
Pythagoras was the first philosopher who transplanted the doctrine of reincarnation into Greek
soil (T.155). Herodotus speculated that the tenet in question had been invented by the ancient
Egyptians, and then it has been borrowed by some Greeks whose names were too famous to
spell them (T.156); he could hint at Empedocles, his co-citizen in Thurii. Herodotus is
mistaken in attributing the idea of rebirth to the Egyptians (Lloyd 3: 59–60); perhaps he meant
only that the Greek inventors of reincarnation doctrine have been indebted in someone else. In
whom? The Hellenistic pseudepigraph Hieros Logos, allegedly authored by Pythagoras and
son (his name was Telauges), tells a story on the initiation of Pythagoras into the Orphic
mysteries that took place at Libethra, Thrace, with Aglaophamus the prophet of Orpheus
(T.157); otherwise we know that Orpheus was to study the Egyptian theology.25
We are free to suppose that the mystery teachings by Aglaophamus concerned, to
some extent, the doctrine of reincarnation which was probably Orphic—but not Pythagorean
or Egypian—invention (Zhmud 229). It is really hard to agree with the opinion by Walter
Burkert, based on Ulrich von Wilamovitz-Moellendorf, that ―metempsychosis is not attested
directly for Orphism in any ancient source‖ (Burkert 1972, 126). Alberto Bernabé has
demonstrated the groundlessness of this standpoint (Bernabé 2011). The most striking
examples he showed are: the fragment of Pindar‘s threnody (T.158); the inscribed gold tablet
from Thurii that had belonged to the grave goods of the fourth century BC (T.159); the
fragment of the Epicurean inscription by Diogenes of Oenoanda (T.160); and—last but not
least—some extant remains from the Orphic Rhapsodies quoted by the neo-Platonist Proclus
(T.161, T.162).
The Orphic Rhapsodies, a lost cosmogonic poem in 24 books, were attributed to
Theognetus of Thessaly or Cercops the Pythagorean (OF 1120; OF 1101; Cardini 167); the
provenance and date of the poem are unknown. Anyway, the author—Orpheus, Theognetus,
OF 48iii + OF 55 + OF 61 + OF 293 Kern = Pseudo-Hecataeus, On Abraham and the Egyptians,
FGrHist 264 F25.
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Cercops or whoever he was—explains why every human soul, after the 300-year stay in
Hades, must enter the next body. The reason, according to the Rhapsodies, is that the human
souls, made out of Titans‘ ashes, must suffer for Titans‘ crime. This is why the souls change
the mortal bodies, again and again, and migrate from one life to another, which is either
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human or animal: of a horse, a ram, a bird, a dog, a snake. The mystic crime and punishment
of the Titans seem to be what has activized the process of reincarnation.
For what crime the Titans have been punished? Plutarch of Chaeronea explains it was
when the Titans murdered the mystic baby Dionysus, dismembered his body, and tasted his
blood; for Plutarch, that myth is nothing else than an allegory of rebirth, πƀιηγγƂλƂƃίƀ
(T.163). Besides, Nonnus of Panopolis, the learned poet who collected all pieces of Dionysian
myth that were current in the AD mid-fifth century, informs that Dionysus, styled Zagreus,
metamorphosed eight times before the Titans killed him: into a young man, a monster child, a
girl, a lion, a horse, a snake, a tiger, and a bull, so the Titans slaughtered him as the bull
(T.164). The murder of Zagreus, as represented by Nonnus, looks like a standard Greek
sacrifice of bull or ox, from which the Pythagorean acousmatics were prohibited.
The Dionysus story known from the Orphic sources would be a piece of evidence for
the Orphic origin of the doctrine of reincarnation and abstinence from animal flesh (Bernabé
2015, 35–38). In Pythagoreanism, on the other hand, the reason for metempsychosis is not
given, and this is why ―Pythagorean metempsychosis looks like a borrowed doctrine,‖ to
quote the opinion by Leonid Zhmud (Zhmud 228–29). Anyway, Empedocles, who enjoys
describing bloody sacrifices of animals that are incarnated humans (T.165), never refers the
first sacrifice of Zagreus.
While the Orphic poems taught that the human soul incarnates into a human or animal
body (T.161, T.162), the Pythagoreans believed that the rational soul can enter any body, to
quote Aristotle (T.166). ―Any body‖ means here also vegetative forms of life, e.g. trees,
shrubs, plants. Pythagoras himself was credited with incarnating into heroes, humans,
animals, and plants (T.167). Empedocles declared that he himself was, in his previous
incarnations, a man, a woman, a bush, a bird, and a fish (T.168). It explains why Empedocles
recommended the abstention from the laurel leaves (T.97). Two Platonic passages from the
Timaeus on recycling or descending degradation of the soul stuff (man, woman, bird,
quadruped, fish), probably reflect the Empedoclean doctrine, albeit the plants are not included
The Orphics had another motive—quite different from belief in metempsychosis—for
abstention from meat. There was Orpheus song (or songs) on the kidnapping of Cora, the
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wandering of Demeter in search of her, the invention of agriculture and law, and perhaps the
foundation of the Eleusinian Mysteries. From the fact that the same, or related, song is
referred in the Parian Marble (T.170), we can infer that the literary motif like that circulated
before 264 BC when the monument was erected. The song has been lost and its reconstruction
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out of some fragments, scattered in ancient literature since the fourth century BC onwards, is
almost impossible. Alberto Bernabé places the fragments under the headline Carmen
Orphicum de agri culturae et legum origine (OF 641–44), albeit Otto Kern suggested the title
Κƀζƀξκνί (OF 291–92 Kern).
Some passages from Empedocles and Plato may mirror the story (Parker 299 note 93).
Empedocles describes the golden age of Love when the people used to offer to the goddess of
Love only pure sacrifices with no bloodshed, like honey, frankincense, and the painted
figurines of animals instead of living ones26 that had not be killed (T.171). Plato‘s Laws and
Statesman have almost identical story on the golden age of Cronus (who replaced
Empedocles‘ Love) and provide us with further details: the happy existence of the first
people, defined as ―Orphic lives,‖ has been followed by the episode of cannibalism and, next,
Triptolenus‘ mission to propagate the gift of Demeter and Core, viz. cultivated cereals
The story transmitted by Plato in the Laws 713a–728d, and allegorized in his
Statesman 269a–273e (Horn; Vidal-Naquet), perfectly agrees with two lines from Orpheus‘
song on cannibalism of ancient people, preserved in Sextus Empiricus, and the summary of
the rest of the poem: the lawless cannibalism has been stopped by twain goddesses described
as ζƂƃκνƅόξνη, ―the law-bearing ones‖ (T.173); the Orphic Argonautics, in recapitulation of
the Orphic Rhapsodies, apply the epithet ζƂƃκνƅόξνο to Phersephone alone (T.174). Finally,
Themistius commented on the myth in his speech On Husbandry and interpreted the
agricultural mission of Orpheus (not Triptolemus) as the progress of civilization that has
replaced the previous barbarity (T.175).
To answer the question: why abstain from meat?, we should say that the traces lead to
two Orphic myths: the Zagreus myth and the story on the origin of agriculture. From both of
them, one conclusion can be drawn: meat-eating has been prohibited because it was reputed to
be absolutely lawless, like theophagy (because Titans boiled, grilled, and ate Dionysus‘ flesh),
murder (the people used to kill the kindred animals to eat them), and cannibalism (for, the
men in ancient times devoured each others). To use again the voice of divine-inspired
Empedocles himself, in the later tradition, was credited with sacrificing an ox-shaped cake, cf. T.4a.
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Empedocles: ―Will you not cease the din of slaughter? Do you not see that you are devouring
one another because of your careless way of thinking?‖ (T.176).
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We used to think that the Pythagorean Symbol 11: ―abstain from beans‖ (T.54) refers
exceptionally to the edible seeds of the plant. It is a mistake. Aristotle who is the most reliable
authority for the history of early Pythagoreanism enumerates five reasons for the Pythagorean
ban on beans: (1) beans (both flowers and seeds) look like the male genitals; (2) beans
(stems), as unjointed, are similar to the gates of Hades; (3) beans (seeds) are injurious; (4)
beans (seeds) are like the form of the universe; (5) beans (seeds) belong to oligarchy because
they are used in election by lot (T.177). The explanations given by Aristotle were widespread
in ancient literature (Delatte 1915, 292–94).
The second reason, concerning similarity of the bean stems to the gates of Hades, is
found both in Androcydes (T.178) and Porphyry (T.179). The Tyrian philosopher argues that
the unjointed—or hollow—stems of this plant symbolize a passage way between Hades and
generation, therefore the bees that are symbols of pure souls never light on the bean flowers.
The bean flowers were commented on by Varro, who says—as regards a number of the
bizarre taboos kept by flamen Dialis, the high priest of Jupiter27—that there are seen some
omen-like letters (litterae lugubres) inscribed on the bean flowers (T.180a). The same piece
of information is found in Didymus of Alexandria who translated litterae lugubres into Greek
as πέλζηκƀ γξάκκƀƄƀ and replaced flamen Dialis with Pythagoras (T.180b). We have the
ancient illustration of the fava bean plant with no black splotch but something like ʘ on the
flowers (see fig. 1). I suppose that the ʘ-like sign might be deciphered as the Greek letter ž
with which begins the word ζάλƀƄνο (―death‖). Plutarch of Chaeronea, in the context of the
Roman rituals of Lemuria, etymologized the name of pulse as Lethe (ιάζπξνο—ιήζε) and
chickpea as Erebus (ἐξέβηλζνο—ἔξƂβνο), to show the relation between Hades and the other
legumes, too (T.181).
The Hellenistic and Byzantine scholia on the Iliad, in referring to the black color of
the bean seeds—θύƀκνη κƂιƀλόρξνƂο—mentioned by Homer, quote two lines from the
titleless poem on beans: ―they are the way out from the house of Hades and the ladder of
The flamen Dialis labored under a remarkable number of taboos, among others, he had to keep away
from goats, raw meat, ivy, and beans. See Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 10.15.12 (317 Marshall); Plutarch of
Chaeronea, Roman Questions 109–10, 289F–290A (172 Boulogne); Pötscher 1968.
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ascent for the souls of strong men when they return to the rays of light‖ (T.182a–b). These
verses are evidently related to the Pythagorean explanation of the bean stems as the path from
Hades, and belong to Pseudo-Pythagoras‘ Hieros Logos rather than to the Orphic poems. I
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bean field, which was blooming, and tread on the beans (T.183a–c)—refer exactly to the
suppose the stories on the Pythagorean martyrs—who preferred to die rather than cross the
quoted verses. The most striking in these relations is that Timycha, the Pythagorean heroine
(died in ?365 BC), refused not only to eat beans but also to reveal the reason of abhorring
them, and she bit off her own tongue to not ―disclose the mysteries‖ (T.183c ἐμνξρήƃƀƃζƀη Ƅὰ
ἀπόξξεƄƀ). The Pythagorean fear of touching beans (T.183b θπάκσλ κὴ ζηγγάλƂηλ) might
result from the fear of reincarnation they wanted to avoid. To quote the Pythagorean-
influenced couplets:28 ―Best is for mortals never to have been born at all, nor seen the rays of
the bright sun…‖ (T.184).
The third reason for the bean taboo concerns corruption which prevents the divine
prophecy (T.185). The simplest explanation is that eating beans causes bad dreams because of
flatulence (T.186); in general, beans were recognized as flatulent (T.187, T.188). The
Pseudo-Pythagorean Hieros Logos, however, understands flatulence of beans in a special
way: ―flatulent‖ (πλƂπκƀƄώƁƂηο) is to mean ―partaking of soul‖ (κƂƄέρƂηλ Ƅνῦ ςπρηθνῦ)
(T.189). How come beans partake of soul? Varro explains that the souls of the dead are
contained in a bean, and this is why beans were used in the memorial sacrifices to dead
relatives (T.190) (cf. T.181). John the Lydian reports that the beans were thrown into the
graves for salvation of the human race (T.191). It would mean that throwing the beans into
graves was to cause the reincarnation of the souls. Anyway, the reason given by Pliny (souls
of the dead are contained in a bean seed) seems to coincide with the Orphic concept of soul,
as the breath, or wind, attested by Aristotle (T.192).
The fifth question: beans as the symbol of democracy, political corruption, and bribes
(T.193–T.195), is closely connected to the oligarchic, and then anti-democratic, orientation of
the early Pythagoreans who were involved into the southern-Italian politics (Andrews 278
note 38).
Another reason for abstaining from beans, different from these five adduced by
Aristotle, is more complicated, to say: mystic. There is the oft-quoted verse: ―To eat beans is
as much as to eat your parents‘ heads‖ (T.196), attributed by Heraclides Ponticus to ―the
Arnaud Delatte argues that the couplets, albeit belonging to the Corpus Theognideum, has been
influenced by early Pythagoreanism (Delatte 1915, 42).
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poet‖ (Orpheus) (T.18) and by Holger Thesleff to Pseudo-Pythagoras (Thesleff 159). The line
in question was understood in the sense that beans are literally a human flesh (T.197), which
evoked the horror similar to the one of cannibalism (Borgeaud 275–76).
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vegetables, but from something else (Morand 130–33). Heraclides Ponticus described a
The beans were believed, in the Orphic circles, to be not out of the earth, like the other
bizarre experiment with a bean, thrown into a coffin and covered with earth, which after 40
days becomes a full-grown human form (T.198). The number of 40 days had a special
meaning for the Pythagoreans because of their belief that a human embryo is formed in about
40 days (T.199). A bit different story is told by Antonius Diogenes (T.200) and Porphyry
(T.201), who derived from a common source. They say that a bean homunculus can be
produced from a buried bean flower in 90 days, and they claim that a crushed bean seed
smells like a male sperm (Antionius Diogenes) or a human blood (Porphyry). To explain these
curious phenomena, they tell the myth on the common origin of the beans and the mankind
that both are said to sprout out of the same putrefaction (ƃεπƂƁόλνο), whatever it means. John
the Lydian etymologized the word ―bean‖ as blood (θύƀκνο ἀπὸ Ƅνῦ ƀἵκƀƄνο), and claimed
that both bean and the so-called ρξπƃνιάρƀλνλ grew out of women‘s menstrual blood
(T.202). The chrysolachanon is an alternative name for the red orach (Artiplex hortensis
rubra L.) that has edible bloody-colored leaves (fig. 9).
Fig. 9a (left). The ἀλƁξάƅƀμηο, or ρξπƃνιάρƀλνλ, in the Juliana Anicia Codex, 50v. Source of
illustration:  Fig. 9b
(right). The leaves of red orach, Artiplex hortensis rubra L. Source of illustration:

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There is a very interesting inscription from the second-century Smyrna that contains
the purity regulations for the precinct of Dionysios Bromios (T.203). The text is recognized as
influenced by Orphism, or both by Orphism and Pythagoreanism (Nock; Nilsson 133–43;
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meat, eggs, hearts, mint, and beans. The following reason is given: beans, being the most
hateful root, are out of the sperm of the Titans. We can compare to it the myth told by Dio
Robertson 228–29). There are found here, among others, the prohibitions on non-sacrificial
Chrysostom in his speech Charidemos on the origin of miserable human race out of the blood
of Titans (T.204). Both versions of the myth on the origin of humans: from Titans‘ sperm (the
Smyrna inscription) and Titans‘ blood (Dio Chrysostom) may be linked to the curious stories
on the growth of mankind and of bean from the same putrefaction (Antonius Diogenes,
Porphyry) or from menstrual blood (John the Lydian).
Perhaps all these stories are some jigsaw pieces of Orpheus‘ Hieros Logos, the top
secret but mentioned by Pausanias twice in the context of Eleusinian prohibition on beans
(T.205, T.206). The text of the sacred tale, ἱƂξὸο ιόγνο, attributed by Pausanias to the so-
called ὆ξƅηθά, had not to be revealed to the uninitiated and must have remain unspoken. The
hero Cyamites mentioned in the latter passage (T.206) is a great unknown. Pausanias says
only that Cyamites, the eponym of beans (ΚπƀκίƄεο—θύƀκνο), had his temple on
Cerameicus, Athens, next to the exit of the Sacred Way to Eleusis. The speculations of
Photius on the subject who Cyamites was are highly uninformative (T.207). There is no
evidence for accepting the proposal of Francois Lenormant that Cyamites was the same as
Iacchus, an Eleusinian god (Lenormant 337–424). It is possible that Cyamites, as belonging to
the Eleusinian mythology, might have something to do with the bean homunculus from the
Orphic tales quoted just before (T.198–T.202).
Some Greek testimonies: by Herodotus, Aristagoras, and Plutarch, refer the allegedly
Egyptian origin of the bean taboo (T.208–T.210). It is a pure literary fiction, according to the
well-known rule that all Pythagorean institutions were rooted at Egypt, because the meals
made of beans—like the ful medames—were and still are very popular in Egyptian kitchen
(Lloyd 2: 168–69; Griffiths 272).
I have almost nothing to say about what the gloss on the Homeric ―black beans‖
informs: ―under the reign of Cronos the people used a bread made of bean meal which was to
be prohibited in the later times to save no memory of Cronos‖ (T.182b). The Roman sources
note the use of bean porridge (pulsa fabata) in religious rites (T.190), especially in sacrifice to
the goddess Carna on the first of June, called Kalendae fabariae after faba (T.211). On the
other hand, we hear from Dicaearchus of Messana that the golden generation that lived in the
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Cronian times made the food out of greens that the earth produced spontaneously (T.212a–b).
I have, however, some objections against combining the Greek testimony with the Latin one,
to interpret the puzzling bread of bean eaten by the Cronian people.
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reason for the Orphic and Pythagorean taboo on fava beans (Scarborough), falls ouside the
scope of my paper.
The problem of favism (the genetic condition called G6PD deficiency), as a possible
The reasons for abstaining from eggs have been deduced from Aristotle‘s explanations
of the bean taboo, number one: beans look like the male genitals, and number four: beans are
like the form of the universe (T.213). Plutarch says, in his talk on What Came First: A
Chicken or an Egg, that in Orphic and Pythagorean circles eggs were denominated θύƀκνη
(―beans‖) because of being responsible for procreation, θύεƃηο (T.214), in the same degree as
the beans, according to Empedocles, were (T.215). The eggs, then, belong in the opinion of
Plutarch to the category of γέλƂƃηο, the same as hearts and brains do (T.216) (cf. chapter two,
Symbols 15–16). Besides, Plutarch adds, the egg, as producing an animal, is a potential living
thing, so eating it in no way differs from devouring the egg-born animals (T.217).
Aristotle says that a bean is like the form of the universe (T.213), having in mind
either a globular shape of a bean seed or a leathery involucre that encloses the edible content.
What Aristotle said about a bean, Plutarch tells on an egg that imitates the world enclosing
and engendering everything within itself. Therefore, he says, the egg is sacred to Dionysus
and adored during the Dionysiac mysteries (T.218). The adoration of the egg excluded a
consumption. We know from the sacred law from Smyrna that eggs were prohibited from
eating during the Bacchic festivals celebrated in the local precinct of Dionysus Bromios
(T.219). Macrobius, in his paraphrase of Plutarch‘s text (T.218), applied the Latin term mundi
simulacrum for describing an egg as an image of the world (T.220). Macrobius‘ wording
brings to mind the Pindaric expression: ƀἰ῵λνο ƂἴƁσινλ that refers the immortal human soul
(T.221). It comes out that the identification of a spherical egg—as well as an orbicular bean—
with the world would be another rationale for defining eggs as beans.
The most interesting thing is that Plutarch links the taboo on eggs, which was kept by
the contemporary Orphics and the neo-Pythagoreans, to the Orphic Sacred Tale (Ƅὸλ ὆ξƅηθὸλ
θƀὶ ἱƂξὸλ ιόγνλ), of which no one was allowed to quote anything except the opening ἀƂίƃσ
μπλƂƄν῔ƃη (T.222). The Orphic Hieros Logos Plutarch referred to has been lost. I want to
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believe that Aristophanes‘ line on the cosmic egg, windy, deposited by dark-winged Night at
the beginning of the world, reveals something of the lost poem (T.223). In the quotation, the
―windy‖ (ὑπελέκηνλ) could mean ―empty‖ or ―unfertilized,‖ like the chicken eggs often are
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suggested by the Hippocratic treatise On Diet: an egg is windy ―because from small bulk it
expands to a great one‖ (T.224).
To summarize the chapter: since the early classical period, the Orphics and the
Pythagoreans shared the taboos on meat, beans, and eggs. The Orphic regimen that was
nothing but a vegan diet must have been much simpler than the Pythagorean regulations
transmitted by the acousmatic tradition. The Pythagoreans could consume, during the
(Christopoulos 209). The more convincing seems to me another explanation of ―windy,‖ as
sacrificial meals, the meat of sacrificial animals—in their number: piglets, kids, lambs, calves,
and fowls—but had to avoid the vital parts of them: heads, brains, hearts, loins, genitals, and
feet. Besides, they were prohibited from some black, red, and white things—like the black
and red fish, white chickens, black-colored beans—because of the symbolic meaning of the
colors. Of the Pythagoreans, the theoretical mathematicians and the lawgivers of the
acousmatics were on a strict vegetarian diet in which they approached to the Orphics.
The sources, from Empedocles to Byzantine empire period, give us too many
explanations why both Pythagoreans and Orphics kept the taboos on meat, beans, and eggs.
However, there is a path seen among the forest of numerous reports. The Pythagorean
prohibitions seem to focus on the question of reincarnation: ―keep away from beans‖—
because the stem of this plant, as being soul‘s passage way from Hades to the upper world,
can cause the unwanted comeback to a body; ―eat of sacrificial animals only‖—because
human souls never enter into them; ―abstain from laurel leaves‖—because human soul may
incarnate into the bay tree; ―never consume eggs‖—because an egg is similar to a bean seed
that contains the soul which is spherical-shaped like the world itself.
The belief in reincarnation is attested for the Orphics as well as to the Pythagoreans.
Nevertheless, the sources do not link the Orphic doctrine of metempsychosis to the Orphic
diet, but refer the particular Orphic dietary taboos to the esoteric poem by Orpheus. The date,
provenance, and title of the composition are highly problematic. Some pieces of the sacred
tale, ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο, can be traced so far as the five-century Magna Graecia (Empedocles) and
the post-Periclean Athens (Aristophanes, Euripides, Plato). The allusions to it in classical
Greek literature and some damaged quotations, which appear only in late ancient and
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Byzantine sources, seem to be accidental and often mixed with the verses of the ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο
by Pseudo-Pythagoras composed in Hellenistic times (Delatte 1915, 208–30).
The material analyzed above allows to infer that the Orphic ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο suggested
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cosmic egg and the golden generation that fed on fruit of the earth; the stories about the
some reasons for prohibitions from meat, beans, and eggs. There were the myths on the
mystic crime and punishment of Titans who cooked and devoured the bull-shaped Zagreus,
and how out of their blood the new human race together with the bean plant arose; and a
quasi-historical narration concerning the first people who were committing cannibalism and
carnivorous practices until the Twain Goddesses brought them bread—the civilized food.
On the other hand, the late ancient sources refer another song by Orpheus, devoted
especially to the food prohibitions (T.11–T.14). The conjectural title of the song would be the
὆ξƅηθνὶ θƀζƀξκνί.
Apart from the food prohibitions announced in the ὆ξƅηθνὶ θƀζƀξκνί and the
particular reasons for them expounded in the ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο, the more general questions remain:
what was the aim of holding the vegan diet? what for did the Orphics have to abstain from
some foods? The question has been already answered by the Orphic poems, Purifications and
Deliverance of the Soul, attributed to Pythagoras: ―Keep away from food that we have
mentioned… Then, if you leave the body behind and go to the free ether, you will be
immortal, an undying god, no longer mortal‖ (T.13).
IV. Δεῖπνον ἄδειπνον. Trying to Restore the Orphic Menu
Recipes for Preparing a Pure Meal
Let us leave, now, the negative way of taboos and prohibitions to find something
constructive. If the Orphics used to avoid every kind of meat, and eggs, and beans, the
question is: what did they eat? It is a high time to examine a number of testimonies that can
reflect, more or less, the everyday Orphic menu.
First of them, in chronological order, is Aristophanes‘ Birds, performed in 414 BC.
There is a saying, here, put in the mouth of Epops (actually, Tereus incarnated in a hoopoe),
which concerns the birdfeed consisting of white sesame (ιƂπθὰ ƃήƃƀκƀ), myrtle berries
(κύξƄƀ), poppies (κήθσλ), and water mint (ƃηƃύκβξηƀ) (T.225). Menelaos Christopoulos
thinks that the lines on the birdfeed can mirror the vegetarian diet of the Orphics
(Christopoulos 212). He also remarks that Aristophanes‘ birds—that abolished animal
sacrifices to the Olympian gods—are costumes and masks for the sect of Orpheus whose
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theogony has been travestied in the parabasis of the same play (Aristophanes, Birds 693–703
= OF 64). Franciszek Sokolowski was of different opinion when he associated the seeds of
Aristophanes‘ birds with the sacred menu of the Thesmophoria (LSS p. 209 note 11). It was
the autumn festival, celebrated by Attic women from the 11th day of Pyanopsion to 13th,
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during which the special diet consisting of grains and seeds had being observed. There is an
Attic inscription of the fourth century BC that specifies the alimentary products needed to
prepare the sacred menu: barley, wheat, barley-groats, wheat-flour, dried figs, wine, olive oil,
honey, white and black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cheese, and garlic (T.226). Euelpides‘
comment in the Birds: ―you are all living the life of honeymooners!‖ (T.225) seems to support
the view of Sokolowski.
By κήθσλ, they meant seed of the opium poppy (fig. 10), that was applied also in
cookery: ―there is one kind that is cultivated and that is grown in gardens; its seed is baked
into bread to use in a health-inducing diet; they also use it with honey instead of sesame‖
(Dioscorides, De materia medica 4.64.1 (2: 218 Wellmann), trans. Beck 273).
Fig. 10. The κήθσλ (Papaver somniferum
L., opium poppy) in the Juliana Anicia Codex, 221v. Source of illustrations:

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The grains, seeds, flour, dried fruit, and olive oil enumerated in the Attic inscription,
were to be ingredients needed for preparing the festive cakes. Harpocration of Alexandria, in
commentary on Demosthenes‘ word λƂήιƀƄƀ (a kind of cakes), quotes a recipe for preparing
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chickpeas (T.227a–b). The recipe is similar to the popular dessert which is called kataifi in
moden Greek.
the cakes made of barley-flour, rolled out, soaked in honey, and stuffed with raisins and green
Let us try something else: vegetables. The Attic middle comedy brings another set of
foods that were to be consumed by the contemporary vegetarians: Orphics and Pythagoreans;
unfortunately, the plays are poorly preserved. The only extant phrase from Antiphanes‘
Orpheus mentions ―a loaf made of certain leaves‖ (T.228); we can infer from the title
Orpheus that the verse concerned the Orphic diet. What leaves did he mean? Another comedy
by Antiphanes, entitled The Monuments, represents the Pythagoreans as looking for leaves of
tree purslane (T.229). Dioscorides of Anazarbus informs that the boiled leaves of this plant
were used as vegetables for eating (T.230). The illustrated codex of Dioscorides, produced for
the princess Juliana Anicia in AD 515, shows the plant in question (fig. 11)
Fig. 11. The ἅιηκνο (Atriplex halimus
L., tree-purslane, sea orach) in the Juliana Anicia Codex, 34v. Source:

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The cycle of comedies on Plato‘s friends gives the list of other vegetarian delicacies
that only Pythagoreans were able to eat. Alexis‘ Pythagoreaness praises dried figs (ἰƃράƁƂο),
olive-mush (ƃƄέκƅπιƀ), and cheese (Ƅπξόο), as the most suitable for sacrificing to the gods
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and capers (θάππƀξηο), that are tasty and cheap (T.232); Aristophon enumerates capers,
pennyroyal (βιήρσλ), thyme (ζύκνο), and asparagus (ἀƃπάξƀγνο) (T.233).
(T.231); Antiphanes‘ Bumblebee recommends garlic (ƃθνξόƁηƀ), cheese, onions (θξόκκπƀ),
Of these, pennyroyal, an aromatic herb with lilac flowers, was a spice ingredient of the
Eleusinian θπθƂώλ (Homeric Hymn to Demeter 209 (48 West)) (fig. 12).
Fig. 12a. The βιήρσλ (γιήρσλ) in the Juliana Anicia Codex, 087r. Source of illustration:

Fig. 12b. Pennyroyal, or Mentha pulegium L. 1753. Source of illustration:

Capers, shown in fig. 13, were and still are very popular in the Mediterranean cookery; the
ancient people, however, preferred capers‘ fruit and stems, brine-cured, to the buds
(Dioscorides, De materia medica 2.173.2 (1: 240 Wellmann)).
Fig. 13a (left). The θάππƀξηο in the Juliana Anicia Codex, 172v. Source of illustration:
 Fig. 13b (right). The caper
bush (Capparis spinosa L.) in Siracuse, Italy. Photo by E. O.
There is an interesting passage, transmitted by Antonius Diogenes (?AD second
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century), that concerns, at first glance, the diet of Pythagoras (T.234). The passage in question
contains two special recipes for preparing the anti-hunger and anti-thirst foods (ἀιίκνηο… θƀὶ
ἀƁίςνηο Ƅξνƅƀ῔ο), that Pythagoras was to prepare every time when he visited the sacred
places. The former one, for pastry against hunger, enumerates nine ingredients: (1) poppy
seed, (2) sesame, (3) skin of the sea-onion, (4) the asphodelus flowers, (5) leaves of mallows,
(6) barley, (7) barley-groats, (8) chickpeas, and (9) honey of Hymettus. The latter recipe, for
mixture against thirst, specifies following ingredients, which are also nine in number: (1*)
seed of cucumbers, (2*) raisins, (3*) flowers of coriander (θόξηνλ), (4*) seeds of mallows,
(5*) common purslane (ἀλƁξάρλε), (6*) scraped cheese, (7*) wheat-meal, (8*) cream, and
(9*) wild island honey. As concerns the anti-hunger recipe, we have already met the most of
them—like poppy, sesame, barley, chickpeas, and honey—in the sacred menu for celebrating
the Thesmophoria (T.226). The medical applications of the sea-onion (ƃθίιιƀ) and the
asphodelus (ἀƃƅόƁƂινο) have been described by Pedanius Dioscorides (De materia medica
2.169; 2.171 (1: 234–39 Wellmann)); the late ancient images of these plants come from his
work (figs. 14–15). Besides, we know from Diogenes Laertios (The Lives of Eminent
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Philosophers 8.47) about the dietetic treatise On the Sea-Onion (ΠƂξὶ ƃθίιιεο), attributed to
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Pythagoras the Physician (Pseudo-Pythagoras, On the Effect of Plants fr. 6 Thesleff (p. 176)).
Fig. 14 (left). The ƃθίιιƀ (Scilla maritima L., squill, sea-onion) in the Juliana Anicia Codex,
297v. Source of illustration:

Fig. 15 (right). The ἀƃƅόƁƂινο (Asphodelus ramosus L., asphodelus) in the Juliana Anicia
Codex, 26v. Source of illustration:

Of nine ingredients of each recipe (T.234), none recurs except the mallow (fig. 7),
which appears in both recipes: the mallow leaves in (5) and the mallow seeds in (4*). Albeit
the medical applications of this plant were well-known (T.88), the use of mallow leaves
(κƀιάρεο ƅύιισλ) by Pythagoras himself arises some suspicions. For the Pythagoreans, the
mallow leaf was the most sacred thing (T.89), so eating leaves of mallow contradicted the
Pythagorean law (T.87) and the Pythagorean Symbol 18: ―never eat mallow‖ (T.54).
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Therefore, it is hard to believe that the recipes in question could stem from the Pythagorean
There is an evidence for the non-Pythagorean provenance of both recipes. Michael
Psellus makes clear that the recipe for preparing the ἄιηκνο—of asphodel, a root of mallow,
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sesame, white opium poppy, and raw sea-onion—has been invented by Epimenides (T.235).
The same is stated by Plutarch of Chaeronea: that Epimenides‘ magic brew to neutralize
hunger and thirst (ἄιηκƀ ƄƀῦƄƀ θƀὶ ἄƁηςƀ ƅάξκƀθƀ), made of mallow, asphodelus‘ flowers,
seeds, cheese, and honey—was contrived when Epimenides, a wise, tried to understand the
line from Hesiod (Works and Days 41): ―what a great profit mallow and asphodel have‖
(T.236) (Haussleiter 79–82).
Who was Epimenides of Crete? There is an essential disagreement between two
ancient testimonies, by Plato (FGrHist 457 T4a) and Aristotle (FGrHist 457 T4b), on the
chronology of Epimenides. Plato says that he was born ―yesterday‖ (T.237a), to purify
Athens ten years before the Persian attack, in 500 BC (T.237b), whereas the tradition going
back to Aristotle locates his activity at ca. 630 BC (T.238). Presumably, Plato was right
(Arrighetti 217–19). Epimenides is said to compose the Purifications in verses (T.239)—note
that the poetry book under the same title was attributed also to Orpheus (T.14)—and the
major poems On the Birth of the Curetes and Corybantes and the Theogony (T.240). Timaeus
of Tauromenium and Demetrius of Magnesia show a disbelief in the story on Epimenides‘
invention, in saying that Epimenides just received his magic cure for hunger from some
Nymphs (T.241).
Herodorus of Heraclea, the author of Story of Heracles, had another idea (Detienne
1970, 150 note 60). According to Herodorus, the magic brew of asphodelus and mallow has
been used, for the first time, by Heracles when he went to waterless desert during his Libyan
adventures (T.242). The hero, in turn, was to learn the recipe from Demeter (T.243). It
follows that the origin of the Epimenidean recipes and the Epimenidean Κƀζƀξκνί may be
traced back not only on the island of Crete but also in Athens and Eleusis.
Omophagy: What the Hell It Means?
Porphyry of Tyre is to whom we owe the important excerpt which is reputed to be the
oldest extant testimony concerning the Orphic diet. There is a famous fragment from the lost
tragedy Cretans composed by Euripides and performed on the Athenian stage between 438
and 431 BC. The Tyrian philosopher quoted 20 lines from it to support his argumentation for
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the superiority of the meatless diet in his work On Abstinence from Living Animals. He says
that the lines, which come from chorus‘ address to Minos, concern the abstinence of the
prophets of Zeus in Crete (T.244). The quotation from the Cretans contains a number of
extremely interesting topics. The coryphaeus who is speaking here introduces himself as an
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initiate of Idaean Zeus, a ―herdsman‖ of nocturnal Zagreus, a (Corybant) performing the rites
of Curetes to the Mountain Mother, and a ―bacchus,‖ who just left the temple (of Rhea) built
of the local cypress wood. His life is pure, he says, because he used to abstain from eating the
living food and wear white cloths, having approached neither dead bodies or childbirth. The
text implies the cults of following deities: the Idaean Zeus, Zagreus, and the Mountain Mother
who was identified with Rhea (T.245).
The most puzzling is chorus‘ declaration: ―I became… a servitor of night-ranging
Zagreus, after performing the feast on raw food‖ (T.245 lines 11–12). The phrase Ƅὰο
ὠκνƅάγνπο Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο ƄƂιέƃƀο has been controversial since late antiquity. Jerome of Stridonium
ratiocinated, in a logical way, that Euripides speaking of ὠκνƅάγνπο Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο had in mind
nothing but abstention from cooked meals, coctis cibis (T.246). On the other hand, the
lexicographer Hesychius of Alexandria commented on the same line: ―the ones who divide
raw meat, and eat‖ (T.247), as if the Ƅὰο… Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο were derived from ὁ ƁƀίƄεο (―the one who
divides meat,‖ LSJ 366 s.v. ―daites‖), not from ἟ Ɓƀίο (―feast‖). The grammatical confusion of
two homonyms, Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο (Euripides) and ƁƀίƄƀο (Hesychius), resulted in over-interpretation of
the Euripidean passage in the modern scholarship and never-ending discussions on
omophagy, defined as the cultic feast on raw flesh (Cook 644–65; Haussleiter 88–96; Kern
1916; Parker 302; Casadio; Bernabé 2004; Jiménez 2009; Herrero; Bernabé 2016).
Let us take a closer look at the context in which the ὠκνƅάγνπο Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο appears. The
play has been lost and there are left only the ancient recapitulations that are highly
unsatisfactory. The complementary texts are: one poetic fragment attributed to Euripides‘
Cretans, Antonius Diogenes‘ narration on the mysteries of the Idaean Dactyls, and Diodorus
of Sicily who derived from the earlier historians of Hellenistic period.
The Euripidean fragment, attributed to the Cretans, depicts the offering without fire,
ζπƃίƀ ἄππξνο, explained as some greens and πόπƀλƀ—offertory cakes made of fruit. The
offering is devoted to the god, being both Zeus and Hades, who sends the souls of the dead to
prophesy (T.248). The syncretistic Zeus-Hades might be the same as the night-ranging
Zagreus mentioned by Euripides (T.245), because Aeschylus in his lost play The Egyptians
bestowed the name of Zagreus upon Pluto, the god of the underworld (T.249).
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We are not told who were to deal with the necromancy like that; Porphyry presumed
they were ―the prophets of Zeus‖ (T.244). Antonius Diogenes (?AD second century) is who
reports Pythagoras‘ initiation into the mysteries of Idaean Zeus. The bizarre ritual, which was
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meteoric thunderstone, with a sea water, with a river water), wearing black cap and black
wool dress, and descending into the Idaean cave―where Zeus‘ throne and tomb were
believed to come down from the Idaean Dactyls, entailed a series of purification (with a
placed―to stay there for 27 days. The ritual involved also some unspecified offering to Zeus
who was called Zan in the Cretan dialect29 (T.250). The cave and temple of Zeus near
Cnossos, which must have been the same as the Idaean one, is referred by Plato in his Laws
(T.251). The grave and the strange name Zan (?Zanes in plural, see Rose 1921) might also
refer to the people who were consecrated to Zeus and killed in honor of him (T.252). It is
difficult to say if the prophesying ghosts of Zeus-Hades (T.248) can be included into the
category of Zanes (T.252), and if they were consulted in the Idaean cave or somewhere else.
Anyway, I do not think that the Cretan Zan can be linked to the bull-shaped Zagreus, killed by
the Titans, as Arthur B. Cook proposed (Cook 646–47).
Let us turn, now, to Diodorus of Sicily who summarized the plot of the Cretans. He
says that Minos (the future king of Cnossos and Crete), was punished by Poseidon for
sacrificing to him another bull than the chosen one. The wrath of Poseidon was the reason
why Minos‘ wife Pasiphae fell in love with the not-sacrificed bull and subsequently gave birth
to Minotaur, the hybrid bull-headed baby (T.253). One may speculate that the plot of the
Cretans begins at the moment when Minos summoned Zeus‘ prophets to consult with them
the omen, as the ones who used to ask the questions to prophesying ghosts, but they refused
under the cover of their purity, symbolized by white garments and vegetarian lifestyle.
Diodorus also relates the local Cretan legends on the mythical events that preceded the
birth of Minotaur. He starts with the quotation from Ephorus of Cyme who narrated that the
Idaean Dactyls, born in Phrygia, were credited with inventing mysteries and initiatory rites,
and with instructing Orpheus how to perform them (T.254). Next, Diodorus continues with
The History of Crete by Epimenides the Genealogist, who is different from Epimenides of
Crete mentioned in the previous section. After them, he says, the nine Curetes have been born
from the earth (T.255). At that time, there were still living six Titans and five Titanids, the
children of Heaven and Earth, that had been dwelling near Cnossos where Rhea, one of the
In Doric, Zan means Zeus, see LSJ 753 s.v. ―Zan.‖ I have no idea if this Zan had something to do
with Zas (Zeus) who played the crucial part in cosmogony of Pythagoras‘ teacher Pherecydes, frs. 14, 66, 68–69
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Titanids, had a house in the cypress grove30 (T.256). When she delivered Zeus, the Curetes
took care of her baby (T.257). Zeus, on his native island, raped Phersephone and fathered
Dionysus who was torn into pieces by the Titans, his own uncles. The story is said to be told
by Orpheus and related to some mystery rites (T.258). Diodorus‘ version, which is derived
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from Epimenides, lacks in the well-known sequel of the story, namely the myth on creation of
the mankind out of ashes of the Titans, burnt with Zeus‘ thunderbolt, that occurs half a
millennium later in Olympiodorus of Alexandria (T.259).
Finally, there is found in Diodorus also Corybant, the first priest of the Mother of
Gods, after whom all priests performing her sacred rites (ἱƂξὰ) were called ―Corybantes‖
(T.260). The sacred rites of the same goddess, Mountain Mother, accompanied by the
Curetes, has been mentioned by Euripides in the Cretans (T.245 line 14). Theophrastus of
Eresus and the Hellenistic historians knew the transcriptions of the Corybantic rites from
Crete, inscribed on the special tablets called θύξβƂηο, that concerned the festivals and
sacrifices (T.261, T.262). Theophrastus mentioned these kyrbeis in the context of bloodless
sacrifices and wineless libations.
The connection between the vegetarian diet and Corybantic rites is attested by Nonnus
of Panopolis who describes ƁƂ῔πλνλ ἄƁƂηπλνλ (―the supper no supper‖), hosted by a certain
countryman Brongus who inhabited νἶθνλ ἄνηθνλ (―the house no house‖)31 in the Homeric
land Alybe,32 which would be located in Bithynia or the northern Phrygia (T.263). The
hospitable shepherd invited the travelling Dionysus to his cave, treated with milk, and tried to
sacrifice one of his sheep but the god stopped him. Brongus, then, served some olive fruit in
brine and curdled cheese in wickerwork baskets, which Francis Vian interprets as fresh cheese
mixed with herbs that was called moretum in Latin (Vian 1991, 593). After Dionysus satisfied
himself with the meatless banquet, ƁƂ῔πλνλ ἄƁƂηπλνλ, he was reminded of the frugal feast and
the bloodless table of Cybele, the Mountain Mother.
From the epithet γεγƂλέσλ (―giant‖), applied by Nonnus to Brongus‘ cave, Enrico
Livrea infers that the Nonnian passage on Brongus‘ hospitality might be patterned after the
Gigantias by Dionysius (Livrea). The poem is lost except a few damaged fragments of which
The cypress forests on Crete have disappeared in the Middle Ages, after AD 1414 (Baumann 35).
For the wording used here see very similar passage on the riddles in Trypho of Alexandria, On the
Tropes 4 (194 Spengel): man not man is an eunuch; bird not bird is a bat; wood not wood is a giant fennel
(Ferula communis L.).
Alybe is a Homeric toponym (Homer, Iliad 2.857). Its localization has been problematic since
antiquity (Gerlaud 129–31).
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one concerns the preparations to a feast and a meatless menu which consists of beans, cereals,
grains of wheat, and a potion with meal (T.264). It would mean that Brongus was a giant, the
earth-born one. We know from Pseudo-Epimenides (cf. T.255), that Curetes were also reputed
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to be generated from the earth. Perhaps Brongus whom Dionysus met in Alybe was one of
My conclusion is that the Euripidean phrase ὠκνƅάγνπο Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο, interrelated with the
cults of Zeus-Hades and the Mountain Mother, means nothing but feeding on uncooked
vegetarian food, or performing bloodless sacrifices without fire. In my conclusion, I agree
with the constatation made by Juan I. González in his paper on the subject of omophagy
(González). Among a number of the testimonies adduced by González, there is the one of
special importance. It is the passage from Palladius of Helenopolis on the lifespan diet kept by
the Egyptian monk Ammonius. His regimen from early youth until death was the ὠκνƅƀγίƀ,
as Palladius says, what is explained as eating nothing that had passed through the fire: νὐƁὲλ
γὰξ ὃ Ɓηὰ ππξὸο ƁηήξρƂƄν (T.265). I think that also Euripides had in mind such an omophagy:
eating uncooked foods.
We have a number of testimonies on another kind of omophagy, that is devouring a
raw flesh of still living animals by the worshippers of Dionysus33 (T.266–T.271). The
testimonies in question concern, in my opinion, the ecstatic cult of Dionysus Omadios (―the
raw-eater one‖)—the epithet attested, among others, by the Orphic hymn to the Biennial God
(T.272a)—and some aberrations of the Dionysiac cult, including a human sacrifice, that are
unattested for the Orphic movement (T.272b).
Milk: Not Good for You?
There is left a question of drinks. Presumably every kind of potion was allowed with
exception of milk. Why milk? The column six of the Derveni Papyrus deals with the offerings
usually made to the countless souls of the dead that are identified here with the Eumenides.
The offerings to the Eumenides were to be sacred cakes called πόπƀλƀ and wineless libations
of ὕƁσξ θƀὶ γάιƀ, ―water and milk,‖ poured to them before the regular sacrifices to the gods
(T.273). The later sources link the libations of milk to the special ceramic vessels, ἄγγƂƃη
θƂξƀκƂίνηο (T.274).
In the cult of Dionysus with epiclesis ―Omestes‖ or ―Omadios‖ (―Raw-Eater‖), the living animals
were torn into pieces but probably not eaten by the worshippers of the god (Ekroth 101).
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Albert Henrichs (Henrichs) supposes that the vessels in question would be the same as
the Eleusinian πιεκνρόƀη (fig. 16), used on Boedromion 22th, or the final day of the Great
Mysteries at Eleusis34 (T.275). Edward L. Ochsenschlager speculated that the scope of the
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Fig. 16. The Athenian black-figured plemochoe, 550–500 BC, attributed to Lysiades Potter. The
Metropolitan Museum, inv. 07.286.46. Beazley 348.2. Source of illustration:

Finally, Numenius of Apamea remarks that the libations of honey and milk were
Eleusinian libations was aimed at the cosmic rebirth and recycling of the souls
poured to the souls, because milk―the first nourishment of newborn babies—used to attract
the souls that enter the next bodies (T.276).
As we have seen in the previous chapter, the Orphics and the Pythagoreans abstained
from some kinds of foods (meat, eggs, beans) in order to avoid rebirth or to reduce a number
of incarnations. If they believed that drinking milk result in subsequent generation in the
body, it comes out that they must have to abstain from it.
It was the eight day of the Great Mysteries celebrated at Eleusis on Boedromion 22 th (the end of
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Cheers! Wine Is Allowed
There is no reason to suppose that the Orphics drunk only water all their lives, like the
(―drinking pure water‖) could not be a hallmark of the ancient Orphism. Apart from the
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disgust of ancient Mediterranean people at a pure water, attested among others by Aelius
Aristides (T.278), it is hard to imagine the Orphic lives without wine, the gift of Dionysus
whose mysteries were to be invented by Orpheus (T.279a) and referred in the Orphic
so-called Pythagorists of late classical and early Hellenistic period (T.277). The ὑƁξνπνƃίƀ
Initiations by Onomacritus (T.279b). Orpheus was who persuaded the ancient inhabitants of
Greece that the afterlife in Hades would be κέζε ƀἰώληνο, or ―drunkenness forever‖ (T.280).
The drunkenness, an eschatological hope of the Orphics, implies drinking wine as acceptable
in the Orphic circles since classical antiquity.
A City of Pigs?
To close the chapter on the Orphic menu, we can quote the passage from the Republic
where Plato, through his mouthpiece, Socrates, discusses the question of diet in the ideal city
Callipolis (T.281). What will the people eat in the ideal city? Socrates says that they will feed
on bread and cakes made of wheat and barley, and they will drink wine; next, he adds salt,
olives, cheese, boiled roots, local vegetables, figs, lentils, roast myrtle, and acorns. The simple
menu, which would be convergent with the Orphic diet and the Corybantic ƁƂ῔πλνλ ἄƁƂηπλνλ,
is commented on by Glaucon, Socrates‘ interloculor, in the following way: ―If you were
founding a city for pigs, Socrates, he replied, wouldn‘t you fatten them on the same diet?.‖
We can ask, then, if the ὑ῵λ πόιηο was to express Plato‘s actual attitude to the ―Orphic lives‖
he glorified in his Laws (T.1)?
To summarize, we can use Philostratus‘ words, put in the mouth of Apollonius of
Tyana, that concern the impure and pure foods. He says that the meat of animals is impure,
whereas pure is everything which the earth itself produces, so, as he argues, fruit and
vegetables belong to pure foods and wine is a θƀζƀξὸλ π῵κƀ (T.282). The dietetic regulation,
formulated by the neo-Pythagorean Apollonius, could be representative of the Orphic regimen
too. On the other hand, the strict diet kept by the Pythagoreans of the Hellenistic period,
which consists of uncooked foods and water only (T.277), cannot be considered as Orphic.
Anyway, the Orphics were allowed to consume raw vegetables. What about a raw
animal meat? The bizarre idea that the Orphics who had to eat no meat were occasionally
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allowed to consume a raw flesh has been suggested by the only one phrase: Ƅὰο ὠκνƅάγνπο
Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο ƄƂιέƃƀο from Euripides‘ Cretans (T.245). I have argued that the phrase concerns
eating raw food rather than a raw flesh and appears in the double context of the bloodless
fireless offerings to the Idaean Zeus-Hades (T.248) as well as the Corybantic rites from Crete
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that were credited with sacrificing no living animal (T.261–T.263). There is no connection
here to the sanguinary frenzy of Dionysus Omadios or the ritual dismemberment of living
animals in honor of him (T.266–T.272).
Besides, the tradition transmitted two recipes, descended from Epimenides of Crete
(ca. 500 BC), for preparing the pastries out of raw greens, seeds, vegetables, fruit, grains,
honey etc. (T.234). The small portions of the pastries were used against hunger and thirst
when the person who prepared them (Epimenides and Pythagoras are mentioned in the
context) visited some sacred places and stayed there a number of days. Antonius Diogenes
informs that the initiation into the mysteries of the Idaean Zeus took 27 days and that an
initiated had to inhabit the Idaean cave, Crete, during the period (T.250). The same initiation
is probably alluded in Euripides‘ Cretans (T.245 lines 9–20). I cannot find any reasons for
maintaining that Euripides, in saying of ὠκνƅάγνπο Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο, referred the bloody feast on a raw
flesh rather than a vegetarian pastry prepared out of raw ingredients according to Epimenides‘
V. Conclusions
To conclude the problem of the Orphic diet, I should return to the beginning of my
paper where I have asked four essential questions concerning (i.) the chronology of related
sources; (ii.) the relation between the Orphic food taboos and the Pythagorean Symbols; (iii.)
the attitude of the Orphic puritans to an animal sacrifice; and (iv.) the difference between the
Orphic diet and ritual fasting during some festivals, initiations into mysteries and so on.
The question of sources is an awkward problem. For, of 282 fragments discussed
above, only several items pertain exactly the Orphic diet. All of them, about 20 in number, are
the second-hand quotations and none is derived directly from the so-called Orphica (―Orphic
writings‖) of classical period. The collected sources do not clarify where and when the Orphic
sect begun.
Of them, the earliest testimonies come from the Athenian play-writers who not only
were tendentious but also addressed the hardheaded auditorium that used to display a hostility
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towards any religious novelties including the Orphic movement. The poetic verses by
Euripides, Aristophanes, and Antiphanes on the meatless diet propagated by the Orphic books
date from the years 428–365 BC (T.6–T.8, T.228). Above all, Empedocles of Acragas, well
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and Pythagorean food regulations into his personal dietary code (Kołakowska 103). The
Sicilian philosopher seems to be the first to comment on the Orphic diet (ca. 444 BC).
acquainted with the religious traditions of the Magna Graecia, has transformed both Orphic
Plato, in his Laws written ca. 350 BC, refers ―the Orphic lives‖—characterized by the
meatless menu and bloodless sacrifices—to the unidentified non-Hesiodic story on the golden
generation that lived under Cronus (T.1, T.172a–c), which had been known to Empedocles
too (T.171). In the Republic, Plato introduces the vegetarian utopia to his ideal city and
represents the people of Callipolis as feeding on greens, vegetables, lentils, bread, cheese etc.,
which he calls the pig menu (T.281).
A number of authors of Roman imperial period (AD 100–554) either refer Orpheus‘
poetry book on the prohibitions from meat, eggs, and beans (T.9, T.11, T.206) or quote some
isolated verses from it (T.10, T.18, T.21b, T.173). Some writers paraphrase or allude to the
Orphic tale (T.175, T.200, T.201, T.216, T.218). The most valuable is the passage quoted by
John the Lydian (AD 554) after Heraclides Ponticus (339 BC) who excerpted an authentic
anti-bean line from the poet himself, viz. Orpheus (T.198). Plutarch of Chaeronea, Pausanias
Periegeta, and Porphyry inform that Orpheus‘ poem on the prohibited foods had been
forbidden to every uninitiated person (T.10, T.21b, T.206). It explains the surprisingly small
dossier of sources concerning the Orphic diet that date from classical and Hellenistic periods
(Borgeaud 262 and note 6). There is no literary evidence for practicing the Orphic life before
444 BC by anyone except Epimenides of Crete who can be recognized as a ―Corybant‖ but
hardly as an ―Orphic.‖
The Orphics shared the taboos on meat, beans, and eggs with the early Pythagoreans
who flourished in the southern Italy between ca. 520 BC and 360 BC. The sources on the
history of early Pythagoreanism are abundant. Despite the Pythagorean tenets had to be kept
in top secrecy, there were some unorthodox Pythagoreans to betray them to everyone:
Empedocles of Acragas (444 BC), Plato of Athens (385 BC), and Diodorus os Aspendus (ca.
350 BC). Moreover, the authentic Pythagoreans Memoirs have been collected and written
down since 450 BC, to leak out—through Aristotle and Alexander Polyhistor—between 350
BC and 80 BC. The work in question referred the so-called Pythagorean Symbols that
contained, among others, the list of prohibited foods. After the genuine Pythagoreans died out
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in Magna Graecia (ca. 360 BC), the Pythagorean lifestyle became an Athenian phenomenon.
The sources (the Attic middle comedy, Aristoxenus of Tarentum) often refer the diet of the
contemporary ―Pythagorists,‖ but they are misleading.
The Pythagorean Symbols include the prohibitions against eating beans and animals
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(T.54 Symbols 11 and 14), whereas the Pythagorean Memoirs point at eggs as forbidden food
(T.138). Nevertheless, the Pythagorean dietary restrictions cannot be identified with the
Orphic diet. Why? The detailed analysis of related sources in part two of the present paper
shows that the genuine Pythagoreans—before they disappeared in the late 360s BC—were
allowed to sacrifice select animals and eat some parts of them, and to consume fish except the
black and red ones. It was ―semi-vegetarianism,‖ to use a modern term, which permitted to
make an animal sacrifice demanded by most ancient cults. The example of the later neoPlatonist Proclus is the best illustration of the Pythagorean cult practice (T.12a).
On contrary, the Orphics were prohibited from any bloody sacrifices with no
exception. The most representative of the Orphic custom seems to be the corpus of 87 Orphic
Hymns (?AD 200), of which 78 hymns specify what type of fumigation was needed to honor
each deity. There are found here frankincense, myrrh, potpourri, resin, storax, saffron, grains
of all kinds, poppy-seeds, smoke of a torch, and milk, whereas beans and any animal products
have been excluded from the list of offerings (Morand 115–37).
The Pythagorean Symbols stem from the ritual texts that were used during initiations
only (T.114 Ƅὰ ιƂγόκƂλƀ ἐλ Ƅῆ ƄƂιƂƄῆ; T.138 νἱ Ƅὰο ƄƂιƂƄὰο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἱƂξν῔ο ἐπηƄƂινῦλƄƂο),
having been prohibited from the Greek public (T.67, T.183b–c). The sacred books in question
have been lost and are known only by their titles: ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο (Sacred Tale) and Κƀζƀξκνί
(Purifications). Because the ancient Greek tradition knew double ἹƂξὸο ιόγνο (both Orphic
and Pythagorean) and a few different Κƀζƀξκνί (Epimenidean, Orphic, Empedoclean), the
scholars have a serious difficulty with discerning them from each other. Anyway, the texts
revealed, among others, the mystic reasons why some foods—like meat, beans, eggs—have
been forbidden. The oldest of them seems to be the Purifications by Epimenides of Crete (ca.
500 BC), whereas the Orphic Purifications and the Orphic Sacred Tale—that were reputed to
date from classical period—antedate the Pythagorean Sacred Tale, which is a Hellenistic
In fact, the Pythagorean dietary regulations resemble the so-called sacred law
concerning some Attic festivals. During the Great Mysteries at Eleusis (Boedromion 15th–
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22th), there was a ban on birds, fish, beans, pomegranates, and apples (T.283), and, similarly,
the celebrants of Haloa (held on Poseideion 26th) were prohibited from pomegranates, apples,
domestic fowl, eggs, and—of seafood—from red mullet, pandora, blacktail, crayfish, and
dogfish (T.284). Likewise, during the Dionysiac festivals celebrated at Smyrna, it was a rule
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to abstain from eggs, beans, hearts, and wild mint (T.203). The same prohibitions on beans,
eggs, hearts, red mullet, pandora, and blacktail have been attested for the early Pythagorean
Anyway, the sacred law concerning the prohibited foods during the Eleusinia, Haloa,
and Dionysia cannot be linked to the Orphic diet. While the ritual fasting was temporary, i.e.
obligatory during a few festive days, the Orphic diet was to be observed permanently to
become the Orphic life (T.1). After all, what was permitted to a pious initiate into the
Eleusinian Mysteries: sacrificing ―the mystic pig‖ (T.285a) (Parker 282–86) and eating a
sausage made of it (T.285b), would be impossible, as being unholy, for a puritan Orphic.
VI. Corpus of Related Texts in Greek and Latin35
A. Orphic Lifes, Orphic Taboos
Plato, Laws 782c–d Burnet
OF 625i; Orfismo E6 Scarpi; no. 53 Harden
350 BC
…ὅƄƂ νὐƁὲ βνὸο ἐƄόικσλ κὲλ γƂύƂƃζƀη, ζύκƀƄά ƄƂ νὐθ ἤλ Ƅν῔ο ζƂν῔ƃη δῶƀ, πέιƀλνη Ɓὲ
θƀὶ κέιηƄη θƀξπνὶ ƁƂƁƂπκέλνη θƀὶ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ἄιιƀ ἁγλὰ ζύκƀƄƀ, ƃƀξθ῵λ Ɓ᾽ ἀπƂίρνλƄν ὡο
νὐρ ὅƃηνλ ὂλ ἐƃζίƂηλ νὐƁὲ Ƅνὺο Ƅ῵λ ζƂ῵λ βσκνὺο ƀἵκƀƄη κηƀίλƂηλ, ἀιιὰ ὆ξƅηθνί ƄηλƂο
ιƂγόκƂλνη βίνη ἐγίγλνλƄν ἟κ῵λ Ƅν῔ο ƄόƄƂ, ἀςύρσλ κὲλ ἐρόκƂλνη πάλƄσλ, ἐκςύρσλ Ɓὲ
ƄνὐλƀλƄίνλ πάλƄσλ ἀπƂρόκƂλνη.
…there was a time when we didn‘t even dare to eat beef, and the sacrifices offered to
the gods were not animals, but cakes and meal soaked in honey and other ‗pure‘
offerings like that. People kept off meat on the grounds that it was an act of impiety to
eat it, or to pollute the altars of the gods with blood. So at that time men lived a sort of
‗Orphic‘ life, keeping exclusively to inanimate food and entirely abstaining from
eating the flesh of animals. (trans. Cooper 1454–55)
The choice of texts collected here diverges from the Orphic fragments by Alberto Bernabé (OF 625–
OF 649, vol. 2, pp. 199–218) and the loci discussed by Johannes Haussleiter (Haussleiter 79–162: Begründer
und Vollender des griechischen Vegetarismus).
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Syrianus, Commentary on the Metaphysics 1000a19 (43 Kroll)
AD 430–37
OF 1108iii
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Since (Empedocles) is an Orphic and a Pythagorean. (trans. Bernabé 2013, 129)
ἀιιὰ γὰξ ΠπζƀγόξƂηνλ ὄλƄƀ θƀὶ ὆ξƅηθὸλ (sc. ἖κπƂƁνθιέƀ—Bernabé)
Timaeus of Tauromenium, History of Sicily, book nine, FGrHist 566 F14 qtd. in
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.54 (632 Dorandi)
339–279 BC
Ἀθνῦƃƀη Ɓ᾽ ƀὐƄὸλ Ππζƀγόξνπ Τίκƀηνο Ɓηὰ Ƅ῅ο ἐλάƄεο ἱƃƄνξƂ῔ ιέγσλ ὅƄη θƀƄƀγλσƃζƂὶο
ἐπὶ ινγνθινπίᾳ ƄόƄƂ, θƀζὰ θƀὶ ΠιάƄσλ, Ƅ῵λ ιόγσλ ἐθσιύζε κƂƄέρƂηλ.
Timaeus in the ninth book of his Histories says he (sc. Empedocles) was a pupil of
Pythagoras,36 adding that, having been convicted at that time of stealing his
discourses, he was, like Plato, excluded from taking part in the discussions of the
school. (trans. Hicks 2: 369–71)
Favorinus of Arelate, Memorabilia fr. F56 Amato qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of
Eminent Philosophers 8.53 (631 Dorandi)
AD 130–60
OF 1108i
ἐγὼ Ɓ᾽ Ƃὗξνλ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ὘πνκλήκƀƃη ſƀβσξίλνπ ὅƄη θƀὶ βνῦλ ἔζπƃƂ Ƅν῔ο ζƂσξν῔ο ὁ
἖κπƂƁνθι῅ο ἐθ κέιηƄνο θƀὶ ἀιƅίƄσλ…
I found in the Memorabilia of Favorinus a statement that Empedocles feasted the
sacred envoys on a sacrificial ox made of honey and barley-meal… (trans. Hicks 2:
T.4b Dicaearchus of Messana qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 36 (52–53
fl. 320 BC
ἐβνπζύƄεƃƂλ Ɓέ πνƄƂ ƃƄƀίƄηλνλ, ὡο ƅƀƃὶ βνῦλ νἱ ἀθξηβέƃƄƂξνη, ἐμƂπξὼλ Ƅνῦ
ὀξζνγσλίνπ Ƅὴλ ὑπνƄƂίλνπƃƀλ ἴƃνλ Ɓπλƀκέλελ Ƅƀ῔ο πƂξηƂρνύƃƀηο.
When he (sc. Pythagoras) discovered the proposition that the square of the hypotenuse
of a right-angled triangle was equal to the squares on the sides containing the right
angle, he is said to have sacrificed an ox,37 although the more accurate38 say that this
ox was made of flour. (trans. Guthrie 130)
The chronology given in the text is a little suspicious. Pythagoras died between 500 and 495 BC,
Empedocles was born in 490 BC. How come, then, could Empedocles be a pupil of Pythagoras?
Apollodorus of Cyzicus (the fourth century BC) claimed, in his Life of Pythagoras, that Pythagoras
sacrificed an ox—or even a hecatomb (100 oxen)—after he discovered a right-angled triangle (FGrHist 1097
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Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 120 Wright
444 BC
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νἴκ‘ ὅƄη νὐ πξόƃζƂλ κƂ ƁηώιƂƃƂ λειƂὲο ἤκƀξ,
πξὶλ ƃρέƄιη' ἔξγƀ βνξ᾵ο πƂξὶ ρƂίιƂƃη κεƄίƃƀƃζƀη.
Alas that the pitiless day did not destroy me first, before I devised for my lips the cruel
deed of eating flesh. (trans. Wright 284)
Euripides, Hippolytus 952–54 (2: 216 Kovacs)
428 BC
OF 627; Orfismo E5 Scarpi; no. 52 Harden
ἢƁε λπλ ƀὔρƂη θƀὶ Ɓη᾽ ἀςύρνπ βνξ᾵ο
ƃίƄνηο θƀπήιƂπ᾽ ὆ξƅέƀ Ƅ᾽ ἄλƀθƄ᾽ ἔρσλ
βάθρƂπƂ πνιι῵λ γξƀκκάƄσλ Ƅηκ῵λ θƀπλνύο·
Continue then your confident boasting, adopt a meatless diet and play the showman
with your food, make Orpheus your lord and engage in mystic rites, holding the
vaporings of many books in honor! (trans. Kovacs 2: 217)
Aristophanes, Frogs 939–43 (2: 177 Wilson)
405–404 BC
ἀιι᾽ ὡο πƀξέιƀβνλ Ƅὴλ Ƅέρλελ πƀξὰ ƃνῦ Ƅὸ πξ῵Ƅνλ Ƃὐζὺο
νἰƁνῦƃƀλ ὑπὸ θνκπƀƃκάƄσλ θƀὶ ῥεκάƄσλ ἐπƀρζ῵λ,
ἴƃρλƀλƀ κὲλ πξώƄηƃƄνλ ƀὐƄὴλ θƀὶ Ƅὸ βάξνο ἀƅƂ῔ινλ
ἐππιιίνηο θƀὶ πƂξηπάƄνηο θƀὶ ƄƂπƄιίνηƃη ιƂπθν῔ο,
ρπιὸλ ƁηƁνὺο ƃƄσκπικάƄσλ ἀπὸ βηβιίσλ ἀπεζ῵λ·
{Euripides‘ soul is speaking} No, as soon as I first inherited the art from you, bloated
with bombast and obese vocabulary, I immediately put in on a diet and took off the
weight with a regimen of wordlets and strolls and little white beets (Beta vulgaris
maritima L.), administering chatter-juice pressed from books… (trans. Henderson 4:
Aristophanes, Frogs 1032 (2: 181 Wilson)
405–404 BC
OF 547i; OF 626i; Orfismo E4 Scarpi
὆ξƅƂὺο κὲλ γὰξ ƄƂιƂƄάο ζ᾽ ἟κ῔λ θƀƄέƁƂημƂ ƅόλσλ Ƅ᾽ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη…
{Aeschylus‘ soul is speaking} Orpheus revealed mystic rites to us, and taught us to
abstain from killings… (trans. Henderson 4: 165)
OF 637
Plutarch of Chaeronea, Dinner of the Seven Sages 16, 159C (327 Gärtner). AD 68–120
J. Radicke infers—from the phrase of Porphyry (Life of Pythagoras 56): Γηθƀίƀξρνο θƀὶ νἱ
ἀθξηβέƃƄƂξνη—that he meant here Dicaearchus of Messana (Radicke 372). On the other hand, Walter Burkert
was of opinion that the text in question is derived from Antonius Diogenes‘ Wonders beyond Thoule (Burkert
1972, 180 note 110).
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OF 629; Orfismo E7 Scarpi
Ƅὸ Ɓ᾽ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη ƃƀξθ῵λ ἐƁσƁ῅ο, ὥƃπƂξ ὆ξƅέƀ Ƅὸλ πƀιƀηὸλ ἱƃƄνξνῦƃη, ƃόƅηƃκƀ
κ᾵ιινλ ἠ ƅπγὴ Ƅ῵λ πƂξὶ Ƅὴλ Ƅξνƅὴλ ἀƁηθεκάƄσλ ἐƃƄί.
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But to refrain entirely from eating meat, as they record of Orpheus of old, is rather a
quibble than a way of avoiding wrong in regard to food. (trans. Babbitt 2: 421)
Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence from Living Animals 2.36.4–6 (102–03
Bouffartigue). AD 263
OF 635
ſεƃὶ Ɓὲ ἔκςρνλ νὗƄνο ζύƂηλ κεƁὲ ἕλ, ἀιι᾽ ἄρξηο ἀιƅίƄσλ θƀὶ κέιηƄνο θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ἐθ γ῅ο
ἀθξνƁξύσλ Ƅ῵λ ƄƂ ἄιισλ ἀλζέσλ ἀπάξρƂƃζƀη· κεƁὲ ἀƅ᾽ ᾑκƀγκέλεο ἐƃράξƀο ἔƃƄσ Ƅὸ
πῦξ, θƀὶ ὄƃƀ ƅεƃὶ ἐθƂ῔λνο. Ƅί γὰξ ƁƂ῔ κƂƄƀγξάƅƂηλ ƄƀῦƄƀ; νἶƁƂ Ɓὲ ὁ Ƅ῅ο ƂὐƃƂβƂίƀο
ƅξνλƄίδσλ ὡο ζƂν῔ο κὲλ νὐ ζύƂƄƀη νὐƁὲλ ἔκςπρνλ, Ɓƀίκνƃη Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἄιινηο ἢƄνη ἀγƀζν῔ο
ἠ θƀὶ ƅƀύινηο, θƀὶ Ƅίλσλ ἐƃƄὶ Ƅὸ ζύƂηλ ƄνύƄνηο θƀὶ ƄνύƄσλ ἄρξη Ƅίλνο ƀὐƄνῦ ƁƂνκέλσλ.
ἐκνὶ Ɓὲ Ƅὰ κὲλ Ƅἄιιƀ ƂὔƃƄνκƀ θƂίƃζσ.
He (sc. the Theologian) says that not a single animate creature should be sacrificed,
but offerings should not go beyond barley-grains and honey and the fruits of the earth,
including flowers. ‗Let not the fire burn on a bloodstained altar,‘ and the rest of what
he says, for what need is there to copy out the words? Someone concerned for piety
knows that no animate creature is sacrificed to the gods, but to other daimones, either
good or bad, and knows whose practice it is to sacrifice to them and to what extent
these people need to do so. For the rest, ‗let it remain unsaid‘ (Herodotus, Histories
2.171) by me. (trans. Clark 70)
Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence from Living Animals 269 qtd. in Jerome of
Stridonium, Against Jovinian 2.14.1 (40 Patillon)
AD 263
OF 630
Orpheus in carmine suo esum carnium penitus detestatur.
Orpheus in his hymn utterly rejects the eating of meat. (trans. Clark 194 note 687)
T.12a Marinus of Neapolis, Life of Proclus 19 (75 Masullo)
AD 485–90
Ƅὰ πνιιὰ Ɓὲ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῵λ ἐκςύρσλ ἀπνρὴλ ἞ƃπάδƂƄν· Ƃἰ Ɓέ πνƄƂ θƀηξόο Ƅηο ἰƃρπξόƄƂξνο ἐπὶ
Ƅὴλ ƄνύƄσλ ρξ῅ƃηλ ἐθάιƂη, κόλνλ ἀπƂγƂύƃƀƄν, θƀὶ ƄνῦƄν ὁƃίƀο ράξηλ.
For the most part he made it a rule to abstain from living creatures, and if some
pressing occasion called on him to eat them, he merely tasted them, and then only for
the sake of piety. (trans. Edwards 86)
T.12b Marinus of Neapolis, Life of Proclus 18 (75 Masullo)
OF 561
AD 485–90
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λύθƄσξ ƄƂ θƀὶ κƂζ᾽ ἟κέξƀλ ἀπνƄξνπƀ῔ο θƀὶ πƂξηξξƀλƄεξίνηο θƀὶ Ƅν῔ο ἄιινηο θƀζƀξκν῔ο
ρξώκƂλνο, ὁƄὲ κὲλ ὆ξƅηθν῔ο ὁƄὲ Ɓὲ ΧƀιƁƀτθν῔ο…
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Pseudo-Pythagoras, Golden Verses 67–71 (98 Thom)
Day and night he made use of apotropaic, lustratory and other purifications, sometimes
the Orphic, sometimes the Chaldean… (trans. Edwards 85)
Hellenistic period
Hieros Logos fr. 10 Thesleff (p. 162)
ἀιι᾽ Ƃἴξγνπ βξσƄ῵λ ὧλ ƂἴπνκƂλ ἔλ ƄƂ Κƀζƀξκν῔ο
ἔλ ƄƂ ΛύƃƂη ςπρ῅ο, θξίλσλ θƀὶ ƅξάδƂπ ἕθƀƃƄƀ
἟λίνρνλ γλώκελ ƃƄήƃƀο θƀζύπƂξζƂλ ἀξίƃƄελ.
ἠλ Ɓ᾽ ἀπνιƂίςƀο ƃ῵κƀ ἐο ƀἰζέξ᾽ ἐιƂύζƂξνλ ἔιζῃο,
ἔƃƃƂƀη ἀζάλƀƄνο ζƂὸο ἄκβξνƄνο, νὐθέƄη ζλεƄόο.
But keep away from food that we have mentioned in Purifications and in Deliverance
of the Soul, with discernment, and consider each thing by putting the excellent faculty
of judgment in control as charioteer. Then, if you leave the body behind and go to the
free ether, you will be immortal, an undying god, no longer mortal. (trans. Thom 99)
Oenomaus of Gadara, Charlatans Exposed fr. 11C Hammerstaedt qtd. in Eusebius of
Caesarea, Praeparatio Evangelica 5.31.3 (280 Mras)
AD 119
OF 607; Epimenides fr. 12ii (PEG 2.3: 121); FGrHist 1070 F3
ὡο κὴ κ᾵ιινλ Ƅ῅ο ΚξήƄεο ƃὺ θƀζƀξκνῦ πξνƃƁέεη, ὆ξƅηθνύο Ƅηλƀο ἠ ἖πηκƂληƁƂίνπο
θƀζƀξκνὺο ƅƀλƄƀδόκƂλνο.
Beware lest thou need lustration more than Crete, for inventing lustrations such as
those of Orpheus and Epimenides. (trans. Gifford 244)
Pseudo-Empedocles, Katharmoi fr. 128 Wright
444 BC
ƁƂηινί, πάλƁƂηινη, θπάκσλ ἄπν ρƂ῔ξƀο ἔρƂƃζƀη.
Wretches, utter wretches, keep your hands from beans! (trans. Wright 289)
Callimachus of Cyrene fr. 553 Pfeiffer
278–246 BC
θƀὶ θπάκσλ ἄπν ρƂ῔ξƀο ἔρƂηλ, ἀλη῵λƄνο ἐƁƂƃƄνῦ,
θ἞γώ, Ππζƀγόξεο ὡο ἐθέιƂπƂ, ιέγσ.
I tell you too, as did Pythagoras, withhold your hands from beans, a hurtful food.
(trans. Rolfe 347)
T.17a Suda Lexicon, Γ 876 (2: 81 Adler)
ΓίƁπκνο, ἈιƂμƀλƁξƂύο· ŽƂσξγηθὰ ἐλ βηβιίνηο ηƂʹ.
after AD 1028
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Didymus, of Alexandria. (He wrote) Georgics in 15 books. (the SOL translation)
T.17b Didymus of Alexandria, Georgics qtd. in Geoponica 2.35.8 (73 Beckh)
AD 400
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OF 648xi; Orfismo E9 Scarpi
Πξ῵Ƅνο Ɓὲ ἀπέƃρƂƄν θπάκσλ Ἀκƅηάξƀνο, Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ Ɓη᾽ ὀλƂίξσλ κƀλƄƂίƀλ. ƅέξƂƄƀη Ɓὲ
θƀὶ ὆ξƅέσο ƄνηάƁƂ ἔπε·
ΓƂηινί, θπάκσλ ἄπν ρƂ῔ξƀο ἔρƂƃζƂ, θƀὶ·
Ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƅƀγέƂηλ, θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ.
The first to abstain from beans was Amphiaraos, owing to the practice of foretelling
the future from dreams. Verses such as these are quoted from Orpheus:
‗Fools! Withhold your hands from beans!‘ (Pseudo-Empedocles, Katharmoi fr.
128 Wright), and:
‗To eat beans is as much as to eat your parents‘ heads.‘ (OF 648 = PseudoPythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff) (trans. Dalby 93)
Heraclides of Pontus, On the Pythagoreans fr. 129 Schütrumpf qtd. in John the
Lydian, On Months 4.42 (99 Wuensch)
339 BC
OF 648iii + OF 648
…θƀὶ Ɓηὰ ƄνῦƄν Ƅὸλ πνηεƄὴλ ƅάλƀη·
ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ.
And (he continues) this is why the poet said:
‗It is the same, you see, whether you eat beans or the heads of your parents.‘
(Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff) (trans. Schütrumpf 239)
Orphic Hymns 26 proem (231 Fayant)
?AD 200
Ž῅ο ζπκίƀκƀ· π᾵λ ƃπέξκƀ πιὴλ θπάκσλ θƀὶ ἀξσκάƄσλ.
To Earth: incense, any grains save beans and aromatic herbs. (trans. Athanassakis 24)
Gregory of Nazianzus, Theological Orations 27.10 (94 Gallay)
OF 648xiii
…Ƅνὺο θπάκνπο Ƅνὺο ὆ξƅηθνύο…
…the Orphic beans… (trans. E. O.)
T.21a Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 2.3.1, 635E (57 Hubert)
AD 380
AD 99–110
OF 645
἖μ ἐλππλίνπ Ƅηλὸο ἀπƂ<ηρό>κελ ᾠ῵λ πνιὺλ ἢƁ …. πƀξὰ ƄνῦƄν πνηνύκƂλνο, ἐλ ᾠῶ
θƀζάπƂξ ἐλ Κƀξὶ ƁηάπƂηξƀλ ιƀβƂ῔λ Ƅ῅ο ὄςƂσο ἐλƀξγ῵ο κνη πνιιάθηο γƂλνκέλεο·
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Because of a dream, I had for a long time now been avoiding eggs, and I was acting so
for this reason, that I might test by an egg, as by a Carian, the vision which came to me
clearly and frequently. (trans. Clement 145)
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OF 646i
AD 99–110
T.21b Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talk 2.3.2, 636D (60 Hubert)
‗ἀƂίƃσ μπλƂƄν῔ƃη‘ Ƅὸλ ὆ξƅηθὸλ θƀὶ ἱƂξὸλ ιόγνλ, ὃο νὐθ ὄξληζνο κόλνλ Ƅὸ ᾠὸλ
ἀπνƅƀίλƂη πξƂƃβύƄƂξνλ, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ ƃπιιƀβὼλ ἅπƀƃƀλ ƀὐƄῶ Ƅὴλ ἁπάλƄσλ ὁκνῦ
πξƂƃβπγέλƂηƀλ ἀλƀƄίζεƃηλ. θƀὶ Ƅἄιιƀ κὲλ ‗ƂὔƃƄνκƀ θƂίƃζσ‘ θƀζ᾽ ἧξόƁνƄνλ, ἔƃƄη γὰξ
What is more, he added with a laugh, ‗I shall recite for men of understanding‘ (OF
101) the Orphic sacred tale which not only declares the egg older than the hen, but also
attributes to it the absolute primordiality over all things together without exception. As
for the rest of the doctrine, ‗let reverent silence prevail,‘ as Herodotus says (Histories
2.171); for it is very much of a mystical secret. (trans. Clement 149–51)
Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 2.3.1, 635E (58 Hubert)
OF 647i; Orfismo E8 Scarpi
AD 99–110
ὑπόλνηƀλ κέλƄνη πƀξέƃρνλ, ἑƃƄη῵λƄνο ἟κ᾵ο Σνƃƃίνπ ΣƂλƂθίσλνο, ἐλέρƂƃζƀη Ɓόγκƀƃηλ
὆ξƅηθν῔ο ἠ Ππζƀγνξηθν῔ο, θƀὶ Ƅὸ ᾠόλ, ὥƃπƂξ ἔληνη θƀξƁίƀλ θƀὶ ἐγθέƅƀινλ, ἀξρὴλ
἟γνύκƂλνο γƂλέƃƂσο ἀƅνƃηνῦƃζƀη…
But my companions at one of Sossius Senecio‘s dinners suspected me of being
committed to beliefs of the Orphics or the Pythagoreans and holding the egg taboo, as
some hold the heart and brain, because I thought it to be the first principle of creation.
(trans. Clement 145)
Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 2.3.1, 635E–F (58 Hubert)
OF 645; OF 648v; Orfismo E8 Scarpi
AD 99–110
ὡο Ɓὴ θπάκνπο Ƅὰ ᾠὰ Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ θύεƃηλ ƀἰληƄƄνκέλσλ Ƅ῵λ ἀλƁξ῵λ, ƁηƀƅέξƂηλ Ɓὲ κεƁὲλ
νἰνκέλσλ Ƅὸ ἐƃζίƂηλ ᾠὰ Ƅνῦ ρξ῅ƃζƀη Ƅν῔ο ƄίθƄνπƃη Ƅὰ ᾠὰ δῴνηο.
For these people call eggs ‗beans‘ (θύƀκνη), punning on the word ‗conception‘
(θύεƃηο), and they think that eating eggs in no way differs from using the creatures
which produce the eggs. (trans. Clement 145)
B. What Foods Did Pythagoras Used to Eat?
The Pythagorean Diet in a False Mirror
Life of Pythagoras qtd. in Photius, Bibliotheca cod. 249 (126 Henry). ?AD first
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Κƀὶ νἱ κὲλ ƀὐƄῶ Ƅῶ Ππζƀγόξᾳ ƃπγγƂλόκƂλνη ἐθƀινῦλƄν Ππζƀγνξηθνί, νἱ Ɓὲ ƄνύƄσλ
κƀζεƄƀὶ ΠπζƀγόξƂηνη, νἱ Ɓὲ ἄιισο ἔμσζƂλ δεισƄƀὶ ΠπζƀγνξηƃƄƀί.
Littera Antiqua
Plato, Republic 600b Burnet
371 BC
Those who had been personal companions of Pythagoras were known as Pythagorics,
their pupils as Pythagoreans, and various external followers as Pythagorists. (trans.
Wilson 219)39
Ππζƀγόξƀο ƀὐƄόο ƄƂ ƁηƀƅƂξόλƄσο ἐπὶ ƄνύƄῳ ἞γƀπήζε, θƀὶ νἱ ὕƃƄƂξνη ἔƄη θƀὶ λῦλ
ΠπζƀγόξƂηνλ Ƅξόπνλ ἐπνλνκάδνλƄƂο Ƅνῦ βίνπ ƁηƀƅƀλƂ῔ο πῃ Ɓνθνῦƃηλ Ƃἶλƀη ἐλ Ƅν῔ο
Pythagoras is particularly loved for this, and even today his followers are conspicuous
for what they call the Pythagorean way of life. (trans. Cooper 1204)
Alexis of Thurii, Tarentines frs. 220–21 Edmonds
360 BC
Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 1 Cardini
νἱ ΠπζƀγνξίδνλƄƂο γάξ, ὡο ἀθνύνκƂλ,
νὔƄ᾽ ὄςνλ ἐƃζίνπƃηλ νὔƄ᾽ ἄιι᾽ νὐƁὲ ἓλ
ἔκςπρνλ, νἶλόλ Ƅ᾽ νὐρὶ πίλνπƃηλ κόλνη.
Pythagoreans eat no fish, they say, nor any living thing, and only they never drink
wine. (trans. Edmonds 2: 481)
Alexis of Thurii, Tarentines frs. 220–21 Edmonds
Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 1 Cardini
A. Ππζƀγνξηƃκνὶ θƀὶ ιόγνη
ιƂπƄνὶ ƁηƂƃκηιƂπκέλƀη ƄƂ ƅξνλƄίƁƂο
Ƅξέƅνπƃ᾽ ἐθƂίλνπο, Ƅὰ Ɓὲ θƀζ᾽ ἟κέξƀλ ƄάƁƂ·
ἄξƄνο θƀζƀξὸο Ƃἷο ἑθƀƄέξῳ, πνƄήξηνλ
ὕƁƀƄνο· ƄνƃƀῦƄƀ ƄƀῦƄƀ. Β. ƁƂƃκσƄεξίνπ
ιέγƂηο ƁίƀηƄƀλ: πάλƄƂο νὕƄσο νἱ ƃνƅνὶ
Ɓηάγνπƃη θƀὶ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ θƀθνπƀζνῦƃί πνπ;
Α. Ƅξπƅ῵ƃηλ νὗƄνη πξὸο ἑƄέξνπο. ἆξ᾽ νἶƃζ᾽ ὅƄη
ΜƂιƀληππίƁεο ἑƄƀ῔ξόο ἐƃƄη θƀὶ ſάσλ
θƀὶ ſπξόκƀρνο θƀὶ ſ᾵λνο, νἳ Ɓη᾽ ἟κέξƀο
ƁƂηπλνῦƃη πέκπƄεο ἀιƅίƄσλ θνƄύιελ κίƀλ.
360 BC
Cf. Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.80 (46 Deubner): ―According to this
rule, then, he called some ‗Pythagoreans,‘ other ‗Pythagorists‘ (just as we name some ‗Attics,‘ but others
‗Atticists‘) and after suitably distinguishing the names, he identified the former as his true followers, and decreed
that the latter show themselves emulators of these‖ (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 105).
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Mnesimachus, Alcmaeon fr. 1 Edmonds
A. What keeps ‘em is Pythagorisms and quirks and ideas as smooth-cut as a sculptor‘s
works; but their one meal‘s two dry loaves between two with a cup of water. B.
According then to you it‘s prison fare, theirs. Do all the devotees live in such misery?
A. No; they have degrees of luxury. Think; Melanippides, Phaon, Phyromachus,
Phanus of that clique eat half a pint of barley twice a week. (trans. Edmonds 2: 481)
ca. 340 BC
Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 2 Cardini
ὡο ΠπζƀγνξηƃƄὶ ζύνκƂλ Ƅῶ Λνμίᾳ,
ἔκςπρνλ νὐƁὲλ ἐƃζίνλƄƂο πƀλƄƂι῵ο.
For when we sacrifice to Loxias (viz. Apollo), we eschew what is living, à la
Pythagoras. (trans. Edmonds 2: 361)
Antiphanes, Bag fr. 135 Edmonds
359 BC
Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 1 Cardini
πξ῵Ƅνλ κὲλ ὥƃπƂξ ππζƀγνξίδσλ ἐƃζίƂη
ἔκςπρνλ νὐƁέλ, Ƅ῅ο Ɓὲ πιƂίƃƄεο Ƅνὐβνινῦ
κάδεο κƂιƀγρξ῅ κƂξίƁƀ ιƀκβάλσλ ιέπƂη.
First, like one of Pythagoras‘ following, he never eats a single living thing—takes a
black helping of the barley-duff you get most of for a penny, and that‘s enough. (trans.
Edmonds 2: 227)
Aristophon, Pythagorist fr. 13 Edmonds
338 BC
OF 432iii; Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 2 Cardini
ἐƃζίνπƃί ƄƂ
ιάρƀλά ƄƂ θƀὶ πίλνπƃηλ ἐπὶ ƄνύƄνηο ὕƁσξ·
Greens are their food and water is their drink… (trans. Edmonds 2: 527)
Alexis of Thurii, Pythagoreaness frs. 196–97 Edmonds
?366–357 BC
Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 1 Cardini
A. ἟ Ɓ᾽ ἑƃƄίƀƃηο ἰƃράƁƂο θƀὶ ƃƄέκƅπιƀ
θƀὶ Ƅπξὸο ἔƃƄƀη: ƄƀῦƄƀ γὰξ ζύƂηλ λόκνο
Ƅν῔ο ΠπζƀγνξƂίνηο. Β. λὴ Γί᾽, ἱƂξƂ῔νλ κὲλ νὖλ
ὁπν῔νλ ἂλ θάιιηƃƄνλ, ὦ βέιƄηƃƄ᾽, ἔρῃ.
A. They ‗ll give me dried figs, olive-mush, and cheese; reg‘lar Pythagorean offering,
that. B. You couldn‘t have a better, man; that‘s flat. (trans. Edmonds 2: 469)
Aristophon, Pythagorist fr. 9 Edmonds
338 BC
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
πξὸο Ƅ῵λ ζƂ῵λ, νἰόκƂζƀ Ƅνὺο πάιƀη πνƄὲ
Ƅνὺο ΠπζƀγνξηƃƄὰο γηλνκέλνπο ὄλƄσο ῥππ᾵λ
ἑθόλƄƀο ἠ ƅνξƂ῔λ Ƅξίβσλƀο ἟Ɓέσο;
νὐθ ἔƃƄη ƄνύƄσλ νὐƁέλ, ὡο ἐκνὶ ƁνθƂ῔·
ἀιι᾽ ἐμ ἀλάγθεο, νὐθ ἔρνλƄƂο νὐƁὲ ἕλ,
Ƅ῅ο ƂὐƄƂιƂίƀο πξόƅƀƃηλ ƂὑξόλƄƂο θƀιὴλ
ὅξνπο ἔπεμƀλ Ƅν῔ο πέλεƃη ρξεƃίκνπο.
ἐπƂὶ πƀξάζƂο ƀὐƄν῔ƃηλ ἰρζῦο ἠ θξέƀο,
θἂλ κὴ θƀƄƂƃζίσƃη θƀὶ Ƅνὺο ƁƀθƄύινπο,
ἐζέισ θξέκƀƃζƀη ƁƂθάθηο.
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Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 2 Cardini
{Slave is speaking} Can we agree the old Pythagoreaners willingly went dirty or wore
frieze cloaks just for fun? No fear; smartness needs cash, and having none, they found
a good excuse for living cheap, and fixed a standard for poor folks to keep. What I say
is, just give‘em fish or meat, and they ‗ll bite their fingers in their haste to eat, or I‘ll
be blogged ten times. (trans. Edmonds 2: 525)
Aristoxenus‘ Dementi
Aristoxenus of Tarentum fr. 1 Wehrli qtd. in Suda Lexicon, Α 3927 (1: 357 Adler).
336–333 BC
ἈξηƃƄόμƂλνο, πἱὸο Μλεƃίνπ, Ƅνῦ θƀὶ Σπηλζάξνπ, κνπƃηθνῦ, ἀπὸ ΤάξƀλƄνο Ƅ῅ο
ἸƄƀιίƀο. ƁηƀƄξίςƀο Ɓὲ ἐλ ΜƀλƄηλƂίᾳ ƅηιόƃνƅνο γέγνλƂ θƀὶ κνπƃηθῆ ἐπηζέκƂλνο νὐθ
἞ƃƄόρεƃƂλ, ἀθνπƃƄὴο Ƅνῦ ƄƂ πƀƄξὸο θƀὶ Λάκπξνπ Ƅνῦ ἖ξπζξƀίνπ, ƂἶƄƀ ΞƂλνƅίινπ
Ƅνῦ ΠπζƀγνξƂίνπ θƀὶ Ƅέινο ἈξηƃƄνƄέινπο· Ƃἰο ὃλ ἀπνζƀλόλƄƀ ὕβξηƃƂ, ƁηόƄη θƀƄέιηπƂ
Ƅ῅ο ƃρνι῅ο ƁηάƁνρνλ žƂόƅξƀƃƄνλ, ƀὐƄνῦ Ɓόμƀλ κƂγάιελ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἀθξνƀƄƀ῔ο Ƅν῔ο
ἈξηƃƄνƄέινπο ἔρνλƄνο. γέγνλƂ Ɓὲ ἐπὶ Ƅ῵λ ἈιƂμάλƁξνπ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ κƂƄέπƂηƄƀ ρξόλσλ· ὡο
Ƃἶλƀη ἀπὸ Ƅ῅ο ξηƀ՛ ὆ιπκπηάƁνο, ƃύγρξνλνο Γηθƀηάξρῳ Ƅῶ ΜƂƃƃελίῳ. ƃπλƂƄάμƀƄν Ɓὲ
κνπƃηθά ƄƂ θƀὶ ƅηιόƃνƅƀ, θƀὶ ἱƃƄνξίƀο θƀὶ πƀλƄὸο ƂἴƁνπο πƀηƁƂίƀο· θƀὶ ἀξηζκνῦ ƀὐƄνῦ
Ƅὰ βηβιίƀ Ƃἰο πλγ՛ .
Aristoxenus, Son of Mnesias (also known as Spintharos), who was an authority on
music, from Taras in Italy. Having taken up residence at Mantinea he became a
philosopher, and on applying himself to music showed great talent for it, as a student
of his father and of Lampros the Erythraian, then of Xenophilos the Pythagorean and
finally of Aristotle. He heaped insults on the lattermost after his death, because he left
Theophrastus as head of the school, although Aristoxenos himself had achieved great
distinction among the students of Aristotle. And he flourished in the time of Alexander
and the years following, so as to be around the 111th Olympiad a contemporary of
Dicaearchus of Messana. He composed works on music and philosophy and history,
and every aspect of culture. His books number 453. (the SOL translation)
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On Pythagoras and His Circle fr. 14 Wehrli qtd. in
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 1.118 (145 Dorandi) 336–333 BC
ἈξηƃƄόμƂλνο Ɓ᾽ ἐλ Ƅῶ ΠƂξὶ Ππζƀγόξνπ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ γλσξίκσλ ƀὐƄνῦ ƅεƃη λνƃήƃƀλƄƀ
ƀὐƄὸλ ὑπὸ Ππζƀγόξνπ Ƅƀƅ῅λƀη ἐλ Γήιῳ.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
But Aristoxenus in his work On Pythagoras and His Circle affirms that he (sc.
Pherecydes—Wehrli) died a natural death and was buried by Pythagoras in Delos
(trans. Hicks 1: 125, modified)
?Aristoxenus of Tarentum qtd. in Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 4.11.1 (177 Marshall).
Before AD 150
Littera Antiqua
Opinio vetus falsa occupavit et convaluit Pythagoram philosophum non esitavisse ex
animalibus item abstinuisse fabulo, quem Graeci θύƀκνο appellant.
An erroneous belief of long standing has established itself and become current, that the
philosopher Pythagoras did not eat of animals: also that he abstained from the bean,
which the Greeks call θύƀκνο. (trans. Rolfe 347)
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On the Pythagorean Life fr. 28 Wehrli qtd. in Athenaeus of
Naucratis, Learned Banqueters 10.418E (4: 464 Olson)
336–333 BC
θƀὶ Ππζƀγόξƀο Ɓ᾽ ὁ Σάκηνο κƂƄξίᾳ Ƅξνƅῆ ἐρξ῅Ƅν, ὡο ἱƃƄνξƂ῔ Λύθσλ ὁ ἸƀƃƂὺο ἐλ Ƅῶ
πƂξὶ ΠπζƀγνξƂίνπ <βίνπ>. νὐθ ἀπƂίρƂƄν Ɓὲ ἐκςύρσλ, ὡο ἈξηƃƄόμƂλνο ƂἴξεθƂλ.
Pythagoras of Samos also ate moderately, according to Lycon of Iasos in his On the
Pythagorean Lifestyle (D-K 57.3, vol. 1, p. 445); but he did not avoid meat, according
to Aristoxenus. (trans. Olson 4: 465)
?Aristoxenus of Tarentum qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers
8.20 (611 Dorandi)
before AD 200
ζπƃίƀηο ƄƂ ἐρξ῅Ƅν ἀςύρνηο, νἱ Ɓέ ƅƀƃηλ, ὅƄη ἀιέθƄνξƃη κόλνλ θƀὶ ἐξίƅνηο γƀιƀζελν῔ο
θƀὶ Ƅν῔ο ιƂγνκέλνηο ἁπƀιίƀηο,40 ἣθηƃƄƀ Ɓὲ ἄξλƀƃηλ.
The offerings he made were always inanimate; though some say that he would offer
cocks, sucking goats and porkers, as they are called, but lambs never. (trans. Hicks 2:
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On the Pythagorean Life fr. 29a Wehrli qtd. in Diogenes
Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.20 (611–12 Dorandi)
336–333 BC
ὅ γƂ κὴλ ἈξηƃƄόμƂλνο πάλƄƀ κὲλ Ƅἄιιƀ ƃπγρσξƂ῔λ ƀὐƄὸλ ἐƃζίƂηλ ἔκςπρƀ, κόλνλ Ɓ᾽
ἀπέρƂƃζƀη βνὸο ἀξνƄ῅ξνο θƀὶ θξηνῦ.
However, Aristoxenus has it that he consented to the eating of all other animals, and
only abstained from ploughing oxen and rams. (trans. Hicks 2: 339)
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On the Pythagorean Life fr. 25 Wehrli qtd. in Aulus Gellius,
Attic Nights 4.11.7 (177–78 Marshall)
336–333 BC
Pythagoras fr. 9 Cardini
The ἁπƀιίƀο means a sucking pig, see LSJ 176 s.v. ―hapalia.‖
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Aristoxenus also relates that Pythagoras ate very young pigs and tender kids. This fact
he seems to have learned from his intimate friend Xenophilus the Pythagorean and
from some other older men, who lived not long after the time of Pythagoras. (trans.
Rolfe 350)
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Porculis quoque minusculis et haedis tenerioribus victitasse idem Aristoxenus refert.
Quem rem videtur cognovisse e Xenophilo Pythagorico, familiari suo, et ex
quibusdam aliis natu maioribus, qui ab aetate Pythagorae 
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On the Pythagorean Life fr. 25 Wehrli qtd. in Aulus Gellius,
Attic Nights 4.11.4 (177 Marshall)
336–333 BC
Pythagoras fr. 9 Cardini
Sed Aristoxenus musicus, vir litterarum veterum diligentissimus, Aristoteli philosophi
auditor, in libro, quem de Pythagora reliquit, nullo saepius legumento Pythagoram
dicit usum quam fabis, quoniam is cibus et subduceret sensim alvum et levigaret.
Verba ipsa Aristoxeni subscripsi: Ππζάγνξƀο Ɓὲ Ƅ῵λ ὀƃπξίσλ κάιηƃƄƀ Ƅὸλ θύƀκνλ
ἐƁνθίκƀƃƂλ. ιƂηƀλƄηθόλ ƄƂ γὰξ Ƃἶλƀη θƀὶ ƁηƀρσξεƄηθόλ, Ɓηὸ θƀὶ κάιηƃƄƀ θέρξεƄƀη
But Aristoxenus the musician, a man thoroughly versed in early literature, a pupil of
the philosopher Aristotle, in the book On Pythagoras which he has left us, says that
Pythagoras used no vegetable more often than beans, since that food gently loosened
the bowels and relieved them. I add Aristoxenus‘ own words: ‗Pythagoras among
vegetables especially recommended the bean, saying that it was both digestible and
loosening; and therefore he most frequently made use of it.‘ (trans. Rolfe 350)
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On Pythagoras and His Circle fr. 25 Wehrli qtd. in Aulus
Gellius, Attic Nights 4.11.9 (178 Marshall)
336–333 BC
Videtur autem de θπάκῳ non esitato causam erroris fuisse, quia in Empedocli carmine,
qui disciplinas Pythagorae secutus est, versus hic invenitur:
ƁƂηινί, πάλƁƂηινη, θπάκσλ ἄπν ρƂ῔ξƀο ἔρƂƃζƀη.
Furthermore, the reason for the mistaken idea about abstaining from beans seems to
be, that in a poem of Empedocles, who was a follower of Pythagoras, this line is
‗O wretches, utter wretches, from beans withhold your hands.‘ (PseudoEmpedocles, Katharmoi fr. 128 Wright) (trans. Rolfe 349)
?Aristoxenus of Tarentum qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers
8.19 (611 Dorandi)
before AD 200
ἐλίνƄƂ Ɓὲ ƀὐƄὸλ ἀξθƂ῔ƃζƀη κέιηƄη κόλῳ ƅƀƃί ƄηλƂο ἠ θεξίῳ ἠ ἄξƄῳ, νἴλνπ Ɓὲ κƂζ᾽
἟κέξƀλ κὴ γƂύƂƃζƀη· ὄςῳ ƄƂ Ƅὰ πνιιὰ ιƀράλνηο ἑƅζν῔ο ƄƂ θƀὶ ὠκν῔ο, Ƅν῔ο Ɓὲ
ζƀιƀƄƄίνηο ƃπƀλίσο.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Some say that he contented himself with just some honey or a honeycomb or bread,
never touching wine in the daytime, and with greens boiled or raw for dainties, and
fish but rarely. (trans. Hicks 2: 337, modified)
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Pythagorean Maxims & On the Pythagorean Life fr. 1a
Cardini qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 21.97 (56
336–333 BC
ἀξίƃƄῳ Ɓὲ ἐρξ῵λƄν ἄξƄῳ θƀὶ κέιηƄη ἠ θεξίῳ, νἴλνπ Ɓὲ κƂζ‘ ἟κέξƀλ νὐ κƂƄƂ῔ρνλ.
Littera Antiqua
For lunch they ate bread and honey and honey-comb, but during the day they did not
drink wine. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 121)
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On the Pythagorean Life fr. 27 Wehrli qtd. in Athenaeus of
Naucratis, Learned Banqueters 2.47A (1: 262 Olson)
336–333 BC
θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ Ππζƀγνξηθ῵λ Ɓὲ Ƅξνƅὴ ἤλ ἄξƄνο κƂƄὰ κέιηƄνο, ὥο ƅεƃηλ ἈξηƃƄόμƂλνο, Ƅνὺο
πξνƃƅƂξνκέλνπο ƀὐƄὰ ἀƂὶ ἐπ᾽ ἀξίƃƄῳ ιέγσλ ἀλόƃνπο ƁηƀƄƂιƂ῔λ.
According to Aristoxenus, the Pythagorean diet consisted of bread and honey; he
claims that anyone who regularly eats this for lunch never gets sick. (trans. Olson 1:
?Aristoxenus of Tarentum qtd. in Antonius Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule fr. 2b
before AD second century
Transmitted by Porphyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 34 (51–52 Places)
Τ῅ο Ɓὲ ƁηƀίƄεο Ƅὸ κὲλ ἄξηƃƄνλ ἤλ θεξίνλ ἠ κέιη, ƁƂ῔πλνλ Ɓ‘ ἄξƄνο ἐθ θέγρξσλ ἠ κ᾵δƀ
θƀὶ ιάρƀλƀ ἑƅζὰ θƀὶ ὠκά, ƃπƀλίσο Ɓὲ θξέƀο ἱƂξƂίσλ ζπƃίκσλ θƀὶ ƄνῦƄν νὐƁ‘ ἐθ
πƀλƄὸο κέξνπο.
As to his diet, his breakfast was honeycomb or honey; his dinner was millet bread or
barley bread and vegetables, cooked and raw, rarely meat from sacrificed animals, and
not from every part of the animal. (trans. Stephens 139)
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Pythagorean Maxims & On the Pythagorean Life fr. 1a
Cardini qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 21.98 (57
336–333 BC
ἔπƂηƄƀ ἐπὶ Ƅὸ ƁƂ῔πλνλ ρσξƂ῔λ, ὡο πξὸ ἟ιίνπ ƁύƃƂσο ἀπνƁƂƁƂηπλεθέλƀη. ρξ῅ƃζƀη Ɓὲ θƀὶ
νἴλῳ θƀὶ κάδῃ θƀὶ ἄξƄῳ θƀὶ ὄςῳ θƀὶ ιƀράλνηο ἑƅζν῔ο ƄƂ θƀὶ ὠκν῔ο. πƀξƀƄίζƂƃζƀη Ɓὲ
θξέƀ δῴσλ ζπƃίκσλ (ἱƂξƂίσλ), Ƅ῵λ Ɓὲ ζƀιƀƃƃίσλ ὄςσλ ƃπƀλίσο (ρξ῅ƃζƀη)· Ƃἶλƀη γάξ
Ƅηλƀ ƀὐƄ῵λ Ɓη‘ ƀἰƄίƀο Ƅηλὰο νὐ ρξήƃηκƀ πξὸο Ƅὸ ρξ῅ƃζƀη.
Then they went to dinner, so as to finish dinning before the sun‘s setting. And they
consumed wine, barley-cake, bread, relishes, boiled and raw vegetables. Meat of
sacrificial animals was set before them, but they rarely ate fish: for certain reasons,
some of these were not proper for consumption. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 123)
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Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Pythagorean Maxims & On the Pythagorean Life fr. 1a
Cardini qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 21.99 (57
336–333 BC
Littera Antiqua
Cf. Porhyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 39 (53 Places)
ἐπƂὶ Ɓὲ κέιινηƂλ ἀπηέλƀη, ƃπνλƁὴλ ƀὐƄν῔ο ἐλέρƂη ὁ νἰλνρόνο, ƃπƂηƃάλƄσλ Ɓὲ ὁ
πξƂƃβύƄƀƄνο πƀξήγγƂιιƂ ƄάƁƂ·
ἣκƂξνλ ƅπƄὸλ θƀὶ ἔγθƀξπνλ κήƄƂ βιάπƄƂηλ κήƄƂ ƅζƂίξƂηλ, ὡƃƀύƄσο Ɓὲ θƀὶ
δῶνλ, ὃ κὴ πέƅπθƂ βιƀβƂξὸλ Ƅῶ ἀλζξσπίλῳ γέλƂη, κήƄƂ βιάπƄƂηλ κήƄƂ
And when they were about to leave, the cup-bearer poured out a libation for them, and
when the libations were made, the oldest proclaimed these things:
not to harm or destroy a cultivated and fruitful plant, and in like manner, not to
harm or destroy a living being harmless by nature to the human race. (trans.
Dillon–Hershbell 123)
The Pythagorean Symbols
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa
350 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.82 (47
Akousmata & Symbola no. 4 Cardini
ἔƃƄη Ɓὲ ἟ κὲλ Ƅ῵λ ἀθνπƃκƀƄηθ῵λ ƅηινƃνƅίƀ ἀθνύƃκƀƄƀ ἀλƀπόƁƂηθƄƀ θƀὶ ἄλƂπ ιόγνπ,
ὅƄη νὕƄσο πξƀθƄένλ, θƀὶ Ƅἆιιƀ, ὅƃƀ πƀξ‘ ἐθƂίλνπ ἐξξέζε, ƄƀῦƄƀ πƂηξ῵λƄƀη
ƁηƀƅπιάƄƄƂηλ ὡο ζƂ῔ƀ ƁόγκƀƄƀ, ƀὐƄνὶ Ɓὲ πƀξ‘ ƀὑƄ῵λ νὔƄƂ ιέγƂηλ πξνƃπνηνῦλƄƀη νὔƄƂ
ιƂθƄένλ Ƃἶλƀη, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ ƀὑƄ῵λ ὑπνιƀκβάλνπƃη ƄνύƄνπο ἔρƂηλ βέιƄηƃƄƀ πξὸο ƅξόλεƃηλ,
νἵƄηλƂο πιƂ῔ƃƄƀ ἀθνύƃκƀƄƀ ἔƃρνλ. πάλƄƀ Ɓὲ Ƅὰ νὕƄσο <θƀινύκƂλƀ> ἀθνύƃκƀƄƀ
ƁηῄξεƄƀη Ƃἰο Ƅξίƀ ƂἴƁε· Ƅὰ κὲλ γὰξ ƀὐƄ῵λ Ƅί ἐƃƄη ƃεκƀίλƂη, Ƅὰ Ɓὲ Ƅί κάιηƃƄƀ, Ƅὰ Ɓὲ Ƅί
ƁƂ῔ πξάƄƄƂηλ ἠ κὴ πξάƄƄƂηλ.
The philosophy of the acousmatics consists of oral instructions without demonstration
and without argument: e.g. ‗in this way one must act.‘ And the other things said by
that one (Pythagoras), these they try to preserve as divine teachings. They do not claim
to speak for themselves; nor must one so speak, but even among themselves they
suppose those have made best progress towards practical wisdom who have absorbed
the fullest oral instructions. All these so-called oral instructions are divided into three
kinds: for some indicate what a thing is; others, what is the most; and others, what is
necessary to do or not to do. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 107, modified)
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa
350 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.83 (48
Akousmata & Symbola no. 4 Cardini
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Ƅὰ Ɓὲ Ƅί πξƀθƄένλ ἠ νὐ πξƀθƄένλ Ƅ῵λ ἀθνπƃκάƄσλ ƄνηƀῦƄά ἐƃƄηλ…
The oral instructions about what must be done or what must not be done were of this
sort: for example… (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 107)
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Aelian, Historical Miscellany 4.17 (200–02
350 BC
Littera Antiqua
ΠξνƃέƄƀƄƄƂ Ɓὲ ὁ ƀὐƄὸο Ππζƀγόξƀο θƀξƁίƀο ἀπέρƂƃζƀη θƀὶ ἀιƂθƄξπόλνο ιƂπθνῦ θƀὶ
Ƅ῵λ ζλεƃƂηƁίσλ πƀλƄὸο κ᾵ιινλ…
The same Pythagoras gave instructions not to eat heart or white chicken, and above all
to avoid eating dead animals… (trans. Wilson 201–03)
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.17 (609 Dorandi)
OF 647iii
Ἦλ Ɓ᾽ ƀὐƄῶ Ƅὰ ƃύκβνιƀ ƄάƁƂ·…
The following were his watchwords or precepts:… (trans. Hicks 2: 335)
AD 200
Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Rules of Pedagogy, book ten fr. 43 Wehrli qtd. Diogenes
Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.15–16 (609 Dorandi)
336–333 BC
ἔιƂγόλ ƄƂ θƀὶ νἱ ἄιινη ΠπζƀγόξƂηνη κὴ Ƃἶλƀη πξὸο πάλƄƀο πάλƄƀ ῥεƄά, ὥο ƅεƃηλ
ἈξηƃƄόμƂλνο ἐλ ƁƂθάƄῃ ΠƀηƁƂπƄηθ῵λ λόκσλ·… ἱθƀλόο ƄƂ γὰξ ἤλ ƅηιίƀο ἐξγάƄεο Ƅά Ƅ᾽
ἄιιƀ θƀὶ Ƃἴ Ƅηλƀ πύζνηƄν Ƅ῵λ ƃπκβόισλ ƀὐƄνῦ θƂθνηλσλεθόƄƀ, Ƃὐζύο ƄƂ
πξνƃεƄƀηξίδƂƄν θƀὶ ƅίινλ θƀƄƂƃθƂύƀδƂλ.
And the rest of the Pythagoreans used to say that not all his doctrines were for all men
to hear, our authority for this being Aristoxenus in the tenth book of his Rules of
Pedagogy… Whenever he (Pythagoras) heard a person who was making use of his
symbols, he immediately took him into his circle, and made him a friend. (Hicks 2:
335 + Struck 100)
Timaeus of Tauromenium qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of
Life 32.226–27 (121–22 Deubner)
339–279 BC
Ƅ῅ο Ɓὲ ƀὐƄ῅ο ἰƁέƀο Ƅ῵λ ἞ζ῵λ ζƂƄένλ θƀὶ ὅƄη Ƅὰ θπξηώƄƀƄƀ θƀὶ ƃπλƂθƄηθώƄƀƄƀ Ƅ῵λ
ἑƀπƄ῵λ ƁνγκάƄσλ ἀπόξξεƄƀ ἐλ ἑƀπƄν῔ο ƁηƂƅύιƀƄƄνλ ἅπƀλƄƂο ἀƂί, κƂƄὰ ἀθξηβνῦο
ἐρƂκπζίƀο πξὸο Ƅνὺο ἐμσƄƂξηθνὺο ἀλέθƅνξƀ ƁηƀƄεξνῦλƄƂο ἀγξάƅσο ἐλ κλήκῃ, Ƅν῔ο
ƁηƀƁόρνηο ἅπƂξ κπƃƄήξηƀ ζƂ῵λ κƂƄƀπƀξƀƁηƁόλƄƂο. ƁηόπƂξ νὐƁὲλ ἐμƂƅνίƄεƃƂ Ƅ῵λ γƂ
ιόγνπ ἀμίσλ κέρξη πνιινῦ, ƁηƁƀƃθόκƂλά ƄƂ θƀὶ κƀλζƀλόκƂλƀ ἐλƄὸο Ƅνίρσλ κόλνλ
ἐγλσξίδƂƄν. ἐπὶ Ɓὲ Ƅ῵λ ζπξƀίσλ θƀὶ ὡο ƂἰπƂ῔λ βƂβήισλ, Ƃἰ θƀὶ πνƄƂ Ƅύρνη, Ɓηὰ
ƃπκβόισλ ἀιιήινηο νἱ ἄλƁξƂο ᾐλίƄƄνλƄν, ὧλ ἴρλνο ἔƄη λῦλ (ὧλ) πƂξηƅέξνλƄƀη…
To the same quality of character must also be attributed the fact that they all always
kept secret among themselves their own principal and most essential beliefs.
Maintaining strict reserve toward those outside their fellowship, they kept these
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Littera Antiqua
Pythagorean Symbols (Acousmata)
classical period
hidden, unwritten, in their memory, and handed them down to their successors as
mysteries of the gods. Hence for a long time nothing worth mentioning spread abroad,
and what was taught and learned was known only within their walls. But in the
presence of those outside the doorsand, so to speak, profane, if ever one were present,
these men spoke obscurely to one another by means of ‗symbols,‘ of which the ones
now commonly quoted still bear a trace… (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 223)
Symbol 11 Boehm (no. 17 Guthrie): Κπάκσλ ἀπέρνπ = No. 37 Iamblichus
Symbol 12 Boehm (nos. 18–19 Guthrie): Ƅ῵λ ἰρζύσλ κὴ ἅπƂƃζƀη ὅƃνη ἱƂξνί = Symbol
5(6) + no. 33 Iamblichus
Symbol 13 Boehm (no. 27 Guthrie): ἈιƂθƄξπόλƀ κὴ ἅπƄƂƃζƀη ιƂπθνῦ = No. 17(18)
Symbol 14 Boehm (nos. 21–22 Guthrie): ἖κςύρσλ ἀπέρνπ = No. 39 Iamblichus
Symbol 15 Boehm (no. 4 Guthrie): ΚƀξƁίƀλ κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ = No. 30 Iamblichus (OF
Symbol 16 Boehm (no. 57 Guthrie): ἖γθέƅƀινλ κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ = No. 31 Iamblichus
Symbol 17 Boehm (no. 45 Guthrie): žπƃίκσλ ρξὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ κόλνλ
Symbol 18 Boehm (no. 13 Guthrie): Μƀιάρελ κƂƄƀƅύƄƂπƂ κὲλ κὴ ἔƃζηƂ Ɓέ = Symbol
38 Iamblichus
Symbol 28 Boehm: θέƁξῳ Ɓὲ ιέγƂη θƀὶ Ɓάƅλῃ θƀὶ θππƀξίƄƄῳ θƀὶ Ɓξπῒ θƀὶ κπξξίλῃ
Ƅνὺο ζƂνὺο Ƅηκ᾵λ = Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos in Latin Thesleff p. 167
Symbol 39 Guthrie: Ƅὸ ἑƅζὸλ ὀπƄ᾵λ νὐ λόκνο = Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos in
Latin Thesleff p. 167
Symbol 40 Boehm (no. 23 Guthrie): πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ἁι῵λ, ὅƄη ƁƂ῔ πƀξƀƄίζƂƃζƀη
Symbol 11 Boehm: Abstain from beans.
Symbol 12 Boehm: Not to touch the fish that are sacred.
Symbol 13 Boehm: Not to touch white chicken.
Symbol 14 Boehm: Abstain from any living animals.
Symbol 15 Boehm: Eat not the heart.
Symbol 16 Boehm: Eat not the brain.
Symbol 17 Boehm: One may eat of sacrificial animals only.
Symbol 18 Boehm: Sow mallows, but do not eat them.
Symbol 28 Boehm: Honor the gods with cedar, laurel, cypress, oak, and myrtle.
Symbol 39 Guthrie: Roast what not is boiled.
Symbol 40 Boehm: Always put salt on the table. (trans. Guthrie 159–61 + Dillon–
Hershbell 169, modified)
Nicomachus of Gerasa, ?Life of Pythagoras, FGrHist 1063 F2 qtd. in Iamblichus of
Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 35.253 (136 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
…ὑπνκλήκƀƄά Ƅηλƀ θƂƅƀιƀηώƁε θƀὶ ƃπκβνιηθὰ ƃπλƄƀμάκƂλνη Ƅά ƄƂ Ƅ῵λ πξƂƃβπƄέξσλ
ƃπγγξάκκƀƄƀ θƀὶ ὧλ ƁηƂκέκλελƄν ƃπλƀιίƃƀλƄƂο…
They put together some works containing their teaching in summary and symbolic
form. And they collected treatises of the older Pythagoreans and such sayings of theirs
as they remembered. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 245–47)
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Timaeus of Tauromenium qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of
Life 36.266 (143 Deubner)
339–279 BC
πξὸο ὃλ ἀƅηθέƃζƀη ΓηόƁσξνλ Ƅὸλ ἈƃπέλƁηνλ,ὃλ πƀξƀƁƂρζ῅λƀη Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ ƃπάληλ Ƅ῵λ ἐλ
Ƅῶ ƃπƃƄήκƀƄη ἀλƁξ῵λ.νὗƄνο Ɓὲ Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ ἗ιιάƁƀ ἐπƀλƂιζὼλ ƁηέƁσθƂ Ƅὰο
ΠπζƀγνξƂίνπο ƅσλάο.
Littera Antiqua
Diodoros p. 70 Thesleff
…to him (sc. Aresas from Lucania) came Diodorus of Aspendus, whom he received
because of the scarcity of men in the community. This man, on returning to Hellas,
spread abroad the Pythagorean sayings. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 255)
Alexander Polyhistor of Miletus, Successions of Philosophers, FGrHist 273 F93 qtd.
in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.24–36 (613–19 Dorandi). 80–
60 BC
(24) ſεƃὶ Ɓ᾽ ὁ ἈιέμƀλƁξνο ἐλ Τƀ῔ο Ƅ῵λ ƅηινƃόƅσλ ƁηƀƁνρƀ῔ο θƀὶ ƄƀῦƄƀ Ƃὑξεθέλƀη ἐλ
Ππζƀγνξηθν῔ο ὑπνκλήκƀƃηλ… (36) Κƀὶ ƄƀῦƄƀ κέλ ƅεƃηλ ὁ ἈιέμƀλƁξνο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο
Ππζƀγνξηθν῔ο ὑπνκλήκƀƃηλ Ƃὑξεθέλƀη, θƀὶ Ƅὰ ἐθƂίλσλ ἐρόκƂλƀ ὁ ἈξηƃƄνƄέιεο.
(24) Alexander in his Successions of Philosophers says that he found in the
Pythagorean Memoirs the following tenets as well…. (36) This is what Alexander
says that he found in the Pythagorean Memoirs. What follows is Aristotle‘s. (trans.
Hicks 2: 341–51)
T.58a Anaximander Junior of Miletus, Explanation of the Pythagorean Symbols, FGrHist 9
T1 qtd. in Suda Lexicon, Α 1987 (1: 179 Adler)
after 359 BC
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
ἈλƀμίκƀλƁξνο, ἈλƀμηκάλƁξνπ, Μηιήƃηνο, ὁ λƂώƄƂξνο, ἱƃƄνξηθόο. γέγνλƂ Ɓὲ θƀƄὰ Ƅνὺο
ἈξƄƀμέξμνπ ρξόλνπο Ƅνῦ Μλήκνλνο θιεζέλƄνο. ἔγξƀςƂ ƃπκβόισλ ΠπζƀγνξƂίσλ
Son of Anaximander, a Milesian, the younger, a historian. He was born in the time of
Artaxerxes who was called Mnemon (404–359 BC). He wrote an Explanation of the
Pythagorean Symbols… (the SOL translation)
T.58b Androcydes, On the Symbols qtd. in Pseudo-Iamblichus, Theology of Arithmetics 40
(52 Falco)
fl. 356–323 BC
Pythagoras fr. 8 Cardini
ἈλƁξνθύƁεο ƄƂ ὁ Ππζƀγνξηθὸο ὁ ΠƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ƃπκβόισλ γξάςƀο… νἱ Ƅὰ θƀƄὰ Ƅὸλ ἄλƁξƀ
ἀλƀγξάςƀλƄƂο ƃηο′ ἔƄƂƃη Ƅὰο κƂƄƂκςπρώƃƂηο Ƅὰο ƀὐƄῶ ƃπκβƂβεθπίƀο ἔƅƀƃƀλ
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Androcydes the Pythagorean, who wrote On the Symbols… who all recorded
Pythagoras‘ deeds, said that the transmigrations of soul which he (sc. Pythagoras)
underwent occurred at 216-intervals… (trans. Waterfield 84)
ἈιέμƀλƁξνο Ɓὲ ἐλ Ƅῶ ΠƂξὶ Ππζƀγνξηθ῵λ ƃπκβόισλ…
Alexander, in his book On the Pythagorean Symbols… (trans. ANF 2: 316)
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa
350 BC
Littera Antiqua
T.58c Alexander Polyhistor of Miletus, On the Pythagorean Symbols, FGrHist 273 F94 qtd.
in Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (1: 44 Stählin)
80–60 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.86 (50
Akousmata & Symbola no. 4 Cardini
ἐπ᾽ ἐλίσλ κὲλ νὖλ ἐπηιέγƂƄƀη Ƅί ƁƂ῔, νἷνλ ὅƄη ƁƂ῔ ƄƂθλνπνηƂ῔ƃζƀη ἕλƂθƀ Ƅνῦ θƀƄƀιηπƂ῔λ
ἕƄƂξνλ ἀλζ᾽ ἑƀπƄνῦ ζƂ῵λ ζƂξƀπƂπƄὴλ, Ƅν῔ο Ɓὲ νὐƁƂὶο ιόγνο πξόƃƂƃƄη. θƀὶ ἔληƀ κὲλ Ƅ῵λ
ἐπηιƂγνκέλσλ ƁόμƂη πξνƃπƂƅπθέλƀη ἀπ᾽ ἀξρ῅ο, ἔληƀ Ɓὲ πόξξσ· νἷνλ πƂξὶ Ƅνῦ Ƅὸλ
ἄξƄνλ κὴ θƀƄƀγλύλƀη, ὅƄη πξὸο Ƅὴλ ἐλ ᾅƁνπ θξίƃηλ νὐ ƃπκƅέξƂη. ƀἱ Ɓὲ πξνƃƄηζέκƂλƀη
ƂἰθνƄνινγίƀη πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ƄνηνύƄσλ νὐθ Ƃἰƃὶ Ππζƀγνξηθƀί, ἀιι᾽ ἐλίσλ ἔμσζƂλ
ἐπηƃνƅηδνκέλσλ θƀὶ πƂηξσκέλσλ πξνƃάπƄƂηλ ƂἰθόƄƀ ιόγνλ, νἷνλ θƀὶ πƂξὶ Ƅνῦ
ιƂρζέλƄνο, Ɓηὰ Ƅί νὐ ƁƂ῔ θƀƄƀγλύλƀη Ƅὸλ ἄξƄνλ· νἳ κὲλ γάξ ƅƀƃη ὅƄη νὐ ƁƂ῔ Ƅὸλ
ƃπλάγνλƄƀ ƁηƀιύƂηλ (Ƅὸ Ɓὲ ἀξρƀ῔νλ βƀξβƀξηθ῵ο πάλƄƂο ἐπὶ ἕλƀ ἄξƄνλ ƃπλῄƂƃƀλ νἱ
In the case of some (instructions), a reason why is added; for example, one must bear
children in order to leave behind another in the place of oneself for worship of the
gods. But for other (ones), no reason is added. And some of the reasons given seem to
have been attached from the beginning and others later; for example, not to break
bread, because it is not advantageous for judgment in Hades. The probable reasons
given about such matters are not Pythagorean, but were devised by some outside the
school trying to give a likely reason, as, for example, that now mentioned: why one
ought not break bread means not to dissolve the congregation (for in the past, all who
were friends came together in foreign fashion for one loaf of bread). (trans. Dillon–
Hershbell 109, modified)
?Androcydes, On the Symbols qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa
?356–323 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 24.109 (63
ἐλνκνζέƄεƃƂ Ɓὲ Ƅν῔ο ƀὐƄν῔ο θƀξƁίƀλ κὴ ƄξώγƂηλ, ἐγθέƅƀινλ κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ, θƀὶ ƄνύƄσλ
ƂἴξγƂƃζƀη πάλƄƀο Ƅνὺο Ππζƀγνξηθνύο· ἟γƂκνλίƀη γάξ Ƃἰƃη θƀὶ ὡƃƀλƂὶ ἐπηβάζξƀη θƀὶ
ἕƁξƀη Ƅηλὲο Ƅνῦ ƅξνλƂ῔λ θƀὶ Ƅνῦ δ῅λ. ἀƅσƃηνῦƄν Ɓὲ ƀὐƄὰ Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ ζƂίνπ ιόγνπ
ƅύƃηλ. νὕƄσο θƀὶ κƀιάρεο ƂἴξγƂƃζƀη ἐθέιƂπƂλ, ὅƄη πξώƄε ἄγγƂινο θƀὶ ƃεκάλƄξηƀ
ƃπκπƀζƂίƀο νὐξƀλίσλ πξὸο ἐπίγƂηƀ. θƀὶ κƂιƀλνύξνπ Ɓὲ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη
πƀξήγγƂιιƂ·ρζνλίσλ γάξ ἐƃƄη ζƂ῵λ. θƀὶ ἐξπζξ῔λνλ κὴ πξνƃιƀκβάλƂηλ Ɓη‘ ἕƄƂξƀ
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He decreed that they not ‗munch on the heart‘ nor ‗eat brain,‘ and from these all
Pythagoreans are banned; for these organs are the ruling parts and, as it were,
stepping-stones and seats of practical thinking and living. And these same things he
eschewed on religious grounds because of the nature of the divine reason. Se also he
commanded them to abstain from mallow, because it is the first messenger and
indicator of an affinity of heavenly things with things earthly. And he ordered them to
abstain from blacktail, for it belongs to the earth gods; and do not eat pandora for
similar reasons. And to ‗abstain from beans‘ because of many sacred and physical
reasons, and reasons pertaining to the soul. He prescribed other rules like these, and
thus, beginning with food, he led human beings to moral excellence. (trans. Dillon–
Hershbell 133)
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ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ƀἴƄηƀ. θƀὶ ‗θπάκσλ ἀπέρνπ‘ Ɓηὰ πνιιὰο ἱƂξάο ƄƂ θƀὶ ƅπƃηθὰο θƀὶ Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ
ςπρὴλ ἀλεθνύƃƀο ƀἰƄίƀο. θƀὶ ἄιιƀ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ƁηƂζƂƃκνζέƄεƃƂ ƄνύƄνηο ὅκνηƀ, θƀὶ Ɓηὰ Ƅ῅ο
Ƅξνƅ῅ο ἀξρόκƂλνο Ƃἰο ἀξƂƄὴλ ὁƁεγƂ῔λ Ƅνὺο ἀλζξώπνπο.
Anonymus qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(133–51 Places)
before AD 290s
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
ἔƃƄσ Ɓὲ Ƅὰ ƅξƀƃζεƃόκƂλƀ Σύκβνιƀ ƄƀῦƄƀ.… Γηὰ πάλƄσλ Ɓὴ νὖλ ƄνύƄσλ ƅƀλƂξὸο
γέγνλƂ θƀὶ ὁ Ɓηὰ Ƅ῵λ ƃπκβόισλ πξνƄξƂπƄηθὸο Ƅύπνο ἔρσλ πνιὺ Ƅὸ ἀξρƀηόƄξνπνλ θƀὶ
The following are the Symbols which will be elucidated:.. Through all the foregoing
explanations, therefore, appears the mode of exhortation through symbols containing
much of the ancient and Pythagoric method. (trans. Johnson 92–112)
Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 8 Thesleff (p. 159) qtd. in Sextus Empiricus,
Against the Physicists (AM 9) 128 (243 Mutschmann)
classical period
ἔλζƂλ θƀὶ πƀξῄλνπλ νὗƄνη νἱ ƅηιόƃνƅνη ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ ἐκςύρσλ, θƀὶ ἀƃƂβƂ῔λ ἔƅƀƃθνλ
Ƅνὺο ἀλζξσπνπο
βσκὸλ ἐξƂύζνλƄƀο κƀθάξσλ ζƂξκν῔ƃη ƅόλνηƃηλ.
Hence, too, these philosophers (viz. Pythagoras, Empedocles et consortes) advised
abstinence from animal food, and declared that those men were impious who
‗Reddened the Blessed Ones‘ altars with warm blood pouring from victims.‘
(trans. Bury 3: 69)
Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 11 Thesleff (p. 162) qtd. in Timaeus of
classical period
Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.23 (613 Dorandi)
λόκῳ βνεζƂ῔λ, ἀλνκίᾳ πνιƂκƂ῔λ· ƅπƄὸλ ἣκƂξνλ κήƄƂ ƅζίλƂηλ κήƄƂ ƃίλƂƃζƀη, ἀιιὰ κεƁὲ
δῶνλ ὃ κὴ βιάπƄƂη ἀλζξώπνπο.
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To support the law, to wage war on lawlessness. Never to kill or injure trees that are
not wild, nor even any animal that does not injure man. (trans. Hicks 2: 341)
Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos qtd. in Stobaeus, Anthology 4.56.24 (5: 1128
classical period
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ſƂίƁƂν Ƅ῅ο δσ῅ο, κή κηλ θƀƄƀζπκνβνξήƃῃο.
Save the life, do not eat (i.e. vex—E. O.) the heart. (trans. E. O.)
Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Histories 2.81.1–2 (187 Rosén)
443 BC
OF 650 + OF 43; Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 1 Thesleff; Pythagoras no. 1
Cardini; Orfismo C7 Scarpi
νὐ κέλƄνη ἔο γƂ Ƅὰ ἱξὰ ἐƃƅέξƂƄƀη ƂἰξίλƂƀ νὐƁὲ ƃπγθƀƄƀζάπƄƂƄƀί ƃƅη· νὐ γὰξ ὅƃηνλ.
ὁκνινγένπƃη Ɓὲ ƄƀῦƄƀ Ƅν῔ƃη ὆ξƅηθν῔ƃη θƀιƂνκέλνηƃη θƀὶ Βƀθρηθν῔ƃη, ἐνῦƃη Ɓὲ
ΑἰγππƄίνηƃη θƀὶ ΠπζƀγνξƂίνηƃη· νὐƁὲ γὰξ ƄνύƄσλ Ƅ῵λ ὀξγίσλ κƂƄέρνλƄƀ ὅƃηνλ ἐƃƄὶ ἐλ
Ƃἰξηλένηƃη Ƃἵκƀƃη ζƀƅζ῅λƀη. ἔƃƄη Ɓὲ πƂξὶ ƀὐƄ῵λ ἱξὸο ιόγνο ιƂγόκƂλνο.
But nothing of wool is brought into temples, or buried with them; that is forbidden. In
this they follow the same rule as the so-called Orphic and Bacchic (?rituals, ?books),
but which is in truth Egyptian and Pythagorean (ones); for neither may those initiated
into these rites be buried in woolen wrappings. There is a sacred legend about this.
(trans. Godley 367, modified)
Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6.11.3 (2: 122 Jones)
OF 636
AD 215–17
βσκ῵λ ƄƂ ὡο θƀζƀξὸο ἅςƀηƄν θƀὶ ὡο ἀρξάλƄῳ κὲλ ἐκςύρνπ βξώƃƂσο γƀƃƄξὶ
ρξήƃƀηƄν, θƀζƀξῶ Ɓὲ ƃώκƀƄη πάλƄσλ ἐƃζεκάƄσλ, ὁπόƃƀ ζλεƃƂηƁίσλ μύγθƂηƄƀη…
He (viz. Pythagoras) approached altars in purity, he kept his stomach undefiled by the
flesh of living things, and his body uncontamined by all clothes made from dead
creatures. (trans. Jones 2: 123)
(cf. T.54) Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 28.152–54 (85–87
AD 300
Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos in Latin (Thesleff p. 167)41
ἐλ Ɓὲ Ƅν῔ο ΛƀƄίλνηο ἀλƀγηλώƃθƂƃζƀη Ƅνῦ Ππζƀγόξνπ Ƅὸλ ἹƂξὸλ ιόγνλ, νὐθ Ƃἰο Ƅ῵λ
πάλƄƀο νὐƁ‘ ὑπὸ πάλƄσλ, ἀιι‘ ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ κƂƄƂρόλƄσλ ἑƄνίκσο πξὸο Ƅὴλ Ƅ῵λ ἀγƀζ῵λ
ƁηƁƀƃθƀιίƀλ θƀὶ κεƁὲλ ƀἰƃρξὸλ ἐπηƄεƁƂπόλƄσλ… θέƁξῳ Ɓὲ ιέγƂη θƀὶ Ɓάƅλῃ θƀὶ
Holger Thesleff infers, from the Iamblichean phrase: ἐλ Ɓὲ Ƅν῔ο ΛƀƄίλνηο, that the Hieros Logos in
question was composed in Latin (Thesleff 1961, 19). Iamblichus, however, tells a different story: that the text
was read to the Latins, by whom he meant the Italiotes, i.e. the Greek-speaking inhabitants of Magna Graecia.
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θππƀξίƄƄῳ θƀὶ Ɓξπῒ θƀὶ κπξξίλῃ Ƅνὺο ζƂνὺο Ƅηκ᾵λ… ἑƅζὸλ Ɓὲ πƀξƀγγέιιƂη κὴ
(cf. T.18) Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff
classical period
OF 648
ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ.
It is the same, you see, whether you eat beans or the heads of your parents. (trans.
Schütrumpf 239)
Symbol 12: Abstain from the Sacred Fish
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Among the Latins the Sacred Discourse of Pythagoras is read aloud, not to all or by
all, but by those favorably disposed to the teaching of good things, and who indulge in
no shameful practices…. Honor the gods with cedar, laurel, cypress, oak, and
myrtle… He forbade roasting the boiled… (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 169)
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 195 Rose qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of
Eminent Philosophers 8.34 (618 Dorandi)
350 BC
Ƅ῵λ ἰρζύσλ κὴ ἅπƄƂƃζƀη, ὅƃνη ἱƂξνί· κὴ γὰξ ƁƂ῔λ Ƅὰ ƀὐƄὰ ƄƂƄάρζƀη ζƂν῔ο θƀὶ
ἀλζξώπνηο, ὥƃπƂξ νὐƁ᾽ ἐιƂπζέξνηο θƀὶ Ɓνύινηο.
Not to touch such fish as were sacred; for it is not right that gods and men should be
allotted the same things, any more than free men and slaves. (trans. Hicks 2: 351)
T.70a Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 194 Rose qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of
Eminent Philosophers 8.19 (610–11 Dorandi)
350 BC
ΠƀλƄὸο Ɓὲ κ᾵ιινλ ἀπεγόξƂπƂ κήƄƂ ἐξπζ῔λνλ ἐƃζίƂηλ κήƄƂ κƂιάλνπξνλ, θƀξƁίƀο Ƅ᾽
ἀπέρƂƃζƀη θƀὶ θπάκσλ· ἈξηƃƄνƄέιεο Ɓέ ƅεƃη θƀὶ κήƄξƀο θƀὶ Ƅξίγιεο ἐλίνƄƂ.
Above all, he forbade pandora and blacktail as food, and he enjoined abstinence from
the hearts of animals and from beans, and sometimes, according to Aristotle, from
pork belly and red mullet too. (trans. Hicks 2: 337, modified)
T.70b Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 194 Rose qtd. in Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights
4.11.11–13 (178 Marshall)
350 BC
OF 647v; Pythagoras fr. 9 Cardini
Plutarchus quoque, homo in disciplinis gravi auctoritate, in primo librorum, quos de
Homero composuit, Aristotelem philosophum scripsit eadem ipsa de Pythagoricis
scripsisse, quod non abstinuerint edundis animalibus, nisi pauca carne quadam. Verba
ipsa Plutarchi, quoniam res inopinata est, subscripsi: ἈξηƃƄνƄέιεο Ɓὲ κήƄξƀο θƀὶ
θƀξƁίƀο θƀὶ ἀθƀιήƅεο θƀὶ ƄνηνύƄσλ Ƅηλ῵λ ἄιισλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀί ƅεƃη Ƅνὺο Ππζƀγνξηθνύο,
ρξ῅ƃζƀη Ɓὲ Ƅν῔ο ἄιινηο. Ἀθƀιήƅεο autem est animal marinum, quod urtica appellatur.
Sed et piscibus mullis abstinere Pythagoricos Plutarchus in Symposiacis dicit.
Plutarch too, a weighty authority in matters of scholarship, wrote in the first book of
his books On Homer (fr. 122 Sandbach) that the philosopher Aristotle made the same
statement about the Pythagoreans, namely that they did not abstain from eating
animals, except for a few particular meats. As this is unexpected, I add Plutarch‘s own
words: ‗Aristotle says that the Pythagoreans abstained from the pig‘s paunch, the
heart, the ἀθƀιήƅε and some other things of the sort, but ate everything else.‘ Now the
ἀθƀιήƅε is a marine creature which is called the sea-nettle. But Plutarch in his Table
Talks (670D) says that the Pythagoreans also abstained from mullets. (trans. Sandbach
239 + Rolfe 351)
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T.70c Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 194 Rose qtd. in Antonius Diogenes, Wonders
beyond Thoule, fr. 2b Stephens
350 BC
Transmitted by Porphyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 45 (57 Places)
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἄιισλ πƀξῄλƂη, νἷνλ κήƄξƀο ƄƂ θƀὶ ƄξηγιίƁνο θƀὶ ἀθƀιήƅεο, ƃρƂƁὸλ
Ɓὲ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ἄιισλ ζƀιƀƃƃίσλ μπκπάλƄσλ.
He also recommended abstinence from other foods, such as pork belly, red mullet and
sea urchin, and practically all seafood. (trans. Stephens 145, modified)
Athenaeus of Naucratis, Learned Banqueters 3.90B–C (1: 492 Olson). AD 195–217
Ƅὸ Ɓ᾽ ἐλ ΛπƃηƃƄξάƄῃ ἈξηƃƄνƅάλνπο πέπƀηθƄƀη·
ἀιι᾽ ὦ Ƅεζ῵λ ἀλƁξƂηνƄάƄε θƀὶ κεƄξηƁίσλ ἀθƀιεƅ῵λ.
ἐπƂὶ ƄήζƂƀ Ƅὰ ὄƃƄξƂƀ. κέκηθƄƀη γὰξ θσκῳƁηθ῵ο πξὸο Ƅὴλ Ƅήζελ θƀὶ κεƄέξƀ.
The passage in Aristophanes‘ Lysistrata (549) represents a play on words:
‗O most manly of sea-squirts (tēthea) and nettle-mommies (mētridia);
Since sea-squirts are a type of shellfish, and he has created a comic jumble involving
the words tēthē (‗grandmother‘) and mētēr (‗mother‘). (trans. Olson 1: 493)
Dioscorides of Anazarbus, De materia medica 4.93.1–2 (2: 252 Wellmann). AD 50–
( 1 ) ἀ θ ƀ ι ή ƅ ε· νἱ Ɓὲ θλίƁελ… (2) Ƅὸ Ɓὲ ƃπέξκƀ ἐπὶ ƃπλνπƃίƀλ πƀξνξκᾶ πηλόκƂλνλ
κƂƄὰ γιπθένο θƀὶ ὑƃƄέξƀλ ἀλƀƃƄνκν῔…
(1) The stinging nettle, but some call it knide… (2) The seed is aphrodisiac and opens
the uterus when drunk with grape syrup. (trans. Beck 288)
(cf. T.60) ?Androcydes, On the Symbols qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa. ?356–323 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 24.109 (63
θƀὶ κƂιƀλνύξνπ Ɓὲ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη πƀξήγγƂιιƂ· ρζνλίσλ γάξ ἐƃƄη ζƂ῵λ. θƀὶ ἐξπζξ῔λνλ κὴ
πξνƃιƀκβάλƂηλ Ɓη‘ ἕƄƂξƀ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ƀἴƄηƀ.
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And he ordered them to abstain from blacktail, for it belongs to the earth gods; and do
not eat pandora for similar reasons. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 133)
Anonymus qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(138 Places)
before AD 290s
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κ Ƃ ι ƀ λ ν ύ ξ ν π ἀ π έ ρ ν π · ρ ζ ν λ ί σ λ γ ά ξ ἐ ƃ Ƅ η ζ Ƃ ῵ λ . Ƅὰ κὲλ νὖλ ἄιιƀ πƂξὶ
ƀὐƄνῦ ἐλ Ƅῶ ΠƂξὶ ƃπκβόισλ ἐξνῦκƂλ, ὅƃƀ Ɓὲ Ƃἰο πξνƄξνπὴλ ἁξκόδƂη, πƀξƀγγέιιƂη Ƅ῅ο
νὐξƀλίƀο πνξƂίƀο ἀλƄέρƂƃζƀη θƀὶ Ƅν῔ο λνƂξν῔ο ζƂν῔ο ƃπλάπƄƂƃζƀη, Ƅ῅ο ƄƂ ἐλύινπ
ƅύƃƂσο ρσξίδƂƃζƀη θƀὶ πƂξηάγƂƃζƀη πξὸο Ƅὴλ ἄπινλ θƀὶ θƀζƀξὰλ δσήλ, ζƂ῵λ ƄƂ
ζƂξƀπƂίᾳ ρξ῅ƃζƀη Ƅῆ ἀξίƃƄῃ θƀὶ κάιηƃƄƀ Ƅν῔ο πξσƄίƃƄνηο ζƂν῔ο πξνƃεθνύƃῃ.
Cognate to the preceding is the sixth symbol, ‗abstain from blacktail, for it belongs to
the terrestrial Gods.‘ This admonishes us to enter upon the celestial journey, to unite
ourselves to the intellectual Gods, to become separate from the material nature, and to
be led as it were in circular progression to an immaterial and pure life. It further
exhorts us to adopt the most excellent worship to the Gods, and especially that which
pertains to the primary Gods. (trans. Johnson 97, modified)
T.75a Trypho of Alexandria, On Tropes 4 (193–94 Spengel)
first century BC
ἈλƁξνθύƁεο ὁ Ππζƀγνξηθὸο ἔιƂγƂ… κƂιάλνπξνλ κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ ἀλƄὶ Ƅνῦ ςƂπƁ῅ ιόγνλ κὴ
πξνΐƂƃζƀη· Ƅὸ γὰξ ςƂῦƁνο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἐƃράƄνηο κέξƂƃη κƂιƀίλƂƄƀη θƀὶ ἀκƀπξνῦƄƀη.
Androcydes the Pythagorean said:… ‗Do not eat the blacktail;‘ that is, ‗Do not speak
lying word, for every lie, as it turns out, becomes dark and obscure.‘ (trans. E. O.)
T.75b Pseudo-Plutarch, Education of Children 17, 12D (24 Gärtner)
after AD 120
‗κὴ γƂύƂƃζƀη κƂιƀλνύξσλ‘ ƄνπƄέƃƄη κὴ ƃπλƁηƀƄξίβƂηλ κέιƀƃηλ ἀλζξώπνηο Ɓηὰ
‗Do not taste of blacktails;‘ that is, ‗Do not spend your time with men of black
character, because of their malevolence.‘ (Babbitt 1: 59)
Anonymus qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(149 Places)
before AD 290s
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Τὸ Ɓὲ ἐ ξ π ζ ῔ λ ν λ κ ὴ π ξ ν ƃ ι ƀ κ β ά λ ν π ƅƀίλƂƄƀη πξὸο Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ ὀλόκƀƄνο
ἐƄπκνινγίƀλ ςηιὴλ ƃπκβƂβι῅ƃζƀη. ἀπεξπζξηƀθόƄƀ γὰξ θƀὶ ἀλƀίƃρπλƄνλ κὴ ἐπηƁέρνπ
ἄλζξσπνλ, ἠ ἐθ Ƅνῦ ἐλƀλƄίνπ θƀƄƀπι῅γƀ θƀὶ ἐλ πƀλƄὶ θƀζ‘ ὑπƂξβνιὴλ ἐξπζξη῵λƄƀ θƀὶ
ƄƀπƂηλνύκƂλνλ ὑπό ƄƂ λνῦ θƀὶ ἀƃζƂλνῦο Ɓηƀλνίƀο. Ɓηὰ Ɓὲ ƄνύƄνπ λνƂ῔Ƅƀη Ƅὸ κὴ ƀὐƄὸο
ƄνηνῦƄνο ἴƃζη.
This, ‗Do not receive the fish erythrinus,‘ seems to merely refer to the etymology of
the word. For it signifies: receive not an unblushing and impudent man; nor, on the
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contrary, one who is stupidly astonished and who blushes at everything; and is humble
in the extreme, through the imbecility of his intellect and reasoning power. Hence this
also is understood: Be not yourself such a one. (trans. Johnson 110)
Melanthius of Athens, On the Mysteries at Eleusis, FGrHist 326 F2 qtd. in Athenaeus
of Naucratis, Learned Banqueters 7.325C (3: 532 Olson)
350–270 BC
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ΜƂιάλζηνο Ɓ᾽ ἐλ Ƅῶ πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ἐλ ἖ιƂπƃ῔λη κπƃƄεξίσλ θƀὶ Ƅξίγιελ θƀὶ κƀηλίƁƀ, ὅƄη θƀὶ
ζƀιάƄƄηνο ἟ ἗θάƄε.
But Melanthius in his On the Mysteries at Eleusis says that both the red mullet and the
sprat are (sc. sacrificed to Hecate), because Hecate is a sea goddess. (trans. Olson 3:
Apollodorus of Athens, On Gods, FGrHist 244 F109a qtd. in Athenaeus of Naucratis,
Learned Banqueters 7.325B (3: 532 Olson)
ca. 146 BC
ἈπνιιόƁσξνο Ɓ᾽ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο πƂξὶ ζƂ῵λ Ƅῆ ἗θάƄῃ ƅεƃὶ ζύƂƃζƀη Ƅξίγιελ Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ
ὀλόκƀƄνο νἰθƂηόƄεƄƀ· Ƅξίκνξƅνο γὰξ ἟ ζƂόο.
Apollodorus in his On Gods claims that the red mullet is sacrificed to Hecate because
it has an appropriate name; for the goddess takes three forms. (trans. Olson 3: 533)
Chariclides, Chain fr. 1, CAF 3: 394 qtd. in Athenaeus of Naucratis, Learned
Banqueters 7.325D (3: 534 Olson)
after 327 BC
Ɓέƃπνηλ᾽ ἗θάƄε ΤξηνƁ῔Ƅη,
ƄξίκνξƅƂ, ƄξηπξόƃσπƂ,
Ƅξίγιƀηο † θεƁƂπκέλƀ.
Mistress Hecate of the Crossroads, with three forms and three faces, attended by red
mullets. (trans. Olson 3: 535)
Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life
24.106 (61 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
θƀζόινπ Ɓὲ ἀπƂƁνθίκƀδƂ θƀὶ Ƅὰ Ƅν῔ο ζƂν῔ο ἀιιόƄξηƀ ὡο ἀπάγνλƄƀ ἟κ᾵ο Ƅ῅ο πξὸο Ƅνὺο
ζƂνὺο νἰθƂηώƃƂσο. θƀƄ‘ ἄιινλ Ɓὲ ƀὖ Ƅξόπνλ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ λνκηδνκέλσλ Ƃἶλƀη ἱƂξ῵λ ƃƅόƁξƀ
ἀπέρƂƃζƀη πƀξήγγƂιιƂλ ὡο Ƅηκ῅ο ἀμίσλ ὄλƄσλ, ἀιι‘ νὐρὶ Ƅ῅ο θνηλ῅ο θƀὶ ἀλζξσπίλεο
He entirely rejected foods which are foreign to the gods because they divert us from
kinship with the gods. Again, on another basis, he emphatically commended
abstention from foods believed sacred since they are worthy of honor, and not for
common and human consumption. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 131)
Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 8.8.1, 728D–E (286 Hubert)
AD 99–110
…ὅƄη Ɓὴ κάιηƃƄƀ Ƅ῵λ ἰρζύσλ ἀπƂίρνλƄν· θƀὶ γὰξ ἱƃƄνξƂ῔Ƅƀη ƄνῦƄν πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ πƀιƀη῵λ
Ππζƀγνξηθ῵λ, θƀὶ Ƅνῦ θƀζ᾽ ἟κ᾵ο ἈιƂμηθξάƄνπο ἐλέƄπρνλ κƀζεƄƀ῔ο ἄιιƀ κὲλ
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…that they used to abstain especially from fish. Not only is this reported of the ancient
Pythagoreans, but I have also met pupils of Alexicrates, our contemporary, who
sometimes used the flesh of other living creatures in moderation, and even offered it in
sacrifice, but who could not bear to taste fish at all. The reason advanced by the
Lacedaemonian Tyndares I cannot accept, that this abstention is out of regard for their
silence, and that they call fish ellops (‗silent‘) because they keep their mouths shut and
under restraint. (trans. Minar 175)
Cratinus, Trophonius fr. 221 Edmonds
νὐƁ᾽ ΑἰμσλίƁ᾽ ἐξπζξόρξσλ ἐƃζίƂηλ ἔƄη Ƅξίγιελ
νὐƁὲ Ƅξπγόλνο νὐƁὲ ƁƂηλνῦ ƅπὴλ κƂιƀλνύξνπ.
before 430 BC
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<ἔκςπρ᾽> ἔƃƄηλ ὅƄƂ κƂƄξίσο πξνƃƅƂξνκέλνηο θƀὶ λὴ Γίƀ ζύνπƃηλ, ἰρζύνο Ɓὲ κὴ
γƂύƃƀƃζƀη Ƅὸ πƀξάπƀλ ὑπνκέλνπƃηλ. ἡλ Ɓὲ ΤπλƁάξεο ὁ ΛƀθƂƁƀηκόληνο ƀἰƄίƀλ ***
ἔιƂγƂ Ɓὲ Ƅ῅ο ἐρƂκπζίƀο ƄνῦƄν γέξƀο Ƃἶλƀη, Ƅνὺο ἰρζῦο θƀιƂ῔λ <ἔιινπƀο>, νἷνλ
ἰιινκέλελ Ƅὴλ ὄπƀ θƀὶ θƀζƂηξγνκέλελ ἔρνλƄƀο…
Nor any more the red-fleshed Aexonian mullet to eat, not yet of trygon to taste nor the
queer-natured melanure‘s meat. (trans. Edmonds 1: 103)
Symbol 13: Not to Sacrifice a White Chicken
Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 4.5.2, 670C–D (144 Hubert)
AD 99–110
θƀὶ Ƅί ἄλ Ƅηο ΑἰγππƄίνπο ƀἰƄηῶƄν Ƅ῅ο ƄνƃƀύƄεο ἀινγίƀο, ὅπνπ θƀὶ Ƅνὺο Ππζƀγνξηθνὺο
ἱƃƄνξνῦƃη θƀὶ ἀιƂθƄξπόλƀ ιƂπθὸλ ƃέβƂƃζƀη θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ζƀιƀƄƄίσλ κάιηƃƄƀ Ƅξίγιεο θƀὶ
ἀθƀιήƅεο ἀπέρƂƃζƀη…
How could anyone blame the Egyptians for such irrationality when it is recorded that
the Pythagoreans respect even a white cock, and that they abstain particularly from the
red mullet and the sea urchin among the marine animals? (trans. Clement 355)
Anonymus qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(142 Places)
before AD 290s
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
Τὸ Ɓὲ ἀ ι Ƃ θ Ƅ ξ π ό λ ƀ Ƅ ξ έ ƅ Ƃ κ έ λ , κ ὴ ζ ῦ Ƃ Ɓ έ · κ ή λ ῃ γ ὰ ξ θ ƀ ὶ ἟ ι ί ῳ
θ ƀ ζ η έ ξ σ Ƅ ƀ η ƃπκβνπιƂύƂη ἟κ῔λ ὑπνƄξέƅƂηλ θƀὶ ƃσκƀƄνπνηƂ῔λ θƀὶ κὴ πƀξνξ᾵λ
ἀπνιιύκƂλƀ θƀὶ ƁηƀƅζƂηξόκƂλƀ Ƅὰ Ƅ῅ο Ƅνῦ θόƃκνπ ἑλώƃƂσο θƀὶ ἀιιεινπρίƀο
ƃπκπƀζƂίƀο ƄƂ θƀὶ ƃπκπλνίƀο κƂγάιƀ ƄƂθκήξηƀ. ὥƃƄƂ πξνƄξέπƂη Ƅ῅ο Ƅνῦ πƀλƄὸο
ζƂσξίƀο θƀὶ ƅηινƃνƅίƀο ἀλƄηιƀκβάλƂƃζƀη. ἐπƂὶ γὰξ ἀπόθξπƅνο ƅύƃƂη ἟ πƂξὶ Ƅνῦ
πƀλƄὸο ἀιήζƂηƀ, θƀὶ ƁπƃζήξƀƄνο ἱθƀλ῵ο· δεƄεƄέƀ Ɓὲ ὅκσο ἀλζξώπῳ θƀὶ ἐμηρλƂπƄέƀ
κάιηƃƄƀ Ɓηὰ ƅηινƃνƅίƀο. Ɓηὰ γὰξ ἄιινπ Ƅηλὸο ἐπηƄεƁƂύκƀƄνο νὕƄσο ἀƁύλƀƄνλ· ƀὕƄε Ɓὲ
κηθξά Ƅηλƀ ἐλƀύƃκƀƄƀ πƀξὰ Ƅ῅ο ƅύƃƂσο ιƀκβάλνπƃƀ θƀὶ ὡƃƀλƂὶ ἐƅνƁηƀδνκέλε δσƄ῅ο
ƅύƃƂσο ιƀκβάλνπƃƀ θƀὶ ὡƃƀλƂὶ ἐƅνƁηƀδνκέλε δσππξƂ῔ ƄƂ ƀὐƄὰ θƀὶ κƂγƂζύλƂη θƀὶ
ἐλƂξγέƃƄƂξƀ Ɓηὰ Ƅ῵λ πƀξ‘ ƀὐƄ῅ο κƀζεκάƄσλ ἀπƂξγάδƂƄƀη. ƅηινƃνƅεƄένλ ἄξƀ ἂλ Ƃἴε.
This, ‗nourish a cock, but do not sacrifice it, for it is sacred to the sun and the moon,‘
advises us to nourish and not neglect those things which perish and are destroyed
because they are mighty proofs of the union, connection, sympathy and consent of the
world. So that it exhorts us to apprehend the theory and philosophy of the universe.
For though the truth concerning the universe is naturally recondite, and sufficiently
difficult of investigation, it must nevertheless be sought and investigated by man, and
chiefly through Philosophy. For it is truly impossible to discover it through any other
study or pursuit. But philosophy receiving certain sparks from nature blows them up
into a great flame, making them more active through the disciplines or sciences which
she possesses. Wherefore we should philosophize. (trans. Johnson 102)
Suda Lexicon, Π 3124 (4: 266 Adler)
after AD 1028
κήƄƂ ιƂπθὸλ ἀιƂθƄξπόλƀ ἐƃζίƂηλ, ὡο ἱƂξὸλ Ƅνῦ ἟ιίνπ θƀὶ Ƅὰο ὥξƀο κελύνλƄƀ.
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Pythagoras also recommended not eating a white rooster, as it is sacred to the Sun and
indicates the hours. (the SOL translation)
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 195 Rose qtd. in Alexander Polyhistor of Miletus.
350 BC
Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.34 (618–19
CMRDM T.7 (p. 116); Akousmata & Symbola no. 3 Cardini
ἈιƂθƄξπόλνο κὴ ἅπƄƂƃζƀη ιƂπθνῦ, ὅƄη ἱƂξὸο Ƅνῦ Μελὸο θƀὶ ἱθέƄεο· Ƅὸ Ɓ᾽ ἤλ Ƅ῵λ
ἀγƀζ῵λ· Ƅῶ ƄƂ Μελὶ ἱƂξόο· ƃεκƀίλƂη γὰξ Ƅὰο ὥξƀο. θƀὶ Ƅὸ κὲλ ιƂπθὸλ Ƅ῅ο Ƅἀγƀζνῦ
ƅύƃƂσο, Ƅὸ Ɓὲ κέιƀλ Ƅνῦ θƀθνῦ.
Another of his precepts was not to eat white cocks, as being sacred to the Month and
wearing suppliant garb—now supplication ranked with things good—sacred to the
Month because they announce the time of day; and again white represents the nature
of the good, black the nature of evil. (trans. Hicks 2: 351)
Symbol 18: Transplant but Do Not Eat Mallow
Damascius, Philosophical History fr. 84J Athanassiadi
AD 497–526
ΟὗƄνο Ɓὲ ὁ Ἰάθσβνο Πξόθιῳ λνƃνῦλƄη, ἐλ Ἀζήλƀηο ƁηƀƄξίβσλ θƀὶ ζƀπκƀδόκƂλνο,
πξνƃέƄƀμƂλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη κὲλ θξάκβεο, ἐκƅνξƂ῔ƃζƀη Ɓὲ Ƅ῵λ κƀιƀρ῵λ· ὁ Ɓὲ θƀƄὰ Ƅὸλ
ΠπζƀγόξƂηνλ λόκνλ νὐθ ἞λέƃρƂƄν κƀιάρεο ἐƃζίƂηλ.
At the time when this Iacobus lived in Athens and was held in high esteem, he told the
sick Proclus to abstain from cabbage and take his fill of mallow instead. Proclus
however could not bring himself to eat mallow following the Pythagorean law. (trans.
Athanassiadi 213)
Dioscorides of Anazarbus, De materia medica 2.118.1–2 (1: 191–92 Wellmann). AD
(1) κνιόρε· ἐƁσƁηκσƄέξƀ ἟ θεπƂπƄὴ κ᾵ιινλ Ƅ῅ο ρƂξƃƀίƀο, θƀθνƃƄόκƀρνο Ɓὲ θƀὶ
Ƃὐθνίιηνο, θƀὶ κ᾵ιινλ νἱ θƀπινί, ἐλƄέξνηο Ɓὲ θƀὶ θύƃƄƂη ὠƅέιηκνο. Ɓύλƀκηλ Ɓὲ ἔρƂη Ƅὰ
ƅύιιƀ ὠκὰ κƀƃεζέλƄƀ θƀὶ ἐπηπιƀƃζέλƄƀ κƂƄ᾽ ὀιίγσλ ἁι῵λ ƀἰγηιώπηƀ ἀλƀƃθƂπάδƂηλ·
πξὸο κέλƄνη Ƅὴλ ἀπνύισƃηλ Ɓίρƀ Ƅ῵λ ἁι῵λ ρξεƃƄένλ ƀὐƄῆ. πνηƂ῔ Ɓὲ θƀὶ πξὸο ƃϕεθ῵λ
θƀὶ κƂιηƃƃ῵λ πιεγὰο θƀƄƀπιƀƃνκέλε· θἂλ πƂξηρξίƃεƄƀη Ɓέ Ƅηο ƀὐƄν῔ο ὠκν῔ο ιƂίνηο
ƃὺλ ἐιƀίῳ, ἄπιεθƄνο ƁηƀκέλƂη· κƂƄὰ Ɓὲ νὔξνπ θƀƄƀπιƀƃζέλƄƀ ἀρ῵ξƀο θƀὶ πίƄπξƀ
ἰ᾵Ƅƀη. (2) ἑƅζὰ Ɓὲ ιƂ῔ƀ Ƅὰ ƅύιιƀ ƃὺλ ἐιƀίῳ ἐπηƄηζέκƂλƀ ππξίθƀπƄƀ θƀὶ ἐξπƃηπέιƀƄƀ
ὠƅƂιƂ῔. Ƅὸ Ɓὲ ἀƅέςεκƀ ƀὐƄ῅ο κƀιƀθƄηθὸλ ἐγθάζηƃκƀ ὑƃƄέξƀο, Ƃἴο ƄƂ ἐλέκƀƄƀ πξὸο
Ɓεγκνὺο ἐλƄξέσλ θƀὶ κήƄξƀο θƀὶ ƁƀθƄπιίνπ ἁξκόƁηνλ.
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(1) The mallow: the cultivated mallow is more edible than the wild. It is bad for the
stomach, it eases the bowel, especially its stems, and it is beneficial to the intestines
and the bladder. Its leaves, chewed raw and used as a poultice with a small amount of
salt, can remove lachrymal fistulas, but to cicatrize them, one must use the mallow
without salt. It is also good to plaster on wasp and bee stings, and if a person smeared
himself with raw leaves ground up with olive oil, he will be immune to stings.
Plastered on with urine, they cure scurf and dandruff. (2) Boiled, ground up, and
applied with olive oil, the leaves benefit burns and erysipelas. The decoction of this
plant is an emollient sitz bath for the uterus and an appropriate clyster for gnawing
pains of the intestines, uterus, and anus. (trans. Beck 142)
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Aelian, Historical Miscellany 4.17 (200
350 BC
Akousmata & Symbola no. 2 Cardini
ἜιƂγƂ Ɓὲ ἱƂξώƄƀƄνλ Ƃἶλƀη Ƅὸ Ƅ῅ο κƀιάρεο ƅύιινλ.
He said that the most sacred object is the mallow leaf. (trans. Wilson 201)
T.90a (cf. T.60) ?Androcydes, On the Symbols qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa. ?356–323 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 24.109 (63
νὕƄσο θƀὶ κƀιάρεο ƂἴξγƂƃζƀη ἐθέιƂπƂλ, ὅƄη πξώƄε ἄγγƂινο θƀὶ ƃεκάλƄξηƀ ƃπκπƀζƂίƀο
νὐξƀλίσλ πξὸο ἐπίγƂηƀ.
So also he commanded them to abstain from mallow, because it is the first messenger
and indicator of an affinity of heavenly things with things earthly. (trans. Dillon–
Hershbell 133)
T.90b Anonymus qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(150–51 Places)
before AD 290s
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
Τὸ Ɓὲ κ ν ι ό ρ ε λ κ Ƃ Ƅ ƀ ƅ ύ Ƅ Ƃ π Ƃ κ έ λ , κ ὴ ἔ ƃ ζ η Ƃ Ɓ έ , ƀἰλίƄƄƂƄƀη κὲλ ὅƄη
ƃπλƄξέπƂƄƀη Ƅῶ ἟ιίῳ Ƅὰ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ƅπƄὰ θƀὶ πƀξƀƄεξƂ῔λ ἀμην῔ ƄνῦƄν, πξόƃθƂηƄƀη Ɓὲ Ƅὸ
κ Ƃ Ƅ ƀ ƅ ύ Ƅ Ƃ π Ƃ , ƄνπƄέƃƄηλ ἐπηƃƄὰο Ƅῆ ƀὐƄνῦ ƅύƃƂη θƀὶ Ƅῆ πξὸο Ƅὸλ ἣιηνλ ƁηƀƄάƃƂη θƀὶ
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ƃπκπƀζƂίᾳ κὴ ἀξθνῦ κεƁὲ ἐπίκƂλƂ κόλῳ ƄνύƄῳ, ἀιιὰ Ƅὴλ Ɓηάλνηƀλ κƂƄƀβίβƀδƂ θƀὶ
ὡƃƀλƂὶ κƂƄƀƅύƄƂπƂ θƀὶ ἐπὶ Ƅὰ ὁκνγƂλ῅ ƅπƄὰ θƀὶ ιάρƀλƀ θƀὶ ἐπὶ Ƅὰ κὴ ὁκνγƂλ῅ (Ɓὲ)
δῶƀ ἢƁε θƀὶ ιίζνπο θƀὶ πνƄƀκνὺο θƀὶ πάƃƀο ἁπι῵ο ƅύƃƂηο· πνιύρνπλ γὰξ ƂὑξήƃƂηο
θƀὶ πνιύƄξνπνλ ζƀπκƀƃίσο Ɓὲ Ɓƀςηιὲο Ƅὸ Ƅ῅ο Ƅνῦ θόƃκνπ ἑλώƃƂσο θƀὶ ƃπκπλνίƀο
ƃεκƀλƄηθόλ, ὥƃπƂξ ἀπὸ ῥίδεο θƀὶ ἀƅƂƄ῅ξνο Ƅ῅ο κνιόρεο ὡξκεκέλνο. νὐ κόλνλ νὖλ κὴ
ἔƃζηƂ κεƁὲ ἀƅάληδƂ Ƅὰο ƄνηƀύƄƀο πƀξƀƄεξήƃƂηο, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ ƀὖμƂ θƀὶ πιεζνπνίƂη Ɓίθελ
This, ‗transplant mallows in your garden, but eat them not,‘ obscurely signifies that
plants of this kind turn with the sun, and directs that this should be noticed by us. The
symbol also adds, ‗transplant,‘ that is to say, observe its nature, its tendency towards,
and sympathy with, the sun; but rest not satisfied, nor dwell upon this, but transfer and
as it were transplant your conception to kindred plants and herbs, and also to animals
which are not kindred, to stones and rivers, and in brief, to natures of every kind. For
you will find them to be prolific and multiform, and admirably abundant; and this to
one who begins from the mallows, as from a root and principle, is significant of the
union and consent of the world. Not only, therefore, do not destroy or obliterate
observations of this kind, but increase and multiply them as it were by transplantation.
(trans. Johnson 111–12)
Chaldean Oracles fr. 210a Majercik qtd. in John the Lydian, On Months 4.120 (158
AD 173
κƀιάρεο ἀπέρƂƃζƀη· θƀƄὰ Ɓὲ Ƅὸλ ΑὔγνπƃƄνλ κ῅λƀ κƀιάρεο ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ƅν῔ο γƂ
βνπινκέλνηο ὑγηƀίλƂηλ Ƅὰ ἄξζξƀ Ƅὸ ιόγηνλ ζƂƃπίδƂη.
To refrain from mallow: The oracle advises those who wish keep their joints healthy
‗to refrain from mallow‘ during the month of August. (trans. Majercik 129)
Symbol 17: Eat of Sacrificial Animals Only
Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 8.8.3, 729D (288 Hubert)
AD 99–110
ΤƀῦƄ᾽ ἐπƀηλέƃƀο ὁ Σύιιƀο πξνƃƂ῔πƂ πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ Ππζƀγνξηθ῵λ, ὡο κάιηƃƄƀ κὲλ ἐγƂύνλƄν
Ƅ῵λ ἱƂξνζύƄσλ ἀπƀξμάκƂλνη Ƅν῔ο ζƂν῔ο· ἰρζύσλ Ɓὲ ζύƃηκνο νὐƁƂὶο νὐƁ᾽ ἱƂξƂύƃηκόο
Agreeing with this, Sulla added, concerning the Pythagoreans, that if they tasted flesh
it was most often that of sacrificial animals, and after a preliminary offering to the
gods, but that no fish is fit for dedication or sacrifice. (trans. Minar 179)
Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence from Living Animals 2.28.2 (95 Bouffartigue). AD
ΓηόπƂξ νἱ ΠπζƀγόξƂηνη ƄνῦƄν πƀξƀƁƂμάκƂλνη θƀƄὰ κὲλ Ƅὸλ πάλƄƀ βίνλ ἀπƂίρνλƄν Ƅ῅ο
δῳνƅƀγίƀο, ὅƄƂ Ɓὲ Ƃἰο ἀπƀξρήλ Ƅη Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ ἀλζ‘ ἑƀπƄ῵λ κƂξίƃƂηƀλ Ƅν῔ο ζƂν῔ο, ƄνύƄνπ
γƂπƃάκƂλνη κόλνλ, πξὸο ἀιήζƂηƀλ ἄƅηθƄνη Ƅ῵λ ινηπ῵λ ὄλƄƂο ἔδσλ.
The Pythagoreans, following this tradition, abstained from animal-eating all their lives,
and when they did assign some animal to the gods as an offering in place of
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themselves, they ate only that, but continued to live for truth, not touching the others.
(trans. Clark 66)
Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa
350 BC
Akousmata & Symbola no. 4 Cardini
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Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.85 (49
Ƃἰο κόλƀ Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ νὐθ ƂἰƃέξρƂƄƀη ἀλζξώπνπ ςπρή, νἷο ζέκηο ἐƃƄὶ Ƅπζ῅λƀη· Ɓηὰ ƄνῦƄν
Ƅ῵λ ζπƃίκσλ ρξὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ κόλνλ, νἷο ἂλ Ƅὸ ἐƃζίƂηλ θƀζήθῃ, ἄιινπ Ɓὲ κεƁƂλὸο δῴνπ. Ƅὰ
κὲλ νὖλ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ Ƅ῵λ ἀθνπƃκάƄσλ ἐƃƄί, Ƅὰ Ɓὲ πιƂ῔ƃƄνλ ἔρνλƄƀ κ῅θνο πƂξί ƄƂ ζπƃίƀο
θƀζ‘ ἑθάƃƄνπο Ƅνὺο θƀηξνὺο π῵ο ρξὴ πνηƂ῔ƃζƀη Ƅάο ƄƂ ἄιιƀο <ζƂ῵λ Ƅηκὰο> θƀὶ πƂξὶ
κƂƄνηθήƃƂσο Ƅ῅ο ἐλƄƂῦζƂλ θƀὶ πƂξὶ Ƅὰο Ƅƀƅάο, π῵ο ƁƂ῔ θƀƄƀζάπƄƂƃζƀη.
Only into those animals which it is lawful to sacrifice does there not enter a human
soul; for this reason one may eat only sacrificial animals, such as are suitable for
eating, but no other living being. Such, then, were some of his oral instructions, but
those of greatest length concerned sacrifices: how one should perform them on each
particular occasion, and (observe) the other prerogatives of the gods; also about
transmigration of souls from the present life and about burials, and how one should be
buried. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 109)
Xenophanes of Colophon fr. 7 Lesher
478–467 BC
Pythagoras fr. A Cardini
Νῦλ ƀὖƄ᾽ ἄιινλ ἔπƂηκη ιόγνλ, ƁƂίμσ Ɓὲ θέιƂπζνλ.
θƀί πνƄέ κηλ ƃƄπƅƂιηδνκέλνπ ƃθύιƀθνο πƀξηόλƄƀ
ƅƀƃὶλ ἐπνηθƄ῔ξƀη θƀὶ ƄόƁƂ ƅάƃζƀη ἔπνο·
Πƀῦƃƀη κεƁὲ ῥάπηδ᾽, ἐπƂὶ ἤ ƅίινπ ἀλέξνο ἐƃƄὶλ
ςπρή, Ƅὴλ ἔγλσλ ƅζƂγμƀκέλεο ἀΐσλ.
Now I will come to yet another account, and I will show the way.
And they say that once as he42 was passing by a puppy being beaten, He felt
compassion and said this: ‗Stop, don‘t beat it, since in truth it is the soul of a friend
Which I recognized upon hearing it cry out.‘ (trans. Lesher 19)
Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 131 Wright
ἐλ ζήξƂƃƃη ιένλƄƂο ὀξƂηιƂρέƂο ρƀκƀηƂῦλƀη
γίγλνλƄƀη, Ɓάƅλƀη Ɓ' ἐλὶ ƁέλƁξƂƃηλ ἞πθόκνηƃηλ.
Xenophanes refers here to Pythagoras (Tsekourakis 370; Lesher 118).
444 BC
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Among animals they are born as lions that make their lairs in the hills and bed on the
ground, and among fair-leafed trees as laurels. (trans. Wright 290)
Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 127 Wright
444 BC
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Ɓάƅλεο Ƅ῵λ ƅύιισλ ἀπὸ πάκπƀλ ἔρƂƃζƀη
to keep completely from leaves of laurel. (trans. Wright 288)
Symbols 15–16: Eat Not the Heart & Brain
(cf. T.60) ?Androcydes, On the Symbols qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa. ?356–323 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 24.109 (63
ἐλνκνζέƄεƃƂ Ɓὲ Ƅν῔ο ƀὐƄν῔ο θƀξƁίƀλ κὴ ƄξώγƂηλ, ἐγθέƅƀινλ κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ, θƀὶ ƄνύƄσλ
ƂἴξγƂƃζƀη πάλƄƀο Ƅνὺο Ππζƀγνξηθνύο· ἟γƂκνλίƀη γάξ Ƃἰƃη θƀὶ ὡƃƀλƂὶ ἐπηβάζξƀη θƀὶ
ἕƁξƀη Ƅηλὲο Ƅνῦ ƅξνλƂ῔λ θƀὶ Ƅνῦ δ῅λ. ἀƅσƃηνῦƄν Ɓὲ ƀὐƄὰ Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ ζƂίνπ ιόγνπ
He decreed that they not ‗munch on the heart‘ nor ‗eat brain,‘ and from these all
Pythagoreans are banned; for these organs are the ruling parts and, as it were,
stepping-stones and seats of practical thinking and living. And these same things he
eschewed on religious grounds because of the nature of the divine reason. (trans.
Dillon–Hershbell 133)
Pythagorean Memoirs qtd. in Alexander Polyhistor of Miletus, Successions of
Philosophers, FGrHist 273 F93
350 BC
Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.30 (616 Dorandi)
Τὴλ Ɓ᾽ ἀλζξώπνπ ςπρὴλ ƁηƀηξƂ῔ƃζƀη Ƅξηρ῅, Ƃἴο ƄƂ λνῦλ θƀὶ ƅξέλƀο θƀὶ ζπκόλ. λνῦλ κὲλ
νὖλ θƀὶ ζπκὸλ Ƃἶλƀη θƀὶ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἄιινηο δῴνηο, ƅξέλƀο Ɓὲ κόλνλ ἐλ ἀλζξώπῳ. Ƃἶλƀη Ɓὲ
Ƅὴλ ἀξρὴλ Ƅ῅ο ςπρ῅ο ἀπὸ θƀξƁίƀο κέρξηο ἐγθƂƅάινπ· θƀὶ Ƅὸ κὲλ ἐλ Ƅῆ θƀξƁίᾳ κέξνο
ƀὐƄ῅ο ὑπάξρƂηλ ζπκόλ, ƅξέλƀο Ɓὲ θƀὶ λνῦλ Ƅὰ ἐλ Ƅῶ ἐγθƂƅάιῳ· ƃƄƀγόλƀο Ɓ᾽ Ƃἶλƀη ἀπὸ
ƄνύƄσλ Ƅὰο ƀἰƃζήƃƂηο. θƀὶ Ƅὸ κὲλ ƅξόληκνλ ἀζάλƀƄνλ, Ƅὰ Ɓὲ ινηπὰ ζλεƄά. ƄξέƅƂƃζƀί
ƄƂ Ƅὴλ ςπρὴλ ἀπὸ Ƅνῦ ƀἵκƀƄνο…
The soul of man, he says, is divided into three parts, intelligence, reason, and passion.
Intelligence and passion are possessed by other animals as well, but reason by man
alone. The seat of the soul extends from the heart to the brain; the part of it which is in
the heart is passion, while the parts located in the brain are reason and intelligence.
The senses are distillations from these. Reason is immortal, all else mortal. The soul
draws nourishment from the blood… (trans. Hicks 2: 347)
T.100 Timaeus of Locri, On the Nature of the World and the Soul 47 (218 Thesleff). 420–
380 BC
Ƅνῦ Ɓὲ ƃώκƀƄνο ἀξρὰλ κὲλ θƀὶ ῥίδƀλ κπƂινῦ ƂἶκƂλ ἐγθέƅƀινλ, ἐλ ᾧ ἁ ἁγƂκνλίƀ.
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The principle of the body and root of the marrow is the brain, wherein resides the
ruling power. (trans. Guthrie 292)
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ἐγθέƅƀινο Ɓὲ <ƃƀκƀίλƂη> Ƅὰλ ἀλζξώπσ ἀξρὰλ, θƀξƁίƀ Ɓὲ Ƅὰλ δώνπ…
T.101 Philolaus of Croton qtd. in Pseudo-Iamblichus, Theology of Arithmetics 21 (25–26
before 385 BC
The brain provides the source for man, the heart for animals… (trans. Waterfield 59)
T.102 LeviticusLXX 17.10–14
250 BC
(10) Κƀὶ ἄλζξσπνο ἄλζξσπνο Ƅ῵λ πἱ῵λ ᾿Ηƃξƀὴι ἠ Ƅ῵λ πξνƃειύƄσλ Ƅ῵λ
πξνƃθƂηκέλσλ ἐλ ὑκ῔λ, ὃο ἂλ ƅάγῃ π᾵λ ƀἷκƀ, θƀὶ ἐπηƃƄήƃσ Ƅὸ πξόƃσπόλ κνπ ἐπὶ Ƅὴλ
ςπρὴλ Ƅὴλ ἔƃζνπƃƀλ Ƅὸ ƀἷκƀ θƀὶ ἀπνι῵ ƀὐƄὴλ ἐθ Ƅνῦ ιƀνῦ ƀὐƄ῅ο· (11) ἟ γὰξ ςπρὴ
πάƃεο ƃƀξθὸο ƀἷκƀ ƀὐƄνῦ ἐƃƄη, θƀὶ ἐγὼ ƁέƁσθƀ ƀὐƄὸ ὑκ῔λ ἐπὶ Ƅνῦ ζπƃηƀƃƄεξίνπ
ἐμηιάƃθƂƃζƀη πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ςπρ῵λ ὑκ῵λ· Ƅὸ γὰξ ƀἷκƀ ƀὐƄνῦ ἀλƄὶ ςπρ῅ο ἐμηιάƃƂƄƀη. (12)
Ɓηὰ ƄνῦƄν Ƃἴξεθƀ Ƅν῔ο πἱν῔ο ᾿Ηƃξƀήι· π᾵ƃƀ ςπρὴ ἐμ ὑκ῵λ νὐ ƅάγƂƄƀη ƀἷκƀ, θƀὶ ὁ
πξνƃήιπƄνο ὁ πξνƃθƂίκƂλνο ἐλ ὑκ῔λ νὐ ƅάγƂƄƀη ƀἷκƀ. (13) θƀὶ ἄλζξσπνο ἄλζξσπνο
Ƅ῵λ πἱ῵λ ᾿Ηƃξƀὴι ἠ Ƅ῵λ πξνƃειύƄσλ Ƅ῵λ πξνƃθƂηκέλσλ ἐλ ὑκ῔λ, ὃο ἂλ ζεξƂύƃῃ
ζήξƂπκƀ ζεξίνλ ἠ πƂƄƂηλόλ, ὃ ἔƃζƂƄƀη, θƀὶ ἐθρƂƂ῔ Ƅὸ ƀἷκƀ θƀὶ θƀιύςƂη ƀὐƄὸ Ƅῆ γῆ·
(14) ἟ γὰξ ςπρὴ πάƃεο ƃƀξθὸο ƀἷκƀ ƀὐƄνῦ ἐƃƄη.
(10) Person by person of the sons of Israel or of the guests among you who adhere,
whoever eats any blood—and I will set my face against the soul who eats blood and
will utterly destroy it from its people. (11) For the life of all flesh is its blood, and I
have given it to you for making atonement for your souls on the altar, for it is its blood
that makes atonement for the soul. (12) Therefore I have said to the sons of Israel: No
soul among you shall eat blood, and no guest among you who adheres shall eat blood.
(13) And person by person of the sons of Israel and of the guests among you who
adhere, whoever hunts as prey a wild animal or bird that may be eaten, shall pour out
the blood and cover it with earth. (14) For the life of all flesh is its blood… (trans.
NETS 98)
T.103 Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 194 Rose qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of
Eminent Philosophers 8.19 (611 Dorandi)
350 BC
OF 647ii
…θƀξƁίƀο Ƅ᾽ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη θƀὶ θπάκσλ· ἈξηƃƄνƄέιεο Ɓέ ƅεƃη θƀὶ κήƄξƀο…
…and he enjoined abstinence from the hearts of animals and from beans, and,
according to Aristotle, from pork belly… (trans. Hicks 2: 337, modified)
T.104 ?Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Athenaeus of Naucratis, Learned Banqueters
2.72, 65F (1: 370 Olson)
?350 BC
OF 648iv
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Pigs’ Brains: The philosophers did not permit us to eat these, saying about those who
partake of them that eating fava beans is equivalent to eating not just the heads of
one‘s parents (OF 648 = Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff), but the
heads of anything polluted. None of the ancients, at any rate, ate pigs‘ brains, because
they contain almost all the senses. (trans. Olson 1: 371)
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἖γθέƅƀινη ρνίξƂηνη· ƄνύƄσλ ἟κ᾵ο ἐƃζίƂηλ νὐθ Ƃἴσλ νἱ ƅηιόƃνƅνη ƅάƃθνλƄƂο Ƅνὺο
ƀὐƄ῵λ κƂƄƀιƀκβάλνλƄƀο ἶƃνλ θƀὶ θπάκσλ ƄξώγƂηλ θƂƅƀι῵λ ƄƂ νὐ Ƅνθήσλ κόλνλ,
ἀιιὰ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ἄιισλ βƂβήισλ. νὐƁέλƀ γνῦλ Ƅ῵λ ἀξρƀίσλ βƂβξσθέλƀη Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ Ƅὰο
ƀἰƃζήƃƂηο ἁπάƃƀο ƃρƂƁὸλ ἐλ ƀὐƄῶ Ƃἶλƀη.
T.105 Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On Pythagoras and His Circle fr. 25 Wehrli qtd. in Aulus
Gellius, Attic Nights 4.11.10 (178 Marshall)
336–333 BC
Opinati enim sunt plerique θπάκνπο legumentum dici, ut a vulgo dicitur. Sed qui
diligentius scitiusque carmina Empedocli arbitrati sunt, θπάκνπο hoc in loco testiculos
significare dicunt, eosque more Pythagorae operte atque symbolice θπάκνπο
appellatos, quod sint ƀἴƄηνη Ƅνῦ θπƂ῔λ et geniturae humanae vim praebeant; idcircoque
Empedoclen versu isto non a fabulo edendo, sed a rei veneriae proluvio voluisse
homines deducere.
For most men thought that θπάκνπο meant the vegetable, according to the common use
of the word. But those who have studied the poems of Empedocles with greater care
and knowledge say that here θπάκνπο refers to the testicles, and that after the
Pythagorean manner they were called in a covert and symbolic way θύƀκνη, because
they are the cause of pregnancy and furnish the power for human generation: and that
therefore Empedocles in that verse desired to keep men, not from eating beans, but
from excess in venery. (trans. Rolfe 349–51)
T.106 (cf. T.22) Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 2.3.1, 635E (58 Hubert)
OF 647i; Orfismo E8 Scarpi
AD 99–110
ὑπόλνηƀλ κέλƄνη πƀξέƃρνλ, ἑƃƄη῵λƄνο ἟κ᾵ο Σνƃƃίνπ ΣƂλƂθίσλνο, ἐλέρƂƃζƀη Ɓόγκƀƃηλ
὆ξƅηθν῔ο ἠ Ππζƀγνξηθν῔ο, θƀὶ Ƅὸ ᾠόλ, ὥƃπƂξ ἔληνη θƀξƁίƀλ θƀὶ ἐγθέƅƀινλ, ἀξρὴλ
἟γνύκƂλνο γƂλέƃƂσο ἀƅνƃηνῦƃζƀη·
But my companions at one of Sossius Senecio‘s dinners suspected me of being
committed to beliefs of the Orphics or the Pythagoreans and holding the egg taboo, as
some hold the heart and brain, because I thought it to be the first principle of creation.
(trans. Clement 145)
T.107 The purity regulation from Rhodes (?temple of Sarapis-Asclepius), LSS no. 108. AD
first century
OF vol. 2, p. 215
(ἀπὸ ἀƅξ)νƁηƃίσ(λ)
ἀ(πὸ) θπάκσλ
ἀπὸ θƀξƁίƀο.
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…from sexu)al intercourse, from beans, from a heart. One must be in a pure state to
enter and be in the fragrant temple. Not clean by bathing, but by mind. (trans. Rostad
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ἁγλὸλ ρξὴ λƀν῔ν ζ(π)ώƁƂνο ἐλƄὸο ἰνλƄ(ƀ)
ἔκκƂλƀη· νὐ ινπƄξῶ
ἀιιὰ λόῳ θƀζƀξόλ.
T.108 Androcydes, On the Symbols or Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd. in Antonius
Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule fr. 2b Stephens
ca. 350 BC
Transmitted by Porphyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 42–43 (56 Places)
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
(42) κεƁ‘ ἐƃζίƂηλ ὅƃƀ κὴ ζέκηο, γέλƂƃηλ, ƀὔμεƃηλ, ἀξρήλ, ƄƂιƂπƄήλ, κεƁ‘ ἐμ ὧλ ἟
πξώƄε Ƅ῵λ πάλƄσλ ὑπόζƂƃηο γίλƂƄƀη. (43) ἔιƂγƂ Ɓ‘ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ θƀƄƀζπνκέλσλ
ὀƃƅύνο θƀὶ ƁηƁύκσλ θƀὶ ƀἰƁνίσλ θƀὶ κπƂινῦ θƀὶ πνƁ῵λ θƀὶ θƂƅƀι῅ο. ὑπόζƂƃηλ κὲλ
γὰξ Ƅὴλ ὀƃƅῦλ ἐθάιƂη, ƁηόƄη ἐπὶ ƄƀύƄῃ ὡο ἐπὶ ζƂκƂιίῳ ƃπλίƃƄƀƄƀη Ƅὰ δῶƀ· γέλƂƃηλ Ɓὲ
Ƅνὺο ƁηƁύκνπο θƀὶ ƀἰƁν῔ƀ, ἄλƂπ γὰξ Ƅ῅ο ƄνύƄσλ ἐλƂξγƂίƀο νὐ γίλƂƄƀη δῶνλ· ƀὔμεƃηλ Ɓὲ
Ƅὸλ κπƂιὸλ ἐθάιƂη, ὃο Ƅνῦ ƀὔμƂƃζƀη π᾵ƃηλ δῴνηο ƀἴƄηνο· ἀξρὴλ Ɓὲ Ƅνὺο πόƁƀο, Ƅὴλ Ɓὲ
θƂƅƀιὴλ ƄƂιƂπƄήλ· ἅπƂξ Ƅὰο κƂγίƃƄƀο ἟γƂκνλίƀο ἔρƂη Ƅνῦ ƃώκƀƄνο.
(42) Do not eat what is not allowed—birth, growth, beginning, end, nor those things
from which the first foundation of all things arises; (43) he meant that one should
abstain from certain parts of sacrificed animals—loins, testicles, genitals, marrow,
feet, and head. For he called the loin the ‗foundation‘ since it is as it were what
underlies and supports the structure of the animal; ‗birth‘ means the testicles and
genitals, without whose activity no animal comes into being; ‗growth‘ was his name
for marrow, which is the cause of growth for all animals; ‗beginning‘ means the feet,
‗end‘ the head, which two have the greatest leadership in the body. (trans. Stephens
T.109 Plutarch of Chaeronea, On the Sign of Socrates 591B (596 Paton)
AD 68–120
ƄέƃƃƀξƂο Ɓ᾽ Ƃἰƃὶλ ἀξρƀὶ πάλƄσλ, δσ῅ο κὲλ ἟ πξώƄε θηλήƃƂσο Ɓ᾽ ἟ ƁƂπƄέξƀ γƂλέƃƂσο
Ɓ᾽ ἟ ƄξίƄε ƅζνξ᾵ο Ɓ᾽ ἟ ƄƂιƂπƄƀίƀ· ƃπλƁƂ῔ Ɓὲ Ƅῆ κὲλ ƁƂπƄέξᾳ Ƅὴλ πξώƄελ Μνλὰο θƀƄὰ
Ƅὸ ἀόξƀƄνλ, Ƅὴλ Ɓὲ ƁƂπƄέξƀλ Ƅῆ ƄξίƄῃ Ννῦο θƀζ᾽ ἡιηνλ, Ƅὴλ Ɓὲ ƄξίƄελ πξὸο ƄƂƄάξƄελ
ſύƃηο θƀƄὰ ƃƂιήλελ.
Four principles there are of all things: the first is of life, the second of motion, the third
of birth, and the last of decay; the first is linked to the second by Unity at the invisible,
the second to the third by Mind at the sun, and the third to the fourth by Nature at the
moon. (trans. Lacy 469)
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T.110 Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 197 Rose qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, Life of
Pythagoras 42 (55 Places)43
350 BC
κὴ θƀξƁίƀλ ἐƃζίƂηλ, νἷνλ κὴ ιππƂ῔λ ἀλίƀηο.
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Moreover, ‗eat not the heart‘ signified not to afflict ourselves with sorrows. (trans.
Guthrie 131)
T.111 Demetrius of Byzantium, On Poems, book four, FHG 2: 624 qtd. in Athenaeus,
Learned Banqueters 10.452d (5: 166 Olson)
ca. 278/277 BC
θƀὶ Ƅὰ Ππζƀγόξνπ Ɓὲ ƀἰλίγκƀƄƀ ƄνηƀῦƄά ἐƃƄηλ, ὥο ƅεƃη ΓεκήƄξηνο ὁ ΒπδάλƄηνο ἐλ
ƄƂƄάξƄῳ πƂξὶ πνηεκάƄσλ θƀξƁίƀλ κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ ἀλƄὶ Ƅνῦ ἀιππίƀλ ἀƃθƂ῔λ.
Pythagoras‘ puzzles are also of this type, according to Demetrius of Byzantium in
Book IV of On Poems: ‗Don‘t eat your heart‘ means ‗Try not to get upset.‘ (trans.
Olson 5: 167)
T.112 Pseudo-Plutarch, Education of Children 17, 12E (24 Gärtner)
after AD 120
‗κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ θƀξƁίƀλ‘ ἢƄνη κὴ βιάπƄƂηλ Ƅὴλ ςπρὴλ Ƅƀ῔ο ƅξνλƄίƃηλ ƀὐƄὴλ θƀƄƀƄξύρνλƄƀ.
‗Do not eat your heart;‘ as much as to say, ‗Do not injure your soul by wasting it with
worries. (Babbitt 1: 61)
Symbol 39: Roast What Not Is Boiled
T.113 (cf. T.67) Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 28.154 (87
AD 300
Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos in Latin (Thesleff p. 167)
ἑƅζὸλ Ɓὲ πƀξƀγγέιιƂηλ κὴ ὀπƄ᾵λ, Ƅὴλ πξƀόƄεƄƀ ιέγσλ κὴ πξνƃƁƂ῔ƃζƀη Ƅ῅ο ὀξγ῅ο.
He forbade roasting the boiled, saying gentleness does not need anger. (trans. Dillon–
Hershbell 169)
T.114 Pseudo-Aristotle, Physical Problems 3.43 (331 Bussemaker)
OF 633
?AD 200
Γηὰ Ƅί Ƅὸ ἑƅζὸλ ὁπƄ᾵λ νὐ λόκνο, ὀπƄὸλ Ɓὲ ἕςƂηλ λόκνο; ΠόƄƂξνλ Ɓὲ Ɓηὰ Ƅὰ ιƂγόκƂλƀ ἐλ
Ƅῆ ƄƂιƂƄῆ, ἠ ὅƄη ὕƃƄƂξνλ ἔκƀζνλ ἑƅζὰ ἠ ὀπƄά; Ƅὸ γὰξ ἀξρƀ῔νλ ὤπƄσλ πάλƄƀ.
Why is it not permitted to roast boiled (beef), while it is permitted to boil roasted
(beef)? Is it because of what is said in the Telete?44 Or is it because men only learned
Cf. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.18 (610 Dorandi): Ɓηὰ Ɓὲ Ƅνῦ θƀξƁίƀλ κὴ
ἐƃζίƂηλ ἐƁήινπ κὴ Ƅὴλ ςπρὴλ ἀλίƀηο θƀὶ ιύπƀηο θƀƄƀƄήθƂηλ (―By not eating your heart he meant not wasting your
life in troubles and pains,‖ trans. Hicks 2: 337).
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later on to prepare boiled food, since in the old days they roasted everything? (trans.
Detienne 1979, 74)
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OF 312i
T.115 Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2.18.1 (27 Marcovich). AD 195
νἱ Ɓὲ ΤηƄ᾵λƂο, νἱ θƀὶ ƁηƀƃπάƃƀλƄƂο ƀὐƄόλ, ιέβεƄά Ƅηλƀ ƄξίπνƁη ἐπηζέλƄƂο θƀὶ Ƅνῦ
Γηνλύƃνπ ἐκβƀιόλƄƂο Ƅὰ κέιε, θƀζήςνπλ πξόƄƂξνλ· ἔπƂηƄƀ ὀβƂιίƃθνηο πƂξηπƂίξƀλƄƂο
ὑπƂίξƂρνλ ἧƅƀίƃƄνην.
But the Titans, they who tore him to pieces, placed a caldron upon a tripod, and
casting the limbs of Dionysus into it first boiled them down; then, piercing them with
spits, they ‗held them over Hephaestus.‘ (trans. Butterworth 39)
Symbol 14: Abstain from Any Living Things
T.116 Hierocles of Alexandria, Commentary on the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans
26.19–20 (175 Mullach)
AD 408–50
(19) ἐπƂηƁὴ Ɓὲ ἐλ ƄάμƂη Ƅὴλ ἐπίƁνƃηλ Ƅ῅ο ἀπνρ῅ο ἐπνηνῦλƄν, Ɓηὰ ƄνῦƄν θƀὶ κƀρόκƂλƀ,
ὡο ἂλ νἰεζƂίε Ƅηο, ƂὑξίƃθƂƄƀη πƀξ‘ ƀὐƄν῔ο ƃύκβνιƀ. Ƅῶ γὰξ δῴσλ ἀπέρνπ Ƅὸ θƀξƁίƀο
ἀπέρνπ ἐλƀλƄίνλ, Ƃἰ κή πνύ Ƅηο Ƅὸ κὲλ θƀξƁίƀο ἀπέρνπ Ƅν῔ο ἀξρνκέλνηο πƀξεγγέιζƀη
ιέγνη, Ƅὸ Ɓὲ δῴσλ Ƅν῔ο ἢƁε ƄƂιƂίνηο. (20) πƂξηƄƄὴ γὰξ ἟ θƀƄὰ κέξνο ἀπνρή, νἷο Ƅὸ ὅινλ
δῶνλ ἀπεγόξƂπƄν.
(19) But since they (the Pythagoreans) conceived of abstinence as an orderly
progression, on account of this their symbols are found, as one might suppose, to be
conflicting. The precept to abstain from the heart opposes that of abstaining from
animals, unless one should say that abstaining from the heart is prescribed for
beginners, whereas abstinence from living animals is for those already perfect. (20)
For partial abstinence is superfluous for those to whom the entire animal has been
forbidden. (trans. Schibli 316)
T.117 Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life
24.107 (62 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
θνηλ῵ο κὲλ νὖλ ƄƀῦƄƀ ἐλνκνζέƄεƃƂ πƂξὶ Ƅξνƅ῅ο, ἰƁίᾳ Ɓὲ Ƅν῔ο ζƂσξεƄηθσƄάƄνηο Ƅ῵λ
ƅηινƃόƅσλ θƀὶ ὅƄη κάιηƃƄƀ ἀθξνƄάƄνηο θƀζάπƀμ πƂξηῄξƂη Ƅὰ πƂξηƄƄὰ θƀὶ ἄƁηθƀ Ƅ῵λ
ἐƁƂƃκάƄσλ, κήƄƂ ἔκςπρνλ κεƁὲλ κεƁέπνƄƂ ἐƃζίƂηλ ƂἰƃεγνύκƂλνο κήƄƂ νἶλνλ ὅισο
πίλƂηλ κήƄƂ ζύƂηλ δῶƀ ζƂν῔ο κήƄƂ θƀƄƀβιάπƄƂηλ κεƁ‘ ὁƄηνῦλ ƀὐƄά, ƁηƀƃῴδƂηλ Ɓὲ θƀὶ
Ƅὴλ πξὸο ƀὐƄὰ Ɓηθƀηνƃύλελ ἐπηκƂιέƃƄƀƄƀ.
This, then, was his general legislation about nourishment. In particular, he removed
once for all from the most contemplative group of philosophers, especially those at the
According to Marcel Detienne, the so-called Telete was ―the Orphic narrative Initiation Rite in which
the myth of Dionysus and the Titans was told‖ (Detienne 1979, 74).
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highest level, the use of superfluous and ill-gotten foods, by instructing them never to
eat anything animate and never to drink wine; neither to sacrifice living beings to the
gods nor to harm them in any way, but to maintain justice most carefully towards
them. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 131)
Littera Antiqua
T.118 Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life
24.109 (62–63 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
Ƅν῔ο κέλƄνη ἄιινηο ἐπέƄξƂπέ Ƅηλσλ δῴσλ ἅπƄƂƃζƀη, ὅƃνηο ὁ βίνο κὴ πάλπ ἤλ
ἐθθƂθƀζƀξκέλνο θƀὶ ἱƂξὸο θƀὶ ƅηιόƃνƅνο· θƀὶ ƄνύƄνηο ρξόλνλ Ƅηλὰ ὥξηδƂ Ƅ῅ο ἀπνρ῅ο
He permitted the rest, nevertheless, to eat certain animals, those whose way of life was
not entirely purified, holy, and philosophic; even for these, however, he set a definite
period of abstinence. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 133)
T.119 Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life
28.150 (84 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
ἐπέζπƂ Ɓὲ ζƂν῔ο ιίβƀλνλ, θέγρξνπο, πόπƀλƀ, θεξίƀ, ƃκύξλƀλ, Ƅὰ ἄιιƀ ζπκηάκƀƄƀ·δῶƀ
Ɓὲ ƀὐƄὸο νὐθ ἔζπƂλ νὐƁὲ Ƅ῵λ ζƂσξεƄηθ῵λ ƅηινƃόƅσλ νὐƁƂίο, Ƅν῔ο Ɓὲ ἄιινηο Ƅν῔ο
ἀθνπƃκƀƄηθν῔ο ἠ Ƅν῔ο πνιηƄηθν῔ο πξνƃƄέƄƀθƄν ƃπƀλίσο ἔκςπρƀ ζύƂηλ, ἢπνπ
ἀιƂθƄξπόλƀ ἠ ἄξλƀ ἠ ἄιιν Ƅη Ƅ῵λ λƂνγλ῵λ, βνῦο Ɓὲ κὴ ζύƂηλ.
He sacrificed to the gods frankincense, millet, popana, honey-combs, myrrh, and other
fragrant stuffs, but he himself did not sacrifice animals, nor did any of the
contemplative philosophers. But the others, the acousmatici or the politici, were
commanded to sacrifice animals sparingly, perhaps, a cock or lamb or some other
newborn animal, but never an ox. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 167)
T.120 Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the General Mathematical
Science 25 (76 Festa)
ca. AD 151
Γύν Ɓ᾽ ἐƃƄὶ Ƅ῅ο ἸƄƀιηθ῅ο ƅηινƃνƅίƀο ƂἴƁε, θƀινπκέλεο Ɓὲ Ππζƀγνξηθ῅ο. Ɓύν γὰξ ἤλ
γέλε θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ κƂƄƀρƂηξηδνκέλσλ ƀὐƄήλ, νἳ κὲλ ἀθνπƃκƀƄηθνί, νἳ Ɓὲ κƀζεκƀƄηθνί.
ƄνύƄσλ Ɓὲ νἱ κὲλ ἀθνπƃκƀƄηθνὶ ὡκνινγνῦλƄν ΠπζƀγόξƂηνη Ƃἶλƀη ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ ἑƄέξσλ, Ƅνὺο
Ɓὲ κƀζεκƀƄηθνὺο νὗƄνη νὐρ ὡκνιόγνπλ, νὔƄƂ Ƅὴλ πξƀγκƀƄƂίƀλ ƀὐƄ῵λ Ƃἶλƀη
Ππζƀγόξνπ, ἀιι‘ Ἱππάƃνπ.45
There were two forms of kinds of Italiote, so-called Pythagorean philosophy; for there
were two sorts of people pursuing it, the acousmatics and the mathematicians. Of
these, the acousmatics were recognized as Pythagoreans by the others, but they in turn
did not recognize the mathematicians, saying that their activity did not even stem from
Pythagoras but Hippasus. (trans. Burkert 1982, 213)
Cf. the similar, but not the same, text in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.81
(46–47 Deubner): ―there were two kinds of philosophy, for there were two kinds of those pursuing it: some were
acusmatici and others were mathematici. Of these, the mathematici do not agree that the acusmatici are
Pythagoreans, or that their mode of study derived from Pythagoras, but from Hippasus‖ (trans. Dillon–Hershbell
105). The quoted text is corrupted (or altered by Iamblichus), whereas Iamblichus‘ On the General Mathematical
Science has preserved the original version (Burkert 1972, 193 and note 8).
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T.121 Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life
24.108 (62 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
ἢƁε Ɓὲ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ πνιηƄηθ῵λ Ƅν῔ο λνκνζέƄƀηο πξνƃέƄƀμƂλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ ἐκςύρσλ· ἅƄƂ
γὰξ βνπινκέλνπο ἄθξσο ƁηθƀηνπξƀγƂ῔λ ἔƁƂη Ɓήπνπ κεƁὲλ ἀƁηθƂ῔λ Ƅ῵λ ƃπγγƂλ῵λ δῴσλ.
ἐπƂὶ π῵ο ἂλ ἔπƂηƃƀλ Ɓίθƀηƀ πξάƄƄƂηλ Ƅνὺο ἄιινπο ƀὐƄνὶ ἁιηƃθόκƂλνη ἐλ πιƂνλƂμίᾳ;
ƃπγγƂληθὴ Ɓ‘ ἟ Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ κƂƄνρή, ἅπƂξ Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῅ο δσ῅ο θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ƃƄνηρƂίσλ Ƅ῵λ ƀὐƄ῵λ
θνηλσλίƀλ θƀὶ Ƅ῅ο ἀπὸ ƄνύƄσλ ƃπληƃƄƀκέλεο ƃπγθξάƃƂσο ὡƃƀλƂὶ ἀƁƂιƅόƄεƄη πξὸο
἟κ᾵ο ƃπλέδƂπθƄƀη.
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D-K 31 B135, p. 366
And he ordered law-givers46 of the politics to abstain from living beings; for since they
wished to act completely in justice, it was necessary, surely, not to injure kindred
animals, since how could they persuade others to behave justly if they themselves be
caught in greediness? There is a congenial partnership of living beings, since, through
sharing life and the same elements and the mixture arising from these, they are yoked
together with us by brotherhood, as it were. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 131–32,
T.122 Anonymus qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(151 Places)
before AD 290s
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
Τὸ Ɓὲ ἐ κ ς ύ ρ σ λ ἀ π έ ρ ν π ἐπὶ Ɓηθƀηνƃύλελ πξνƄξέπƂη θƀὶ π᾵ƃƀλ Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ ƃπγγƂλνῦο
Ƅηκὴλ θƀὶ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῅ο ὁκνίƀο δσ῅ο ἀπνƁνρὴλ θƀὶ πξὸο ἕƄƂξƀ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ πιƂίνλƀ.
This, ‗abstain from the use of living creatures,‘ exhorts to justice, with a due regard for
what is of a kindred nature, and a sympathetic treatment of life which is similar to our
own. (trans. Johnson 112)
T.123a(cf. T.63) Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 11 Thesleff (p. 162) qtd. in Timaeus of
classical period
Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.23 (613 Dorandi)
λόκῳ βνεζƂ῔λ, ἀλνκίᾳ πνιƂκƂ῔λ· ƅπƄὸλ ἣκƂξνλ κήƄƂ ƅζίλƂηλ κήƄƂ ƃίλƂƃζƀη, ἀιιὰ κεƁὲ
δῶνλ ὃ κὴ βιάπƄƂη ἀλζξώπνπο.
To support the law, to wage war on lawlessness. Never to kill or injure trees that are
not wild, nor even any animal that does not injure man. (trans. Hicks 2: 341)
T.123b (cf. T.47) Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Pythagorean Maxims & On the Pythagorean Life
fr. 1a Cardini qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 39 (53 Places). 336–333 BC
Elsewhere in the same work, Iamblichus informs that every Pythagorean community was subdivided
into political, economic, and legislative groups (Iamblichus, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 18.89 (52
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ƅπƄὸλ ἣκƂξνλ θƀὶ ἔγθƀξπνλ, ἀιιὰ κεƁὲ δῶνλ ὃ κὴ βιƀβƂξὸλ Ƃἶλƀη πέƅπθƂ Ƅῶ
ἀλζξσπίλῳ γέλƂη, κήƄƂ ƅζƂίξƂηλ κήƄƂ βιάπƄƂηλ.
A cultivated and fruit-bearing plant, as well as an animal harmless by nature to the
human race, should be neither destroyed nor injured. (trans. Guthrie 130, modified)
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T.124a Nicomachus of Gerasa, ?Life of Pythagoras, FGrHist 1063 F1 qtd. in Porphyry of
Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 24 (46–47 Places)
ca. AD 151
βνῦλ Ɓ‘ ἐλ ΤάξƀλƄη ἰƁὼλ ἐλ πƀκκηγƂ῔ λνκῆ θπάκσλ ρισξ῵λ ἐƅƀπƄόκƂλνλ, Ƅῶ βνπθόιῳ
πƀξƀƃƄὰο ƃπλƂβνύιƂπƃƂλ ƂἰπƂ῔λ Ƅῶ βνῒ Ƅ῵λ θπάκσλ ἀπνƃρέƃζƀη· πξνƃπƀίμƀλƄνο Ɓ‘
ƀὐƄῶ Ƅνῦ βνπθόινπ θƀὶ ƅήƃƀλƄνο νὐθ ƂἰƁέλƀη βντƃƄὶ ιƀιƂ῔λ, πξνƃƂιζόλƄƀ θƀὶ Ƃἰο Ƅὸ
νὖο πξνƃςηζπξίƃƀλƄƀ Ƅῶ Ƅƀύξῳ νὐ κόλνλ ƄόƄ‘ ἀπνƃƄ῅ƃƀη Ƅνῦ θπƀκ῵λνο, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ
ƀὖζηο κεƁέπνƄƂ θπάκσλ ζηγƂ῔λ, κƀθξνρξνληώƄƀƄνλ Ɓ‘ ἐλ ΤάξƀλƄη θƀƄὰ Ƅὸ Ƅ῅ο Ἥξƀο
ἱƂξὸλ γεξ῵λƄƀ ƁηƀκƂκƂλεθέλƀη Ƅὸλ ἱƂξὸλ θƀινύκƂλνλ βνῦλ, Ƅξνƅὰο ƃηƄνύκƂλνλ ἃο νἱ
ἀπƀλƄ῵λƄƂο ὤξƂγνλ.
At Tarentum, when he saw an ox in a mixed pasturage feeding on green beans, he
approached the herdsman and advised him to tell the ox to abstain from the beans.
When the herdsman laughed at him and said that he did not know how to speak the
ox‘s language, he went to the bull and whispered into his ear to leave the field of beans
not only for the moment, but also never to touch beans afterwards. And it grew very
old living at Tarentum at the sanctuary of Hera, the so-called holy ox, feeding on the
food the visitors offered to it. (trans. Radicke 115)
T.124b Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life
13.61 (33 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
βνῦλ Ɓὲ ἐλ ΤάξƀλƄη ἰƁὼλ ἐλ πƀκκηγƂ῔ λνκῆ θƀὶ θπάκσλ ρισξ῵λ πƀξƀπƄόκƂλνλ, Ƅῶ
βνπθόιῳ πƀξƀƃƄὰο ƃπλƂβνύιƂπƃƂλ ƂἰπƂ῔λ Ƅῶ βνῒ Ƅ῵λ θπάκσλ ἀπνƃρέƃζƀη.
πξνƃπƀίμƀλƄνο Ɓὲ ƀὐƄῶ Ƅνῦ βνπθόινπ πƂξὶ Ƅνῦ ƂἰπƂ῔λ θƀὶ νὐ ƅήƃƀλƄνο ƂἰƁέλƀη βντƃƄὶ
ƂἰπƂ῔λ, Ƃἰ Ɓὲ ƀὐƄὸο νἶƁƂ, θƀὶ πƂξηƃƃ῵ο ƃπκβνπιƂύƂηλ, Ɓένλ Ƅῶ βνῒ πƀξƀηλƂ῔λ,
πξνƃƂιζὼλ ƀὐƄὸο θƀὶ Ƃἰο Ƅὸ νὖο πνιιὴλ ὥξƀλ πξνƃςηζπξίƃƀο Ƅῶ Ƅƀύξῳ, νὐ κόλνλ
ƄόƄƂ ƀὐƄὸλ ἀκƂιιεƄὶ ἑθόλƄƀ ἀπέƃƄƂƃƂ Ƅνῦ θπƀκ῵λνο, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ Ƃἰƃƀῦζηο ιέγνπƃη
κεθέƄη γƂγƂῦƃζƀη θπάκσλ Ƅὸ πƀξάπƀλ Ƅὸλ βνῦλ ἐθƂ῔λνλ, κƀθξνρξνληώƄƀƄνλ Ɓὲ ἐλ Ƅῆ
ΤάξƀλƄη θƀƄὰ Ƅὸ Ƅ῅ο Ἥξƀο ἱƂξὸλ γεξ῵λƄƀ ƁηƀκƂκƂλεθέλƀη, Ƅὸλ ἱƂξὸλ ἀλƀθƀινύκƂλνλ
Ππζƀγόξνπ βνῦλ ὑπὸ πάλƄσλ, ἀλζξσπίλƀηο Ƅξνƅƀ῔ο ƃηƄνύκƂλνλ, ἃο νἱ ἀπƀλƄ῵λƄƂο
ƀὐƄῶ πξνƃώξƂγνλ.
And when he saw a bull in Tarentum in mixed pasturage, grazing on green beans, he
approached the herdsman, and advised him to tell the bull to abstain from the beans.
But the herdsman jested with him about how to communicate with it, and said he did
not know how to speak ‗bull-talk.‘ If he himself knew, then it as was superfluous to
urge him on, ifthe bull had to be admonished. So he himself approached, and
whispered in the bull‘s ear for a long time, and the bull then not only willingly, but
immediately abstained from the beans. Even afterwards, they say, that bull no longer
ate any beans, but lived for a very long time growing old in Tarentum in the temple of
Hera. Called by all the ‗sacred ox of Pythagoras,‘ he was fed with human provisions
hich passersby offered to him. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 85)
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
T.125 Gospel of Matthew 21.19 (NA28)
AD 67–81
Littera Antiqua
θƀὶ ἰƁὼλ ƃπθ῅λ κίƀλ ἐπὶ Ƅ῅ο ὁƁνῦ ἤιζƂλ ἐπ' ƀὐƄήλ, θƀὶ νὐƁὲλ ƂὗξƂλ ἐλ ƀὐƄῆ Ƃἰ κὴ
ƅύιιƀ κόλνλ, θƀὶ ιέγƂη ƀὐƄῆ, ΜεθέƄη ἐθ ƃνῦ θƀξπὸο γέλεƄƀη Ƃἰο Ƅὸλ ƀἰ῵λƀ. θƀὶ
ἐμεξάλζε πƀξƀρξ῅κƀ ἟ ƃπθ῅.
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves.
Then he said to it, ‗May you never bear fruit again!‘ Immediately the tree withered.
(the NIV translation)
T.126 DeuteronomiumLXX 25.4
250 BC
Οὐ ƅηκώƃƂηο βνῦλ ἀιν῵λƄƀ.
You shall not muzzle a threshing ox. (trans. NETS 164)
T.127 (cf. T.54) Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans qtd in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent
Philosophers 8.35 (619 Dorandi)
350 BC
πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ἁι῵λ, ὅƄη ƁƂ῔ πƀξƀƄίζƂƃζƀη πξὸο ὑπόκλεƃηλ Ƅνῦ Ɓηθƀίνπ· νἱ γὰξ ἅιƂο π᾵λ
ƃῴδνπƃηλ ὅ Ƅη ἂλ πƀξƀιάβσƃη θƀὶ γƂγόλƀƃηλ ἐθ Ƅ῵λ θƀζƀξσƄάƄσλ ἟ιίνπ θƀὶ
Of salt he said it should be brought to table to remind us of what is right; for salt
preserves whatever it finds, and it arises from the purest sources, sun and sea. (trans.
Hicks 2: 351)
T.128 Gospel of Matthew 5.13 (NA28)
AD 67–81
὘κƂ῔ο ἐƃƄƂ Ƅὸ ἅιƀο Ƅ῅ο γ῅ο· ἐὰλ Ɓὲ Ƅὸ ἅιƀο κσξƀλζῆ, ἐλ Ƅίλη ἁιηƃζήƃƂƄƀη; Ƃἰο νὐƁὲλ
ἰƃρύƂη ἔƄη Ƃἰ κὴ ‗βιεζὲλ ἔμσ‘ θƀƄƀπƀƄƂ῔ƃζƀη ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ ἀλζξώπσλ.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty
again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
(the NIV translation)
T.129a Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 11 Thesleff (p. 162) qtd. in Timaeus of
classical period
Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.22 (612 Dorandi)
ƃƅάγηά ƄƂ ζƂν῔ο πξνƃƅέξƂηλ θσιύƂηλ, κόλνλ Ɓὲ Ƅὸλ ἀλƀίκƀθƄνλ βσκὸλ πξνƃθπλƂ῔λ.
Not to let victims be brought for sacrifice to the gods, and to worship only at the altar
unstained with blood. (trans. Hicks 2: 339)
T.129b Nicomachus of Gerasa qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life
24.108 (62 Deubner)
ca. AD 151
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He himself lived according to these precepts, abstaining from food provided by living
beings and worshipping before altars unstained with blood, desiring eagerly that others
not destroy animals kindred in nature with us; rather he chastened and educated wild
animals by words and deeds, and did not harm them with punishment. (trans. Dillon–
Hershbell 131)
T.129c Pseudo-Orpheus, Lithica 699–700 (119 Halleux)
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θƀὶ ƀὐƄὸο νὕƄσο ἔδεƃƂλ, ἀπƂρόκƂλνο Ƅ῅ο ἀπὸ Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ Ƅξνƅ῅ο θƀὶ Ƅνὺο ἀλƀηκάθƄνπο
βσκνὺο πξνƃθπλ῵λ, θƀὶ ὅπσο κεƁὲ ἄιινη ἀλƀηξήƃσƃη Ƅὰ ὁκνƅπ῅ πξὸο ἟κ᾵ο δῶƀ
πξνζπκνύκƂλνο, Ƅά ƄƂ ἄγξηƀ δῶƀ ƃσƅξνλίδσλ κ᾵ιινλ θƀὶ πƀηƁƂύσλ Ɓηὰ ιόγσλ θƀὶ
ἔξγσλ, ἀιι‘ νὐρὶ Ɓηὰ θνιάƃƂσο θƀƄƀβιάπƄσλ.
after AD 370
πξ῵Ƅƀ κὲλ νὖλ ƃπέλƁνλƄƀο ἀλƀηκάθƄσλ ἐπὶ βσκ῵λ
—νὐ γὰξ ἄγƂηλ ζέκηο ἐƃƄὶ ζπειὴλ ἐκςύρνην…
First, when you pour libations onto the altars unstained with blood—for no one is
allowed bringing any living sacrifice… (trans. E. O.)
T.130 Eudoxus of Cnidus, Description of the Earth, book seven fr. 36 Gisinger (p. 119) qtd.
in Nicomachus of Gerasa
367 BC
Transmitted by Porphyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 7 (38–39 Places)
Pythagoras fr. 9 Cardini
πιὴλ ƄνƃƀύƄῃ γƂ ἁγλƂίᾳ ƅεƃὶλ ΔὔƁνμνο ἐλ Ƅῆ ἑβƁόκῃ Ƅ῅ο Ž῅ο ΠƂξηόƁνπ θƂρξ῅ƃζƀη θƀὶ
Ƅῆ πƂξὶ Ƅνὺο ƅόλνπο ƅπγῆ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ƅνλƂπόλƄσλ, ὡο κὴ κόλνλ ρξ῅ƃζƀη θƀὶ Ƅῆ πƂξὶ Ƅνὺο
ƅόλνπο ƅπγῆ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ƅνλƂπόλƄσλ, ὡο κὴ κόλνλ Ƅ῵λ ἐκςύρσλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ
κƀγƂίξνηο θƀὶ ζεξάƄνξƃη κεƁέπνƄƂ πιεƃηάδƂηλ.
Moreover, Eudoxus, in the seventh book of his Description of the Earth, writes that
Pythagoras practiced the greatest purity, and was shocked at all blood-shedding and
killing; that he not only abstained from animal food, but never in any way approached
butchers or hunters. (trans. Guthrie 124)
T.131 Onesicritus of Astypalaia, How Alexander Was Educated, FGrHist 134 F17 qtd. in
Strabo of Amaseia, Geography 15.1.65 (4: 216 Radt)
323 BC
Pythagoras fr. 9 Cardini
ƂἰπόλƄνο Ɓ᾽ ὅƄη θƀὶ Ππζƀγόξƀο ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ιέγνη θƂιƂύνη ƄƂ ἐκςύρσλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη, θƀὶ
ΣσθξάƄεο θƀὶ Γηνγέλεο νὗ θƀὶ ƀὐƄὸο ἀθξνάƃƀηƄν…
When he (Onesicritus) replied that Pythagoras taught such things (and also urged
abstention from living beings), as well as Socrates and Diogenes (whom he himself
had heard)… (trans. Roller 671)
T.132 Callimachus of Cyrene, Iambus 1, fr. 191.61–63 Pfeiffer
278–246 BC
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Pythagoras fr. 9 Cardini
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θ἞ƁίƁƀμƂ λεƃƄƂύƂηλ
Ƅ῵λ ἐκπλƂόλƄσλ· νἱ Ɓ‘νὐρ ὑπήθνπƃƀλ
νὐ πάλƄƂο, ἀιι‘ νὓο ƂἶρƂλ νὕƄƂξνο Ɓƀίκσλ.
And taught full abstinence from tasting flesh of living things; but all would not to this
He (sc. Pythagoras) taught to abstain from living animals; but all would not to this
give heed, except the ones possessed by alien daimon. (trans. Oldfather 4: 63,
T.133 Seneca the Younger, Ad Lucilium epistulae morales 108.22 (455–56 Reynolds). AD
no. 44 Harden
His ego instinctus abstinere animalibus coepi, et anno peracto non tantum facilis erat
mihi consuetudo sed dulcis. Agitatiorem mihi animum esse credebam nec tibi hodie
adfirmaverim an fuerit. Quaeris quomodo desierim? In primum Tiberii Caesaris
principatum iuventae tempus inciderat: alienigena tum sacra movebantur et inter
argumenta superstitionis ponebatur quorundam animalium abstinentia. Patre itaque
meo rogante, qui non calumniam timebat sed philosophiam oderat, ad pristinam
consuetudinem redii; nec difficulter mihi ut inciperem melius cenare persuasit.
I was imbued with this teaching (of Sotion the Pythagorean), and began to abstain
from animal food; at the end of a year the habit was as pleasant as it was easy, I was
beginning to feel that my mind was more active; though I would not today positively
state whether it really was or not. Do you ask how I came to abandon the practice? It
was this way: The days of my youth coincided with the early part of the reign of
Tiberius Caesar. Some foreign rites were at that time being inaugurated, and
abstinence from certain kinds of animal food was set down as a proof of interest in the
strange cult. So at the request of my father, who did not fear gossip, but who detested
philosophy, I returned to my previous habits; it was no very hard matter to induce me
to dine more comfortably. (trans. Gummere 243–45)
T.134 Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.13 (607–08 Dorandi). AD 200
ƄνῦƄνλ γὰξ θƀὶ Ƅὸ ƅνλƂύƂηλ ἀπƀγνξƂύƂηλ, κὴ ὅƄη γƂύƂƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ θνηλὸλ Ɓίθƀηνλ
἟κ῔λ ἐρόλƄσλ ςπρ῅ο. θƀὶ ƄόƁƂ κὲλ ἤλ Ƅὸ πξόƃρεκƀ· Ƅὸ Ɓ᾽ ἀιεζὲο Ƅ῵λ ἐκςύρσλ
ἀπεγόξƂπƂλ ἅπƄƂƃζƀη ƃπλƀƃθ῵λ θƀὶ ƃπλƂζίδσλ Ƃἰο Ƃὐθνιίƀλ βίνπ Ƅνὺο ἀλζξώπνπο,
ὥƃƄƂ ƂὐπνξίƃƄνπο ƀὐƄν῔ο Ƃἶλƀη Ƅὰο Ƅξνƅάο, ἄππξƀ πξνƃƅƂξνκέλνηο θƀὶ ιηƄὸλ ὕƁσξ
πίλνπƃηλ· ἐλƄƂῦζƂλ γὰξ θƀὶ ƃώκƀƄνο ὑγίƂηƀλ θƀὶ ςπρ῅ο ὀμύƄεƄƀ πƂξηγίλƂƃζƀη. ἀκέιƂη
θƀὶ βσκὸλ πξνƃθπλ῅ƃƀη κόλνλ ἐλ Γήιῳ Ƅὸλ Ἀπόιισλνο Ƅνῦ γƂλέƄνξνο, ὅο ἐƃƄηλ
ὄπηƃζƂλ Ƅνῦ ΚƂξƀƄίλνπ, Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ ππξνὺο θƀὶ θξηζὰο θƀὶ πόπƀλƀ κόλƀ ƄίζƂƃζƀη ἐπ᾽ ƀὐƄνῦ
ἄλƂπ ππξόο, ἱƂξƂ῔νλ Ɓὲ κεƁέλ, ὥο ƅεƃηλ ἈξηƃƄνƄέιεο ἐλ Γειίσλ πνιηƄƂίᾳ.
Pythagoras, who forbade even the killing, let alone the eating, of animals which share
with us the privilege of having a soul. This was the excuse put forward; but his real
reason for forbidding animal diet was to practice people and accustom them to
simplicity of life, so that they could live on things easily procurable, spreading their
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tables with uncooked foods and drinking pure water only, for this was the way to a
healthy body and a keen mind. Of course the only altar at which he worshipped was
that of Apollo the Giver of Life, behind the Altar of Horns at Delos, for thereon were
placed flour and meal and cakes, without the use of fire, and there was no animal
victim, as we are told by Aristotle in his Constitution of Delos (fr. 489 Rose). (trans.
Hicks 2: 333)
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T.135 Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 30.186 (103 Deubner). AD
θƀὶ Ƅὸ ἐκςύρσλ Ɓὲ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη ἐλνκνζέƄεƃƂ Ɓηά ƄƂ ἄιιƀ πνιιὰ θƀὶ ὡο Ƃἰξελνπνηὸλ· Ƅὸ
ἐπηƄήƁƂπκƀ. ἐζηδόκƂλνη γὰξ κπƃάƄƄƂƃζƀη ƅόλνλ δῴσλ ὡο ἄλνκνλ θƀὶ πƀξὰ ƅύƃηλ,
πνιὺ κ᾵ιινλ ἀζƂκηƄώƄƂξνλ Ƅὸ ἄλζξσπνλ ἟γνύκƂλνη θƄƂίλƂηλ νὐθέƄη ἐπνιέκνπλ.
ƅόλσλ Ɓὲ ρνξεγέƄεο θƀὶ λνκνζέƄεο ὁ πόιƂκνο…
And he (Pythagoras) ordered abstinence from living beings for many other reasons,
but mainly because the practice tended to promote peace. For once human beings
became accustomed to loathe the slaughter of animals as lawless and contrary to
nature, they would no longer make war, thinking it even more unlawful to kill a
human being. War is the leader and lawgiver of slaughters... (trans. Dillon–Hershbell
A Quest for Purity
T.136 (cf. T.60) ?Androcydes, On the Symbols qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa. ?356–323 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 24.109 (63
θƀὶ ἄιιƀ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ƁηƂζƂƃκνζέƄεƃƂ ƄνύƄνηο ὅκνηƀ, θƀὶ Ɓηὰ Ƅ῅ο Ƅξνƅ῅ο ἀξρόκƂλνο Ƃἰο
ἀξƂƄὴλ ὁƁεγƂ῔λ Ƅνὺο ἀλζξώπνπο.
He prescribed other rules like these, and thus, beginning with food, he led human
beings to moral excellence. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 133)
T.137 Hierocles of Alexandria, Commentary on the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans
26.18–19 (175 Mullach)
AD 408–50
(18) Ƅὰ Ɓὲ ἐπὶ κέξνπο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἱƂξν῔ο ἀπνƅζέγκƀƃηλ ἐλ ἀπνξξήƄῳ πƀξƂƁίƁνƄν, ὧλ
ἕθƀƃƄνλ Ƃἰ θƀὶ κƂξηθὴλ ἀπνρὴλ ƂἰƃεγƂ῔Ƅν νἷνλ, θπάκσλ κὲλ ἐλ ƃπέξκƀƃη, ζλεƃƂηƁίσλ
Ɓὲ ἐλ δῴνηο θƀὶ ƄνύƄσλ θƀƄὰ γέλνο ὡο ἐπὶ ἰρζύσλ Ƅὸ ἐξπζξίλνπ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη θƀὶ ἐλ
ρƂξƃƀίνηο ἄιινπ θƀὶ ἑƄέξνπ Ƅηλὸο ἐλ πƄελν῔ο θƀὶ Ƅὸ ƄƂιƂπƄƀ῔νλ κέξε Ƅηλὰ δῴσλ
ἀπεγόξƂπƂλ νἷνλ, θƂƅƀιὴλ κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ κεƁὲ θƀξƁίƀλ, ὅκσο θƀὶ ἐλ ἑθάƃƄῳ ƄνύƄσλ Ƅὴλ
ƄƂιƂηόƄεƄƀ Ƅ῅ο θƀζάξƃƂσο ἐλƀπƂƄππνῦƄν ὁ ιόγνο, Ɓηὰ κέλ Ƅηλƀο ƅπƃηθὰο ἰƁηόƄεƄƀο
ƄόƁƂ ἠ πνῦƄν ὁ ιόγνο, Ɓηὰ κέλ Ƅηλƀο ƅπƃηθὰο ἰƁηόƄεƄƀο ƄόƁƂ ἠ ƄόƁƂ Ƃἰο ƃσκƀƄηθὴλ
ἀπνρὴλ θƀƄƀƄάμƀο, Ɓη‘ ἑθάƃƄνπ Ɓὲ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῅ο ζλεƄ῅ο πξνƃπƀζƂίƀο θάζƀξƃηλ
ƂἰƃεγνύκƂλνο θƀὶ ἐζίδσλ Ɓηὰ πάλƄσλ Ƃἰο ἑƀπƄὸλ ἐπηƃƄξƀƅ῅λƀη Ƅὸλ ἄλζξσπνλ θƀὶ Ƅνῦ
κὲλ Ƅ῅ο γƂλέƃƂσο θƀὶ ƅζνξ᾵ο Ƅόπνπ ἐμƀλƀƁῦλƀη, πξὸο Ɓὲ Ƅὸ ἦιύƃηνλ πƂƁίνλ θƀὶ
ƀἰζέξƀ Ƅὸλ ἐιƂύζƂξνλ κƂƄνηθίƃƀƃζƀη. (19) ἐπƂηƁὴ Ɓὲ ἐλ ƄάμƂη Ƅὴλ ἐπίƁνƃηλ Ƅ῅ο ἀπνρ῅ο
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(18) The details have been transmitted in secret in the sacred sayings. Even if each of
them proposed a partial abstinence, for example from beans among seeds, from
carcasses among animals, and of animals to abstain according to kind, as from red
mullet among fish, from this kind among land animals and from another among birds,
and, finally, if each forbade certain parts of animals, for example, not to eat the head
or heart, none the less in each of them the text would be expressing the perfection of
purification. On account of some physical peculiarities it would be assigning this or
that as an object for bodily abstinence, yet through each advising purification from the
passionate attachment to the mortal and through all of them accustoming man to turn
himself inwards, to rise from the region of generation and destruction, and to change
his abode to the Elysian field and the free ether. (19) But since they (the Pythagoreans)
conceived of abstinence as an orderly progression, on account of this their symbols are
found, as one might suppose, to be conflicting. (trans. Schibli 315–16)
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ἐπνηνῦλƄν, Ɓηὰ ƄνῦƄν θƀὶ κƀρόκƂλƀ, ὡο ἂλ νἰεζƂίε Ƅηο, ƂὑξίƃθƂƄƀη πƀξ‘ ƀὐƄν῔ο
T.138 Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 195 Rose = Pythagorean Memoirs qtd. in
Alexander Polyhistor of Miletus, Successions of Philosophers, FGrHist 273 F93. 350
Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.33 (618 Dorandi)
OF 628; no. 47 Harden
Ƅὴλ Ɓ᾽ ἁγλƂίƀλ Ƃἶλƀη Ɓηὰ θƀζƀξκ῵λ θƀὶ ινπƄξ῵λ θƀὶ πƂξηξξƀλƄεξίσλ θƀὶ Ɓηὰ Ƅνῦ
θƀζƀξƂύƂηλ ἀπό ƄƂ θήƁνπο θƀὶ ιƂρνῦο θƀὶ κηάƃκƀƄνο πƀλƄὸο θƀὶ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη βξσƄ῵λ
ζλεƃƂηƁίσλ ƄƂ θξƂ῵λ θƀὶ Ƅξηγι῵λ θƀὶ κƂιƀλνύξσλ θƀὶ ᾠ῵λ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ᾠνƄόθσλ δῴσλ
θƀὶ θπάκσλ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ἄιισλ ὧλ πƀξƀθƂιƂύνλƄƀη θƀὶ νἱ Ƅὰο ƄƂιƂƄὰο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἱƂξν῔ο
Purity is achieved through purifications and baths and ablutions and keeping oneself
pure from funeral rites and childbirth and all pollution, and by abstaining from meat
and carcasses and red mullets and blacktail fish and eggs and egg-laying animals and
from beans and from other things forbidden by those who perform ritual initiations in
the sanctuaries. (trans. Kahn 83, modified)
T.139 Isocrates, Busiris 28 (195 Mathieu)
Pythagoras no. 4 Cardini
391–385 BC
Ππζƀγόξƀο ὁ Σάκηόο… ὃο ἀƅηθόκƂλνο Ƃἰο ΑἴγππƄνλ θƀὶ κƀζεƄὴο ἐθƂίλσλ γƂλόκƂλνο
Ƅήλ Ƅ᾽ ἄιιελ ƅηινƃνƅίƀλ πξ῵Ƅνο Ƃἰο Ƅνὺο Ἕιιελƀο ἐθόκηƃƂ, θƀὶ Ƅὰ πƂξὶ Ƅὰο ζπƃίƀο
θƀὶ Ƅὰο ἁγηƃƄƂίƀο Ƅὰο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἱƂξν῔ο ἐπηƅƀλέƃƄƂξνλ Ƅ῵λ ἄιισλ ἐƃπνύƁƀƃƂλ…
Pythagoras of Samos… After he went to Egypt and became their student, he was the
first to bring the rest of philosophy to the Greeks, but he was clearly interested than
others in their sacrificial rites and in the temple rituals. (trans. Mirhady 56)
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T.140 Hermippus of Smyrna, On Pythagoras, book one, FGrHist 1026 F21 qtd. in Flavius
Josephus, Against Apion 1.164–65 (31 Niese)
200 BC
θƀὶ ὅƄη πƀξƂθƂιƂύƂƄν κὴ ƁηέξρƂƃζƀη Ƅόπνλ, ἐƅ᾽ ὃλ ὄλνο ὀθιάƃῃ, θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ Ɓηςίσλ
ὑƁάƄσλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη θƀὶ πάƃεο ἀπέρƂηλ βιƀƃƅεκίƀο. ƂἶƄƀ πξνƃƄίζεƃη κƂƄὰ ƄƀῦƄƀ θƀὶ
ƄάƁƂ· ―ƄƀῦƄƀ Ɓὲ ἔπξƀƄƄƂλ θƀὶ ἔιƂγƂ Ƅὰο ἸνπƁƀίσλ θƀὶ žξᾳθ῵λ Ɓόμƀο κηκνύκƂλνο θƀὶ
κƂƄƀƅέξσλ Ƃἰο ἑƀπƄόλ.‖
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GLAJJ no. 25
Hermippus also says that Pythagoras prescribed not to walk past any place where an
ass has crouched down (sc. without stopping), to abstain from water that causes thirst
and to avoid all kinds of defamation.47 To this he then adds the following: ‗In
practicing and saying this he (sc. Pythagoras) imitated and appropriated the beliefs of
Jews and Thracians.‘ (trans. Bollansée 33)
T.141 Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 28.151 (85 Deubner). AD 300
OF 1144vii + OF 508i
ὅισο Ɓέ ƅƀƃη Ππζƀγόξƀλ δεισƄὴλ γƂλέƃζƀη Ƅ῅ο ὆ξƅέσο ἑξκελƂίƀο ƄƂ θƀὶ ƁηƀζέƃƂσο
θƀὶ Ƅηκ᾵λ Ƅνὺο ζƂνὺο ὆ξƅƂ῔ πƀξƀπιεƃίσο, ἱƃƄƀκέλνπο ƀὐƄνὺο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἀγάικƀƃη θƀὶ Ƅῶ
ρƀιθῶ, νὐ Ƅƀ῔ο ἟κƂƄέξƀηο ƃπλƂδƂπγκέλνπο κνξƅƀ῔ο, ἀιιὰ Ƅν῔ο ἱƁξύκƀƃη Ƅν῔ο ζƂίνηο,
πάλƄƀ πƂξηέρνλƄƀο θƀὶ πάλƄσλ πξνλννῦλƄƀο θƀὶ Ƅῶ πƀλƄὶ Ƅὴλ ƅύƃηλ θƀὶ Ƅὴλ κνξƅὴλ
ὁκνίƀλ ἔρνλƄƀο, ἀγγέιιƂηλ Ɓὲ ƀὐƄ῵λ Ƅνὺο θƀζƀξκνὺο θƀὶ Ƅὰο ιƂγνκέλƀο ƄƂιƂƄάο, Ƅὴλ
ἀθξηβƂƃƄάƄελ ƂἴƁεƃηλ ƀὐƄ῵λ ἔρνλƄƀ. ἔƄη Ɓέ ƅƀƃη θƀὶ ƃύλζƂƄνλ ƀὐƄὸλ πνη῅ƃƀη Ƅὴλ
ζƂίƀλ ƅηινƃνƅίƀλ θƀὶ ζƂξƀπƂίƀλ, ἃ κὲλ κƀζόλƄƀ πƀξὰ Ƅ῵λ ὆ξƅηθ῵λ, ἃ Ɓὲ πƀξὰ Ƅ῵λ
ΑἰγππƄίσλ ἱƂξέσλ, ἃ Ɓὲ πƀξὰ ΧƀιƁƀίσλ θƀὶ κάγσλ, ἃ Ɓὲ πƀξὰ Ƅ῅ο ƄƂιƂƄ῅ο Ƅ῅ο ἐλ
἖ιƂπƃ῔λη γηλνκέλεο, ἐλ Ἴκβξῳ ƄƂ θƀὶ Σƀκνζξᾴθῃ θƀὶ Λήκλῳ, θƀὶ Ƃἴ Ƅη πƀξὰ Ƅν῔ο
θνηλν῔ο, θƀὶ πƂξὶ Ƅνὺο ΚƂιƄνὺο Ɓὲ θƀὶ Ƅὴλ Ἰβεξίƀλ.
In general, they say Pythagoras was a zealous admirer of Orpheus‘ style and rhetorical
art, and honored the gods in a manner nearly like Orpheus, setting them up, indeed, in
the bronze of statues, not bound down with our human appearances, but with those
divine rites of gods who comprehend and take thought for all things, and who have a
substance and form similar to the All. He proclaimed their purificatory rites and what
are called ‗mystic initiations‘, ad he had most accurate knowledge of these things.
Moreover, they say that he made a synthesis of divine philosophy and worship of the
gods, having learned some things from the Orphics, others from the Egyptian priests;
some from the Chaldeans and the magi, others from the mystic rites in Eleusis,
Imbros, Samothrace, and Lemnos, and whatever was to be learned from mystic
associations; and some from the Celts and Iberians. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 167)
T.142 Xenocrates of Chalcedon, fr. F170 Parente qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence
from Living Animals 4.22.2 (38–39 Patillon)
339–314 BC
Jan Bollansée, after Howard Jacobson, argues that Hermippus refers here three Pythagorean symbols
that correspond to the Jewish law of the Pentateuch (Bollansée 236–40).
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It is said that Triptolemos too gave laws to the Athenians, and Xenocrates the
philosopher says that the following three of his laws are still abided by in Eleusis: to
honor one‘s parents, to worship the gods with offers of fruits, and never to hurt
animals. (trans. Bollansée 19–21)
T.143 LeviticusLXX 11.46–47
250 BC
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ƅƀƃὶ Ɓὲ θƀὶ ΤξηπƄόιƂκνλ Ἀζελƀίνηο λνκνζεƄ῅ƃƀη, θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ λόκσλ ƀὐƄνῦ ƄξƂ῔ο ἔƄη
ΞƂλνθξάƄεο ὁ ƅηιόƃνƅνο ιέγƂη ƁηƀκέλƂηλ ἖ιƂπƃ῔λη ƄνύƃƁƂ· γνλƂ῔ο Ƅηκ᾵λ, ζƂνὺο
θƀξπν῔ο ἀγάιιƂηλ, δῶƀ κὴ ƃίλƂƃζƀη.
(46) ΟὗƄνο ὁ λόκνο πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ θƄελ῵λ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ πƂƄƂηλ῵λ θƀὶ πάƃεο ςπρ῅ο Ƅ῅ο
θηλνπκέλεο ἐλ Ƅῶ ὕƁƀƄη θƀὶ πάƃεο ςπρ῅ο ἑξπνύƃεο ἐπὶ Ƅ῅ο γ῅ο, (47) ƁηƀƃƄƂ῔ιƀη ἀλὰ
κέƃνλ Ƅ῵λ ἀθƀζάξƄσλ θƀὶ ἀλὰ κέƃνλ Ƅ῵λ θƀζƀξ῵λ θƀὶ ἀλὰ κέƃνλ Ƅ῵λ δσνγνλνύλƄσλ
Ƅὰ ἐƃζηόκƂλƀ, θƀὶ ἀλὰ κέƃνλ Ƅ῵λ δσνγνλνύλƄσλ Ƅὰ κὴ ἐƃζηόκƂλƀ.
(46) This is the law pertaining to land animals and birds and every being that moves
through the water and every being that crawls upon the earth, (47) to make a
distinction between the unclean and between the clean and between breeding things
that may be eaten and between breeding things that may not be eaten. (trans. NETS
T.144 DeuteronomiumLXX 14.3–8
250 BC
(3) Οὐ ƅάγƂƃζƂ π᾵λ βƁέιπγκƀ. (4) ƄƀῦƄƀ Ƅὰ θƄήλε, ἃ ƅάγƂƃζƂ·… (7) θƀὶ ƄƀῦƄƀ νὐ
ƅάγƂƃζƂ ἀπὸ Ƅ῵λ… ἀθάζƀξƄƀ ƄƀῦƄƀ ὑκ῔λ ἐƃƄη· (8) … ἀπὸ Ƅ῵λ θξƂ῵λ ƀὐƄ῵λ νὐ
ƅάγƂƃζƂ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ζλεƃηκƀίσλ ƀὐƄ῵λ νὐρ ἅςƂƃζƂ.
(3) You shall not eat any abomination. (4) These are the animals you shall eat:.. (7)
And these you shall not eat… they are unclean for you. (8) …. You shall not eat their
flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses. (trans. NETS 157)
T.145 DeuteronomiumLXX 14.2
250 BC
ὅƄη ιƀὸο ἅγηνο Ƃἶ θπξίῳ Ƅῶ ζƂῶ ƃνπ, θƀὶ ƃὲ ἐμƂιέμƀƄν θύξηνο ὁ ζƂόο ƃνπ γƂλέƃζƀη ƃƂ
ιƀὸλ ƀὐƄῶ πƂξηνύƃηνλ ἀπὸ πάλƄσλ Ƅ῵λ ἐζλ῵λ Ƅ῵λ ἐπὶ πξνƃώπνπ Ƅ῅ο γ῅ο.
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and it is you the Lord your God has
chosen to be an exceptional people to him out of all the nations on the face of the
earth. (trans. NETS 157)
C. Why Abstain from…
T.146 Life of Pythagoras qtd. in Photius, Bibliotheca cod. 249 (128 Henry). ?AD first
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ΠπζƀγόξƂηνη Ƅ῵λ ἐκςύρσλ ἀπƂίρνλƄν, Ƅὴλ κƂƄƂκςύρσƃηλ ἀƅξόλσο ὡο ἀιεζ῅
ὑπνιƀκβάλνλƄƂο, θƀὶ ὅƄη Ƅὰ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ Ƅ῵λ βξσκάƄσλ πƀρύλƂη Ƅὸλ λνῦλ, ƄξνƅηκώƄƂξƀ
ὄλƄƀ θƀὶ πνιιὴλ ἀλάƁνƃηλ πνηνῦλƄƀ.
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The Pythagoreans did not eat the flesh of living creatures, because they unreasonably
believed in metempsychosis and thought such foods dull of mind, being too nutritive
and making much work for the digestion. (trans. Wilson 220)
T.147 Xenocrates of Chalcedon fr. F185 Parente qtd. in Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (2: 24–25 Stählin)
339–314 BC
ƁνθƂ῔ Ɓὲ ΞƂλνθξάƄεο ἰƁίᾳ πξƀγκƀƄƂπόκƂλνο ΠƂξὶ Ƅ῅ο ἀπὸ Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ Ƅξνƅ῅ο θƀὶ
Πνιέκσλ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ΠƂξὶ Ƅνῦ θƀƄὰ ƅύƃηλ βίνπ ƃπλƄάγκƀƃη ƃƀƅ῵ο ιέγƂηλ, ὡο ἀƃύκƅνξόλ
ἐƃƄηλ ἟ Ɓηὰ Ƅ῵λ ƃƀξθ῵λ Ƅξνƅή, <ἡ> Ƃἰξγƀƃκέλε ἢƁε θƀὶ ἐμνκνην῔ Ƅƀ῔ο Ƅ῵λ ἀιόγσλ
Now Xenocrates, treating by himself Of the Food Derived from Animals, and Polemon
in his work On Life according to Nature, seem clearly to say that animal food is
unwholesome, inasmuch as it has already been elaborated and assimilated to the souls
of the irrational creatures. (trans. ANF 2: 532)
T.148 Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 10.6.1 (2: 197–98 Vogel)
60–30 BC
ὅƄη ὁ Ππζƀγόξƀο κƂƄƂκςύρσƃηλ ἐƁόμƀδƂ θƀὶ θξƂνƅƀγίƀλ ὡο ἀπνƄξόπƀηνλ ἟γƂ῔Ƅν,
πάλƄσλ Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ Ƅὰο ςπρὰο κƂƄὰ ζάλƀƄνλ Ƃἰο ἕƄƂξƀ δῶƀ ιέγσλ ƂἰƃέξρƂƃζƀη.
Pythagoras believed in the transmigration of souls and considered the eating of flesh
as an abominable thing, saying that the souls of all living creatures pass after death
into other living creatures. (trans. Oldfather 4: 61)
T.149 Eubulus, On Mithras no. 133 Vasunia qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence 4.16.1–
2 (25 Patillon)
?AD second century
(1) Πƀξά γƂ κὴλ Ƅν῔ο Πέξƃƀηο νἱ πƂξὶ Ƅὸ ζƂ῔νλ ƃνƅνὶ θƀὶ ƄνύƄνπ ζƂξάπνλƄƂο κάγνη κὲλ
πξνƃƀγνξƂύνλƄƀη· ƄνῦƄν γὰξ Ɓειν῔ θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ ἐπηρώξηνλ ƁηάιƂθƄνλ ὁ κάγνο· νὕƄσ Ɓὲ
κέγƀ θƀὶ ƃƂβάƃκηνλ γέλνο ƄνῦƄν πƀξὰ Πέξƃƀηο λƂλόκηƃƄƀη, ὥƃƄƂ θƀὶ ΓƀξƂ῔νλ Ƅὸλ
὘ƃƄάƃπνπ ἐπηγξάςƀη Ƅῶ κλήκƀƄη πξὸο Ƅν῔ο ἄιινηο ὅƄη θƀὶ κƀγηθ῵λ γέλνηƄν
ƁηƁάƃθƀινο. (2) ΓηῄξελƄν Ɓὲ νὗƄνη Ƃἰο γέλε Ƅξίƀ, ὡο ƅεƃὶλ Δὔβνπινο ὁ Ƅὴλ πƂξὶ Ƅνῦ
Μίζξƀ ἱƃƄνξίƀλ ἐλ πνιιν῔ο βηβιίνηο ἀλƀγξάςƀο, ὧλ νἱ πξ῵Ƅνη θƀὶ ινγηώƄƀƄνη νὔƄ‘
ἐƃζίνπƃηλ ἔκςπρνλ νὔƄƂ ƅνλƂύνπƃηλ, ἐκκέλνπƃη Ɓὲ Ƅῆ πƀιƀηᾶ Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ ἀπνρῆ· νἱ Ɓὲ
ƁƂύƄƂξνη ρξ῵λƄƀη κέλ, νὐ κέλƄνη Ƅ῵λ ἟κέξσλ δῴσλ Ƅη θƄƂίλνπƃηλ· νὐƁ‘ νἱ ƄξίƄνη
ὁκνίσο Ƅν῔ο ἄιινηο ἐƅάπƄνλƄƀη πάλƄσλ· θƀὶ γὰξ Ɓόγκƀ πάλƄσλ ἐƃƄὶ Ƅ῵λ πξώƄσλ Ƅὴλ
κƂƄƂκςύρσƃηλ Ƃἶλƀη, ὃ θƀὶ ἐκƅƀίλƂηλ ἐνίθƀƃηλ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο Ƅνῦ Μίζξƀ κπƃƄεξίνηο.
(1) Among the Persians, those who are wise about the divine and serve it are called
Magi, for that is what ‗magos‘ means in the native language. These people are
regarded as so great and reverend a race by the Persians that Darius son of Hystaspes
had written on his tomb, in addition to the rest, that he was a teacher of wisdom of the
magi. (2) They are divided into three groups, according to Euboulos who wrote an
investigation of Mithras in several books. The first and most learned neither eat nor
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T.150 Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 107 Wright
OF 449
ἔƃƄηλ ἀλάγθεο ρξ῅κƀ, ζƂ῵λ ςήƅηƃκƀ πƀιƀηόλ,
ἀίƁηνλ, πιƀƄέƂƃƃη θƀƄƂƃƅξεγηƃκέλνλ ὅξθνηο·
ƂὖƄὲ Ƅηο ἀκπιƀθίῃƃη ƅόλῳ ƅίιƀ γπ῔ƀ κηήλῃ,
<λƂίθƂτ ζ᾽> ὅο θ(Ƃ) ἐπίνξθνλ ἁκƀξƄήƃƀο ἐπνκόƃƃεη,
ƁƀίκνλƂο νἵ ƄƂ κƀθξƀίσλνο ιƂιόγρƀƃη βίνην·
Ƅξίο κηλ κπξίƀο ὥξƀο ἀπὸ κƀθάξσλ ἀιάιεƃζƀη.
ƅπνκέλνπο πƀλƄν῔ƀ Ɓηὰ ρξόλνπ ƂἴƁƂƀ ζλεƄ῵λ
ἀξγƀιέƀο βηόƄνην κƂƄƀιιάƃƃνλƄƀ θƂιƂύζνπο.
ƀἰζέξηνλ κὲλ γάξ ƃƅƂ κέλνο πόλƄνλƁƂ ƁηώθƂη,
πόλƄνο Ɓ᾽ ἐο ρζνλὸο νὖƁƀο ἀπέπƄπƃƂ, γƀ῔ƀ Ɓ᾽ ἐο ƀὐγὰο
἞Ƃιίνπ ƅƀέζνλƄνο, ὁ Ɓ᾽ ƀἰζέξνο ἔκβƀιƂ Ɓίλƀηο·
ἄιινο Ɓ᾽ ἐμ ἄιινπ ƁέρƂƄƀη, ƃƄπγένπƃη Ɓὲ πάλƄƂο.
Ƅ῵λ θƀὶ ἐγὼ λῦλ Ƃἶκη ƅπγὰο ζƂόζƂλ θƀὶ ἀιήƄεο·
λƂίθƂτ κƀηλνκέλση πίƃπλνο.
444 BC
kill any animate creature, but abide by the ancient abstinence from animals. The
second group make use of animals, but do not any of the tame animals; and even the
third group, like the others, do not eat all animals. For it is the belief of them all that
metempsychosis is of the first importance, and this, apparently, they reveal in the
mysteries of Mithras. (trans. Clark 112)
There is a decree of Necessity, ratified long ago by the gods, eternal and sealed by
broad oaths, that whenever one in error, from fear, defiles his own limbs, having by
his error made false the oath he swore—daimons to whom life long-lasting is
apportioned—he wanders from the blessed ones for three times ten-thousand years,
being born throughout the time as all kinds of mortal forms, exchanging one hard way
of life for another. For the force of air pursues him into sea, and sea spits him out onto
earth‘s surface, earth casts him into the rays of blazing sun, and sun into the eddies of
air; one takes him from another, and all abhor him. I too am now one of these, an exile
from the gods and a wanderer, having put my trust in raving strife. (trans. Wright 270,
T.151 Plutarch of Chaeronea, On the Eating of Flesh 1.7, 996B (6.1: 103 Hubert). AD 68–
OF 318ii
ἀιιεγνξƂ῔ γὰξ ἐλƄƀῦζƀ Ƅὰο ςπράο, ὅƄη ƅόλσλ θƀὶ βξώƃƂσο ƃƀξθ῵λ θƀὶ ἀιιεινƅƀγίƀο
Ɓίθελ Ƅίλνπƃƀη ƃώκƀƃη ζλ῅Ƅν῔ο ἐλƁέƁƂλƄƀη.
By these lines he (sc. Empedocles) means, though he does not say so directly, that
human souls are imprisoned in mortal bodies as a punishment for murder, the eating of
animal flesh, and cannibalism. (trans. Cherniss 559)
T.152 Sextus Empiricus, Against the Physicists (AM 9) 127 (242 Mutschmann). AD 180–210
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νἱ κὲλ νὖλ πƂξὶ Ƅὸλ Ππζƀγόξƀλ θƀὶ Ƅὸλ ἖κπƂƁνθιέƀ θƀὶ Ƅὸ ινηπὸλ Ƅ῵λ ἸƄƀι῵λ
πι῅ζνο ƅƀƃὶ κὴ κόλνλ ἟κ῔λ πξὸο ἀιιήινπο θƀὶ πξὸο Ƅνὺο ζƂνὺο Ƃἶλƀη Ƅηλƀ θνηλσλίƀλ,
ἀιιὰ θƀὶ πξὸο Ƅὰ ἄινγƀ Ƅ῵λ δῴσλ.
T.153 Ovid, Metamorphoses 15.165–75 (452 Tarrant)
no. 51 Harden
Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. errat et illinc
huc venit, hinc illuc et quoslibet occupat artus
spiritus eque feris humana in corpora transit
inque feras noster, nec tempore deperit ullo.
utque novis facilis signatur cera figures,
nec manet ut fuerat nec formas servat easdem,
sed tamen ipsa eadem est, animam sic semper eandem
esse, sed in varias doceo migrare figuras.
ergo, ne pietas sit victa cupidine ventris,
parcite, vaticinor, cognatas caede nefanda
exturbare animas, nec sanguine sanguis alatur.
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Now Pythagoras and Empedocles and the rest of the Italian company declare that we
have some fellowship not only with one another and with the gods but also with the
irrational animals. (trans. Bury 3: 69)
before AD 8
{Pythagoras‘ soul is speaking} All things are changing; nothing dies. The spirit
wanders, comes now here, now there, and occupies whatever frame it pleases. From
beasts it passes into human bodies, and from our bodies into beasts, but never perishes.
And, as the pliant wax is stamped with new designs, does not remain as it was before
nor keep the same form long, but is still the selfsame wax, so do I teach that the soul is
ever the same, though it passes into ever-changing bodies. Therefore, lest your piety
be overcome by appetite, I warn you as a seer, do not drive out by impious slaughter
what may be kindred souls, and let not life be fed on life. (trans. Miller 377)
T.154 Aristoxenus of Tarentum qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers
8.14 (608 Dorandi)
336–333 BC
Πξ῵Ƅόλ Ƅέ ƅƀƃη ƄνῦƄνλ ἀπνƅ῅λƀη Ƅὴλ ςπρὴλ θύθινλ ἀλάγθεο ἀκƂίβνπƃƀλ ἄιινƄ᾽
ἄιινηο ἐλƁƂ῔ƃζƀη δῴνηο…
He (sc. Pythagoras) was the first, they say, to declare that the soul, bound now in this
creature, now in that, thus goes on a round ordained of necessity. (trans. Hicks 2: 333)
T.155 Dicaearchus of Messana, Philosophical Biographies (Περὶ βίων) fr. 40 Mirhady qtd.
in Porphyry of Tyre, Life of Pythagoras 19 (44–45 Places)
fl. 320 BC
Pythagoras no. 8a Cardini
ΜάιηƃƄƀ κέλƄνη γλώξηκƀ πƀξὰ π᾵ƃηλ ἐγέλƂƄν πξ῵Ƅνλ κὲλ ὡο ἀζάλƀƄνλ Ƃἶλƀί ƅεƃη Ƅὴλ
ςπρήλ, ƂἶƄƀ κƂƄƀβάιινπƃƀλ Ƃἰο ἄιιƀ γέλε δῴσλ, πξὸο Ɓὲ ƄνύƄνηο ὅƄη θƀƄὰ πƂξηόƁνπο
Ƅηλὰο Ƅὰ γƂλόκƂλά πνƄƂ πάιηλ γίγλƂƄƀη, λένλ Ɓ᾽ νὐƁὲλ ἁπι῵ο ἔƃƄη θƀὶ ὅƄη πάλƄƀ Ƅὰ
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However, it was especially well-known by all, first, that the soul is immortal, then, that
it transmigrated into other kinds of animals, and in addition that what happens happens
again at some time according to certain cycles, that, in short, there is nothing new, and
that is necessary to believe that all ensouled beings are of the same kind. For it appears
that Pythagoras was the first to bring these teachings into Greece. (trans. Mirhady 39–
T.156 Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Histories 2.123.2–3 (216–17 Rosén)
OF 423; Pythagoras no. 1 Cardini
443 BC
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γηλόκƂλƀ ἔκςπρƀ ὁκνγƂλ῅ ƁƂ῔ λνκίδƂηλ. ƅέξƂƄƀη γὰξ Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ ἗ιιάƁƀ Ƅὰ ƁόγκƀƄƀ
πξ῵Ƅνο θνκίƃƀη ƄƀῦƄƀ Ππζƀγόξƀο.
(2) πξ῵Ƅνη Ɓὲ θƀὶ ƄόλƁƂ Ƅὸλ ιόγνλ ΑἰγύπƄηνη Ƃἰƃὶ νἱ ƂἰπόλƄƂο, ὡο ἀλζξώπνπ ςπρὴ
ἀζάλƀƄνο ἐƃƄί, Ƅνῦ ƃώκƀƄνο Ɓὲ θƀƄƀƅζίλνλƄνο ἐο ἄιιν δῶνλ ƀἰƂὶ γηλόκƂλνλ ἐƃƁύƂƄƀη,
ἐπƂὰλ Ɓὲ πάλƄƀ πƂξηέιζῃ Ƅὰ ρƂξƃƀ῔ƀ θƀὶ Ƅὰ ζƀιάƃƃηƀ θƀὶ Ƅὰ πƂƄƂηλά, ƀὖƄηο ἐο
ἀλζξώπνπ ƃ῵κƀ γηλόκƂλνλ ἐƃƁύλƂη· Ƅὴλ πƂξηήιπƃηλ Ɓὲ ƀὐƄῆ γίλƂƃζƀη ἐλ Ƅξηƃρηιίνηƃη
ἔƄƂƃη. (3) ƄνύƄῳ Ƅῶ ιόγῳ Ƃἰƃὶ νἳ ἗ιιήλσλ ἐρξήƃƀλƄν, νἳ κὲλ πξόƄƂξνλ νἳ Ɓὲ ὕƃƄƂξνλ,
ὡο ἰƁίῳ ἑσπƄ῵λ ἐόλƄη· Ƅ῵λ ἐγὼ ƂἰƁὼο Ƅὰ νὐλόκƀƄƀ νὐ γξάƅσ.
Moreover, the Egyptians were the first to teach that the human soul is immortal, and at
the death of the body enters into some other living thing then coming to birth; and
after passing through all creatures of land, sea, and air (which cycle it completes in
three thousand years) it enters once more into a human body at birth. Some of the
Greeks, early and late, have used this doctrine as if it were their own; I know their
names, but do not here record them. (trans. Goodley 425)
T.157 Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos (or Discourse on the Gods in Doric prose) fr. 1
Thesleff (p. 164)
Hellenistic period
OF 1144iii
ƁεινῦƄƀη Ɓὴ Ɓηὰ Ƅνῦ ἱƂξνῦ ιόγνπ ƄνύƄνπ (ἠ πƂξὶ ζƂ῵λ ιόγνπ, ἐπηγξάƅƂƄƀη γὰξ
ἀκƅόƄƂξνλ) θƀὶ Ƅίο ἤλ ὁ πƀξƀƁƂƁθὼο Ππζƀγόξᾳ Ƅὸλ πƂξὶ ζƂ῵λ ιόγνλ. ιέγƂη γὰξ·
<ιόγνο> ὅƁƂ πƂξὶ ζƂ῵λ Ππζƀγόξƀ Ƅ῵ Μλεκάξρσ, Ƅὸλ ἐμέκƀζνλ ὀξγηƀƃζƂὶο ἐλ
Ληβήζξνηο Ƅν῔ο žξᾳθίνηο, Ἀγιƀνƅάκσ ƄƂιƂƃƄ᾵ κƂƄƀƁόλƄνο, ὡο ἄξƀ ὆ξƅƂὺο ὁ
Κƀιιηόπƀο θƀƄὰ Ƅὸ Πάγγƀηνλ ὄξνο ὑπὸ Ƅ᾵ο κƀƄξὸο πηλπƃζƂὶο ἔƅƀ…
It is certainly clear from this Sacred Discourse (or Discourse on the Gods, both titles
exists), who gave Pythagoras the discourse on gods, for it says: ‗This (discourse) is
what I Pythagoras, son of Mnemarchus, learned on initiation in the Thracian Libethra,
from Aglaophamus the initiator, who communicated to me that Orpheus, son of
Calliope, taught by his mother on Mt. Pangaeon, said:…‘ (trans. Dillon–Hershbell
T.158 Pindar of Thebes fr. 65(133) Fera
OF 443
ca. 476 BC
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νἷƃη Ɓὲ ſƂξƃƂƅόλƀ πνηλὰλ πƀιƀηνῦ πέλζƂνο
ƁέμƂƄƀη, ἐο Ƅὸλ ὕπƂξζƂλ ἅιηνλ θƂίλσλ ἐλάƄση ἔƄƂτ
ἀλƁηƁν῔ ςπρὰο πάιηλ, ἐθ Ƅ᾵λ βƀƃηι῅Ƃο ἀγƀπνί
θƀὶ ƃζέλƂη θξƀηπλνὶ ƃνƅίƀ ƄƂ κέγηƃƄνη
ἄλƁξƂο ƀὔμνλƄ᾽· ἐο Ɓὲ Ƅὸλ ινηπὸλ ρξόλνλ ἣξνƂο ἁγλνὶ
πξὸο ἀλζξώπσλ θƀιένλƄƀη.
But as for those from whom Persephone shall exact the penalty of their pristine woe,
in the ninth year she once more restoreth their souls to the upper sun-light; and from
these come into being august monarchs, and men who are swift in strength and
supreme in wisdom; and, for all future time, men call them sainted. (trans. Sandys
T.159 The gold tablet from Thurii no. 5 Graf–Johnston
fourth century BC
OF 488
Ἔξρνκƀη ἐθ θνζƀξ῵‹λ› θνζƀξά, ρζνλί‹σλ› βƀƃίιƂηƀ,
Δὐθι῅ο Δὐβν‹π›ιƂύο ƄƂ θƀὶ ἀζάλƀƄνη ζƂνὶ ἄιινη·
θƀὶ γὰξ ἐγὼλ ὑκ῵λ γέλνο ὄιβηνλ Ƃὔρνκƀη ƂἶκƂλ.
ἀι‹ι›ά κƂ Μν‹῔›ξ‘{ƀ} ἐƁάκƀƃ‹ƃ›Ƃ {θƀὶ ἀζάλƀƄνη ζƂνὶ ἄιινη}
θƀὶ ἀƃ{ƃ}ƄƂξνβι῅Ƅƀ θ‹Ƃ›ξƀπλ῵η.
θύθιν‹π› Ɓ‘ ἐμέπƄƀλ βƀξππƂλ ζένο ἀξγƀιένην,…
I come pure from the pure, Queen of the Chthonian Ones, Eucles, Euboleus and the
other immortal gods. For I also claim to be of your happy race. But Moira overcame
me and the other immortal gods and the star- flinger with lightning. I have flown out
of the heavy, difficult circle… (trans. Graf–Johnston 13)
T.160 Diogenes of Oenoanda fr. 40 Smith
OF 427i
(κεƁὲ ιέγσκƂλ ὅƄη)
(἟ ςπρὴ) κƂ(Ƅƀβƀίλνπƃƀ νὐ)(θ ἀ)πώιι(πƄν ὡο νἱ ὆ξƅƂ῔)νη, θƀὶ Ππζƀγ(όξƀο νὐ)
κόλνο, κƀηλ(όκƂλνη Ɓνθνῦƃηλ).
AD 200
(And let us not say that the soul transmigrated and did not perish, as the Orphics) and
(not) only Pythagoras, crazily (suppose). (trans. Smith 387)
T.161 Proclus, Commentary on the Republic 2: 173 Kroll
OF 346
AD 440–80
θƀὶ ὁ κὲλ ΠιάƄσλ Ɓηὰ ƄνηƀύƄƀο ƀἰƄίƀο ἀπνƁίƁσƃη Ƅὴλ ρηιηάƁƀ Ƅƀ῔ο ὑπὸ Ƅ῵η ΠινύƄσλη
ςπρƀ῔ο, ὁ Ɓὲ ὆ξƅƂὺο Ɓηὰ Ƅξηƀθνƃίσλ ƀὐƄὰο ἐƄ῵λ ἀπὸ Ƅ῵λ Ƅόπσλ ἄγƂη Ƅ῵λ ὑπὸ γ῅ο θƀὶ
Ƅ῵λ ἐθƂ῔ ƁηθƀησƄεξίσλ ƀὖζηο Ƃἰο γέλƂƃηλ, ƃύλζεκƀ θƀὶ νὗƄνο πνηνύκƂλνο Ƅὰο ƄξƂ῔ο
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Therefore, Plato (Phdr. 249b) gives Plouto the souls for one thousand years, whereas
Orpheus leads them, during 300 years, from the underground places and prisons there
back to generation, and the period of 300 years is a symbol of time that is needed for
the perfect purification of human souls, after which they go back to the generation.
(trans. E. O.)
Littera Antiqua
ἑθƄνλƄάƁƀο Ƅ῅ο ƄƂιƂίƀο πƂξηόƁνπ Ƅ῵λ ἀλζξσπίλσλ ςπρ῵λ θƀζƀηξνκέλσλ, ἐƅ᾽ νἷο
ἐβίσƃƀλ ἐπηƃƄξƂƅόκƂλνη Ƅὴλ γέλƂƃηλ.
T.162 Orphic Rhapsodies qtd. in Proclus, Commentary on the Republic 2: 338–39 Kroll.
Before AD 440–80
OF 338i + OF 338
ἠ νὐρὶ θƀὶ ὆ξƅƂὺο Ƅὰ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ƃƀƅ῵ο πƀξƀƁίƁσƃηλ, ὅƄƀλ κƂƄὰ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῵λ ΤηƄάλσλ
κπζηθὴλ Ɓίθελ θƀὶ Ƅὴλ ἐμ ἐθƂίλσλ γέλƂƃηλ Ƅ῵λ ζλεƄ῵λ ƄνύƄσλ δῴσλ ιέγῃ πξ῵Ƅνλ κέλ,
ὅƄη Ƅνὺο βίνπο ἀκƂίβνπƃηλ ƀἱ ςπρƀὶ θƀƄὰ Ɓὴ Ƅηλƀο πƂξηόƁνπο θƀὶ ƂἰƃƁύνλƄƀη ἄιιƀη Ƃἰο
ἄιιƀ ƃώκƀƄƀ πνιιάθηο ἀλζξώπσλ·
νἱ Ɓ᾽ ƀὐƄνὶ πƀƄέξƂο ƄƂ θƀὶ πἱέƂο ἐλ κƂγάξνηƃηλ
Ƃὔθνƃκνη Ƅ᾽ ἄινρνη θƀὶ κεƄέξƂο ἞Ɓὲ ζύγƀƄξƂο
γίλνλƄ᾽ ἀιιήισλ κƂƄƀκƂηβνκέλῃƃη γƂλέζιƀηο.
ἐλ γὰξ ƄνύƄνηο Ƅὴλ ἀπ᾽ ἀλζξσπίλσλ ƃσκάƄσλ Ƃἰο ἀλζξώπηλƀ κƂƄνίθηƃηλ ƀὐƄ῵λ
πƀξƀƁίƁσƃηλ… ἔπƂηζ᾽ ὅƄη θƀὶ Ƃἰο Ƅὰ ἄιιƀ δῶƀ κƂƄάβƀƃίο ἐƃƄη Ƅ῵λ ςπρ῵λ Ƅ῵λ
ἀλζξσπίλσλ, θƀὶ ƄνῦƄν ƁηƀξξήƁελ ὆ξƅƂὺο ἀλƀƁηƁάƃθƂη, ὁπελίθƀ ἂλ ƁηνξίδεƄƀη·
νὕλƂθ᾽ ἀκƂηβνκέλε ςπρὴ θƀƄὰ θύθιƀ ρξόλνην
ἀλζξώπσλ δῴνηƃη κƂƄέξρƂƄƀη ἄιινζƂλ ἄιινηο·
ἄιινƄƂ κέλ ζ᾽ ἵππνο, ƄόƄƂ γίλƂƄƀη — — —
ἄιινƄƂ Ɓὲ πξόβƀƄνλ, ƄόƄƂ Ɓ᾽ ὄξλƂνλ ƀἰλὸλ ἰƁέƃζƀη,
ἄιινƄƂ Ɓ᾽ ƀὖ θύλƂόλ ƄƂ Ɓέκƀο ƅσλή ƄƂ βƀξƂ῔ƀ,
θƀὶ ςπρξ῵λ ὀƅίσλ ἕξπƂη γέλνο ἐλ ρζνλὶ Ɓίῃ.
Does not Orpheus clearly transmit the things like that? For he says that after the
mythical punishments of Titans and the subsequent creation of the mortal beings out
of them (sc. Titans) the souls change their lives, in some cycles of time, and enter
other bodies that are mostly human:
‗The same inhabit the house as fathers and sons,
As respected wives and cherished daughters,
Become each others in alternating generations.‘
In these lines, he transmits (the Orphic tradition on) a transmigration (of soul) from
one human body into another… Furthermore, there is a transmigration of the human
souls into the other animals, what Orpheus explicitly says when he makes the
following distinction:
‗This is why the soul changes abodes, in cycles of time,
Goes from human bodies into animal ones,
To become either a horse, or a — — —
Either a ram, or bird of prey, a dreadful look,
Either a canine species to bark with deep voice,
Or one of cold serpents that crawl on the earth.‘ (trans. E. O.)
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
T.163 Plutarch of Chaeronea, On the Eating of Flesh 1.7, 996C (6.1: 103–04 Hubert). AD
θƀίƄνη ƁνθƂ῔ πƀιƀηόƄƂξνο νὗƄνο ὁ ιόγνο Ƃἶλƀη· Ƅὰ γὰξ Ɓὴ πƂξὶ Ƅὸλ Γηόλπƃνλ
κƂκπζƂπκέλƀ πάζε Ƅνῦ ƁηƀκƂιηƃκνῦ θƀὶ Ƅὰ ΤηƄάλσλ ἐπ᾽ ƀὐƄὸλ ƄνικήκƀƄƀ, θνιάƃƂηο
ƄƂ ƄνύƄσλ θƀὶ θƂξƀπλώƃƂηο γƂπƃƀκέλσλ Ƅνῦ ƅόλνπ, ᾐληγκέλνο ἐƃƄὶ Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ
Littera Antiqua
OF 671
This doctrine, however, seems to be even older, for the stories told about the suffering
and dismemberment of Dionysus and the outrageous assaults of the Titans upon him,
and their punishment and blasting by thunderbolt after they had tasted his blood—all
this is a myth which in its inner meaning has to do with rebirth. (trans. Cherniss 559)
T.164 Nonnus of Panopolis, Dionysiaca 6.169–205 (52–53 Chuvin)
OF 308i + OF 304v + OF 309viii
νὐƁὲ Γηὸο ζξόλνλ ƂἶρƂλ ἐπὶ ρξόλνλ· ἀιιά ἑ γύςῳ
(170) θƂξƁƀιέῃ ρξηƃζέλƄƂο ἐπίθινπƀ θύθιƀ πξνƃώπνπ
Ɓƀίκνλνο ἀƃƄόξγνην ρόιῳ βƀξπκήληνο Ἥξεο
ΤƀξƄƀξίῃ ΤηƄ῅λƂο ἐƁειήƃƀλƄν κƀρƀίξῃ
ἀλƄηƄύπῳ λόζνλ ƂἶƁνο ὀπηπƂύνλƄƀ θƀƄόπƄξῳ.
ἔλζƀ Ɓηρƀδνκέλσλ κƂιέσλ ΤηƄ῅λη ƃηƁήξῳ
(175) Ƅέξκƀ βίνπ Γηόλπƃνο ἔρσλ πƀιηλάγξƂƄνλ ἀξρὴλ
ἀιινƅπὴο κνξƅνῦƄν πνιπƃπƂξὲο ƂἶƁνο ἀκƂίβσλ,
πῆ κὲλ ἅƄƂ ΚξνλίƁεο Ɓόιηνο λένο ƀἰγίƁƀ ƃƂίσλ,
πῆ Ɓὲ γέξσλ βƀξύγνπλνο ἅƄƂ Κξόλνο ὄκβξνλ ἰάιισλ·
ἄιινƄƂ πνηθηιόκνξƅνλ ἔελ βξέƅνο, ἄιινƄƂ θνύξῳ
(180) ƂἴθƂινο νἰƃƄξεζέλƄη, λένλ Ɓέ νἱ ἄλζνο ἰνύισλ
ἀθξνθƂιƀηληόσλƄƀ θƀƄέγξƀƅƂ θύθιƀ πξνƃώπνπ·
πῆ Ɓὲ ρόιῳ Ɓƀƃπι῅Ƅη ιέσλ κηκειὸο ἰάιισλ
ƅξηθƀιένλ βξύρεκƀ ƃƂƃεξόƄη κƀίλƂƄν ιƀηκῶ,
ὀξζώƃƀο ππθηλῆƃη θƀƄάƃθηνλ ƀὐρέλƀ ρƀίƄƀηο,
(185) ἀκƅƂιƂιηδνκέλεο ιƀƃηόƄξηρνο ὑςόζη λώƄνπ
ƀὐƄνκάƄῃ κάƃƄηγη πƂξηƃƄίδσλ Ɓέκƀο νὐξ῅ο·
ἔλζƀ ιƂνλƄƂίνην ιηπὼλ ἴλƁƀικƀ πξνƃώπνπ
ὑςηιόƅῳ ρξƂκƂƄηƃκὸλ ὁκνίηνλ ἔβξƂκƂλ ἵππῳ
ἄδπγη, γƀῦξνλ ὀƁόλƄƀ κƂƄνρκάδνλƄη ρƀιηλνῦ,
(190) θƀὶ πνιηῶ ιƂύθƀηλƂ πƂξηƄξίβσλ γέλπλ ἀƅξῶ·
ἄιινƄƂ ῥνηδήƂλƄƀ ρέσλ ƃπξηγκὸλ ὑπήλεο
ἀκƅηιƀƅὴο ƅνιίƁƂƃƃη Ɓξάθσλ ἐιέιηθƄν θƂξάƃƄεο,
γι῵ƃƃƀλ ἔρσλ πξνβι῅Ƅƀ θƂρελόƄνο ἀλζƂξƂ῵λνο,
θƀὶ βινƃπξῶ ΤηƄ῅λνο ἐπƂƃθίξƄεƃƂ θƀξήλῳ
(195) ὁξκὸλ ἐρηƁλήƂλƄƀ πƂξίπινθνλ ƀὐρέλη Ɓήƃƀο·
θƀὶ Ɓέκƀο ἑξπεƃƄ῅ξνο ἀƂηƁίλεƄνλ ἐάƃƀο
Ƅίγξηο ἔελ, ƃƄίμƀο Ɓέκƀο ƀἰόινλ· ἄιινƄƂ Ƅƀύξῳ
ἰƃνƅπήο, ƃƄνκάƄσλ Ɓὲ λόζνλ κπθεζκὸλ ἰάιισλ
ζεγƀιέῃ ΤηƄ῅λƀο ἀλƂƃƄπƅέιημƂ θƂξƀίῃ.
AD 450
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Littera Antiqua
(200( θƀὶ ςπρ῅ο πξνκάρηδƂλ, ἕσο δειήκνλη ιƀηκῶ
Ƅξερƀιένλ κύθεκƀ Ɓη᾽ ἞έξνο ἔβξƂκƂλ Ἥξε,
κεƄξπηὴ βƀξύκεληο, ἰƃνƅζόγγῳ Ɓὲ ζƂƀίλῃ
ƀἰζέξηνλ θƂιάƁεκƀ πύιƀη θƀλάρηδνλ ὆ιύκπνπ,
θƀὶ ζξƀƃὺο ὤθιƀƃƂ Ƅƀῦξνο· ἀκνηβƀίῃ Ɓὲ ƅνλ῅Ƃο
(205) Ƅƀπξνƅπ῅ Γηόλπƃνλ ἐκηƃƄύιινλƄν κƀρƀίξῃ.
But he did not hold the throne of Zeus for long. By the fierce resentment of implacable
Hera, the Titans cunningly smeared their round faces with disguising chalk, and while
he contemplated his changeling countenance reflected in a mirror they destroyed him
with an infernal knife. There where his limbs had been cut piecemeal by the Titan
steel, the end of his life was the beginning of a new life as Dionysus. He appeared in
another shape, and changed into many forms: now young like crafty Cronides shaking
the aegis-cape, now as ancient Cronos heavy-kneed, pouring rain. Sometimes he was a
curiously formed baby, sometimes like a mad youth with the flower of the first down
marking his rounded chin with black. Again, a mimic lion he uttered a horrible roar in
furious rage form a wild snarling throat, as he lifted a neck shadowed by a thick mane,
marking his body on both sides with the self-striking whip of a tail which flickered
about over his hairy back. Next, he left the shape of a lion‘s looks and let out a ringing
neigh, now like an unbroken horse that lifts his neck on high to shake out the
imperious tooth of the bit, and rubbing, whitened his cheek with hoary foam.
Sometimes he poured out a whistling hiss form his mouth, a curling horned serpent
covered with scales, darting out his tongue from his gaping throat, and leaping upon
the grim head of some Titan encircled his neck in snaky spiral coils. Then he left the
shape of the restless crawler and became a tiger with gay stripes on his body; or again
like a bull emitting a counterfeit roar from his mouth he butted the Titans with sharp
horn. So he fought for his life, until Hera with jealous throat bellowed harshly through
the air―that heavy-resentful stepmother! and the gates of Olympus rattled in echo to
her jealous throat from high heaven. Then the bold bull collapsed: the murderers each
eager for his turn with the knife chopped piecemeal the bull-shaped Dionysus. (trans.
Rouse 1: 227–29)
T.165 Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 124 Wright
OF 640
κνξƅὴλ Ɓ' ἀιιάμƀλƄƀ πƀƄὴξ ƅίινλ πἱὸλ ἀƂίξƀο
ƃƅάδƂη ἐπƂπρόκƂλνο κέγƀ λήπηνο· νἱ Ɓ' ἐπνξƂῦλƄƀη
ιηƃƃόκƂλνη ζύνλƄƀο, ὁ Ɓ' ƀὖ λήθνπƃƄνο ὁκνθιέσλ
ƃƅάμƀο ἐλ κƂγάξνηƃη θƀθὴλ ἀιƂγύλƀƄν Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀ.
ὡο Ɓ' ƀὔƄσο πƀƄέξ' πἱὸο ἑιὼλ θƀὶ κεƄέξƀ πƀ῔ƁƂο
ζπκὸλ ἀπνξξƀίƃƀλƄƂ ƅίιƀο θƀƄὰ ƃάξθƀο ἔƁνπƃηλ.
444 BC
The father will lift up dear son in a changed form, and, blind fool, as he prays he will
slay him, and those who take part in the sacrifice bring (the victim) as he pleads. But
the father, deaf to his cries, slays him in his house and prepares an evil feast. In the
same way son seizes father, and children their mother, and having bereaved them of
life devour the flesh of those they love. (trans. Wright 286)
T.166 Aristotle, On the Soul 407b.20–23 (15 Ross)
after 335 BC
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
The supporters of such theories merely undertake to explain the nature of the soul. Of
the body which is to receive it they have nothing more to say: just as if it were possible
for any soul taken at random, according to the Pythagorean stories, to pass into any
body. (trans. Hicks 29)
Littera Antiqua
νἱ Ɓὲ κόλνλ ἐπηρƂηξνῦƃη ιέγƂηλ πν῔όλ Ƅη ἟ ςπρή, πƂξὶ Ɓὲ Ƅνῦ ƁƂμνκέλνπ ƃώκƀƄνο νὐζὲλ
ἔƄη πξνƃƁηνξίδνπƃηλ, ὥƃπƂξ ἐλƁƂρόκƂλνλ θƀƄὰ Ƅνὺο Ππζƀγνξηθνὺο κύζνπο Ƅὴλ
Ƅπρνῦƃƀλ ςπρὴλ Ƃἰο Ƅὸ Ƅπρὸλ ἐλƁύƂƃζƀη ƃ῵κƀ.
T.167 Heraclides of Pontus, Diseases fr. 86 Schütrumpf qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of
Eminent Philosophers 8.4 (602–03 Dorandi)
339 BC
Pythagoras no. 8 Cardini
ΤνῦƄόλ ƅεƃηλ ἧξƀθιƂίƁεο ὁ ΠνλƄηθὸο πƂξὶ ƀὑƄνῦ ƄάƁƂ ιέγƂηλ, ὡο Ƃἴε πνƄὲ γƂγνλὼο
ΑἰζƀιίƁεο θƀὶ ἗ξκνῦ πἱὸο λνκηƃζƂίε· Ƅὸλ Ɓὲ ἗ξκ῅λ ƂἰπƂ῔λ ƀὐƄῶ ἑιέƃζƀη ὅ Ƅη ἂλ
βνύιεƄƀη πιὴλ ἀζƀλƀƃίƀο. ƀἰƄήƃƀƃζƀη νὖλ δ῵λƄƀ θƀὶ ƄƂιƂπƄ῵λƄƀ κλήκελ ἔρƂηλ Ƅ῵λ
ƃπκβƀηλόλƄσλ. ἐλ κὲλ νὖλ Ƅῆ δσῆ πάλƄσλ ƁηƀκλεκνλƂῦƃƀη ἐπƂὶ Ɓὲ ἀπνζάλνη, Ƅεξ῅ƃƀη
Ƅὴλ ƀὐƄὴλ κλήκελ. ρξόλῳ Ɓ᾽ ὕƃƄƂξνλ Ƃἰο Δὔƅνξβνλ ἐιζƂ῔λ θƀὶ ὑπὸ ΜƂλέιƂσ
Ƅξσζ῅λƀη. ὁ Ɓ᾽ Δὔƅνξβνο ἔιƂγƂλ ὡο ΑἰζƀιίƁεο πνƄὲ γƂγόλνη θƀὶ ὅƄη πƀξ᾽ ἗ξκνῦ Ƅὸ
Ɓ῵ξνλ ιάβνη θƀὶ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῅ο ςπρ῅ο πƂξηπόιεƃηλ, ὡο πƂξηƂπνιήζε θƀὶ Ƃἰο ὅƃƀ ƅπƄὰ θƀὶ
δῶƀ πƀξƂγέλƂƄν θƀὶ ὅƃƀ ἟ ςπρὴ ἐλ ἍηƁῃ ἔπƀζƂ θƀὶ ƀἱ ινηπƀὶ Ƅίλƀ ὑπνκέλνπƃηλ.
Heraclidus Ponticus says that this man (Pythagoras) told the following about himself:
how he had once been born Aethalides and was believed to be a son of Hermes, and
that Hermes told him to choose anything he wished except immortality. So he
requested that while living and while dead he might hold a memory of what happened
(to him). Thus in his life he remembered everything, and when he died he retained the
same memory. And later in time he came into (the body of) Euphorbus and was
wounded by Menelaus. And Euphorbus told how he had once born Aethalides and that
he received from Hermes his gift, and told of the wandering of his soul, how it
wandered about, and in how many plants and animals it came to be present, and how
many things his soul suffered in Hades, and what the other souls endure. (trans.
Schütrumpf 167)
T.168 Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 108 Wright
OF 451
ἢƁε γάξ πνƄ' ἐγὼ γƂλόκελ θνῦξόο ƄƂ θόξε ƄƂ
ζάκλνο Ƅ' νἰσλόο ƄƂ θƀὶ ἔμƀινο ἔιινπνο ἰρζύο.
444 BC
For before now I have been at some time boy and girl, bush, bird, and a mute fish in
the sea. (trans. Wright 275)
T.169a Plato, Timaeus 42b–d Burnet
ca. 360 BC
θƀὶ ὁ κὲλ Ƃὖ Ƅὸλ πξνƃήθνλƄƀ ρξόλνλ βηνύο, πάιηλ Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ ƃπλλόκνπ πνξƂπζƂὶο
νἴθεƃηλ ἄƃƄξνπ, βίνλ ƂὐƁƀίκνλƀ θƀὶ ƃπλήζε ἕμνη, ƃƅƀιƂὶο Ɓὲ ƄνύƄσλ Ƃἰο γπλƀηθὸο
ƅύƃηλ ἐλ Ƅῆ (42c) ƁƂπƄέξᾳ γƂλέƃƂη κƂƄƀβƀιν῔: κὴ πƀπόκƂλόο ƄƂ ἐλ ƄνύƄνηο ἔƄη θƀθίƀο,
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
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Ƅξόπνλ ὃλ θƀθύλνηƄν, θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ ὁκνηόƄεƄƀ Ƅ῅ο Ƅνῦ Ƅξόπνπ γƂλέƃƂσο Ƃἴο Ƅηλƀ ƄνηƀύƄελ
ἀƂὶ κƂƄƀβƀιν῔ ζήξƂηνλ ƅύƃηλ, ἀιιάƄƄσλ ƄƂ νὐ πξόƄƂξνλ πόλσλ ιήμνη, πξὶλ Ƅῆ ƄƀὐƄνῦ
θƀὶ ὁκνίνπ πƂξηόƁῳ Ƅῆ ἐλ ƀὑƄῶ ƃπλƂπηƃπώκƂλνο Ƅὸλ πνιὺλ ὄρινλ θƀὶ ὕƃƄƂξνλ
πξνƃƅύλƄƀ ἐθ ππξὸο θƀὶ ὕƁƀƄνο θƀὶ ἀέξνο (42d) θƀὶ γ῅ο, ζνξπβώƁε θƀὶ ἄινγνλ ὄλƄƀ,
ιόγῳ θξƀƄήƃƀο Ƃἰο Ƅὸ Ƅ῅ο πξώƄεο θƀὶ ἀξίƃƄεο ἀƅίθνηƄν ƂἶƁνο ἕμƂσο.
And if a person lived a good life throughout the due course of his time, he would at the
end return to his dwelling place in his companion star, to live a life of happiness that
agreed with his character. (42c) But if he failed in this, he would be born a second
time, now as a woman. And if even then he still could not refrain from wickedness, he
would be changed once again, this time into some wild animal that resembled the
wicked character he had acquired. (42d) And he would have no rest from these
toilsome transformations until he had dragged that massive accretion of fire water-airearth into conformity with the revolution of the Same and uniform within him, and so
subdued that turbulent, irrational mass by means of reason. This would return him to
his original condition of excellence. (trans. Cooper 1245)
T.169b Plato, Timaeus 91d–92c Burnet
ca. 360 BC
γπλƀ῔θƂο κὲλ νὖλ θƀὶ Ƅὸ ζ῅ιπ π᾵λ νὕƄσ γέγνλƂλ: Ƅὸ Ɓὲ Ƅ῵λ ὀξλέσλ ƅῦινλ
κƂƄƂξξπζκίδƂƄν, ἀλƄὶ Ƅξηρ῵λ πƄƂξὰ ƅύνλ, ἐθ Ƅ῵λ ἀθάθσλ ἀλƁξ῵λ, θνύƅσλ Ɓέ, θƀὶ
κƂƄƂσξνινγηθ῵λ κέλ, ἟γνπκέλσλ Ɓὲ Ɓη᾽ ὄςƂσο (91e) Ƅὰο πƂξὶ ƄνύƄσλ ἀπνƁƂίμƂηο
βƂβƀηνƄάƄƀο Ƃἶλƀη Ɓη᾽ ƂὐήζƂηƀλ. Ƅὸ Ɓ᾽ ƀὖ πƂδὸλ θƀὶ ζεξη῵ƁƂο γέγνλƂλ ἐθ Ƅ῵λ κεƁὲλ
πξνƃρξσκέλσλ ƅηινƃνƅίᾳ κεƁὲ ἀζξνύλƄσλ Ƅ῅ο πƂξὶ Ƅὸλ νὐξƀλὸλ ƅύƃƂσο πέξη κεƁέλ,
Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ κεθέƄη Ƅƀ῔ο ἐλ Ƅῆ θƂƅƀιῆ ρξ῅ƃζƀη πƂξηόƁνηο, ἀιιὰ Ƅν῔ο πƂξὶ Ƅὰ ƃƄήζε Ƅ῅ο ςπρ῅ο
἟γƂκόƃηλ ἕπƂƃζƀη κέξƂƃηλ. ἐθ ƄνύƄσλ νὖλ Ƅ῵λ ἐπηƄεƁƂπκάƄσλ Ƅά Ƅ᾽ ἐκπξόƃζηƀ θ῵ιƀ
θƀὶ Ƅὰο θƂƅƀιὰο Ƃἰο γ῅λ ἑιθόκƂλƀ ὑπὸ ƃπγγƂλƂίƀο ἢξƂηƃƀλ, πξνκήθƂηο ƄƂ θƀὶ πƀλƄνίƀο
ἔƃρνλ Ƅὰο (92a) θνξπƅάο, ὅπῃ ƃπλƂζιίƅζεƃƀλ ὑπὸ ἀξγίƀο ἑθάƃƄσλ ƀἱ πƂξηƅνξƀί·
ƄƂƄξάπνπλ ƄƂ Ƅὸ γέλνο ƀὐƄ῵λ ἐθ ƄƀύƄεο ἐƅύƂƄν θƀὶ πνιύπνπλ Ƅ῅ο πξνƅάƃƂσο, ζƂνῦ
βάƃƂηο ὑπνƄηζέλƄνο πιƂίνπο Ƅν῔ο κ᾵ιινλ ἄƅξνƃηλ, ὡο κ᾵ιινλ ἐπὶ γ῅λ ἕιθνηλƄν. Ƅν῔ο Ɓ᾽
ἀƅξνλƂƃƄάƄνηο ƀὐƄ῵λ ƄνύƄσλ θƀὶ πƀλƄάπƀƃηλ πξὸο γ῅λ π᾵λ Ƅὸ ƃ῵κƀ θƀƄƀƄƂηλνκέλνηο
ὡο νὐƁὲλ ἔƄη πνƁ῵λ ρξƂίƀο νὔƃεο, ἄπνƁƀ ƀὐƄὰ θƀὶ ἰιπƃπώκƂλƀ ἐπὶ γ῅ο ἐγέλλεƃƀλ. Ƅὸ
Ɓὲ (92b) ƄέƄƀξƄνλ γέλνο ἔλπƁξνλ γέγνλƂλ ἐθ Ƅ῵λ κάιηƃƄƀ ἀλνεƄνƄάƄσλ θƀὶ
ἀκƀζƂƃƄάƄσλ, νὓο νὐƁ᾽ ἀλƀπλν῅ο θƀζƀξ᾵ο ἔƄη ἞μίσƃƀλ νἱ κƂƄƀπιάƄƄνλƄƂο, ὡο Ƅὴλ
ςπρὴλ ὑπὸ πιεκκƂιƂίƀο πάƃεο ἀθƀζάξƄσο ἐρόλƄσλ, ἀιι᾽ ἀλƄὶ ιƂπƄ῅ο θƀὶ θƀζƀξ᾵ο
ἀλƀπλν῅ο ἀέξνο Ƃἰο ὕƁƀƄνο ζνιƂξὰλ θƀὶ βƀζƂ῔ƀλ ἔσƃƀλ ἀλάπλƂπƃηλ· ὅζƂλ ἰρζύσλ
ἔζλνο θƀὶ Ƅὸ Ƅ῵λ ὀƃƄξέσλ ƃπλƀπάλƄσλ ƄƂ ὅƃƀ ἔλπƁξƀ γέγνλƂλ, Ɓίθελ ἀκƀζίƀο ἐƃράƄεο
ἐƃράƄƀο νἰθήƃƂηο (92c) ƂἰιερόƄσλ. θƀὶ θƀƄὰ ƄƀῦƄƀ Ɓὴ πάλƄƀ ƄόƄƂ θƀὶ λῦλ ƁηƀκƂίβƂƄƀη
Ƅὰ δῶƀ Ƃἰο ἄιιειƀ, λνῦ θƀὶ ἀλνίƀο ἀπνβνιῆ θƀὶ θƄήƃƂη κƂƄƀβƀιιόκƂλƀ.
That is how women and females in general came to be. As for birds, as a kind they are
the products of a transformation. They grow feathers instead of hair. They descended
from innocent but simple minded men, men who studied the heavenly bodies but in
their naiveté believed that the most reliable proofs concerning them could be based
upon visual observation. (91e) Land animals in the wild, moreover, came from men
who had no tincture of philosophy and who made no study of the universe whatsoever,
because they no longer made use of the revolutions in their heads but instead followed
the lead of the parts of the soul that reside in the chest. As a consequence of these
ways of theirs they carried their forelimbs and their heads dragging towards the
ground, like towards like. (92a) The tops of their heads became elongated and took all
sorts of shapes, depending on the particular way the revolutions were squeezed
together from lack of use. This is the reason animals of this kind have four or more
feet. The god placed a greater number of supports under the more mindless beings, so
that they might be drawn more closely to the ground. As for the most mindless of
these animals, the ones whose entire bodies stretch out completely along the ground,
the gods made them without feet, crawling along the ground, there being no need of
feet anymore. (92b) The fourth kind of animal, the kind that lives in water, came from
those men who were without question the most stupid and ignorant of all. The gods
who brought about their transformation concluded that these no longer deserved to
breathe pure air, because their souls were tainted with transgressions of every sort.
Instead of letting them breathe rare and pure air, they shoved them into water to
breathe its murky depths. This is the origin of fish, of all shellfish, and of every waterinhabiting animal. Their justly due reward for their extreme stupidity is their extreme
dwelling place. (92c) These, then, are the conditions that govern, both then and now,
how all the animals exchange their forms, one for the other, and in the process lose or
gain intelligence or folly. (trans. Cooper 1290–91)
T.170 Marmor Parium, FGrHist 239 F14 (1398/1397 BC)
264 BC
IG XII5 444; OF 379
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(ἀƅ‘ νὗ ὆ξƅƂὺο ὁ Οἰάγξνπ θƀὶ Κƀιιηόπεο) πἱὸ(ο Ƅὴ)λ (ἑ)ƀπƄνῦ πν<ί>εƃηλ ἐμ(έ)ζεθƂ
Κόξεο ƄƂ ἁξπƀγὴλ θƀὶ ΓήκεƄξνο δήƄεƃηλ θƀὶ Ƅὸλ ƀὐƄνπ(ξγεζέλƄƀ ὑπ‘ ƀὐƄ῅ο ƃπόξνλ
θƀὶ Ƅὸ) (ἐθƂ῔ζƂλ ἔ)ζνο Ƅ῵λ ὑπνƁƂμƀκέλσλ Ƅὸλ θƀξπόλ, ἔƄε ΧΖΓΓΓΠ, βƀƃηιƂύνλƄνο
Ἀζελ῵λ ἖ξηρζέσο.48
From when Orpheus, son of Oeagrus and Calliope, made known his own poetry: the
rape of Core and the search of Demeter and (the seed created by her and the lifestyle
of those receiving the corn, 1135 years when Erechtheus was king of Athens.
(translation retrieved from,
T.171 Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 118 Wright
444 BC
OF 638
Ƅὴλ νἵ γ‘ ƂὐƃƂβέƂƃƃηλ ἀγάικƀƃηλ ἱιάƃθνλƄν
γξƀπƄν῔ο ƄƂ δώηνηƃη κύξνηƃί ƄƂ ƁƀηƁƀιƂόƁκνηο
ƃκύξλεο Ƅ‘ ἀθξήƄνπ ζπƃίƀηο ιηβάλνπ ƄƂ ζπώƁνπο,
μνπζ῵λ ƄƂ ƃπνλƁὰο κƂιηƄ῵λ ῥίπƄνλƄƂο ἐο νὖƁƀο·
Ƅƀύξσλ Ɓ‘ ἀθξήƄνηƃη ƅόλνηο νὐ ƁƂύƂƄν βσκόο,
ἀιιὰ κύƃνο ƄνῦƄ‘ ἔƃθƂλ ἐλ ἀλζξώπνηƃη κέγηƃƄνλ,
ζπκὸλ ἀπνξξƀίƃƀλƄƀο ἐλέƁκƂλƀη ἞έƀ γπ῔ƀ.
Her (i.e. Cypris) they propitiated with holy images and painted animal figures, with
perfumes of subtle fragrance and offerings of distilled myrrh and sweet-smelling
The Greek text is reproduced after: Searcheable Greek Inscriptions by The Packard Humanities
Institute, Cornell U, Ohio State U (
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
frankincense, and pouring on the earth libations of golden honey. Their altar was not
drenched by the (?unspeakable) slaughter of bulls, but this was the greatest defilement
among men—to bereave of life and eat noble limbs. (trans. Wright 282)
after 366 BC
Littera Antiqua
T.172a Plato, Statesman 271e–272e Burnet
ζƂὸο ἔλƂκƂλ ƀὐƄνὺο ƀὐƄὸο ἐπηƃƄƀƄ῵λ, θƀζάπƂξ λῦλ ἄλζξσπνη, δῶνλ ὂλ ἕƄƂξνλ
ζƂηόƄƂξνλ, ἄιιƀ γέλε ƅƀπιόƄƂξƀ ƀὑƄ῵λ λνκƂύνπƃη· λέκνλƄνο Ɓὲ ἐθƂίλνπ πνιηƄƂ῔ƀί ƄƂ
νὐθ ἤƃƀλ νὐƁὲ θƄήƃƂηο (272a) γπλƀηθ῵λ θƀὶ πƀίƁσλ· ἐθ γ῅ο γὰξ ἀλƂβηώƃθνλƄν πάλƄƂο,
νὐƁὲλ κƂκλεκέλνη Ƅ῵λ πξόƃζƂλ· ἀιιὰ Ƅὰ κὲλ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ἀπ῅λ πάλƄƀ, θƀξπνὺο Ɓὲ
ἀƅζόλνπο Ƃἶρνλ ἀπό ƄƂ ƁέλƁξσλ θƀὶ πνιι῅ο ὕιεο ἄιιεο, νὐρ ὑπὸ γƂσξγίƀο ƅπνκέλνπο,
ἀιι᾽ ƀὐƄνκάƄεο ἀλƀƁηƁνύƃεο Ƅ῅ο γ῅ο. γπκλνὶ Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἄƃƄξσƄνη ζπξƀπινῦλƄƂο Ƅὰ πνιιὰ
ἐλέκνλƄν· Ƅὸ γὰξ Ƅ῵λ ὡξ῵λ ƀὐƄν῔ο ἄιππνλ ἐθέθξƀƄν, κƀιƀθὰο Ɓὲ Ƃὐλὰο Ƃἶρνλ
ἀλƀƅπνκέλεο ἐθ (272b) γ῅ο πόƀο ἀƅζόλνπ. Ƅὸλ Ɓὴ βίνλ, ὦ ΣώθξƀƄƂο, ἀθνύƂηο κὲλ Ƅὸλ
Ƅ῵λ ἐπὶ Κξόλνπ·… ἐπƂηƁὴ γὰξ πάλƄσλ ƄνύƄσλ ρξόλνο ἐƄƂιƂώζε θƀὶ κƂƄƀβνιὴλ ἔƁƂη
γίγλƂƃζƀη θƀὶ (272e) Ɓὴ θƀὶ Ƅὸ γήηλνλ ἢƁε π᾵λ ἀλήισƄν γέλνο, πάƃƀο ἑθάƃƄεο Ƅ῅ο
ςπρ῅ο Ƅὰο γƂλέƃƂηο ἀπνƁƂƁσθπίƀο, ὅƃƀ ἤλ ἑθάƃƄῃ πξνƃƄƀρζὲλ ƄνƃƀῦƄƀ Ƃἰο γ῅λ
ƃπέξκƀƄƀ πƂƃνύƃεο….
A god tended them, taking charge of them himself, just as now human beings,
themselves living creatures, but different and more divine, pasture other kinds of
living creatures more lowly than themselves; and given his tendance, they had no
political constitutions, (272a) nor acquired wives and children, for all of them came
back to life from the earth, remembering nothing of the past. While they lacked things
of this sort, they had an abundance of fruits from trees and many other plants, which
grew not through cultivation but because the earth sent them up of its own accord. For
the most part they would feed outdoors, naked and without bedding; for the blend of
the seasons was without painful extremes, (272b) and they had soft beds from
abundant grass that sprang from the earth. What you are hearing about, then, Socrates,
is the life of those who lived in the time of Cronus… When the time of all these things
had been completed (272e) and the hour for change had come, and in particular all the
earth-born race had been used up, each soul having rendered its sum of births, falling
to the earth as seed as many times as had been laid down for each… (trans. Cooper
T.172b (cf. T.1) Plato, Laws 782c–d Burnet
OF 625i; Orfismo E6 Scarpi; no. 53 Harden
350 BC
…ὅƄƂ νὐƁὲ βνὸο ἐƄόικσλ κὲλ γƂύƂƃζƀη, ζύκƀƄά ƄƂ νὐθ ἤλ Ƅν῔ο ζƂν῔ƃη δῶƀ, πέιƀλνη Ɓὲ
θƀὶ κέιηƄη θƀξπνὶ ƁƂƁƂπκέλνη θƀὶ ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ἄιιƀ ἁγλὰ ζύκƀƄƀ, ƃƀξθ῵λ Ɓ᾽ ἀπƂίρνλƄν ὡο
νὐρ ὅƃηνλ ὂλ ἐƃζίƂηλ νὐƁὲ Ƅνὺο Ƅ῵λ ζƂ῵λ βσκνὺο ƀἵκƀƄη κηƀίλƂηλ, ἀιιὰ ὆ξƅηθνί ƄηλƂο
ιƂγόκƂλνη βίνη ἐγίγλνλƄν ἟κ῵λ Ƅν῔ο ƄόƄƂ, ἀςύρσλ κὲλ ἐρόκƂλνη πάλƄσλ, ἐκςύρσλ Ɓὲ
ƄνὐλƀλƄίνλ (782d) πάλƄσλ ἀπƂρόκƂλνη.
…there was a time when we didn‘t even dare to eat beef, and the sacrifices offered to
the gods were not animals, but cakes and meal soaked in honey and other ‗pure‘
offerings like that. People kept off meat on the grounds that it was an act of impiety to
eat it, or to pollute the altars of the gods with blood. So at that time men lived a sort of
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‗Orphic‘ life, keeping exclusively to inanimate food and entirely abstaining from
eating (782d) the flesh of animals. (trans. Cooper 1454–55)
350 BC
(782b) Ƅί νὖλ; πηƃƄƂύνκƂλ ἀκπέινπο ƄƂ ƅƀλ῅λƀί πνύ πνƄƂ πξόƄƂξνλ νὐθ νὔƃƀο;
ὡƃƀύƄσο Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἐιάƀο θƀὶ Ƅὰ ΓήκεƄξόο ƄƂ θƀὶ Κόξεο Ɓ῵ξƀ; ΤξηπƄόιƂκόλ Ƅέ Ƅηλƀ Ƅ῵λ
ƄνηνύƄσλ γƂλέƃζƀη Ɓηάθνλνλ; ἐλ ᾧ Ɓὲ κὴ ƄƀῦƄƀ ἤλ Ƅῶ ρξόλῳ, κ῵λ νὐθ νἰόκƂζƀ Ƅὰ δῶƀ,
θƀζάπƂξ λῦλ, ἐπὶ Ƅὴλ ἀιιήισλ ἐƁσƁὴλ ƄξέπƂƃζƀη; (782c) {Ἀζελƀ῔νο} Ƅὸ Ɓὲ κὴλ ζύƂηλ
ἀλζξώπνπο ἀιιήινπο ἔƄη θƀὶ λῦλ πƀξƀκέλνλ ὁξ῵κƂλ πνιιν῔ο·…
Littera Antiqua
T.172c Plato, Laws 782b–c Burnet
Well, we believe, don‘t we, that at a certain point grapevine made their appearance,
not having existed before, and olives likewise, and the gifts of Demeter and Kore,
which Triptolemus, or whoever it was, handed on to us? So long as these things did
not exist, we can take it that animals resorted to feeding on each other, as they do
now? (782c) We observe, of course, the survival of human sacrifice among many
people today…. (trans. Cooper 1454, modified)
T.173 Sextus Empiricus, Against the Rhetoricians (AM 2) 31–32 (90 Mau)
AD 180–210
OF 641 + OF 642
πƀξὸ θƀὶ ὁ ἞ζνιόγνο ὆ξƅƂὺο Ƅὸ ἀλƀγθƀ῔νλ ƀὐƄ῵λ ὑπνƅƀίλσλ ƅεƃὶ
ἤλ ρξόλνο ἟λίθƀ ƅ῵ƄƂο ἀπ᾽ ἀιιήισλ βίνλ Ƃἶρνλ
ƃƀξθνƁƀθ῅, θξƂίƃƃσλ Ɓὲ Ƅὸλ ἣƄƄνλƀ ƅ῵Ƅƀ ƁάηδƂλ.
κεƁƂλὸο γὰξ ἐπηƃƄƀƄνῦλƄνο λόκνπ ἕθƀƃƄνο ἐλ ρƂξƃὶ Ƅὸ Ɓίθƀηνλ ƂἶρƂ, ὡο θƀὶ
ἰρζύƃη <κὲλ> θƀὶ ζεξƃὶ θƀὶ νἰσλν῔ο πƂƄƂελν῔ο
ἔƃζƂηλ ἀιιήινπο, ἐπƂὶ νὐ Ɓίθε ἐƃƄὶ κƂƄ᾽ ƀὐƄν῔ο,
κέρξηο ὅƄƂ ὁ ζƂὸο νἰθƄƂίξσλ κνγνῦƃηλ ƀὐƄν῔ο ζƂƃκνƅόξνπο ζƂὰο ἐμƀπέƃƄƂηιƂλ, ἃο ἐπὶ
Ƅῶ Ƅὴλ ἀιιεινƅάγνλ ἀλνκίƀλ θƀƄƀιῦƃƀη πιένλ ἠ ἐπὶ Ƅῶ θƀξπν῔ο ἟κƂξ῵ƃƀη Ƅὸλ βίνλ
ἐζƀύκƀƃƀλ ἄλζξσπνη.
Hence, the theologian Orpheus hints at their necessity when he say,—
‗There was a time when every man lived by devouring his fellow
Cannibal-wise, and the stronger man did feast on the wicker,‘
(for when no law was in control each man maintained his right by force of hand, even
as it is permitted to
‗Fishes and beasts of the wild and the winged ravens and vultures,
Each to devour the other, for justice exists not among them,‘ (Hesiod, Works
and Days 277–78)
until God in his pity for their misery sent to them law-bearing goddesses, and men
admired these for the way they stopped the lawless cannibalism more than for the way
they civilized life by means of the fruits of the earth. (trans. Bury 4: 205)
T.174 Orphic Argonautics 20–28 (76 Vian)
OF 99
ƄηƄζƂίƀλ ƄƂ Εελόο, ὀξƂƃƃηƁξόκνπ ƄƂ ιƀƄξƂίƀλ
AD fifth century
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ΜεƄξόο ἅ Ƅ‘ ἐλ Κπβέινηο ὄξƂƃηλ κεƄίƃƀƄν θνύξελ
ſƂξƃƂƅόλελ πƂξὶ πƀƄξὸο ἀκƀηκƀθέƄνπ Κξνλίσλνο·
Κƀƃκίινπ ƄƂ θƀὶ ἧξƀθιένο πƂξίƅεκνλ ἄκπμηλ,
(25) ὄξγηά Ƅ‘ ἸƁƀίσλ, ΚνξπβάλƄσλ Ƅ‘ ἄπιƂƄνλ ἰƃρύλ·
ΓήκεƄξόο ƄƂ πιάλελ θƀὶ ſƂξƃƂƅόλεο κέγƀ πέλζνο,
ζƂƃκνƅόξνο ζ‘ ὡο ἤλ· ἞Ɓ‘ ἀγιƀὰ Ɓ῵ξƀ ΚƀβƂίξσλ,
ρξεƃκνύο Ƅ‘ ἀξξήƄνπο ΝπθƄὸο πƂξὶ Βάθρνπ ἄλƀθƄνο…
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And the nursing of Zeus, the cult of the mountain-running Mother, the things she
devised on the Kybelean mountains for maiden Persephone concerning her father, the
invincible son of Cronos, the famous rending of Casmilos and of Heracles, the rites of
Ida, the mighty Corybantes. The wandering of Demeter and the great grief of
Persephone and how she became Thesmophoros. And then the glittering gifts of the
Cabeiroi, and the ineffable oracles of Night concerning lord Bakchos… (trans.
Edmonds 2011: 77–78)
T.175 Themistius, On Husbandry (Or. 30) 349b (183 Downey)
AD 350–90
OF 632
νὐ κὴλ νὐƁὲ ὆ƅέσο ƄƂιƂƄάο ƄƂ θƀὶ ὄξγηƀ γƂσξγίƀο ἐθƄὸο ƃπκβέβεθƂλ Ƃἶλƀη, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ
ὁ κῦζνο ƄνῦƄν ƀἰλίƄƂƄƄƀη, πάλƄƀ θειƂ῔λ ƄƂ θƀὶ ζέιγƂηλ Ƅὸλ ὆ξƅέƀ ιέγσλ. ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ
θƀξπ῵λ Ƅ῵λ ἟κέξσλ ὧλ γƂσξγίƀ πƀξέρƂη π᾵ƃƀλ ἟κƂξ῵ƃƀη ƅύƃηλ θƀὶ ζεξίσλ ƁίƀηƄƀλ,
θƀὶ Ƅὸ ἐλ Ƅƀ῔ο ςπρƀ῔ο ζεξη῵ƁƂο ἐθθόςƀη θƀὶ ἟κƂξ῵ƃƀη. θƀὶ Ƅὰ ζεξίƀ γὰξ Ƅῶ κέιƂη
θειƂ῔λ ἐπηƃƄƂύζε ζπƃίƀο ƄƂ πάƃƀο θƀὶ ƄƂιƂƄὰο Ɓηὰ Ƅ῵λ ἐθ γƂσξγίƀο θƀι῵λ Ƃἰο ζƂνὺο
ἀλάγσλ. πάλƄƀο γνῦλ ἀλζξώπνπο ἐπ῅ιζƂ Ƅῆ Ɓόμῃ θƀὶ πάλƄƂο ἐƁέμƀλƄν γƂσξγίƀλ.
The truth that the initiations and mysteries of Orpheus are closely related to agriculture
is also said, in allegorical way, in the myth on Orpheus who was to enchant and master
every living thing. By analogy, husbandry that provides us with every kind of civilized
nourishment, by means of cultivated plants, is able to civilize the bestial diet and to
eradicate a beast in us. We believe that he charmed wild beasts with his music, that is,
he was leading them to the gods through sacrifices, initiations, and all gifts we owe to
husbandry. All people have been persuaded by him, and all of them have adopted
husbandry. (trans. E. O.)
T.176 Empedocles of Acragas, Katharmoi fr. 122 Wright
444 BC
OF 639
νὐ πƀύƃƂƃζƂ ƅόλνην Ɓπƃερένο; νὐθ ἐƃνξ᾵ƄƂ
ἀιιήινπο ƁάπƄνλƄƂο ἀθεƁƂίεηƃη λόνην;
Will you not cease the din of slaughter? Do you not see that you are devouring one
another because of your careless way of thinking? (trans. Wright 285)
T.177 Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 195 Rose qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of
Eminent Philosophers 8.34 (618 Dorandi)
350 BC
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Akousmata & Symbola no. 3 Cardini
Littera Antiqua
ƅεƃὶ Ɓ᾽ ἈξηƃƄνƄέιεο ἐλ Ƅῶ ΠƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ †θπάκσλ†49 πƀξƀγγέιιƂηλ ƀὐƄὸλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ
θπάκσλ ἢƄνη ὅƄη ƀἰƁνίνηο Ƃἰƃὶλ ὅκνηνη ἠ ὅƄη ᾍƁνπ πύιƀηο. ἀγόλƀƄνλ γὰξ κόλνλ· ἠ ὅƄη
ƅζƂίξƂη ἠ ὅƄη Ƅῆ Ƅνῦ ὅινπ ƅύƃƂη ὅκνηνλ ἠ ὅƄη ὀιηγƀξρηθόλ· θιεξνῦλƄƀη γνῦλ ƀὐƄν῔ο.
According to Aristotle in his work On the Beans, Pythagoras counseled abstinence
from beans either because they are like the genitals, or because they are like the gates
of Hades as being alone unjointed, or because they are injurious, or because they are
like the form of the universe, or because they belong to oligarchy, since they are used
in election by lot. (trans. Hicks 2: 349, modified)
T.178 (cf. T.60) ?Androcydes, On the Symbols qtd. in Nicomachus of Gerasa. ?356–323 BC
Transmitted by Iamblichus of Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 24.109 (63
θƀὶ ‗θπάκσλ ἀπέρνπ‘ Ɓηὰ πνιιὰο ἱƂξάο ƄƂ θƀὶ ƅπƃηθὰο θƀὶ Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ ςπρὴλ ἀλεθνύƃƀο
And to ‗abstain from beans‘ because of many sacred and physical reasons, and reasons
pertaining to the soul. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 133)
T.179 Porphyry of Tyre, On the Cave of the Nymphs 19 (62 Simonini)
AD 263–305
νὐρ ἁπι῵ο κέλƄνη πάƃƀο ςπρὰο Ƃἰο γέλƂƃηλ ἰνύƃƀο κƂιίƃƃƀο, ἔιƂγνλ ἀιιὰ Ƅὰο
κƂιινύƃƀο κƂƄὰ Ɓηθƀηνƃύλεο βηνƄƂύƂηλ θƀὶ πάιηλ ἀλƀƃƄξέƅƂηλ Ƃἰξγƀƃκέλƀο Ƅὰ ζƂν῔ο
ƅίιƀ. Ƅὸ γὰξ δῶνλ ƅηιόƃƄξνƅνλ θƀὶ κάιηƃƄƀ Ɓίθƀηνλ θƀὶ λεƅƀλƄηθόλ· ὅζƂλ θƀὶ
λεƅάιηνη ƃπνλƁƀὶ ƀἱ Ɓηὰ κέιηƄνο. θƀὶ θπάκνπο νὐθ ἐƅηδάλνπƃηλ, νὓο ἐιάκβƀλνλ Ƃἰο
ƃύκβνινλ Ƅ῅ο θƀƄ᾽ ƂὐζƂ῔ƀλ γƂλέƃƂσο θƀὶ ἀθƀκπνῦο Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ κόλνλ ƃρƂƁὸλ Ƅ῵λ
ƃπƂξκƀƄηθ῵λ Ɓη᾽ ὅινπ ƄƂƄξ῅ƃζƀη, κὴ ἐγθνπƄόκƂλνλ Ƅƀ῔ο κƂƄƀμὶ Ƅ῵λ γνλάƄσλ
They did not simply call all the souls entering into genesis ‗bees,‘ but specifically
those that were to live just lives and return after performing acts pleasing to the gods,
for bees love to return to their source and are remarkably even-tempered and sober.
Thus libations of honey are ‗sober‘ libations. Moreover, bees do not light on the
flowers of fava beans, which the ancients used to take as a symbol of the direct and
unswerving path of genesis, since fava beans are virtually unique among seed-bearing
plants in having stems that are continuously hollow and not interrupted by crossmembranes at the nodes. (trans. Lamberton 32)
T.180aVarro of Reate, De vita populi Romani fr. 445 Salvadore qtd. in Pliny the Elder,
Natural History 18.118 (175 Mayhoff)
ca. 47 BC
There is a lacuna in the text after the ἐλ Ƅῶ. The possible alternative readings are either ΠƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ
θπάκσλ or ΠƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ΠπζƀγνξƂίσλ (Delatte 131; Dorandi 618).
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Varro et ob haec flaminem ea non vesci tradit et quoniam in flore eius litterae lugubres
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T.180b Didymus of Alexandria, Georgics qtd. in Geoponica 2.35.6 (73 Beckh) AD 400
OF vol. 2, p. 216
Moreover according to Varro‘s account it is partly for these reasons that a priest
abstains from eating beans, though also because certain letters of gloomy omen are to
be found inscribed on a bean flower. (trans. Rackham 265)
Τνὺο Ɓὲ θπάκνπο ὁ Ππζƀγόξƀο ƅεƃὶ κὴ ρξ῅λƀη ἐƃζίƂηλ, Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ θƀὶ ἐλ Ƅῶ ἄλζƂη ƀὐƄ῵λ
ƂὑξίƃθƂƃζƀη πέλζηκƀ γξάκκƀƄƀ.
Pythagoras says that beans should not be eaten because of the grievous letters written
on their flowers. (trans. Dalby 93)
T.181 Plutarch of Chaeronea, Roman Questions 95, 286D–E (164 Boulogne). After AD 105
Ɓηὰ Ƅί λƂλόκηƃƄƀη Ƅνὺο ἁγλƂύνλƄƀο ὀƃπξίσλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη; πόƄƂξνλ, ὡο νἱ Ππζƀγνξηθνὶ,
Ƅνὺο κὲλ θπάκνπο ἀƅσƃηνῦλƄν Ɓηὰ Ƅὰο ιƂγνκέλƀο ƀἰƄίƀο, Ƅὸλ Ɓὲ ιάζπξνλ θƀὶ Ƅὸλ
ἐξέβηλζνλ ὡο πƀξσλύκνπο Ƅνῦ ἐξέβνπο θƀὶ Ƅ῅ο ιήζεο; ἠ ὅƄη πξὸο Ƅὰ πƂξίƁƂηπλƀ θƀὶ
Ƅὰο πξνθιήƃƂηο Ƅ῵λ λƂθξ῵λ κάιηƃƄƀ ρξ῵λƄƀη Ƅν῔ο ὀƃπξίνηο;
Why is it the customary rule that those who are practicing holy living must abstain
from legumes? Did they, like the followers of Pythagoras, religiously abstain from
beans for the reasons which are commonly offered, and from vetch and chickpea,
because their names suggest Lethe and Erebus? Or is it because they make particular
use of legumes for funeral feasts and invocations of the dead?50 (trans. Babbitt 4: 143)
T.182aScholia on the Iliad 13.589 (3: 513 Erbse) s.v. ―kyamoi melanochroes.‖ After 143 BC
OF 648i + OF 648
Ƅνὺο Ɓὲ θπάκνπο ὡο κέιƀλƀο νὐθ ἐƃζίνπƃηλ νἱ ἱƂξƂ῔ο. νἱ Ɓὲ ἱƂξὸλ ιόγνλ ƅƀƃίλ·
ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ,
It concerns the Roman rites of Lemuria, celebrated on May 9 th, 11th, and 13th, and described by Ovid,
Fasti 5.419–44 (127 Alton): ―When from that day the Evening Star shall thrice have shown his beauteous face,
and thrice the vanquished stars shall have retreated before Phoebus, there will be celebrated an olden rite, the
nocturnal Lemuria: it will bring offerings to the silent ghosts. The year was formerly shorter, and the pious rites
of purification (februa) were unknown, and thou, two-headed Janus, wast not the leader of the months. Yet even
then people brought gifts to the ashes of the dead, as their due, and the grandson paid his respects to the tomb of
his buried grandsire. It was the month of May, so named after our forefathers (maiores), and it still retains part of
the ancient custom. When midnight has come and lends silence to sleep, and dogs and all ye varied fowls are
hushed, the worshipper who bears the olden rite in mind and fears the gods arises; no knots constrict his feet; and
he makes a sign with his thumb in the middle of his closed fingers, lest in his silence an unsubstantial shade
should meet him. And after washing his hands clean in spring water, he turns, and first he receives black beans
and throws them away with face averted; but while he throws them, he says: ‗These I cast; with these beans I
redeem me and mine.‘ This he says nine times, without looking back: the shade is thought to gather the beans,
and to follow unseen behind. Again he touches water, and clashes Temesan bronze, and asks the shade to go out
of his house. When he has said nine times, ‗Ghosts of my fathers, go forth!‘ he looks back, and thinks that he has
duly performed the sacred rites.‖ (trans. Frazer 291–93)
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Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ
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ςπρῆο ƀἰδε῵λ βάƃηλ ἔκκƂλƀη ἞Ɓ‘ ἀλƀβƀζκόλ
ἐμ ἈΐƁƀν Ɓόκσλ, ὅƄƀλ ƀὐγὰο Ƃἰƃƀλίσƃηλ.
νἱ Ɓέ, ὅƄη ἐπὶ Κξόλνπ ἄξƄνο ἐμ ƀὐƄ῵λ ἤλ Ƅν῔ο ἀλζξώπνηο, ὕƃƄƂξνλ Ɓὲ κὴ γƂύƂƃζƀη
ƀὐƄ῵λ ἐπƂƄξάπε, ἵλƀ κεƁ‘ ὅισο ἐθƂίλνπ κλήκε ƅπιƀρζῆ.
The priests used to eat no bean because of its black color. Some people say
‗To eat beans is as much as to eat your parents‘ heads‘ (OF 648 = PseudoPythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff),
because the beans
‗are the way out from the house of Hades and the ladder of ascent for the souls
of strong men when they return to the rays of light.‘ (OF 648 = PseudoPythagoras, Hieros logos fr. 6 Thesleff)
The others say that under the reign of Cronos the people used a bread made of bean
meal which was to be prohibited in the later times to save no memory of him. (trans.
E. O.)
T.182b Eustathius of Thessalonica, Commentary on the Iliad 13.589 (3: 518 Valk) s.v.
―kyamoi melanochroes‖
ca. AD 1178
OF 648ii + OF 648
ΣεκƂίσƃƀη Ɓὲ θƀὶ ὅƄη ὇κήξνπ ƂἰπόλƄνο θύƀκνη κƂιƀλόρξνƂο γξάƅνπƃηλ νἱ πƀιƀηνί, ὅƄη
Ƅνὺο θπάκνπο ὡο κέιƀλƀο νὐθ ἐƃζίνπƃηλ νἱ ἱƂξƂ῔ο, νἷο θƀὶ ιόγνλ ƅƀƃὶλ Ƃἶλƀη ἱƂξὸλ
ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ,
Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ
ςπρῆο ƀἰδε῵λ βάƃηλ ἔκκƂλƀη ἞Ɓὲ ἀλƀβƀζκόλ
ἐμ ἈΐƁƀν, ὅƄƀλ ƀὐγὰο Ƃἰƃƀλίσƃηλ.
Οἱ Ɓὲ ƅƀƃηλ, ὅƄη ἐπὶ Κξόλνπ ἄξƄνο ἐμ ƀὐƄ῵λ ἐγίνƂƄν Ƅν῔ο ἀλζξώπνηο, ὕƃƄƂξνλ Ɓὲ κὴ
γƂύƂƃζƀη ƀὐƄ῵λ ἐπƂƄξάπε, ἵλƀ κεƁ‘ ὅισο κλήκε Ƅνῦ Κξόλνπ ƅπιάƄƄνηƄν.
The ancient authors write that the Homeric phrase ‗black-colored beans‘ signifies that
the priests do not eat beans because of black color and they are said to compose the
following verse:
‗To eat beans is as much as to eat your parents‘ heads‘ (OF 648 = PseudoPythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff),
because the beans
‗are the way out from the house of Hades and the ladder of ascent for the souls
of strong men when they return to the rays of light.‘ (OF 648 = PseudoPythagoras, Hieros logos fr. 6 Thesleff)
The other authorities say that under the reign of Cronos the people used a bread made
of bean meal which was to be prohibited in the later times to save no memory of
Cronos. (trans. E. O.)
T.183aHermippus of Smyrna, On Pythagoras, book two, FGrHist 1026 F25 qtd. in Diogenes
Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.40 (623 Dorandi)
200 BC
Ἕξκηππνο Ɓέ ƅεƃη, πνιƂκνύλƄσλ ἈθξƀγƀλƄίλσλ θƀὶ Σπξƀθνƃίσλ, ἐμƂιζƂ῔λ Ƅὸλ
Ππζƀγόξƀλ κƂƄὰ Ƅ῵λ ƃπλήζσλ θƀὶ πξνƃƄ῅λƀη Ƅ῵λ ἈθξƀγƀλƄίλσλ· Ƅξνπ῅ο Ɓὲ
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Hermippus on his part relates that, when the Acragantines and the Syracusans were at
war, Pythagoras and his disciples marched out at the head of the Acragantine troops;
when their line was routed, he was killed by the Syracusans as he was trying to get
round the bean-field; the others, some 35 men, were burned at the stake in Tarentum
because they (were suspected of) wanting to oppose the policy of the established
authorities. (trans. Bollansée 35)
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γƂλνκέλεο πƂξηθάκπƄνλƄƀ ƀὐƄὸλ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῵λ θπάκσλ ρώξƀλ ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ Σπξƀθνƃίσλ
ἀλƀηξƂζ῅λƀη· Ƅνύο ƄƂ ινηπνύο, ὄλƄƀο πξὸο Ƅνὺο πέλƄƂ θƀὶ ƄξηάθνλƄƀ, ἐλ ΤάξƀλƄη
θƀƄƀθƀπζ῅λƀη, ζέινλƄƀο ἀλƄηπνιηƄƂύƂƃζƀη Ƅν῔ο πξνƂƃƄ῵ƃη.
T.183b Neanthes of Cyzicus, Pythagorica, FGrH 84 F31b qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, On
the Pythagorean Way of Life 31.189–94 (104–07 Deubner)
ca. 274 BC
(189) Ƅὸλ γὰξ Γηνλύƃηνλ Ƅὸλ Ƅύξƀλλόλ ƅƀƃηλ, ὡο πάλƄƀ πνη῵λ νὐƁƂλὸο ƀὐƄ῵λ
ἐπƂƄύγρƀλƂ Ƅ῅ο ƅηιίƀο, ƅπιƀƄƄνκέλσλ θƀὶ πƂξηηƃƄƀκέλσλ Ƅὸ κνλƀξρηθὸλ ƀὐƄνῦ θƀὶ
πƀξάλνκνλ, ιόρνλ Ƅηλὰ ƄξηάθνλƄƀ ἀλƁξ῵λ, ἟γνπκέλνπ Δὐξπκέλνπο Σπξƀθνπƃίνπ,
Γίσλνο ἀƁƂιƅνῦ, ἐπηπέκςƀη Ƅν῔ο ἀλƁξάƃη, ινρήƃνλƄƀ Ƅὴλ κƂƄάβƀƃηλ ƀὐƄ῵λ, Ƅὴλ ἀπὸ
ΤάξƀλƄνο Ƃἰο ΜƂƄƀπόλƄηνλ Ƃἰσζπ῔ƀλ θƀƄὰ θƀηξὸλ γίλƂƃζƀη· ἟ξκόδνλƄν γὰξ πξὸο Ƅὰο
Ƅ῵λ ὡξ῵λ κƂƄƀβνιὰο θƀὶ Ƅόπνπο Ƃἰο Ƅὰ ƄνηάƁƂ ἐπƂιέγνλƄν ἐπηƄεƁƂίνπο… (191) θƀὶ
ἐπƂƄύγρƀλνλ Ɓὲ ἢƁε ƄνύƄνπ (βƀξνύκƂλνη γὰξ Ƅν῔ο ὅπινηο ἀπƂιƂίπνλƄν νἱ ƃὺλ
ΔὐξπκέλƂη Ƅνῦ Ɓησγκνῦ), Ƃἰ κή πƂξ ƅƂύγνλƄƂο ἐλέƄπρνλ πƂƁίῳ Ƅηλὶ θπάκνηο ἐƃπƀξκέλῳ
θƀὶ ƄƂζειόƄη ἱθƀλ῵ο. θƀὶ κὴ βνπιόκƂλνη Ɓόγκƀ πƀξƀβƀίλƂηλ Ƅὸ θƂιƂῦνλ θπάκσλ κὴ
ζηγγάλƂηλ ἔƃƄεƃƀλ θƀὶ ὑπ‘ ἀλάγθεο ιίζνηο θƀὶ μύινηο θƀὶ Ƅν῔ο πξνƃƄπρνῦƃηλ ἕθƀƃƄνο
κέρξη ƄνƃνύƄνπ ἞κύλνλƄν Ƅνὺο ƁηώθνλƄƀο, κέρξη Ƅηλὰο κὲλ ƀὐƄ῵λ ἀλῃξεθέλƀη,
πνιινὺο Ɓὲ ƄƂƄξƀπκƀƄηθέλƀη. πάλƄƀο κὴλ ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ Ɓνξπƅόξσλ ἀλƀηξƂζ῅λƀη θƀὶ κεƁέλƀ
Ƅὸ πƀξάπƀλ δσγξεζ῅λƀη, ἀιιὰ πξὸ ƄνύƄσλ ζάλƀƄνλ ἀƃκƂλίƃƀη θƀƄὰ Ƅὰο Ƅ῅ο ƀἱξέƃƂσο
ἐλƄνιάο… (193) Ƅνῦ Ɓὲ Μπιιίνπ θƀὶ Ƅ῅ο Τηκύρƀο πξὸο πάλƄƀ ἃ ἐπεγγέιιƂƄν
ἀλƀλƂπόλƄσλ, ‗ἀιιὰ ἕλ γέ κƂ‘ ἔƅε ‗ƁηƁάμƀλƄƂο κƂƄὰ Ƅ῅ο ἐπηβƀιινύƃεο πξνπνκπ῅ο
ƁηƀƃῴδƂƃζƂ ‘ππζνκέλνπ Ɓὲ Ƅνῦ Μπιιίνπ θƀὶ Ƅί πνƄ‘ ἐƃƄίλ, ὃ κƀζƂ῔λ πξνζπκƂ῔Ƅƀη,
‗ἐθƂ῔λν‘ ƂἶπƂλ ὁ Γηνλύƃηνο· ‗Ƅίο ἟ ƀἰƄίƀ, Ɓη‘ ἡλ νἱ ἑƄƀ῔ξνί ƃνπ ἀπνζƀλƂ῔λ κ᾵ιινλ
ƂἵιƀλƄν ἠ θπάκνπο πƀƄ῅ƃƀη;‘ θƀὶ ὁ Μπιιίƀο Ƃὐζὺο ‗ἀιι‘ ἐθƂ῔λνη κὲλ‘ ƂἶπƂλ
‗ὑπέκƂηλƀλ, ἵλƀ κὴ θπάκνπο πƀƄήƃσƃηλ, ἀπνζƀλƂ῔λ, ἐγὼ Ɓὲ ƀἱξνῦκƀη, ἵλƀ ƄνύƄνπ ƃνη
Ƅὴλ ƀἰƄίƀλ κὴ ἐμƂίπσ, θπάκνπο κ᾵ιινλ πƀƄ῅ƃƀη‘. (194) θƀƄƀπιƀγέλƄνο Ɓὲ Ƅνῦ
Γηνλπƃίνπ θƀὶ κƂƄƀƃƄ῅ƃƀη θƂιƂύƃƀλƄνο ƀὐƄὸλ ƃὺλ βίᾳ, βƀƃάλνπο Ɓὲ ἐπηƅέξƂηλ Ƅῆ
Τηκύρᾳ πξνƃƄάƄƄνλƄνο (ἐλόκηδƂ γὰξ ἅƄƂ γπλƀ῔θά ƄƂ νὖƃƀλ θƀὶ ἔπνγθνλ ἐξήκελ ƄƂ Ƅνῦ
ἀλƁξὸο ῥᾳƁίσο ƄνῦƄν ἐθιƀιήƃƂηλ ƅόβῳ Ƅ῵λ βƀƃάλσλ), ἟ γƂλλƀίƀ ƃπκβξύμƀƃƀ ἐπὶ Ƅ῅ο
γιώƃƃεο Ƅνὺο ὀƁόλƄƀο θƀὶ ἀπνθόςƀƃƀ ƀὐƄὴλ πξνƃέπƄπƃƂ Ƅῶ Ƅπξάλλῳ, ἐκƅƀίλνπƃƀ
ὅƄη, Ƃἰ θƀὶ ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ βƀƃάλσλ Ƅὸ ζ῅ιπ ƀὐƄ῅ο ληθεζὲλ ƃπλƀλƀγθƀƃζƂίε Ƅ῵λ
ἐρƂκπζνπκέλσλ Ƅη ἀλƀθƀιύςƀη, Ƅὸ κὴλ ὑπεξƂƄ῅ƃνλ ἐθπνƁὼλ ὑπ‘ ƀὐƄ῅ο πƂξηθέθνπƄƀη.
νὕƄσο ƁπƃƃπγθƀƄάζƂƄνη πξὸο Ƅὰο ἐμσƄƂξηθὰο ƅηιίƀο ἤƃƀλ, Ƃἰ θƀὶ βƀƃηιηθƀὶ
(189) Dionysius, the tyrant,51 although doing everything possible, gained the
friendship of one of them, since they avoided and shunned his monarchical and
Dionysius the Younger was the tyrant of Syracuse in the years 367–357 BC, and again in 346–344
shunned his monarchical and lawless rule. He sent against these men an armed troop
of 30 led by Eurymenes the Syracusan, a brother of Dion, to ambush them at
opportune time when their customary migration from Tarentum to Metapontium took
place; for they adapted themselves to changes of the seasons, and selected suitable
places for such… (191) And they would have actually succeeded (for weighted down
with heavy arms, those with Eurymenes were abandoning the pursuit) had they not
encountered while fleeing a field planted and fully blooming with beans. And not
wishing to transgress the decree which ordered them not to touch beans, they stopped
and by necessity defended themselves against those in pursuit. Each one (fought) with
stones, sticks, and whatever else there was, until they had killed and wounded many.
Nevertheless, all were destroyed by the tyrant‘s bodyguards and no one was taken
alive, but rather than that, they gladly accepted death in accord with the commands of
their school… (193) When Myllias inquired what he was eager to learn, Dionysius
said: ―Just this: what was the reason your companions chose to die rather than tread on
beans?‖ And Myllias immediately replied, ―Those submitted to death in order that
they not tread on beans, and I would choose rather to tread on beans then to tell you
the reason for this.‖ (194) Dionysius was astounded, ordered him removed by force,
and commanded infliction of tortures on Timycha (for he believed since she was a
woman, both pregnant and deprived of her husband, she would readily divulge this for
fear of the tortures). But the noble woman clamped her teeth on her tongue, cut it off
and spat it at the tyrant, showing that, even if her female nature, conquered by tortures,
were compelled to reveal something of the things kept secret, that which would serve
that purpose would be removed to her. So slow were they to make friendship outside
the school, even if they were friendship with kings. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 197–201)
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T.183c Pseudo-Elias (?Stephen of Alexandria), Prolegomena to Philosophy 6 (15 Busse).
?AD 610–41
OF 648vii
γνῦλ ΠπζƀγόξƂηνλ γύλƀηνλ ὑπὸ Ƅπξάλλνπ ƃπƃρƂζὲλ θƀὶ ἀλƀγθƀδόκƂλνλ ἐμνξρήƃƀƃζƀη
Ƅὰ ἀπόξξεƄƀ, ƄνῦƄ‘ ἔƃƄη Ƅὴλ ƀἰƄίƀλ ƂἰπƂ῔λ, Ɓη‘ ἡλ νὐθ ἐƃζίνπƃη θπάκνπο (ἤλ γὰξ πƀξ‘
ƀὐƄν῔ο Ƅὸ Ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƅƀγέƂηλ, θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ), ἔƅε ‗ƅάγνηκη ἂλ ἠ Ƃἴπνηκη,‘
Ƅνῦ Ɓὲ ƅƀγƂ῔λ ἀλƀγθάδνλƄνο πάιηλ ƂἶπƂλ ‗Ƃἴπνηκη ἂλ ἠ ƅάγνηκη.‘ Ƅέινο νὖλ
ἀλƀγθƀδνκέλε Ɓπν῔λ ζάƄƂξνλ πξ᾵μƀη, ἠ ƅƀγƂ῔λ ἠ ƂἰπƂ῔λ, κƀƃεƃƀκέλε Ƅὴλ ἑƀπƄ῅ο
γι῵ƄƄƀλ ἀπέƄƂκƂλ ὡο ὄξγƀλνλ ƁηƀιέθƄνπ θƀὶ γƂύƃƂσο, θƀὶ ἐλƄƂῦζƂλ ƀἰθηδνκέλε
κƂƄήιιƀμƂ Ƅὸλ βίνλ.52
The Pythagorean women, who was arrested by the tyrant and compelled to reveal their
mysteries, that is, to say the reason, why they do not eat beans (for they had this
saying: ‗To eat beans is as much as to eat your parents‘ heads‘), she said, then: ‗I
would rather eat them than tell you the reason.‘ And when the tyrant, in turn,
compelled her to eat she said: ‗I would rather tell you the reason than eat them.‘
Finally, the woman, who had to make a choice between eating and speaking, ended by
biting off her own tongue―as the organ both of speech and taste―and thus, having
been tortured, left her life. (trans. E. O.)
The abbreviated version of the same story is found in Olympiodorus‘ Commentary on the Phaedo 1.8
(51 Westerink).
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T.184 Corpus Theognideum, Elegiaca 1.425–28 (28 Diehl)
before fourth century BC
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ΠάλƄσλ κὲλ κὴ ƅῦλƀη ἐπηρζνλίνηƃηλ ἄξηƃƄνλ
κεƁ᾽ ἐƃηƁƂ῔λ ƀὐγὰο ὀμένο ἞Ƃιίνπ,
ƅύλƄƀ Ɓ᾽ ὅπσο ὤθηƃƄƀ πύιƀο ἈΐƁƀν πƂξ῅ƃƀη
θƀὶ θƂ῔ƃζƀη πνιιὴλ γ῅λ ἐπƀκεƃάκƂλνλ.
Best is for mortals never to have been born at all, nor seen the rays of the bright sun;
or else, once born, to pass through Hades‘ gates at breakneck speed and lie well
wrapped in earth. (trans. Annas 203)
T.185 Anonymus qtd. in Iamblichus of Chalcis, Exhortation to the Study of Philosophy 21
(150 Places)
before AD 290s
Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
Τὸ Ɓὲ θ π ά κ σ λ ἀ π έ ρ ν π ƃπκβνπιƂύƂη ƅπιάƄƄƂƃζƀη π᾵λ ὅƃνλ ἐƃƄὶ ƅζƀξƄηθὸλ Ƅ῅ο
πξὸο ζƂνὺο ὁκηιίƀο θƀὶ π᾵λ ὅƃνλ ἐƃƄὶ ƅζƀξƄηθὸλ Ƅ῅ο πξὸο ζƂνὺο ὁκηιίƀο θƀὶ Ƅ῅ο ζƂίƀο
This, ‗abstain from beans,‘ advises us to beware of everything which is corruptive of
our converse with the Gods and divine prophecy. (trans. Johnson 111)
T.186 Dioscorides of Anazarbus, De materia medica 2.105 (1: 179 Wellmann). AD 50–70
θ ύ ƀ κ ν ο ἗ ι ι ε λ η θ ὸ ο πλƂπκƀƄσƄηθόο, ƅπƃώƁεο, ƁύƃπƂπƄνο, ƁπƃόλƂηξνο…
The Greek bean is full of wind, causes flatulence, is difficult to digest, and causes bad
dreams… (trans. Beck 136)
T. 187 Corpus Hippocraticum, On Diet 2.45.1 (44 Joly)
after 370 BC
Κύƀκνη, Ƅξόƅηκόλ Ƅη θƀὶ ƃƄƀƄηθὸλ θƀὶ ƅπƃ῵ƁƂο· ƅπƃ῵ƁƂο κὲλ ὅƄη νὐ ƁέρνλƄƀη νἱ πόξνη
Ƅὴλ Ƅξνƅὴλ ἁιέƀ ἐπηνῦƃƀλ· ƃƄάƃηκνλ Ɓὲ ὅƄη ὀιίγελ ἔρƂη Ƅὴλ ὑπνƃƄάζκελ Ƅ῅ο Ƅξνƅ῅ο.
Beans afford an astringent and flatulent nourishment; flatulent because that the
passages do not admit the abundant nourishment which is brought, astringent because
that it has only a small residue from its nourishment. (trans. Jones 315)
T.188 Cicero, On the Divination 1.30.62 (39 Giomini)
OF vol. 2, p. 216
45–44 BC
ex quo etiam Pythagoriis interdictum putatur, ne faba vescerentur, quod habet
inflationem magnam is cibus tranquillitati mentis querenti vera contrariam.
For this reason it is thought that the Pythagoreans were forbidden to eat beans, because
that food produces great flatulence which is prejudicial to the tranquility of a soul in
search of the truth. (trans. Wardle 66)
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T.189 Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 11 Thesleff (p. 163) qtd. in Timaeus of
classical period
Ƅ῵λ Ɓὲ θπάκσλ ὑπεγόξƂπƂλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ πλƂπκƀƄώƁƂηο ὄλƄƀο κάιηƃƄƀ κƂƄέρƂηλ
Ƅνῦ ςπρηθνῦ· θƀὶ ἄιισο θνƃκησƄέξƀο ἀπƂξγάδƂƃζƀη, κὴ πƀξƀιεƅζέλƄƀο, Ƅὰο
γƀƃƄέξƀο. θƀὶ Ɓηὰ ƄνῦƄν θƀὶ Ƅὰο θƀζ᾽ ὕπλνπο ƅƀλƄƀƃίƀο ιƂίƀο θƀὶ ἀƄƀξάρνπο
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Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.24 (613 Dorandi)
To abstain from beans because they are flatulent and partake most of the breath of life;
and besides, it is better for the stomach if they are not taken, and this again will make
our dreams in sleep smooth and untroubled. (trans. Hicks 2: 341)
T.190 Varro of Reate, De vita populi Romani fr. 445 Salvadore qtd. in Pliny the Elder,
Natural History 18.118 (175 Mayhoff)
ca. 47 BC
quin et prisco ritu pulsa fabata suae religionis diis in sacro est. praevalens pulmentari
cibo, set hebetare sensus existimata, insomnia quoque facere, ob haec Pythagoricae
sententiae damnata, ut alii tradidere, quoniam mortuorum animae sint in ea, qua de
causa parentando utique adsumitur.
Moreover in ancient ritual bean pottage has a sanctity of its own in sacrifice to the
gods. It occupies a high place as a delicacy for the table, but it was thought to have a
dulling effect on the senses, and also to cause sleeplessness, and it was under a ban
with the Pythagorean system on that account—or, as others have reported, because the
souls of the dead are contained in a bean, and at all events it is for that reason that
beans are employed in memorial sacrifices to dead relatives. (trans. Rackham 263–65)
T.191 John the Lydian, On Months 4.42 (100 Wuensch)
before AD 554
ƄνύƄνπ ράξηλ Ƃἰο Ƅνὺο Ƅάƅνπο θύƀκνη ῥίπƄνλƄƀη ὑπὲξ ƃσƄεξίƀο ἀλζξώπσλ.
For this reason beans are thrown into the graves for the sake of the well-being of
humans. (trans. Bandy 213)
T.192 Aristotle, On the Soul 410b.27–411a.2 (22–23 Ross)
after 335 B
ƄνῦƄν Ɓὲ πέπνλζƂ θƀὶ ὁ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ὆ξƅηθν῔ο θƀινπκέλνηο ἔπƂƃη ιόγνο· ƅεƃὶ γὰξ Ƅὴλ
ςπρὴλ ἐθ Ƅνῦ ὅινπ Ƃἰƃηέλƀη ἀλƀπλƂόλƄσλ, ƅƂξνκέλελ ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ ἀλέκσλ…
The account given in the so-called Orphic poems is open to the same strictures. For the
soul, it is there asserted, enters from the universe in the process of respiration, being
borne upon the winds. (trans. Hicks 43)
T.193 Apollonius of Tyana, Life of Pythagoras, FGrHist 1064 F2 qtd. in Iamblichus of
Chalcis, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 35.260 (139–40 Deubner). Before AD 100
Ƅν῔ο θπάκνηο πνιƂκƂ῔λ ὡο ἀξρεγν῔ο γƂγνλόƃη Ƅνῦ θιήξνπ θƀὶ Ƅνῦ θƀζηƃƄάλƀη Ƅνὺο
ιƀρόλƄƀο ἐπὶ Ƅὰο ἐπηκƂιƂίƀο.
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They are to war against beans, since they are lords of the lot, and established those
chosen by lot in their public offices. (trans. Dillon–Hershbell 251)
T.194 Pseudo-Plutarch, Education of Children 17, 12E (24 Gärtner)
after AD 120
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‗θπάκσλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη‘ ὅƄη νὐ ƁƂ῔ πνιηƄƂύƂƃζƀη· θπƀκƂπƄƀὶ γὰξ ἤƃƀλ ἔκπξνƃζƂλ ƀἱ
ςεƅνƅνξίƀη Ɓη᾽ ὧλ πέξƀο ἐπƂƄίζƂƃƀλ Ƅƀ῔ο ἀξρƀ῔ο.
‗Abstain from beans;‘ means that a man should keep out of politics, for beans were
used in earlier times for voting upon the removal of magistrates from office. (Babbitt
1: 61)
T.195 Pseudo-Nonnus, Scholia Mythologica 4.17 (83 Nimmo Smith)
AD sixth century
἗πƄƀθƀηƁƂθάƄε ἐƃƄὶλ ἱƃƄνξίƀ ἟ θƀƄὰ Ƅνὺο Ππζƀγνξηθνὺο θπάκνπο. ἔƃƄη Ɓὲ ƀὕƄε.
ΠπζƀγόξƂηνη γέλνο ƅηινƃόƅσλ ἐθ Ππζƀγόξνπ Ƅνῦ Σƀκίνπ. νὗƄνη Ɓη‘ ƀἰληγκάƄσλ Ƅὰ Ƅ῅ο
ƅηινƃνƅίƀο ἐκάλζƀλνλ ƁόγκƀƄƀ. πƀξƂƁίƁνƄν Ɓὲ κƂƄὰ Ƅὰ ἄιιƀ θƀὶ ƄνῦƄν Ƅὸ ƀἴληγκƀ,
Κπάκνπο κὴ ἐƃζίƂηλ. ƄνπƄέƃƄη, κὴ πξνƁηƁόλƄƀο Ƅὸ Ɓίθƀηνλ ƁσξνƁνθƂ῔ƃζƀη ρξήκƀƃηλ. νἱ
γὰξ Ἀζήλῃƃη πάιƀη ƁηθƀƃƄƀὶ ἀλƄὶ ςήƅσλ θπάκνηο ἐρξ῵λƄν πξὸο θƀƄάθξηƃηλ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο
ƁηθƀƃƄεξίνηο. ƅεƃὶλ νὖλ ἐθ Ƅ῵λ θπάκσλ Ƅ῵λ ἐθ Ƅνῦ ƁηθƀƃƄεξίνπ κὴ ƁƂ῔λ ἐƃζίƂηλ.
Seventeenth is the story about the Pythagorean beans. It is this. The Pythagoreans are a
sect of philosophers (who derived) from Pythagoras the Samian. These learnt the
precepts of the philosophy by means of riddles. This riddle, too, was handed down
among the rest. ‗Do not eat beans.‘ This is, ‗Do not take bribes in betrayal of justice.‘
For long ago in Athens the jurors used beans instead of counters for judgments in the
law-courts. So he says that one should not eat of the beans from the law-court. (trans.
Nimmo Smith 13)
T.196 (cf. T.68) Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff
classical period
OF 648
ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ.
It is the same, you see, whether you eat beans or the heads of your parents. (trans.
Schütrumpf 239)
T.197 Antonius Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule fr. 2b Stephens qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre,
Life of Pythagoras 43 (56 Places)
?AD second century
OF 648xii; Akousmata & Symbola no. 6 Cardini
ἴƃƀ Ɓὲ θπάκσλ πƀξῄλƂη ἀπέρƂƃζƀη θƀζάπƂξ ἀλζξσπίλσλ ƃƀξθ῵λ.
He advised his followers to abstain from beans as they would from human flesh.
(trans. Stephens 145)
T.198 (cf. T.18) Heraclides of Pontus, On the Pythagoreans fr. 129 Schütrumpf qtd. in John
the Lydian, On Months 4.42 (99 Wuensch)
339 BC
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OF 648iii + OF 648
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ὁ Ɓὲ ΠνλƄηθὸο ἧξƀθιƂίƁεο ƅεƃίλ, ὡο Ƃἴ Ƅηο Ƅὸλ θύƀκνλ ἐλ θƀηλῆ ζήθῃ ἐκβƀιὼλ
ἀπνθξύςƂη Ƅῆ θόπξῳ ἐπὶ ƄƂƃƃƀξάθνλƄƀ πάƃƀο ἟κέξƀο, Ƃἰο ὄςηλ ἀλζξώπνπ
ƃƂƃƀξθσκέλνπ κƂƄƀβƀιόλƄƀ Ƅὸλ θύƀκνλ ƂὑξήƃƂη, θƀὶ Ɓηὰ ƄνῦƄν Ƅὸλ πνηεƄὴλ ƅάλƀη·
ἶƃόλ Ƅνη θπάκνπο ƄƂ ƅƀγƂ῔λ θƂƅƀιάο ƄƂ Ƅνθήσλ.
Heraclides Ponticus says that if somebody throws a bean into a new coffin and covers
it with dung foe a full 40 days, he will find that the bean has changed into the
appearance of a human in full flesh. And (he continues) this is why the poet said:
‗It is the same, you see, whether you eat beans or the heads of your parents.‘
(OF 648 = Pseudo-Pythagoras, Hieros Logos fr. 5 Thesleff) (trans. Schütrumpf
T.199 Pythagorean Memoirs qtd. in Alexander Polyhistor of Miletus, Successions of
Philosophers, FGrHist 273 F93
350 BC
Transmitted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.29 (616 Dorandi)
κνξƅνῦƃζƀη Ɓὲ Ƅὸ κὲλ πξ῵Ƅνλ πƀγὲλ ἐλ ἟κέξƀηο ƄƂƃƃƀξάθνλƄƀ, θƀƄὰ Ɓὲ Ƅνὺο Ƅ῅ο
ἁξκνλίƀο ιόγνπο ἐλ ἑπƄὰ ἠ ἐλλέƀ ἠ Ɓέθƀ Ƅὸ πιƂ῔ƃƄνλ κεƃὶ ƄƂιƂσζὲλ ἀπνθπΐƃθƂƃζƀη Ƅὸ
First congealing in about 40 days, it receives form and, according to the ratios of
harmony, in seven, nine, or at the most ten, months, the mature child is brought forth.
(trans. Hicks 2: 345)
T.200 Antonius Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule, book 13 fr. 1b Stephens qtd. in John the
Lydian, On Months 4.42 (99–100 Wuensch)
?AD second century
OF vol. 2, p. 216
Γηνγέλεο Ɓὲ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ƄξηƃθƀηƁƂθάƄῃ ἀπίƃƄσλ ƄƀῦƄά ƅεƃηλ· ƄόƄƂ ἀπὸ Ƅ῅ο ƀὐƄ῅ο
ƃεπέƁνλνο ἄλζξσπνλ ƃπƃƄ῅λƀη θƀὶ θύƀκνλ βιƀƃƄ῅ƃƀη. ƄνύƄνπ Ɓὲ ƅƀλƂξὰ ἐπ῅γƂ
ƄƂθκήξηƀ· Ƃἰ γὰξ Ƅηο ƁηƀƄξƀγὼλ θύƀκνλ θƀὶ Ƅν῔ο ὀƁνῦƃη ιƂάλƀο ἐλ ἀιέᾳ Ƅ῅ο Ƅνῦ ἟ιίνπ
βνι῅ο θƀƄƀζƂίε πξὸο ὀιίγνλ, ƂἶƄƀ ἀλƀƃƄὰο ἐπƀλέιζνη κƂƄ‘ νὐ πνιύ, Ƃὕξνη ἂλ ὀƁσƁόƄƀ
ἀλζξσπƂίνπ ƅόλνπ· Ƃἰ Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἀλζνῦλƄνο ἐλ Ƅῶ βιƀƃƄάλƂηλ Ƅνῦ θπάκνπ ιƀβώλ Ƅηο
πƂξθάδνλƄνο Ƅνῦ ἄλζνπο βξƀρὺ ἐλζƂίε ἀγγƂίῳ θƂξƀκƂῶ θƀὶ ἐπίζƂκƀ ἐπηζƂὶο ἐλ Ƅῆ γῆ ƄƂ
θƀƄνξύμƂηƂ θƀὶ ἐλλƂλήθνλƄƀ πƀξƀƅπιάμƂηƂλ ἟κέξƀο κƂƄὰ Ƅὸ θƀƄνξπρζ῅λƀη, ƂἶƄƀ κƂƄὰ
ƄƀῦƄƀ ὀξύμƂηƂ θƀὶ ιάβνη θƀὶ ἀƅέινη Ƅὸ π῵κƀ, Ƃὕξνη ἂλ ἀλƄὶ Ƅνῦ θπάκνπ ἠ πƀηƁὸο
θƂƅƀιὴλ ƃπλƂƃƄ῵ƃƀλ ἠ γπλƀηθὸο ƀἰƁν῔νλ.
Diogenes in the 13th book of his Incredible Things says: ‗At that time from the same
putrescence human beings were formed and beans sprouted. He adduces evident
proofs of this. For if one thoroughly chews a bean and mashes it into a paste with
one‘s teeth and leaves it for a little while in a spot warmed by the sun‘s rays and then
returns after a short interval, he would find it smelling of human gore. And if when the
bean plant is blossoming one takes a bit of its ripening floweret and places it in a
covered ceramic vessel and buries it in the earth and returns to dig it up after 90 days,
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then one would find on taking off the lid that instead of a bean there had been formed
either a child‘s head or a woman‘s genitals.‘ (trans. Stephens 131)
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OF vol. 2, p. 216
T.201 Antonius Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule fr. 2b Stephens qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre,
Life of Pythagoras 44 (56–57 Places)
?AD second century
ἱƃƄνξνῦƃη Ɓ‘ ƀὐƄὸλ ἀπƀγνξƂύƂηλ Ƅὸ ƄνηνῦƄν ὅƄη Ƅ῅ο πξώƄεο Ƅ῵λ ὅισλ ἀξρ῅ο θƀὶ
γƂλέƃƂσο ƄƀξƀƄƄνκέλεο θƀὶ πνιι῵λ ἅκƀ ƃπλελƂγκέλσλ θƀὶ ƃπƃπƂηξνκέλσλ θƀὶ
ƃπƃƃεπνκέλσλ ἐλ Ƅῆ γῆ θƀƄ‘ ὀιίγνλ γέλƂƃηο θƀὶ Ɓηάθξηƃηο ƃπλέƃƄε δῴσλ ƄƂ ὁκνῦ
γƂλλσκέλσλ θƀὶ ƅπƄ῵λ ἀλƀƁηƁνκέλσλ, ƄόƄƂ Ɓὴ ἀπὸ Ƅ῅ο ƀὐƄ῅ο ƃεπƂƁόλνο ἀλζξώπνπο
ƃπƃƄ῅λƀη θƀὶ θύƀκνλ βιƀƃƄ῅ƃƀη. ƄνύƄνπ ƄƂ ƅƀλƂξὰ ἐπ῅γƂ ƄƂθκήξηƀ. Ƃἰ γάξ Ƅηο
ƁηƀƄξƀγὼλ θύƀκνλ θƀὶ Ƅν῔ο ὀƁνῦƃη ιƂάλƀο ἐλ ἀιέᾳ Ƅ῅ο Ƅνῦ ἟ιίνπ βνι῅ο θƀƄƀζƂίε πξὸο
ὀιίγνλ, ƂἶƄ‘ ἀπνƃƄὰο ἐπƀλέιζνη κƂƄ‘ νὐ πνιύ, Ƃὕξνη ἂλ ὀƁσƁόƄƀ ἀλζξσπƂίνπ γόλνπ· Ƃἰ
Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἀλζνῦλƄνο ἐλ Ƅῶ βιƀƃƄάλƂηλ Ƅνῦ θπάκνπ ιƀβώλ Ƅηο πƂξθάδνλƄνο Ƅνῦ ἄλζνπο
βξƀρὺ ἐλζƂίε ἀγγƂίῳ θƂξƀκƂῶ θƀὶ ἐπίζεκƀ ἐπηζƂὶο ἐλ Ƅῆ γῆ θƀƄνξύμƂηƂλ θƀὶ
ἐλƂλήθνλƄƀ πƀξƀƅπιάμƂηƂλ ἟κέξƀο κƂƄὰ Ƅὸ θƀƄνξπρζ῅λƀη, ƂἶƄƀ κƂƄὰ ƄƀῦƄƀ ὀξύμƀο
ιάβνη θƀὶ ἀƅέινη Ƅὸ π῵κƀ, Ƃὕξνη ἂλ ἀλƄὶ Ƅνῦ θπάκνπ ἠ πƀηƁὸο θƂƅƀιὴλ ƃπλƂƃƄ῵ƃƀλ ἠ
γπλƀηθὸο ƀἰƁν῔νλ.
They report that he issued such a ban because when the first principle of generation
was all in a confusion and many things had been combined together and their various
seeds and putrescences were coming together in the earth, there gradually occurred a
generation and a separating out of living creatures that had been generated together
and plants that had sprung up. At that time from the same putrescence human beings
were formed and beans sprouted. He adduces evident proofs of this. For if one
thoroughly chews a bean and mashes it into a paste with one‘s teeth and leaves it for a
little while in a spot warmed by the sun‘s rays and then returns after a short interval,
he will find it smelling of human gore. And if when the bean plant is blossoming one
takes a bit of its ripening floweret and places it in a covered ceramic vessel and buries
it in the earth and returns to dig it up after 90 days, then one will find on taking off lid
that instead of a bean there had been formed either a child‘s head or a woman‘s
genitals. (trans. Stephens 145)
T.202 John the Lydian, On Months 4.42 (100 Wuensch)
before AD 554
ὥƃƄƂ ἀƅƂθƄένλ θƀƄὰ Ππζƀγόξƀλ θπάκνπ, ὡο θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ιƂγνκέλσλ ρξπƃνιƀράλσλ,
ἐπƂηƁὴ θƀὶ ƀὐƄ῵λ ἟ γέλƂƃηο ἐμ ἐκκήλσλ γπλƀηθ῵λ ἐƃƄη…. ὅƄη Ɓὲ θύƀκνο ἀπὸ Ƅνῦ
ƀἵκƀƄνο ƂἴξεƄƀη, ƁπλƀƄὸλ Ƅῆ πƂίξᾳ πƀξƀιƀβƂ῔λ·Ƃἴ Ƅηο γὰξ ƀὐƄὸλ ἀπνβξέμƂη ἐπὶ
λπρζήκƂξνλ, Ƅὸ ἐλ ƀὐƄῶ ὕƁσξ ιύζξνλ ƂὑξήƃƂη.
According to Pythagoras one must abstain, therefore, from the bean, as also from the
so-called chrysolachana, since also their generation springs from menses of women…
That the bean has been said to be from blood53 can be accepted by experience. For, if
Compare the etymology θύƀκνο ἀπὸ Ƅνῦ ƀἵκƀƄνο (bean is derived from blood) to another one:
θπάκνπο… ƀἴƄηνη Ƅνῦ θπƂ῔λ (beans are responsible for procreation), given by Empedocles (T.105). Robert S.
Beekes in the Etymological Dictionary of Greek rejects both etymologies to conclude that the word θύƀκνο is of
pre-Greek origin (Beekes 792–93 s.v. ―kyamos‖).
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anyone will soak the bean for a night and a day, he will find the water in it to be gore.
(trans. Bandy 213)
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OF 582
․Ƅεο ΜƂλάλƁξνπ ὁ ζƂνƅάλƄεο ἀλέζεθƂλ.
ƄƂο ὅƃνη ƄέκƂλνο Βξνκίνπ λƀνύο ƄƂ πƂξ᾵ƄƂ,
ƄƂƃƃƀξάθνλƄƀ κὲλ ἢκƀƄƀ ἀπ‘ ἐρζέƃƂσο πƂƅύιƀρζƂ
λεπηάρνην βξέƅνπο, κὴ Ɓὴ κήλƂηκƀ γέλεƄƀη,
(5) ἔθƄξσƃίλ ƄƂ γπλƀηθὸο ὁκνίσο ἢκƀƄƀ Ƅόƃƃƀ·
ἠλ Ɓέ Ƅηλ‘ νἰθƂίσλ ζάλƀƄνο θƀὶ κν῔ξƀ θƀιύςῃ,
ƂἴξγƂƃζƀη κελὸο ƄξίƄƀƄνλ κέξνο ἐθ πξνπύινην·
ἠλ Ɓ‘ ἂξ‘ ἀπ‘ ἀιινƄξίσλ νἴθσλ Ƅη κίƀƃκƀ γέλεƄƀη,
἞Ƃιίνπο Ƅξηƃƃνὺο κƂ῔λƀη λέθπνο ƅζηκέλνην,
(10) κεƁὲ κƂιƀλƅάξνπο πξνƃίλƀη βσκν῔ƃη ἄλƀθƄ(νο
κεƁ‘ ἀζύƄνηο ζπƃίƀηο ἱƂξ῵λ ἐπὶ ρ῔ξƀο ἰάι(ιƂηλ)
κεƁ‘ ἐλ ΒƀθρƂίνηο ᾠὸλ πνƄὶ Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀ Ƅ(ηζƂƃζƀη)
θƀὶ θξƀƁίελ θƀξπνῦλ ἱƂξν῔ο βσκν῔ο
἟ƁƂόƃκνπ Ƅ‘ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη, ὃλ Γεκ(εƄεξ ἀκάζπλƂλ·)
(15) ἐρζξνƄάƄελ ῥίδƀλ θπάκσλ ἐθ ƃπέ(ξκƀƄνο
ΤƂηƄάλσλ πξνιέγƂηλ κύƃƄƀηο ….
T.203 Sacred law concerning the cult of Dionysus Bromios, Smyrna, LSAM no. 84. AD
second century
The theophantes … son of Menandros dedicated (this stele). All who enter the
temenos and temples of Bromios: avoid for forty days after the exposure of a newborn
child, so that (divine) wrath does not occur; after the miscarriage of a woman for the
same amount of days. If he conceals the death and fate of a relative, keep away from
the propylon for the third of a month. If impurity occurs from other houses, remain for
three days after the departure of the dead. No one wearing black clothes may approach
the altar of the king, nor lay hands on things not sacrificed from sacrificial animals,
nor place an egg as food at the Bacchic feast, nor sacrifice a heart on the holy altars
(…) keep away from the wild mint, which Demeter (treaded into the soil); and the
most hateful root of beans from seed of Titans; proclaim to the mystai… (trans. Rostad
259, modified)
T.204 Dio Chrysostom, Charidemos (Or. 30) 10 (408 Cohoon)
OF 320vii
?before AD 115
ἔρνλƄƀ Ɓέ Ƅη ζƀπκƀƃƄὸλ ἴƃσο᾿ ὅƄη Ƅνῦ Ƅ῵λ ΤηƄάλσλ ƀἵκƀƄόο ἐƃκƂλ ἟κƂ῔ο ἅπƀλƄƂο νἱ
ἄλζξσπνη. ὡο νὖλ ἐθƂίλσλ ἐρζξ῵λ ὄλƄσλ Ƅν῔ο ζƂν῔ο θƀὶ πνιƂκεƃάλƄσλ νὐƁὲ ἟κƂ῔ο
ƅίινη ἐƃκέλ, ἀιιὰ θνιƀδόκƂζά ƄƂ ὑπ ƀὐƄ῵λ θƀὶ ἐπὶ Ƅηκσξίᾳ γƂγόλƀκƂλ, ἐλ ƅξνπξᾶ Ɓὴ
ὄλƄƂο ἐλ Ƅῶ βίῳ ƄνƃνῦƄνλ ρξόλνλ ὅƃνλ ἕθƀƃƄνη δ῵κƂλ. Ƅνὺο Ɓὲ ἀπνζλῄƃθνλƄƀο ἟κ῵λ
θƂθνιƀƃκέλνπο ἢƁε ἱθƀλ῵ο ιύƂƃζƀί ƄƂ θƀὶ ἀπƀιιάƄƄƂƃζƀη.
It is to the effect that all we human beings are of the blood of the Titans. Then,
because they were hateful to the gods and had waged war on them, we are not dear to
them either, but are punished by them and have been born for chastisement, being, in
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truth, imprisoned in life for as long a time as we each live. And when any of us die, it
means that we, having already been sufficiently chastised, are released and go our
way. (trans. Cohoon 409)
AD 160–80
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OF 649ii
T.205 Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.15.3–4 (3: 253 Rocha-Pereira)
ſƂλƂƀƄ῵λ Ɓέ ἐƃƄη ιόγνο, θƀὶ πξὶλ ἠ Νƀὸλ ἀƅηθέƃζƀη γὰξ θƀὶ ἐλƄƀῦζƀ ΓήκεƄξƀ
πιƀλσκέλελ: ὅƃνη Ɓὲ ſƂλƂƀƄ῵λ νἴθῳ ƄƂ θƀὶ μƂλίνηο ἐƁέμƀλƄν ƀὐƄήλ, ƄνύƄνηο Ƅὰ
ὄƃπξηƀ ἟ ζƂὸο Ƅὰ ἄιιƀ, θύƀκνλ Ɓὲ νὐθ ἔƁσθέ ƃƅηƃη. θύƀκνλ κὲλ νὖλ ἐƅ᾽ ὅƄῳ κὴ
θƀζƀξὸλ Ƃἶλƀη λνκίδνπƃηλ ὄƃπξηνλ, ἔƃƄηλ ἱƂξὸο ἐπ᾽ ƀὐƄῶ ιόγνο.
The Pheneatians have a story that even before Naus arrived the wanderings of
Demeter brought her to their city also. To those Pheneatians who received her with
hospitality into their homes the goddess gave all sorts of pulse save the bean only.
There is a sacred story to explain why the bean in their eyes is an impure kind of
pulse.54 (trans. Jones 3: 421)
T.206 Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.37.4 (1: 86 Rocha-Pereira)
AD 160–80
OF 649i
ᾠθνƁόκεƄƀη Ɓὲ θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ ὁƁὸλ λƀὸο νὐ κέγƀο θƀινύκƂλνο ΚπƀκίƄνπ· ƃƀƅὲο Ɓὲ νὐƁὲλ
ἔρσ ιέγƂηλ ƂἴƄƂ πξ῵Ƅνο θπάκνπο ἔƃπƂηξƂλ νὗƄνο ƂἴƄƂ Ƅηλὰ ἐπƂƅήκηƃƀλ ἣξσƀ, ὅƄη Ƅ῵λ
θπάκσλ ἀλƂλƂγθƂ῔λ νὐθ ἔƃƄη ƃƅίƃηλ ἐο ΓήκεƄξƀ Ƅὴλ ƂὕξƂƃηλ. ὅƃƄηο Ɓὲ ἢƁε ƄƂιƂƄὴλ
἖ιƂπƃ῔λη ƂἶƁƂλ ἠ Ƅὰ θƀινύκƂλƀ ὆ξƅηθὰ ἐπƂιέμƀƄν, νἶƁƂλ ὃ ιέγσ.
On the road stands a small temple called that of Cyamites. I cannot state for certain
whether he was the first to sow beans, or whether they gave this name to a hero
because they may not attribute to Demeter the discovery of beans. Whoever has been
initiated at Eleusis or has read what are called the Orphica knows what I mean. (trans.
Jones 1: 198)
T.207 Photius, Lexicon K 1137 (451 Theodoridis)
AD 845–55
ΚπƀκίƄεο· ἟ξ῵νο ἤλ ὄλνκƀ θύξηνλ· ἴƃσο Ɓὲ ἐμ ἐπσλπκίƀο Ƅ῵λ θπάκσλ, Ɓη᾽ ὅƄη πƀξ᾽
ƀὐƄῶ ἐθιεξνῦλƄν νἱ θπƀκίƄƀη ἄξρνλƄƂο· ἠ ὅƄη ὁ θύƀκνο ἐπηπξάƃθƂƄν πƀξ᾽ ƀὐƄῶ.
Kyamites: the name of hero in nominative, perhaps he may have been named from the
beans, because in his (temple) archons were elected by lot with beans, or because the
bean market was located not far from there. (trans. E. O.)
T.208 Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Histories 2.37.5 (163 Rosén)
443 BC
The text concerns th mysteries of Demeter Thesmia at Pheneos, Arcadia, about which next to nothing
is known (Jost 154–55).
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θπάκνπ Ɓὲ νὔƄƂ Ƅη κάιƀ ƃπƂίξνπƃη ΑἰγύπƄηνη ἐλ Ƅῆ ρώξῃ, Ƅνύο ƄƂ γƂλνκέλνπο νὔƄƂ
Ƅξώγνπƃη νὔƄƂ ἕςνλƄƂο πƀƄένλƄƀη· νἱ Ɓὲ Ɓὴ ἱξέƂο νὐƁὲ ὁξένλƄƂο ἀλέρνλƄƀη, λνκίδνλƄƂο
νὐ θƀζƀξὸλ Ƃἶλƀί κηλ ὄƃπξηνλ.
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The Egyptians sow no beans in their country; if any grow, they will not eat them either
raw or cooked; the priests cannot endure even to see them, considering beans an
unclean kind of legume. (trans. Godley 321)
T.209 Aristagoras of Miletus, History of Egypt, FGrHist 608 F7 qtd. in Plutarch of
Chaeronea, De Iside et Osiride 5 (124 Griffiths)
?fourth century BC
νἱ Ɓ᾽ ἱƂξƂ῔ο νὕƄσ ƁπƃρƂξƀίλνπƃη Ƅὴλ Ƅ῵λ πƂξηƄƄσκάƄσλ ƅύƃηλ, ὥƃƄƂ κὴ κόλνλ
πƀξƀηƄƂ῔ƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ ὀƃπξίσλ Ƅὰ πνιιὰ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ θξƂ῵λ Ƅὰ κήιƂηƀ θƀὶ ὕƂηƀ, πνιιὴλ
πνηνῦλƄƀ πƂξίƄƄσƃηλ, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ Ƅνὺο ἅιƀο Ƅ῵λ ƃηƄίσλ ἐλ Ƅƀ῔ο ἁγλƂίƀηο ἀƅƀηξƂ῔λ…
The priests have such a loathing for the growth of surplus matter that they not only
reject most kind a of pulse and of flesh of sheep and swine because they produce much
surplus fat, but also in their periods of purification they exclude salt from food…
(trans. Griffiths 125)
T.210 Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 8.8.2, 729A (287 Hubert)
AD 99–110
ΑἰγππƄίσλ Ɓὲ Ƅν῔ο ƃνƅν῔ο ƃπγγƂλέƃζƀη πνιὺλ ρξόλνλ ὁκνινγƂ῔Ƅƀη δει῵ƃƀί ƄƂ πνιιὰ
θƀὶ Ɓνθηκάƃƀη κάιηƃƄƀ Ƅ῵λ πƂξὶ Ƅὰο ἱƂξƀƄηθὰο ἁγηƃƄƂίƀο, νἷόλ ἐƃƄη θƀὶ Ƅὸ Ƅ῵λ θπάκσλ·
νὔƄƂ γὰξ ƃπƂίξƂηλ νὔƄƂ ƃηƄƂ῔ƃζƀη θύƀκνλ ΑἰγππƄίνπο, ἀιι᾽ νὐƁ᾽ ὁξ῵λƄƀο ἀλέρƂƃζƀί
ƅεƃηλ ὁ ἧξόƁνƄνο. ἰρζύσλ Ɓὲ † θƀὶ Ƅνὺο ἱƂξƂ῔ο ἴƃκƂλ ἔƄη λῦλ ἀπƂρνκέλνπο…
But it is fully agreed that he (sc. Pythagoras) associated for a long while with the wise
men of Egypt, and that he emulated them in many ways and considered them to be of
very great authority in matters of priestly ritual. An example is abstention from beans;
Herodotus (Histories 2.37.5) says that the Egyptians neither plant nor eat beans, and
cannot even bear to look at them; and we know that even now the priests abstain from
fish. (Minar 177)
T.211 Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.12.31–33 (64–65 Kaster)
AD 395
(31) Non nonnulli putaverunt Iunium mensum a Iunio Bruto qui primus Romae consul
factus est nominatum, quod hoc mense, id est Kalendis Iuniis, pulso Tarquinio sacrum
Carnae deae in Caelio monte voti reus fecerit. (32) Hanc deam vitalibus humanis
praeesse credunt. Ab ea denique petitur ut iecinora et corda quaeque sunt intrinsecus
viscera salva conservet: et quia cordis beneficio, cuius dissimulatione brutus
habebatur, idoneus emendationi publici status extitit, hanc deam quae vitalibus praeest
templo sacravit. (33) Cui pulte fabacia et larido sacrificatur, quod his maxime rebus
vires corporis roborentur. Nam et Kalendae Iuniae fabariae vulgo vocantur, quia hoc
mense adultae fabae divinis rebus adhibentur.
Some have thought that June was named after Junius Brutus, Rome‘s first consul,
because in this month—specifically, on the Kalends of June—he discharged a vow by
sacrificing to the goddess Carna on the Caelian Hill after the expulsion of Tarquin.
(32) This goddess is thought to hold human vital organs in her power and is
accordingly called upon to keep our livers, hearts, and all our innards healthy. Brutus
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turned out to be the right man to improve our constitution by virtue of his wits (lit.
‗heart‘)—which he concealed, and so was thought doltish (brutus)—and for that
reason he dedicated a temple to the goddess in charge of vital organs. (33) The
goddess receives an offering of bean porridge and bacon, which are especially
conductive to bodily strenght. The Kalends of June is also called the ‗bean Kalends,‘
because in this month ripe beans are used in sacrifice. (trans. Kaster 1: 151–53)
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T.212a Dicaearchus of Messana, Cultural History fr. 56A Mirhady qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre,
On the Abstinence from Living Animals 4.2.3 (2 Patillon)
fl. 320 BC
ἃ Ɓὴ θƀὶ ἐμεγνύκƂλνο ὁ Γηθƀίƀξρνο Ƅὸλ ἐπὶ Κξόλνπ βίνλ ƄνηνῦƄνλ Ƃἶλƀη ƅεƃίλ. Ƃἰ ƁƂ῔
ιƀκβάλƂηλ κὲλ ƀὐƄὸλ ὡο γƂγνλόƄƀ θƀὶ κὴ κάƄελ ἐπηπƂƅεκηƃκέλνλ, Ƅὸ Ɓὲ ιίƀλ κπζηθὸλ
ἀƅέλƄƀο Ƃἰο Ƅὸ Ɓηὰ Ƅνῦ ιόγνπ ƅπƃηθὸλ ἀλάγƂηλ. ƀὐƄόκƀƄƀ κὲλ γὰξ πάλƄƀ ἐƅύƂƄν,
ƂἰθόƄσο, νὐ γὰξ ƀὐƄνί γƂ θƀƄƂƃθƂύƀδνλ νὐζὲλ Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ κήƄƂ Ƅὴλ γƂσξγηθὴλ ἔρƂηλ πσ
Ƅέρλελ κήζ‘ ἑƄέξƀλ κεƁƂκίƀλ ἁπι῵ο. Ƅὸ Ɓ‘ ƀὐƄὸ θƀὶ Ƅνῦ γƂσξγηθὴλ ἔρƂηλ πσ Ƅέρλελ
κήζ‘ ἑƄέξƀλ κεƁƂκίƀλ ἁπι῵ο.
In explanation of this, Dicaearchus says that life under Cronus was of this kind—since
it is necessary to accept that it did exist, that it has not been renowned to no purpose,
but also, by lying aside what is excessively mythical, to reduce it to natural items
based on reason. All things, therefore, are very reasonably said to have grown of their
own accord; for men themselves did not procure anything because they were still
unacquainted with the agricultural art, or, in fact, any other art. (trans. Mirhady 63–65)
T.212b Dicaearchus of Messana, Cultural History fr. 56B Mirhady qtd. in Jerome of
Stridonium, Against Jovinian 2.13 (PL 23: 315C–316A)
fl. 320 BC
Dicaearchus in libris Antiquitatum et Descriptione Graeciae refert sub Saturno (id est
in aureo saeculo), cum omnia humus funderet, nullum comedisse carnem, sed
universos vixisse frugibus et pomis quae sponte terra gignebat.
Dicaearchus in the books of Antiquities and Description of Greece says that under
Saturn, that is, in the golden age, when the earth provided all things, no one ate meat,
but all lived from the fruits and vegetables that the earth bore spontaneously. (trans.
Mirhady 67)
T.213 (cf. T.177) Aristotle, On the Pythagoreans fr. 195 Rose qtd. in Diogenes Laertius,
Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.34 (618 Dorandi)
350 BC
Akousmata & Symbola no. 3 Cardini
ƅεƃὶ Ɓ᾽ ἈξηƃƄνƄέιεο ἐλ Ƅῶ ΠƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ †θπάκσλ† πƀξƀγγέιιƂηλ ƀὐƄὸλ ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ
θπάκσλ ἢƄνη ὅƄη ƀἰƁνίνηο Ƃἰƃὶλ ὅκνηνη… ἠ ὅƄη Ƅῆ Ƅνῦ ὅινπ ƅύƃƂη ὅκνηνλ
According to Aristotle in his work On the Beans, Pythagoras counseled abstinence
from beans either because they are like the genitals… or because they are like the form
of the universe… (trans. Hicks 2: 349, modified)
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T.214 (cf. T.23) Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 2.3.1, 635E (58 Hubert)
AD 99–110
OF 648v
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ὡο Ɓὴ θπάκνπο Ƅὰ ᾠὰ Ɓηὰ Ƅὴλ θύεƃηλ ƀἰληƄƄνκέλσλ Ƅ῵λ ἀλƁξ῵λ…
For these people call eggs ‗beans‘ (θύƀκνη), punning on the word ‗conception‘
(θύεƃηο)… (trans. Clement 145)
T.215 (cf. T.105) Aristoxenus of Tarentum, On Pythagoras and His Circle fr. 25 Wehrli qtd.
in Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 4.11.10 (178 Marshall)
336–333 BC
Opinati enim sunt plerique θπάκνπο legumentum dici, ut a vulgo dicitur. Sed qui
diligentius scitiusque carmina Empedocli arbitrati sunt, θπάκνπο hoc in loco testiculos
significare dicunt, eosque more Pythagorae operte atque symbolice θπάκνπο
appellatos, quod sint ƀἴƄηνη Ƅνῦ θπƂ῔λ et geniturae humanae vim praebeant; idcircoque
Empedoclen versu isto non a fabulo edendo, sed a rei veneriae proluvio voluisse
homines deducere.
For most men thought that θπάκνπο meant the vegetable, according to the common use
of the word. But those who have studied the poems of Empedocles with greater care
and knowledge say that here θπάκνπο refers to the testicles, and that after the
Pythagorean manner they were called in a covert and symbolic way θύƀκνη, because
they are the cause of pregnancy and furnish the power for human generation: and that
therefore Empedocles in that verse desired to keep men, not from eating beans, but
from excess in venery. (trans. Rolfe 349–51)
T.216 (cf. T.22) Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 2.3.1, 635E (58 Hubert)
OF 647i; Orfismo E8 Scarpi
AD 99–110
ὑπόλνηƀλ κέλƄνη πƀξέƃρνλ, ἑƃƄη῵λƄνο ἟κ᾵ο Σνƃƃίνπ ΣƂλƂθίσλνο, ἐλέρƂƃζƀη Ɓόγκƀƃηλ
὆ξƅηθν῔ο ἠ Ππζƀγνξηθν῔ο, θƀὶ Ƅὸ ᾠόλ, ὥƃπƂξ ἔληνη θƀξƁίƀλ θƀὶ ἐγθέƅƀινλ, ἀξρὴλ
἟γνύκƂλνο γƂλέƃƂσο ἀƅνƃηνῦƃζƀη…
But my companions at one of Sossius Senecio‘s dinners suspected me of being
committed to beliefs of the Orphics or the Pythagoreans and holding the egg taboo, as
some hold the heart and brain, because I thought it to be the first principle of
creation… (trans. Clement 145)
T.217 (cf. T.23) Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talks 2.3.1, 635F (58 Hubert)
OF 648v; Orfismo E8 Scarpi
AD 99–110
….ƁηƀƅέξƂηλ Ɓὲ κεƁὲλ νἰνκέλσλ Ƅὸ ἐƃζίƂηλ ᾠὰ Ƅνῦ ρξ῅ƃζƀη Ƅν῔ο ƄίθƄνπƃη Ƅὰ ᾠὰ δῴνηο.
…they think that eating eggs in no way differs from using the creatures which produce
the eggs. (trans. Clement 145)
T.218 Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talk 2.3.2, 636E (60 Hubert)
AD 99–110
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OF 646i
It is therefore not inappropriate that in the rites of Dionysus the egg is consecrated as a
symbol of that which produces everything and contains everything within itself. (trans
Clement 151)
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ὅζƂλ νὐθ ἀπὸ Ƅξόπνπ Ƅν῔ο πƂξὶ Ƅὸλ Γηόλπƃνλ ὀξγηƀƃκν῔ο ὡο κίκεκƀ Ƅνῦ Ƅὰ πάλƄƀ
γƂλλ῵λƄνο θƀὶ πƂξηέρνλƄνο ἐλ ἑƀπƄῶ ƃπγθƀζσƃίσƄƀη.
T.219 (cf. T.203) Sacred law concerning the cult of Dionysus Bromios, Smyrna, LSAM no.
84. AD second century
OF 582
κεƁ‘ ἐλ ΒƀθρƂίνηο ᾠὸλ πνƄὶ Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀ Ƅ(ηζƂƃζƀη)
…nor place an egg as food at the Bacchic feast… (trans. Rostad 259)
T.220 Macrobius, Saturnalia 7.16.8 (475–76 Kaster)
AD 395
OF 646ii
et ne videar plus nimio extulisse ovum elementi vocabulo, consule initiatos sacris
Liberi patris, in quibus hac veneratione ovum colitur ut ex forma tereti ac paene
sphaerali atque undique versum clausa et includente intra se vitam, mundi simulacrum
vocetur, mundum autem consensu omnium constat universitatis esse principium.
And lest I seem to have exalted the egg excessively by calling it an element, consider
those initiated in the rites of father Liber, in which an egg is so worshipped
that―being rounded and almost spherical, perfectly enclosed on all sides, and keeping
life shut up within it―it is called a likeness of the universe, which, which by general
agreement is held to be first beginning of all that is. (trans. Kaster 3: 299)
T.221 Pindar of Thebes fr. 59(131) Fera
before 443 BC
OF 442
ƃ῵κƀ κὲλ πάλƄσλ ἕπƂƄƀη ζƀλάƄση πƂξηƃζƂλƂ῔,
δσὸλ Ɓ᾽ ἔƄη ιƂίπƂƄƀη ƀἰ῵λνο ƂἴƁσινλ· Ƅὸ γάξ ἐƃƄη κόλνλ
ἐθ ζƂ῵λ·
And, while the body of all men is subject to over-mastering death, an image of world
remaineth alive, for it alone cometh from the gods. (trans. Sandys 589, modified)
T.222 (cf. T.21b) Plutarch of Chaeronea, Table Talk 2.3.2, 636D (60 Hubert)
AD 99–110
OF 646i
‗ἀƂίƃσ μπλƂƄν῔ƃη‘ Ƅὸλ ὆ξƅηθὸλ θƀὶ ἱƂξὸλ ιόγνλ, ὃο νὐθ ὄξληζνο κόλνλ Ƅὸ ᾠὸλ
ἀπνƅƀίλƂη πξƂƃβύƄƂξνλ, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ ƃπιιƀβὼλ ἅπƀƃƀλ ƀὐƄῶ Ƅὴλ ἁπάλƄσλ ὁκνῦ
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What is more, he added with a laugh, ‗I shall recite for men of understanding‘ (OF
101) the Orphic sacred tale which not only declares the egg older than the hen, but also
attributes to it the absolute primordiality over all things together without exception. As
for the rest of the doctrine, ‗let reverent silence prevail,‘ as Herodotus says (Histories
2.171); for it is very much of a mystical secret. (trans. Clement 149–51)
T.223 Aristophanes, Birds 695 (1: 381 Wilson)
414 BC
OF 64; Orfismo A1 Scarpi
ƄίθƄƂη πξώƄηƃƄνλ ὑπελέκηνλ Νὺμ ἟ κƂιƀλόπƄƂξνο ᾠόλ…
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πξƂƃβπγέλƂηƀλ ἀλƀƄίζεƃηλ. θƀὶ Ƅἄιιƀ κὲλ ‗ƂὔƃƄνκƀ θƂίƃζσ‘ θƀζ᾽ ἧξόƁνƄνλ, ἔƃƄη γὰξ
…did black-winged Night at the very start bring forth a wind egg… (trans. Henderson
3: 117)
T.224 Corpus Hippocraticum, On Diet 2.50.1 (49 Joly)
after 370 BC
Ὠηὰ Ɓὲ ὀξλίζσλ ἰƃρπξὸλ θƀὶ Ƅξόƅηκνλ θƀὶ ƅπƃ῵ƁƂο· ἰƃρπξὸλ κέλ, ὅƄη γέλƂƃίο ἐƃƄη Ƅνῦ
δῴνπ, Ƅξόƅηκνλ Ɓέ, ὅƄη γάιƀ ἐƃƄὶ ƄνῦƄν Ƅῶ λƂνƃƃῶ, ƅπƃ῵ƁƂο Ɓέ, ὅƄη ἐθ κηθξνῦ ὄγθνπ
ἐο πνιὺ ƁηƀρƂ῔Ƅƀη.
Birds‘ eggs are strong, nourishing and windy. An egg is strong because it is the origin
of an animal; nourishing because it is the milk of the animal; windy, because from
small bulk it expands to a great one. (trans. Jones 325)
D. ΓƂ῔πλνλ ἄƁƂηπλνλ. Trying to Restore the Orphic Menu
Recipes for Preparing a Pure Meal
T.225 Aristophanes, Birds 159–61 (1: 354 Wilson)
{Ἔπνς} λƂκόκƂƃζƀ Ɓ᾽ ἐλ θήπνηο Ƅὰ ιƂπθὰ ƃήƃƀκƀ
θƀὶ κύξƄƀ θƀὶ κήθσλƀ θƀὶ ƃηƃύκβξηƀ.
{἖πƂιπίƁεο} ὑκƂ῔ο κὲλ ἆξƀ δ῅ƄƂ λπκƅίσλ βίνλ.
414 BC
{Hoopoe} And in the gardens we feed on white sesame seeds, myrtle berries, poppies,
and watermint. {Euelpides} Why, you are all living the life of honeymooners! (trans.
Henderson 3: 37)
T.226 Regulation of the Thesmophoria, Attica, LSS no. 124
Ƅὰο Ɓὲ ἀξρνύƃƀο θνηλƂ῔ ἀκƅνƄέξƀο ƁηƁόλƀη Ƅ῅ο ἱƂξƂίƀο Ƃἰο
(5) Ƅὴλ ἑνξƄὴλ θƀὶ Ƅὴλ ἐπηκέιƂηƀλ Ƅ῵λ žƂƃκνƅνξίσλ ἟κηƂθƄƂ῔νλ
θξηζ῵λ, ἟κηƂθƄƂ῔νλ ππξ῵λ, ἟κηƂθƄένλ ἀιƅίƄσλ, ἟κηƂθƄένλ ἀι-
fourth century BC
Littera Antiqua
(Ƃ)ύξσλ, ἰƃράƁσλ ἟κηƂθƄένλ,
(10) ρν᾵ νἴλνπ, ἟κίρνπλ ἐιƀίνπ, Ɓύν θνƄύιƀο κέιηƄνο, ƃεƃάκσλ ιƂπθ῵λ ρνίληθƀ, κƂιάλσλ ρνίληθƀ, (κ)ήθσλνο
ρνίληθƀ, Ƅπξνῦ Ɓύν ƄξνƅƀιίƁƀο κὴ
ἔιƀƄƄνλ ἠ ƃƄƀƄεξηƀ(ί)ƀλ ἑθƀƄέξƀλ
(15) θƀὶ ƃθόξƁσλ Ɓύν ƃƄƀƄ῅ξƀο…
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Both women chosen to preside the festival should give in common (5) to celebrate and
prepare the Thesmophoria (the following products): half a sextarius of barley, half a
sextarius of wheat, half a sextarius of barley-groats, half a sextarius of wheat-flour,
half a sextarius of dried figs, (10) one chous of wine, half a chous of olive oil, two
cups of honey, one choenix of white sesame seeds, one choenix of black sesame seeds,
one choenix of poppy seeds, two wheels of cheese—each of one pound, (15) and two
pounds of garlic. (trans. E. O.)
T.227a Demosthenes, On the Crown (Or. 18) 260 (299 Dilts)
330 BC
Orfismo C4 Scarpi
κηƃζὸλ ιƀκβάλσλ ƄνύƄσλ ἔλζξππƄƀ θƀὶ ƃƄξƂπƄνὺο θƀὶ λƂήιƀƄƀ...
You were paid with soppy bread, twisted rolls, and flat cakes. (trans. Yunis 96)
T.227b Harpocration of Alexandria, Lexeis of the Ten Orators s.v. ―neēlata‖ (182 Keaney).
Ca. AD 150
OF 577xvi
ΝƂήιƀƄƀ· Ƅὰ λƂσƃƄὶ ἀιειƂƃκέλƀ ἄιƅηƄƀ θƀὶ κέιηƄη ƁƂƁƂπκέλƀ, νἷο θƀὶ ἀƃƄƀƅίƁƂο θƀὶ
ρισξνὶ ἐξέβηλζνη ƃπλƂƅύξνλƄν· ἃ Ƅν῔ο Ƅὰ ἱƂξὰ ƄƂινῦƃηλ ἔλƂκνλ. ἐθάινπλ Ɓέ ƄηλƂο ƀὐƄὰ
θƀὶ ἀκβξνƃίƀλ θƀὶ κƀθƀξίƀλ.
Neelata: Barley-cakes recently rolled out and soaked in honey, to which raisins and
green chickpeas also were stirred in; these they would distribute to those taking part in
the ceremonies. Some used to call them divine and blessed too. (the SOL translation)
T.228 Antiphanes, Orpheus fr. 180 Edmonds
OF 631; OF 1149
βύƃƄξƀλ Ƅηλ᾽ ἐθ ƅύιισλ Ƅηλ῵λ.
A loaf made of certain leaves. (trans. Edmonds 2: 251, modified)
T.229 Antiphanes, Monuments fr. 160 Edmonds
Pitagoristi nella commedia di mezzo no. 1 Cardini
Ƅ῵λ Ππζƀγνξηθ῵λ Ɓ᾽ ἔƄπρνλ ἄζιηνί ƄηλƂο
365–360 BC
after 386 BC
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ἐλ Ƅῆ ρƀξάƁξᾳ ƄξώγνλƄƂο ἅιηκƀ θƀὶ θƀθὰ
ƄνηƀῦƄƀ ƃπιιέγνλƄƂο <ἐλ Ƅῶ θσξύθῳ.>
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T.230 Dioscorides of Anazarbus, De materia medica 1.91 (1: 84 Wellmann)
It so fell out that down in the ravine some miserable Pythagorists were seen eating
what wretched spinach they could gather—tree-purslane and suchlike—in their bag of
leather. (trans. Edmonds 2: 239)
AD 50–70
ἅ ι η κ ν λ … ιƀρƀλƂύƂƄƀη Ɓὲ ƀὐƄ῅ο Ƅὰ ƅύιιƀ ἑςόκƂλƀ Ƃἰο βξ῵ƃηλ.
The tree-purslane… Its leaves are used as vegetables boiled for eating. (trans. Beck
T.231 Alexis of Thurii, Pythagoreaness frs. 196–97 Edmonds
?366–357 BC
A. ἟ Ɓ᾽ ἑƃƄίƀƃηο ἰƃράƁƂο θƀὶ ƃƄέκƅπιƀ
θƀὶ Ƅπξὸο ἔƃƄƀη: ƄƀῦƄƀ γὰξ ζύƂηλ λόκνο
Ƅν῔ο ΠπζƀγνξƂίνηο. Β. λὴ Γί᾽, ἱƂξƂ῔νλ κὲλ νὖλ
ὁπν῔νλ ἂλ θάιιηƃƄνλ, ὦ βέιƄηƃƄ᾽, ἔρῃ.
A. They ‗ll give me dried figs, olive-mush, and cheese; Reg‘lar Pythagorean offering,
that. B. You couldn‘t have a better, man; that‘s flat. (trans. Edmonds 2: 469)
T.232 Antiphanes, Bumblebee fr. 62 Edmonds
after 386 BC
ƃθνξόƁηƀ, Ƅπξόλ, θξόκκπƀ, θάππƀξηλ ...
ἅπƀλƄƀ ƄƀῦƄ᾽ ἐƃƄὶλ Ɓξƀρκ῅ο.
Garlic, cheese, onions, capers—the whole lot can be supplied for a shilling. (trans.
Edmonds 2: 193)
T.233 Aristophon, Unnamed play fr. 16 Edmonds
θάππƀξηλ, βιερώ, ζύκνλ,
Capers, pennyroyal, thyme, asparagus… (trans. Edmonds 2: 529)
?362 BC
T.234 Antonius Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule fr. 2b Stephens qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre,
Life of Pythagoras 34 (52 Places)
?AD second century
PEG 2.3: 128
Ƅά γƂ κὴλ πιƂ῔ƃƄƀ ὁπόƄƂ ζƂ῵λ ἀƁύƄνηο ἐγθƀƄƀƁύƃƂƃζƀη κέιινη θƀὶ ἐλƄƀῦζƀ ρξόλνπ
Ƅηλὸο ἐλƁηƀƄξίςƂηλ, ἀιίκνηο ἐρξ῅Ƅν θƀὶ ἀƁίςνηο Ƅξνƅƀ῔ο, Ƅὴλ κὲλ ἄιηκνλ ƃπλƄηζƂὶο ἐθ
κήθσλνο ƃπέξκƀƄνο θƀὶ ƃεƃάκνπ θƀὶ ƅινηνῦ ƃθίιιεο πιπζƂίƃεο ἀθξηβ῵ο ἔƃƄ‘ ἂλ Ƅνῦ
πƂξὶ ƀὐƄὴλ ὀπνῦ θƀζƀξζƂίε, θƀὶ ἀƃƅνƁέισλ ἀλζƂξίθσλ θƀὶ κƀιάρεο ƅύιισλ θƀὶ
ἀιƅίƄσλ θƀὶ θξηζ῵λ θƀὶ ἐξƂβίλζσλ, ἅπƂξ θƀƄ‘ ἴƃνλ πάλƄƀ ƃƄƀζκὸλ θνπέλƄƀ κέιηƄη
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
For the most part, whenever he was about to enter into the inner sancta of the gods and
spend a certain time there, he used no-hunger and no-thirst foods. He prepared the nohunger from poppy seeds and sesame and skin of a sea-onion carefully washed until it
is purified of all its sap and flowering stems of asphodel, and mallow leaves and barley
meal and barley corns and garbanzos, all mashed together in equal amounts by weight
and moistened with Hymettan honey. He made the no-thirst from squirting cucumber
seeds and glistening raisins with the seeds removed and coriander blossom and also
mallow seed and common purslane and grated cheese and fine wheat meal and pure
cream, all mixed together wild island honey. (trans. Stephens 139, modified)
T.235 Michael Psellus, Opuscula minora 32 (109 Duffy)
Epimenides fr. 27v (PEG 2.3: 129)
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ἀλέƁƂπƂλ ὘κεƄƄίῳ· Ƅὴλ Ɓ‘ ἄƁηςνλ ἐθ ƃηθύσλ ƃπέξκƀƄνο θƀὶ ἀƃƄƀƅίƁνο ιηπƀξ᾵ο,
ἐμƂιὼλ ƀὐƄ῅ο Ƅὰ γίγƀξƄƀ, θƀὶ ἄλζνπο θνξίνπ θƀὶ κƀιάρεο ὁκνίσο ƃπέξκƀƄνο θƀὶ
ἀλƁξάρλεο θƀὶ Ƅπξνῦ θλήƃƄƂσο θƀὶ ἀιƂύξνπ πάιεο θƀὶ γάιƀθƄνο ιίπνπο, ἅπƂξ πάλƄƀ
ἀλƂκίγλπ κέιηƄη λεƃησƄηθῶ.
AD 1042–55
ἴƃζη Ƅνηγƀξνῦλ ὡο ἟ ἖πηκƂλίƁƂηνο ἄιηκνο κίγκƀ ἐƃƄὶλ ἀƃƅνƁέινπ μεξνῦ θƀὶ κƀιάρεο
ῥίδεο θƀὶ ƃεƃάκεο πƂπιπκέλεο κήθσλόο ƄƂ ιƂπθνῦ ƃθίιιεο ƄƂ ὠκ῅ο Ƅ῅ο μƀλζ῅ο, θƀὶ ὁ
ιƀκβάλσλ ƄνῦƄν ἄƃηƄνο ἐƅ‘ ἟κέξƀο πνιιὰο ƁηεκƂξƂύƃƂηƂλ ἀιππόƄƀƄνο.
You should know that the Epimenidean anti-hunger is a mixture of dry asphodel, a
root of mallow, washed sesame, white opium poppy, and raw sea-onion; the one who
takes it can endure many days with no food, no hunger, no discomfort. (trans. E. O.)
T.236 Plutarch of Chaeronea, Dinner of the Seven Sages 14, 157D–F (323–24 Gärtner). AD
Epimenides fr. 27ii (PEG 2.3: 129)
὘πνιƀβὼλ Ɓ‘ ὁ ἌξƁƀινο, ‗ἆξ´ νὖλ,‘ ἔƅε, ‗θƀὶ Ƅὸλ ἑƄƀ῔ξνλ ὑκ῵λ Σόισλνο Ɓὲ μέλνλ
἖πηκƂλίƁελ λόκνο Ƅηο ἀπέρƂƃζƀη Ƅ῵λ ἄιισλ ƃηƄίσλ θƂιƂύƂη, Ƅ῅ο Ɓ‘ ἀιίκνπ ƁπλάκƂσο
ἡλ ƀὐƄὸο ƃπλƄίζεƃη κηθξὸλ Ƃἰο Ƅὸ ƃƄόκƀ ιƀκβάλνλƄƀ ƁηεκƂξƂύƂηλ ἀλάξηƃƄνλ θƀὶ
ἄƁƂηπλνλ;‘… ὇ Ɓὲ Σόισλ ἔƅε ζƀπκάδƂηλ Ƅὸλ ἌξƁƀινλ Ƃἰ Ƅὸλ λόκνλ νὐθ ἀλέγλσθƂ Ƅ῅ο
ƁηƀίƄεο Ƅνῦ ἀλƁξὸο ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ἔπƂƃη Ƅν῔ο ἧƃηόƁνπ γƂγξƀκκέλνλ· ἐθƂ῔λνο γάξ ἐƃƄηλ ὁ
πξ῵Ƅνο ἖πηκƂλίƁῃ ƃπέξκƀƄƀ Ƅ῅ο Ƅξνƅ῅ο ƄƀύƄεο πƀξƀƃρὼλ θƀὶ δεƄƂ῔λ ὁ ƁηƁάμƀο
‗ὅƃνλ ἐλ κƀιάρῃ ƄƂ θƀὶ ἀƃƅνƁέιῳ κέγ‘ ὄλƂηƀξ.‘
‗ΟἴƂη γάξ,‘ ὁ ΠƂξίƀλƁξνο ƂἶπƂ, ‗Ƅὸλ ἧƃίνƁνλ ἐλλν῅ƃƀί Ƅη ƄνηνῦƄνλ; νὐθ ἐπƀηλέƄελ
ὄλƄƀ ƅƂηƁνῦο ἀƂί, θƀὶ πξὸο Ƅὰ ιηƄόƄƀƄƀ Ƅ῵λ ὄςσλ ὡο ἣƁηƃƄƀ πƀξƀθƀιƂ῔λ ἟κ᾵ο; ἀγƀζὴ
κὲλ γὰξ ἟ κƀιάρε βξσζ῅λƀη, γιπθὺο Ɓ‘ ὁ ἀλζέξηθνο· Ƅὰ Ɓ‘ ἄιηκƀ ƄƀῦƄƀ θƀὶ ἄƁηςƀ
ƅάξκƀθƀ κ᾵ιινλ ἠ ƃηƄίƀ ππλζάλνκƀη θƀὶ κέιη θƀὶ Ƅπξόλ Ƅηλƀ βƀξβƀξηθὸλ ƁέρƂƃζƀη
θƀὶ ƃπέξκƀƄƀ πάκπνιιƀ Ƅ῵λ νὐθ ƂὐπνξίƃƄσλ.
Ardalus then joined in and said, ‗Well, then, is there some law which commands that
comrade of all of you, Solon‘s foreign friend, Epimenides, to abstain from all other
kinds of food, and by taking into his mouth a bit of the potent «no-hunger», which he
himself compounds, to go all day without luncheon and dinner?‘… Solon said that he
was surprised at Ardalus if he had not read the regulations governing the manner of
living of the man in question, which are given in writing in Hesiod‘s verses. For
Hesiod is the one who first sowed in the mind of Epimenides the seeds of this form of
nourishment, inasmuch as it was he who taught that one should seek to find
‗How in mallow and asphodel lies an immense advantage.‘ (Hesiod, Works and
Days 41)
‗Do you really think,‘ said Periander, ‗that Hesiod ever had any such idea in mind ?
Do you not rather think that, since he was always sounding the praises of frugality, he
was also summoning us to the simplest of dishes as being the most pleasant? For the
mallow is good eating, and the stalk of the asphodel is luscious; but these no-hunger
and no-thirst drugs (for they are drugs rather than foods), I understand, include in their
composition a sweet gum and a cheese found among barbarian peoples, and a great
many seeds of a sort hard to procure. (trans. Babbitt 2: 411–13)
T.237a Plato, Laws 677d–e Burnet
350 BC
Epimenides fr. 16ii (PEG 2.3: 124)
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{Ἀζελƀ῔νο} ἄξηƃƄ᾽, ὦ ΚιƂηλίƀ, Ƅὸλ ƅίινλ ὅƄη πƀξέιηπƂο, Ƅὸλ ἀƄƂρλ῵ο ρζὲο γƂλόκƂλνλ.
{ΚιƂηλίƀο}κ῵λ ƅξάδƂηο ἖πηκƂλίƁελ; {Ἀζελƀ῔νο} λƀί, ƄνῦƄνλ· πνιὺ γὰξ ὑκ῔λ
ὑπƂξƂπήƁεƃƂ Ƅῶ κερƀλήκƀƄη Ƅνὺο ƃύκπƀλƄƀο, ὦ ƅίιƂ, ὃ ιόγῳ κὲλ ἧƃίνƁνο
ἐκƀλƄƂύƂƄν πάιƀη, Ƅῶ Ɓὲ ἔξγῳ ἐθƂ῔λνο ἀπƂƄέιƂƃƂλ, ὡο ὑκƂ῔ο ƅƀƄƂ.
{Athenian} How tactful of you, Clinias, to leave out your friend, who really was born
‗yesterday‘! {Clinias} I suppose you mean Epimenides? {Athenian} Yes, that‘s the
man. His discovery, my dear fellows, put him streets ahead of all the other inventors.
Hesiod (Days and Works 41) had foreshadowed it in his poetry long before, but it was
Epimenides who achieved it in practice, so you Cretans claim. (trans. Cooper 1366)
T.237b Plato, Laws 642d–e Burnet
350 BC
Epimenides fr. 16ii (PEG 2.3: 124); FGrHist 457 T4a
ƄῆƁƂ γὰξ ἴƃσο ἀθήθνƀο ὡο ἖πηκƂλίƁεο γέγνλƂλ ἀλὴξ ζƂ῔νο, ὃο ἤλ ἟κ῔λ νἰθƂ῔νο, ἐιζὼλ
Ɓὲ πξὸ Ƅ῵λ ΠƂξƃηθ῵λ Ɓέθƀ ἔƄƂƃηλ πξόƄƂξνλ πƀξ᾽ ὑκ᾵ο θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ ζƂνῦ κƀλƄƂίƀλ,
ζπƃίƀο ƄƂ ἐζύƃƀƄό Ƅηλƀο ἃο ὁ ζƂὸο ἀλƂ῔ιƂλ…
You have probably heard that Epimenides, a man who was divinely inspired, was born
hereabouts. He was connected with my family, and ten years before the Persian attack
(ca. 500 BC) he obeyed the command of the oracle to go to Athens, where he
performed certain sacrifices which the god had ordered. (trans. Cooper 1336)
T.238 Suda Lexicon, Δ 2471 (2: 370 Adler)
after AD 1028
Epimenides fr. 2 (PEG 2.3: 111); Epimenides fr. T2 Fowler; FGrHist 457 T2
἖πηκƂλίƁεο, ſƀίƃƄνπ ἠ ΓνƃηάƁνπ ἠ Ἀγηƀƃάξρνπ πἱόο, θƀὶ κεƄξὸο ΒιάƃƄƀο, Κξὴο ἀπὸ
Κλσƃƃνῦ, ἐπνπνηόο· νὗ ιόγνο, ὡο ἐμίνη ἟ ςπρὴ ὁπόƃνλ ἢζƂιƂ θƀηξόλ, θƀὶ πάιηλ ƂἰƃῄƂη
ἐλ Ƅῶ ƃώκƀƄη· ƄƂιƂπƄήƃƀλƄνο Ɓὲ ƀὐƄνῦ, πόξξσ ρξόλσλ Ƅὸ Ɓέξκƀ Ƃὑξ῅ƃζƀη γξάκκƀƃη
θƀƄάƃƄηθƄνλ. γέγνλƂ Ɓὲ ἐπὶ Ƅ῅ο ι՛ ὀιπκπηάƁνο, ὡο πξνƄƂξƂύƂηλ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ δ՛
θιεζέλƄσλ ƃνƅ῵λ ἠ θƀὶ ἐπ‘ ƀὐƄν῔ο γƂλέƃζƀη. ἐθάζεξƂ γνῦλ Ƅὰο Ἀζήλƀο Ƅνῦ
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Epimenides: son of Phaistos or Dosiadas or Agiasarchos and, as his mother, Blasta; a
Cretan from Knossos; an epic poet. Of him there is a story that his soul could leave his
body on any occasion he liked and enter it again; and long after he had died his skin
was found tattooed with letters. He lived in the 30th Olympiad, (660–657 BC) which
makes him a predecessor rather than a contemporary of the so-called Seven Sages. At
any rate he purified Athens from the Kylonian curse in the 44th Olympiad, (604–601
BC) as an old man (by that time). He wrote many epic poems and, in prose, certain
mystery-writings and spells and other riddling works. (the SOL translation)
T.239 Strabo of Amaseia, Geography 10.4.14 (3: 256 Radt)
26 BC
Epimenides fr. 54i (PEG 2.3: 160); FGrHist 457 T2
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ΚπισλƂίνπ ἄγνπο θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ κƁ՛ ὀιπκπηάƁƀ, γεξƀηὸο ὤλ. ἔγξƀςƂ Ɓὲ πνιιὰ ἐπηθ῵ο· θƀὶ
θƀƄƀινγάƁελ κπƃƄήξηά Ƅηλƀ θƀὶ θƀζƀξκνὺο θƀὶ ἄιιƀ ƀἰληγκƀƄώƁε.
ἐθ Ɓὲ Ƅ῅ο ſƀηƃƄνῦ Ƅὸλ Ƅνὺο θƀζƀξκνὺο πνηήƃƀλƄƀ Ɓηὰ Ƅ῵λ ἐπ῵λ ἖πηκƂλίƁελ ƅƀƃὶλ
They say that Epimenides, who composed his Purifications in poetry, was from
Phaistos. (trans. Roller 466)
T.240 Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 1.111 (140 Dorandi)
AD 200
Epimenides fr. 1 (PEG 2.3: 109); Epimenides fr. T1 Fowler; FGrHist 457 T1
἖πνίεƃƂ Ɓὲ ΚνπξήƄσλ θƀὶ ΚνξπβάλƄσλ γέλƂƃηλ θƀὶ žƂνγνλίƀλ, ἔπε πƂλƄƀθηƃρίιηƀ,
Ἀξγνῦο λƀππεγίƀλ ƄƂ θƀὶ Ἰάƃνλνο Ƃἰο Κόιρνπο ἀπόπινπλ ἔπε ἑμƀθηƃρίιηƀ πƂλƄƀθόƃηƀ.
ƃπλέγξƀςƂ Ɓὲ θƀὶ θƀƄƀινγάƁελ ΠƂξὶ ζπƃη῵λ θƀὶ Ƅ῅ο ἐλ ΚξήƄῃ πνιηƄƂίƀο θƀὶ ΠƂξὶ
Μίλσ θƀὶ ῬƀƁƀκάλζπνο Ƃἰο ἔπε ƄƂƄξƀθηƃρίιηƀ.
He wrote a poem On the Birth of the Curetes and Corybantes and a Theogony, 5,000
lines in all; another on the building of the Argo and Jason‘s voyage to Colchis in 6,500
lines. He also compiled prose works On Sacrifices and the Cretan Constitution, also
On Minos and Rhadamanthys, running to about 4,000 lines. (trans. Hicks 1: 117)
T.241 Demetrius of Magnesia, On Poets and Authors of the Same Name fr. 11 Mejer qtd. in
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 1.114 (142 Dorandi) 50 BC
Epimenides fr. 1 (PEG 2.3: 109–10)
ƅεƃὶ Ɓὲ ΓεκήƄξηόο Ƅηλƀο ἱƃƄνξƂ῔λ ὡο ιάβνη πƀξὰ Νπκƅ῵λ ἔƁƂƃκά Ƅη θƀὶ ƅπιάƄƄνη ἐλ
ρειῆ βνόο· πξνƃƅƂξόκƂλόο ƄƂ θƀƄ᾽ ὀιίγνλ κεƁƂκηᾶ θƂλνῦƃζƀη ἀπνθξίƃƂη κεƁὲ
ὀƅζ῅λƀί πνƄƂ ἐƃζίσλ. κέκλεƄƀη ƀὐƄνῦ θƀὶ Τίκƀηνο ἐλ Ƅῆ ƁƂπƄέξᾳ.
But Demetrius reports a story that he received from the Nymphs food of a special sort
and kept it in a cow‘s hoof; that he took small doses of this food, which was entirely
absorbed into his system, and he was never seen to eat. Timaeus mentions him in his
second book (History of Sicily, FGrHist 566 F4). (tr. Hicks 1: 119)
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T.242 Herodorus Heracleota (vel Ponticus), Story of Heracles fr. 1 Fowler qtd. in Proclus,
Commentary on Hesiod’s Works and Days 41 (26 Marzillo)
400–340 BC
Ἴƃσο Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἀƅ‘ ἱƃƄνξίƀο ƄνῦƄν ιέγƂη. Ἕξκηππνο γὰξ ἐλ Ƅῶ ΠƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ἑπƄὰ ƃνƅ῵λ πƂξὶ
Ƅ῅ο ἀιίκνπ βξώƃƂσο ιέγƂη (κέκλεƄƀη Ɓὲ Ƅ῅ο ἀιίκνπ θƀὶ ἧξόƁσξνο ἐλ Ƅῶ πέκπƄῳ Ƅνῦ
θƀζ‘ ἧξƀθιέƀ ιόγνπ) θƀὶ ΠιάƄσλ ἐλ Ƅῶ ƄξίƄῳ Ƅ῵λ Νόκσλ. ἖πηκƂλίƁελ ƅεƃὶ κηθξόλ
Ƅη ἐƁƂƃκάƄηνλ πξνƃƅƂξόκƂλνλ ὧƁƂ ὅιελ ƁηƀƄƂιƂ῔λ Ƅὴλ ἟κέξƀλ ἄƃηƄνλ θƀὶ ἄπνƄνλ. ἤλ
Ɓ‘ ἐμ ἀƃƅνƁέινπ θƀὶ κƀιάρεο, ὅπƂξ ƀὐƄὸλ ἄιηκνλ θƀὶ ἄƁηςνλ ἐπνίƂη.
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Epimenides fr. 27i (PEG 2.3: 128–29); FGrHist 31 F1
In his work On the Seven Sages (FGrHist 1026 F12a–b), Hermippus says the
following about the ‗hunger-banishing‘ food (Herodorus in the fifth book of his Story
of Heracles and Plato in the third book of the Laws (677e) also mentioned it): that
Epimenides would eat only a little bit of this food and then could make it through an
entire day without additional nourishment or beverage. It was made of asphodel and
mallow, and caused him never to feel hungry or thirsty. (trans. Bollansée 25–27)
T.243 Antonius Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule fr. 2b Stephens qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre,
Life of Pythagoras 35 (52 Places)
?AD second century
ƄƀῦƄƀ Ɓ᾽ ἧξƀθιέƀ πƀξὰ ΓήκεƄξνο ἔƅƀƃθƂ κƀζƂ῔λ ƃƄƂιιόκƂλνλ Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ Ληβύελ Ƅὴλ
He said that Heracles learned these recipes from Demeter when he was sent to
waterless Libya. (trans. Stephens 139)
Omophagy: What the Hell It Means?
T.244 Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence from Living Animals 4.19.1–2 (32 Patillon). AD 263
κηθξνῦ κƂ πƀξ῅ιζƂ θƀὶ Ƅὸ ΔὐξηπίƁƂηνλ πƀξƀζέƃζƀη, ὃο Ƅνὺο ἐλ ΚξήƄῃ Ƅνῦ Γηὸο
πξνƅήƄƀο ἀπέρƂƃζƀη ƅεƃὶ Ɓηὰ ƄνύƄσλ· ιέγνπƃη Ɓ᾽ νἱ θƀƄὰ Ƅὸλ ρνξὸλ πξὸο Ƅὸλ Μίλσ·
I almost omitted to cite Euripides, who says in these lines that the prophets of Zeus in
Crete abstain: the chorus is speaking to Minos. (trans. Clark 115)
T.245 Euripides, Cretans fr. 79 Austin; TrGF 472; fr. 1 Cozzoli
OF 567
ſνηληθνγƂλνῦο Ƅέθλνλ Δὐξώπεο
θƀὶ Ƅνῦ κƂγάινπ Εελόο, ἀλάƃƃσλ
ΚξήƄεο ἑθƀƄνκπƄνιηέζξνπ·
ἣθσ δƀζένπο λƀνὺο πξνιηπώλ,
(5) νὓο ƀὐζηγƂλὴο ƃƄƂγƀλνὺο πƀξέρƂη
ƄκεζƂ῔ƃƀ Ɓνθνὺο Χƀιύβῳ πƂιέθƂη
θƀὶ ƄƀπξνƁέƄῳ θόιιῃ θξƀζƂ῔ƃ᾽
ἀƄξƂθƂ῔ο ἁξκνὺο θππάξηƃƃνο.
ἁγλὸλ Ɓὲ βίνλ ƄƂίλνκƂλ ἐμ νὗ
438–431 BC
(10) Γηὸο ἸƁƀίνπ κύƃƄεο γƂλόκελ,
θƀὶ λπθƄηπόινπ Εƀγξέσο βνύƄεο (βξνλƄὰο—Cozzoli, βηνƄὰο—González)
Ƅὰο ὠκνƅάγνπο Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο ƄƂιέƃƀο
ΜεƄξί Ƅ᾽ ὀξƂίᾳ ƁᾶƁƀο ἀλƀƃρὼλ
†κƂƄὰ ΚνπξήƄσλ
(15) βάθρνο ἐθιήζελ ὁƃησζƂίο.
πάιιƂπθƀ Ɓ᾽ ἔρσλ ƂἵκƀƄƀ ƅƂύγσ
γέλƂƃίλ ƄƂ βξνƄ῵λ <
θƀὶ λƂθξνζήθƀο νὐ ρξηκπƄόκƂλνο,
Ƅήλ Ƅ᾽ ἐκςύρσλ
(20) βξ῵ƃηλ ἐƁƂƃƄ῵λ πƂƅύιƀγκƀη.
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{Chorus‘ address to Minos} Son Phoenician-born Europa and of great Zeus—you who
rule Crete and its hundred cities! I have come here from the most holy temple whose
roof is provided from native cypress-wood cut into beams with Chalybean axe and
bonded in exact joints with ox-glue. Pure is the life I have led since I became an
initiate of Idaean Zeus, and a servitor of night-ranging Zagreus, after performing the
feast on raw food; and raising torches high to the Mountain Mother among the Curetes
I was consecrated and named a ‗bacchus‘. In clothing all of white I shun the birthing
of men, and the places of their dead I do not go near; against the eating of animal
foods I have guarded myself. (trans. Collard 537–39, modified)
T.246 Jerome of Stridonium, Against Jovinian 2.14 (PL 23: 317B)
AD 392
Euripides, in Creta Iovis prophetas non solum carnibus, sed et coctis cibis abstinuisse
Euripides relates that Zeus‘ prophets in Crete used to abstain not only from flesh but
even from any cooked meals. (trans. E. O.)
T.247 Hesychius of Alexandria, Lexicon Ω 218 (4: 265 Hansen)
AD fifth century
ὠκνƅάγνπο ƁƀίƄƀο·55 Ƅνὺο ὠκὰ θξέƀ κƂξίδνλƄƀο. θƀὶ ἐƃζίνλƄƀο
ōmophagous daitas: the ones who divide raw meat, and eat. (trans. E. O.)
T.248 Euripides, ?Cretans, TrGF 912
OF 458
ƃνὶ πάλƄσλ κƂƁένλƄη ριόελ
πƂιƀλόλ ƄƂ ƅέξσ, ΕƂὺο Ƃἴζ᾽ ἍηƁεο
ὀλνκƀδόκƂλνο ƃƄέξγƂηο· ƃὺ Ɓὲ κνη
ζπƃίƀλ ἄππξνλ πƀγθƀξπƂίƀο56
?438–431 BC
The gloss is a commentary on Eurpides‘ Cretans, TrGF 472 Kannicht. The Euripidean text, however,
has Ƅὰο ὠκνƅάγνπο Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀο which is a plural accusative from ἟ Ɓƀίο (―feast‖) (Austin 52), whereas Hesychius, by
misunderstanding, reads ƁƀίƄƀο that is a plural accusative from ὁ ƁƀίƄεο to signify ―the priest who divides the
sacrificial victims‖ (LSJ 366 s.v. ―daites‖).
(5) Ɓέμƀη πιήξε πξνρπƄƀίƀλ.
ƃὺ γὰξ ἔλ ƄƂ ζƂν῔ο Ƅν῔ο ΟὐξƀλίƁƀηο
ƃθ῅πƄξνλ Ƅὸ Γηὸο κƂƄƀρƂηξίδƂηο
ρζνλίσλ ζ᾽ ἍηƁῃ κƂƄέρƂηο ἀξρ῅ο.
πέκςνλ Ɓ᾽ ἐο ƅ῵ο ςπρὰο ἐλέξσλ57
(10) Ƅν῔ο βνπινκέλνηο ἄζινπο πξνκƀρƂ῔λ
πόζƂλ ἔβιƀƃƄνλ, Ƅίο ῥίδƀ θƀθ῵λ,
Ƅίλη ƁƂ῔ κƀθάξσλ ἐθζπƃƀκέλνπο
ƂὑξƂ῔λ κόρζσλ ἀλάπƀπιƀλ.
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To you, ruler of all—whether you favor the name Zeus or Hades—I bring fresh
greenery and offertory cake; accept, I beg you, this unburned offering of all kinds of
produce, poured forth in abundance. For you wield the scepter of Zeus amongst the
gods of heaven, and also share with Hades the rule of those within the earth. Send into
the light the souls of the dead for those who wish to learn the trials awaiting
them―whence they have grown, what is the root of their woes, which of the gods they
should appease with sacrifice and so find respite from their tribulations. (trans. Collard
T.249 Aeschylus, Egyptians, TrGF 5
ΕƀγξƂύο (= ΠινύƄσλ)
Zagreus58 (= Pluto59)
before 456 BC
T.250 Antonius Diogenes, Wonders beyond Thoule fr. 2a Stephens qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre,
Life of Pythagoras 17 (43 Places)
?AD second century
ΚξήƄεο Ɓ‘ ἐπηβὰο Ƅν῔ο Μόξγνπ κύƃƄƀηο πξνƃῄƂη ἑλὸο Ƅ῵λ ἸƁƀίσλ ΓƀθƄύισλ, ὑƅ‘ ὧλ
θƀὶ ἐθƀζάξζε Ƅῆ θƂξƀπλίᾳ ιίζῳ, ἕσζƂλ κὲλ πƀξὰ ζƀιάƄƄῃ πξελὴο ἐθƄƀζƂίο, λύθƄσξ Ɓὲ
πƀξὰ πνƄƀκῶ ἀξλƂηνῦ κέιƀλνο κƀιιν῔ο ἐƃƄƂƅƀλσκέλνο. Δἰο Ɓὲ Ƅὸ ἸƁƀ῔νλ θƀινύκƂλνλ
ἄλƄξνλ θƀƄƀβὰο ἔξηƀ ἔρσλ κέιƀλƀ Ƅὰο λνκηδνκέλƀο Ƅξὶο ἐλλέƀ ἟κέξƀο ἐθƂ῔ ƁηέƄξηςƂλ
θƀὶ θƀζήγηƃƂλ Ƅῶ Γηὶ Ƅόλ ƄƂ ƃƄνξλύκƂλνλ ƀὐƄῶ θƀƄ‘ ἔƄνο ζξόλνλ ἐζƂάƃƀƄν,
ἐπίγξƀκκά Ƅ‘ ἐλƂράξƀμƂλ ἐπὶ Ƅῶ Ƅάƅῳ ἐπηγξάςƀο ‗Ππζƀγόξƀο Ƅῶ Γηὶ‘, νὗ ἟ ἀξρή·
ὯƁƂ ζƀλὼλ θƂ῔Ƅƀη Εάλ, ὃλ Γίƀ θηθιήƃθνπƃηλ.
Andrew Dalby comments on this place: ―The Greek pankarpia was an offering of every kind of fruit
in the form of a cake. The cake involved perhaps took different forms; it is described by Euripides as a pelanos‖
(Dalby 2003, 69 s.v. ―pankarpia‖).
Note that Orpheus was credited with enchanting even the ghosts of the dead in the hell. See OF
1074vi = Manilius, Astronomica 1.324–27 (10 Goold): et Lyra diductis per caelum cornibus inter sidera
conspicitur, qua quondam ceperat Orpheus omne quod attigerat cantu, manesque per ipsos fecit iter domuitque
infernas carmine leges (―and one may see among the stars the Lyre, its arms spread apart in heaven, with which
the time gone by Orpheus charmed all that his music reached, making his way even to the ghosts of the dead and
causing the decrees of hell to yield to his song,‖ trans. Goold 31).
For the first time, the name Zagreus occurs in Alcmaeonis (Alcmaeonis fr. 3 (PEG 1: 33)), a poet of
the sixth century BC: πόƄληƀ Ž῅, ΕƀγξƂῦ ƄƂ ζƂ῵λ πƀλππέξƄƀƄƂ πάλƄσλ (―Queen of the earth and you, supreme
Zagreus, the highest of all!‖ trans. E. O.). Unfortunately, the context of the fragment is not given.
Pluto is an alias for Hades.
Arriving at Crete, he (sc. Pythagoras) visited the initiates of Morgos, one of the Idaean
Dactyls; they purified him using a thunder-struck stone, requiring him to stretch out
prone by the seashore at down and by night at the riverside crowned with black
sheep‘s wool. He descended into the so-called Idaean cave60 carrying black wool and
spent the assigned twenty-seven days there; he made offerings to Zeus, and he saw the
throne that was furnished there for him annually. He inscribed an epigram on the tomb
headed ‗Pythagoras to Zeus,‘ which begins:
‗Here lies the dead Zan, whom they call Zeus.‘ (Pseudo-Pythagoras, Epigram
on Zeus’ Tomb, Thesleff p. 174) (trans. Stephens 137)
T.251 Plato, Laws 624a–625c Burnet
350 BC
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{Ἀζελƀ῔νο} κ῵λ νὖλ θƀζ᾽ Ὅκεξνλ ιέγƂηο ὡο Ƅνῦ Μίλσ ƅνηƄ῵λƄνο πξὸο Ƅὴλ Ƅνῦ
πƀƄξὸο ἑθάƃƄνƄƂ ƃπλνπƃίƀλ Ɓη᾽ ἐλάƄνπ ἔƄνπο θƀὶ θƀƄὰ Ƅὰο πƀξ᾽ ἐθƂίλνπ ƅήκƀο Ƅƀ῔ο
πόιƂƃηλ ὑκ῔λ ζέλƄνο Ƅνὺο λόκνπο; {ΚιƂηλίƀο} ιέγƂƄƀη γὰξ νὕƄσ πƀξ᾽ ἟κ῔λ· θƀὶ Ɓὴ θƀὶ
Ƅὸλ ἀƁƂιƅόλ γƂ ƀὐƄνῦ ῬƀƁάκƀλζπλ—ἀθνύƂƄƂ γὰξ Ƅὸ ὄλνκƀ—ƁηθƀηόƄƀƄνλ (625a)
γƂγνλέλƀη. ƄνῦƄνλ νὖλ ƅƀ῔κƂλ ἂλ ἟κƂ῔ο γƂ νἱ Κξ῅ƄƂο, ἐθ Ƅνῦ ƄόƄƂ ƁηƀλέκƂηλ Ƅὰ πƂξὶ Ƅὰο
Ɓίθƀο, ὀξζ῵ο ƄνῦƄνλ Ƅὸλ ἔπƀηλνλ ƀὐƄὸλ Ƃἰιεƅέλƀη. {Ἀζελƀ῔νο} θƀὶ θƀιόλ γƂ Ƅὸ θιένο
ὑƂ῔ ƄƂ Γηὸο κάιƀ πξέπνλ. ἐπƂηƁὴ Ɓὲ ἐλ ƄνηνύƄνηο ἢζƂƃη ƄέζξƀƅζƂ λνκηθν῔ο ƃύ ƄƂ θƀὶ
ὅƁƂ, πξνƃƁνθ῵ νὐθ ἂλ ἀεƁ῵ο πƂξί ƄƂ πνιηƄƂίƀο Ƅὰ λῦλ θƀὶ λόκσλ Ƅὴλ ƁηƀƄξηβήλ,
ιέγνλƄάο ƄƂ θƀὶ ἀθνύνλƄƀο ἅκƀ θƀƄὰ (625b) Ƅὴλ πνξƂίƀλ, πνηήƃƀƃζƀη. πάλƄσο Ɓ᾽ ἣ γƂ
ἐθ Κλσƃνῦ ὁƁὸο Ƃἰο Ƅὸ Ƅνῦ Γηὸο ἄλƄξνλ θƀὶ ἱƂξόλ, ὡο ἀθνύνκƂλ, ἱθƀλή, θƀὶ ἀλάπƀπιƀη
θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ ὁƁόλ, ὡο Ƃἰθόο, πλίγνπο ὄλƄνο Ƅὰ λῦλ, ἐλ Ƅν῔ο ὑςειν῔ο ƁέλƁξƂƃίλ Ƃἰƃη
ƃθηƀξƀί, θƀὶ Ƅƀ῔ο ἟ιηθίƀηο πξέπνλ ἂλ ἟κ῵λ Ƃἴε Ƅὸ ƁηƀλƀπƀύƂƃζƀη ππθλὰ ἐλ ƀὐƄƀ῔ο,
ιόγνηο ƄƂ ἀιιήινπο πƀξƀκπζνπκέλνπο Ƅὴλ ὁƁὸλ ἅπƀƃƀλ νὕƄσ κƂƄὰ ῥᾳƃƄώλεο
ƁηƀπƂξ᾵λƀη. {ΚιƂηλίƀο} θƀὶ κὴλ ἔƃƄηλ γƂ, ὦ μέλƂ, πξντόλƄη θππƀξίƄƄσλ ƄƂ (625c) ἐλ
Ƅν῔ο ἄιƃƂƃηλ ὕςε θƀὶ θάιιε ζƀπκάƃηƀ, θƀὶ ιƂηκ῵λƂο ἐλ νἷƃηλ ἀλƀπƀπόκƂλνη
ƁηƀƄξίβνηκƂλ ἄλ.
{Athenian} You follow Homer (Odyssey 19.178–79), presumably, and say that every
ninth year Minos used to go to a consultation with his father Zeus, and laid down laws
for your cities on the basis of the god‘s pronouncements? {Clinias} Yes, that‘s our
Cretan version, and we add that Minos‘ brother, Rhadamanthus—doubtless you know
the name—was an absolute paragon of justice. We Cretans would say that he won this
reputation because of the scrupulously fair way in which he settled the judicial
problems of his day. {Athenian} A distinguished reputation indeed, and one
particularly appropriate for a son of Zeus. Well then, since you and your companion
have been raised under laws with such a splendid ancestry, I expect you will be quite
happy if we spend our time together today in a discussion about constitutions and
laws, and occupy our journey in a mutual exchange of views. I‘ve heard it said that
from Cnossos to Zeus‘ cave and shrine is quite a long way, and the tall trees along the
route provide shady resting places which will be more than welcome in this stiflingly
hot weather. At our age, there is every excuse for having frequent rests in them, so as
to refresh ourselves by conversation. In this way we shall come to the end of the whole
journey without having tired ourselves out. {Clinias} And as you go on, sir, you find
Pythagoras was to descend there in company of Epimenides of Crete (Epimenides fr. 22i (PEG 2.3)
qtd. in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 8.3), his disciple and student (Epimenides fr. 25 (PEG
2.3: 127) qtd. in Iamblichus, On the Pythagorean Way of Life 32.222).
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tremendously tall and graceful cypress trees in the sacred groves; there are also
meadows in which we can pause and rest. (trans. Cooper 1319–20)
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T.252 Trebatius Testa, De religionibus, book nine fr. 8 Bremer (p. 406) qtd. in Macrobius,
Saturnalia 3.7.5–8 (181–82 Kaster)
first century BC
(5) Hoc loco non alienum videtur de condicione eorum hominum referre, quos leges
sacros esse certis diis iubent, quia non ignore, quibusdam mirum videri, quod cum
cetera sacra violari nefas sit, hominem sacrum ius fuerit occidi. (6) Cuius rei causa
haec est. Veteres nullum animal sacrum in finibus suis esse patiebantur, sed abigebant
ad fines deorum quibus sacrum esset, animas vero sacratorum hominum, quos Graeci
δσάλƀο (†zanas†—Kaster) vocant, dis debitas aestimabant. (7) Quem ad modum igitur
quod sacrum ad deos ipsos mitti non poterat, a se dimittere non dubitabant, sic animas,
quas sacras in coelum mitti posse arbitrati sunt viduatas corpora, quam primum illo ire
voluerunt. (8) Disputat de hoc more etiam Trebatius religionum libro nono.
(5) Here it seems appropriate to comment on the condition of those people whom the
laws consecrate to specific gods, because I know some people think it strange that a
consecrated person may be killed legally when it is against the law for all other
consecrated things to be treated violently. (6) Here is the reason: because the ancients
wanted to have no consecrated animal in their own territory, they used to drive them
off to the territory of the gods to whom they were consecrated, whereas they thought
that the souls of consecrated persons, whom the Greeks call zanas, are owed to the
gods. (7) Therefore, just as they did not hesitate to drive away any consecrated animal
that could not be conveyed directly to the gods, so they wanted consecrated souls,
which they judged could be conveyed directly to heaven, to be separated from the
body and make the journey at the first possible moment. (8) Trebatius, too, discusses
this custom in book nine of his Religious Scruples… (trans. Kaster 2: 55–57)
T.253 Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 4.77.2–3 (1: 519 Vogel)
60–30 BC
(2) κπζνινγνῦƃη γὰξ πξὸ ƄνύƄσλ Ƅ῵λ ρξόλσλ Μίλσƀ θƀƄ᾽ ἐληƀπƄὸλ ƃπλήζσο
θƀζηƂξνῦλ Ƅὸλ θάιιηƃƄνλ Ƅ῵λ γηλνκέλσλ Ƅƀύξσλ Ƅῶ ΠνƃƂηƁ῵λη θƀὶ ζύƂηλ ƄνῦƄνλ Ƅῶ
ζƂῶ· γƂλνκέλνπ Ɓὲ ƄόƄƂ Ƅƀύξνπ θάιιƂη ƁηƀƅέξνλƄνο ἕƄƂξνλ Ƅ῵λ ἟ƄƄόλσλ Ƅƀύξσλ
ζῦƃƀη· Ƅὸλ Ɓὲ ΠνƃƂηƁ῵λƀ κελίƃƀλƄƀ Ƅῶ Μίλῳ πνη῅ƃƀη Ƅὴλ γπλƀ῔θƀ ƀὐƄνῦ Πƀƃηƅάελ
ἐξƀƃζ῅λƀη Ƅνῦ Ƅƀύξνπ. (3) Ɓηὰ Ɓὲ Ƅ῅ο ƄνύƄνπ ƅηινƄƂρλίƀο Ƅὴλ Πƀƃηƅάελ κηγƂ῔ƃƀλ Ƅῶ
Ƅƀύξῳ γƂλλ῅ƃƀη Ƅὸλ κπζνινγνύκƂλνλ ΜηλώƄƀπξνλ. ƄνῦƄνλ Ɓέ ƅƀƃη Ɓηƅπ῅ γƂγνλέλƀη,
θƀὶ Ƅὰ κὲλ ἀλώƄƂξƀ κέξε Ƅνῦ ƃώκƀƄνο ἄρξη Ƅ῵λ ὤκσλ ἔρƂηλ Ƅƀύξνπ, Ƅὰ Ɓὲ ινηπὰ
(2) In explanation of this the myths offer the following account: before this time it had
been the custom of Minos annually to dedicate to Poseidon the fairest bull born in his
herds and to sacrifice it to the god; but at the time in question there was born a bull of
extraordinary beauty and he sacrificed another from among those which were inferior,
whereupon Poseidon, becoming angry at Minos, caused his wife Pasiphae to become
enamored of the bull. (3) And by means of the ingenuity of Daedalus Pasiphae had
intercourse with the bull and gave birth to the Minotaur, famed in the myth. This
creature, they say, was of double form, the upper parts of the body as far as the
shoulders being those of a bull and the remaining parts those of a man. (trans.
Oldfather 3: 61)
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T.254 Ephorus of Cyme, On the Discoveries, FGrHist 70 F104 qtd. in Diodorus of Sicily,
Library of History 5.64.4 (2: 90 Vogel)
341 BC
ἔληνη Ɓ᾽ ἱƃƄνξνῦƃηλ, ὧλ ἐƃƄη θƀὶ Ἔƅνξνο, Ƅνὺο ἸƁƀίνπο ΓƀθƄύινπο γƂλέƃζƀη κὲλ θƀƄὰ
Ƅὴλ ἼƁελ Ƅὴλ ἐλ ſξπγίᾳ, Ɓηƀβ῅λƀη Ɓὲ κƂƄὰ ΜπγƁόλνο Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ Δὐξώπελ· ὑπάξμƀλƄƀο Ɓὲ
γόεƄƀο ἐπηƄεƁƂῦƃƀη Ƅάο ƄƂ ἐπῳƁὰο θƀὶ ƄƂιƂƄὰο θƀὶ κπƃƄήξηƀ, θƀὶ πƂξὶ Σƀκνζξᾴθελ
ƁηƀƄξίςƀλƄƀο νὐ κƂƄξίσο ἐλ ƄνύƄνηο ἐθπιήƄƄƂηλ Ƅνὺο ἐγρσξίνπο· θƀζ᾽ ὃλ Ɓὴ ρξόλνλ
θƀὶ Ƅὸλ ὆ξƅέƀ, ƅύƃƂη Ɓηƀƅόξῳ θƂρνξεγεκέλνλ πξὸο πνίεƃηλ θƀὶ κƂιῳƁίƀλ, κƀζεƄὴλ
γƂλέƃζƀη ƄνύƄσλ, θƀὶ πξ῵Ƅνλ Ƃἰο Ƅνὺο Ἕιιελƀο ἐμƂλƂγθƂ῔λ ƄƂιƂƄὰο θƀὶ κπƃƄήξηƀ.
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OF 519 + OF 940i; Orfismo D1 Scarpi
But some historians, and Ephorus is one of them, record that the Idaean Dactyli were
in fact born on the Mt. Ide which is in Phrygia and passed over to Europe together
with Mygdon; and since they were wizards, they practicised charms and initiatory rites
and mysteries, and in the course of a sojourn in Samothrace they amazed the natives of
that island not a little by their skill in such matters. And it was at this time, we are
further told, that Orpheus, who was endowed with an exceptional gift of poesy and
song, also become a pupil of theirs, and he was subsequently the first to introduce
initiatory rites and mysteries to the Greeks. (trans. Oldfather 3: 271)
T.255 Epimenides the Genealogist (vel Theologian), History of Crete fr. 4 Fowler qtd. in
Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 5.65.1 (2: 91 Vogel) Hellenistic period
FGrHist 457 F17 = FGrHist 468 F1
κƂƄὰ Ɓὲ Ƅνὺο ἸƁƀίνπο ΓƀθƄύινπο ἱƃƄνξνῦƃη γƂλέƃζƀη ΚνύξεƄƀο ἐλλέƀ. ƄνύƄνπο Ɓ᾽ νἱ
κὲλ κπζνινγνῦƃη γƂγνλέλƀη γεγƂλƂ῔ο, νἱ Ɓ᾽ ἀπνγόλνπο Ƅ῵λ ἸƁƀίσλ ΓƀθƄύισλ.
After the Idaean Dactyli, according to accounts we have, here were nine Curetes.
Some writers of myths relate that these gods were born of the earth, but according to
others, they were descended from the Idaean Dactyli. (trans. Oldfather 3: 273)
T.256 Epimenides the Genealogist (vel Theologian), History of Crete fr. 4 Fowler qtd. in
Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 5.66.1–3 (2: 92 Vogel)
Hellenistic period
FGrHist 457 F17 = FGrHist 468 F1
(1) κπζνινγνῦƃη γὰξ νἱ Κξ῅ƄƂο γƂλέƃζƀη θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ Ƅ῵λ ΚνπξήƄσλ ἟ιηθίƀλ Ƅνὺο
θƀινπκέλνπο ΤηƄ᾵λƀο. ƄνύƄνπο Ɓὲ Ƅ῅ο Κλσƃίƀο ρώξƀο ἔρƂηλ Ƅὴλ νἴθεƃηλ, ὅπνππƂξ ἔƄη
θƀὶ λῦλ ƁƂίθλπƄƀη ζƂκέιηƀ Ῥέƀο νἰθόπƂƁƀ θƀὶ θππƀξίƄƄσλ ἄιƃνο ἐθ πƀιƀηνῦ ρξόλνπ
ἀλƂηκέλνλ. (2) ὑπάξμƀη Ɓὲ Ƅὸλ ἀξηζκὸλ ἓμ κὲλ ἄλƁξƀο, πέλƄƂ Ɓὲ γπλƀ῔θƀο, ὡο κέλ ƄηλƂο
κπζνινγνῦƃηλ, Οὐξƀλνῦ θƀὶ Ž῅ο ὄλƄƀο, ὡο Ɓέ Ƅηλέο ƅƀƃηλ, ἔθ Ƅηλνο Ƅ῵λ ΚνπξήƄσλ θƀὶ
κεƄξὸο ΤηƄƀίƀο, ἀƅ᾽ ἥο ƀὐƄνὺο ƄƀύƄεο ƄƂƄƂπρέλƀη Ƅ῅ο πξνƃεγνξίƀο. (3) ἄξξƂλƀο κὲλ
νὖλ γƂλέƃζƀη Ƅόλ ƄƂ Κξόλνλ θƀὶ ὘πƂξίνλƀ θƀὶ Κν῔νλ, ἔƄη Ɓὲ ἸƀπƂƄὸλ θƀὶ Κξηὸλ θƀὶ Ƅὸ
ƄƂιƂπƄƀ῔νλ ὨθƂƀλόλ, ἀƁƂιƅὰο Ɓὲ ƄνύƄσλ Ƅήλ ƄƂ Ῥέƀλ θƀὶ žέκηλ θƀὶ Μλεκνƃύλελ, ἔƄη
Ɓὲ ſνίβελ θƀὶ Τεζύλ.
(1) The myth the Cretans relate runs like this: When the Curetes were young men, the
Titans, as they are called, were still living. These Titans had their dwelling in the land
about Cnossos, at the place where even to this day men point out foundation of a
house of Rhea and a cypress grove which has been consecrated to her from ancient
times. (2) The Titans numbered six men and five women, being born, as certain
writers of myths relate, of Uranus and Ge, but according to others, of one of the
Curetes and Titaea, from whom as their mother they derive the name they have. (3)
The males were Cronus, Hyperion, Coeus, Iapetus, Crius, and Oceanus, and their
sisters were Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. (trans. Oldfather 3: 273–
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T.257 Epimenides the Genealogist (vel Theologian), History of Crete fr. 4 Fowler qtd. in
Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 5.65.4 (2: 92 Vogel) Hellenistic period
FGrHist 457 F17 = FGrHist 468 F1
ƂὑξƂ῔λ Ɓὲ θƀὶ μίƅε θƀὶ θξάλε θƀὶ Ƅὰο ἐλνπιίνπο ὀξρήƃƂηο, Ɓη᾽ ὧλ πνηνῦλƄƀο κƂγάινπο
ςόƅνπο ἀπƀƄ᾵λ Ƅὸλ Κξόλνλ. ƅƀƃὶ Ɓ᾽ ƀὐƄνὺο Ƅὸλ Γίƀ, ιάζξᾳ Ƅνῦ πƀƄξὸο Κξόλνπ
πƀξƀƁνύƃεο Ῥέƀο Ƅ῅ο κεƄξόο, ὑπνƁέμƀƃζƀη θƀὶ ζξέςƀη· πƂξὶ νὗ Ƅὰ θƀƄὰ κέξνο
κέιινλƄƀο ἟κ᾵ο Ɓεινῦλ ἀλƀγθƀ῔νλ ἀλƀιƀβƂ῔λ κηθξὸλ ἀλσƄέξσ Ƅὴλ Ɓηήγεƃηλ.
The Curetes also invented swords and helmets and the war-dance, by means of which
they raised a great alarm and deceived Cronus. And we are told that, when Rhea, the
mother of Zeus, entrusted him to them unbeknown to Cronus his father, they took him
under their care and saw to his nurture. (trans. Oldfather 3: 273)
T.258 Epimenides the Genealogist (vel Theologian), History of Crete fr. 4 Fowler qtd. in
Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 5.75.4 (2: 107 Vogel)
Hellenistic period
OF 283i + OF 311xii + OF 530; FGrHist 457 F17 = FGrHist 468 F1
ƄνῦƄνλ Ɓὲ Ƅὸλ ζƂὸλ γƂγνλέλƀη ƅƀƃὶλ ἐθ Γηὸο θƀὶ ſƂξƃƂƅόλεο θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ ΚξήƄελ, ὃλ
὆ξƅƂὺο θƀƄὰ Ƅὰο ƄƂιƂƄὰο πƀξέƁσθƂ ƁηƀƃπώκƂλνλ ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ ΤηƄάλσλ· πιƂίνλƀο γὰξ
Γηνλύƃνπο ƃπκβƀίλƂη γƂγνλέλƀη, πƂξὶ ὧλ ἟κƂ῔ο ƃƀƅέƃƄƂξνλ Ƅὰ θƀƄὰ κέξνο ἐλ
νἰθƂηνƄέξνηο θƀηξν῔ο ἀλƀγƂγξάƅƀκƂλ.
This god (viz. Dionysus) was born in Crete, men say, of Zeus and Persephone, and
Orpheus has handed down the tradition in the initiatory rites that he was torn in pieces
by the Titans. And the fact is that there is have been several who bore the name
Dionysus… (trans. Oldfather 3: 303)
T.259 Olympiodorus of Alexandria, Commentary on the Phaedo 1.3 (41–43 Westerink). AD
OF 220 Kern + OF 304i + OF 313ii + OF 318iii + OF 320i; Orfismo A16 Scarpi
θƀὶ ἔƃƄη Ƅὸ κπζηθὸλ ἐπηρƂίξεκƀ ƄνηνῦƄνλ· πƀξὰ Ƅῶ ὆ξƅƂ῔ ƄέƃƃƀξƂο βƀƃηιƂ῔ƀη
πƀξƀƁίƁνλƄƀη. πξώƄε κὲλ ἟ Ƅνῦ Οὐξƀλνῦ, ἡλ ὁ Κξόλνο ƁηƂƁέμƀƄν ἐθƄƂκὼλ Ƅὰ ƀἰƁν῔ƀ
Ƅνῦ πƀƄξόο· κƂƄὰ Ɓὲ Ƅὸλ Κξόλνλ ὁ ΕƂὺο ἐβƀƃίιƂπƃƂλ θƀƄƀƄƀξƄƀξώƃƀο Ƅὸλ πƀƄέξƀ·
ƂἶƄƀ Ƅὸλ Γίƀ ƁηƂƁέμƀƄν ὁ Γηόλπƃνο, ὅλ ƅƀƃη θƀƄ‘ ἐπηβνπιὴλ Ƅ῅ο Ἥξƀο Ƅνὺο πƂξὶ ƀὐƄὸλ
ΤηƄ᾵λƀο ƃπƀξάƄƄƂηλ θƀὶ Ƅ῵λ ƃƀξθ῵λ ƀὐƄνῦ ἀπνγƂύƂƃζƀη. θƀὶ ƄνύƄνπο ὀξγηƃζƂὶο ὁ
ΕƂὺο ἐθƂξƀύλσƃƂ, θƀὶ ἐθ Ƅ῅ο ƀἰζάιεο Ƅ῵λ ἀƄκ῵λ Ƅ῵λ ἀλƀƁνζέλƄσλ ἐμ ƀὐƄ῵λ ὕιεο
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The mythical argument is as follows: in the Orphic tradition we hear of four reigns.
The first is that of Uranus, to which Kronos succeeds after emasculating his father;
after Kronos Zeus becomes king having hurled down his father into Tartarus; then
Zeus is succeeded by Dionysus, whom, they say his retainers the Titans tear to pieces
through Hera‘s plotting, and they eat his flesh. Zeus, incensed, strikes them with his
thunderbolts, and the soot of the vapors that rise from them becomes the matter from
which men are created. Therefore suicide is forbidden… because our bodies are
Dionysiac; we are, in fact, a part of him, being made of the soot of the Titans who ate
his flesh. (trans. Westerink 40–42, modified)
T.260 Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 5.49.2–3 (2: 72 Vogel)
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γƂλνκέλεο γƂλέƃζƀη Ƅνὺο ἀλζξώπνπο. νὐ ƁƂ῔ νὖλ ἐμάγƂηλ ἟κ᾵ο ἑƀπƄνύο… ὡο Ƅνῦ
ƃώκƀƄνο ἟κ῵λ Γηνλπƃηƀθνῦ ὄλƄνο· κέξνο γὰξ ƀὐƄνῦ ἐƃκƂλ, Ƃἴ γƂ ἐθ Ƅ῅ο ƀἰζάιεο Ƅ῵λ
ΤηƄάλσλ ƃπγθƂίκƂζƀ γƂπƃƀκέλσλ Ƅ῵λ ƃƀξθ῵λ ƄνύƄνπ.
60–30 BC
Ƅὸλ Ɓ᾽ Ἰƀƃίσλƀ γήκƀλƄƀ Κπβέιελ γƂλλ῅ƃƀη ΚνξύβƀλƄƀ… ΓάξƁƀλνλ θƀὶ Κπβέιελ θƀὶ
ΚνξύβƀλƄƀ κƂƄƀθνκίƃƀη Ƃἰο Ƅὴλ Ἀƃίƀλ Ƅὰ Ƅ῅ο κεƄξὸο Ƅ῵λ ζƂ῵λ ἱƂξὰ θƀὶ ƃπλƀπ᾵ξƀη
Ƃἰο ſξπγίƀλ… (3) Ƅὸλ Ɓὲ ΚνξύβƀλƄƀ Ƅνὺο ἐπὶ Ƅν῔ο Ƅ῅ο κεƄξὸο ἱƂξν῔ο ἐλζνπƃηάƃƀλƄƀο
ἀƅ᾽ ἑƀπƄνῦ ΚνξύβƀλƄƀο πξνƃƀγνξƂῦƃƀη…
Iasion married Cybele and begat Corybas… Dardanus and Cybele and Corybas
conveyed to Asia the sacred rites of the Mother of the Gods and removed with them to
Phrygia… (3) and Corybas gave the name of Corybantes to all who, in celebrating the
rites of his mother, acted like men possessed… (trans. Oldfather 3: 233–34)
T.261 Theophrastus of Eresus, On Piety fr. 12 Pötscher qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, On
Abstinence from Living Animals 2.21.1 (88 Bouffartigue)
322 BC
κƀξƄπξƂ῔Ƅƀη Ɓὲ ƄƀῦƄƀ νὐ κόλνλ ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ θύξβƂσλ, ƀἳ Ƅ῵λ ΚξήƄεζέλ Ƃἰƃη
ΚνξπβƀλƄηθ῵λ ἱƂξ῵λ νἷνλ ἀλƄίγξƀƅƀ ἄƄƄƀ πξὸο ἀιήζƂηƀλ, ἀιιὰ θƀὶ πƀξ᾽
἖κπƂƁνθιένπο, ὃο πƂξὶ Ƅ῅ο ζƂνγνλίƀο ƁηƂμηὼλ θƀὶ πƂξὶ Ƅ῵λ ζπκάƄσλ πƀξƂκƅƀίλƂη
ιέγƂη· … Ƅƀύξσλ Ɓ' ἀθξήƄνηƃη ƅόλνηο νὐ ƁƂύƂƄν βσκόο.
Evidence for this61 comes not only from the kyrbeis, which are really a kind of
transcription of the Corybantic rites from Crete, but also in Empedocles (fr. 118
Wright), who comments on sacrifices in expounding his theogony:… ‗the altar was
not soaked by violent deaths of bulls.‘ (trans. Clark 63)
T.262 Aristophanes of Byzantium fr. 410 Slater
200 BC
ΚύξβƂηο· ƀἱ Ƅὰο Ƅ῵λ ζƂ῵λ ἑνξƄὰο ἔρνπƃƀη· θξύβηέο ƄηλƂο νὖƃƀη, ἐλ ƀἷο Ƅὰ Ƅ῵λ ζƂ῵λ
ἀπνθξππƄόκƂλƀ ἔƁƂη Ƃἶλƀη. ἈƃθιεπηάƁεο, ὅƄη ἀπὸ ΚύξβƂσο Ƅνῦ Ƅὰο ζπƃίƀο ὁξίƃƀλƄνο,
ὥο ƅεƃη ſƀλίƀο ὁ ἖ξέƃηνο. ἀπὸ ƄνύƄνπ ƄƀῦƄƀ θπξσζ῅λƀη Ƅν῔ο γξάκκƀƃηλ.
἖ξƀƄνƃζέλεο Ɓὲ Ƅξηγώλνπο ƀὐƄάο ƅεƃηλ Ƃἶλƀη· ἈξηƃƄνƅάλεο Ɓὲ ὁκνίƀο Ƃἶλƀί ƅεƃη Ƅν῔ο
ἄμνƃη, πιὴλ ὅƄη νἱ κὲλ ἄμνλƂο λόκνπο, ƀἱ Ɓὲ θύξβƂηο ζπƃίƀο Ƃἶρνλ.
Sc. bloodless sacrifices and wineless libations.
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T.263 Nonnus of Panopolis, Dionysiaca 17.37–66 (159–60 Gerlaud)
Ἔλζƀ ƁηƀƃƄƂίρνλƄƀ βƀζππινύƄῳ πƀξὰ πέƄξῃ
βνπθƂξάνηο ΣƀƄύξνηƃηλ ὁκήιπƁƀ πƂδὸλ ὁƁίƄελ
Βάθρνλ ἀλὴξ ἄγξƀπινο ἐξεκάƁη ƁέθƄν θƀιηῆ,
(40) Βξόγγνο, ἀƁσκήƄσλ ὀξƂƃίƁξνκνο ἀƃƄὸο ἐλƀύισλ,
γεγƂλέσλ ἀράξƀθƄνλ ὑπὸ θξεπ῔Ɓƀ ζƂκέζισλ
λƀίσλ νἶθνλ ἄνηθνλ. ἖πƅξνƃύλεο Ɓὲ ƁνƄ῅ξƀ
ƀἰγὸο ἀκƂιγνκέλεο θƂξάƃƀο ρηνλσπὸλ ἐέξƃελ
(44) μƂηλνƁόθνο γιƀγόƂλƄη πνƄῶ κƂηιίμƀƄν πνηκὴλ.
(46) Κƀὶ κίƀλ Ƃἰξνπόθσλ ὀίσλ ἀλƂιύƃƀƄν κάλƁξεο,
ὄƅξƀ θƂ ƁƀηƄξƂύƃƂηƂ ζπεπνιίελ Γηνλύƃῳ·
ἀιιὰ ζƂὸο θƀƄέξπθƂ· γέξσλ Ɓ᾽ ἐπƂπƂίζƂƄν Βάθρνπ
λƂύκƀƃηλ ἀƄξέπƄνηƃηλ, ὄηλ Ɓ᾽ ἄςƀπƃƄνλ ἐάƃƃƀο
(50) πνηκƂλίελ Ƅηλὰ Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀ ζƂιήκνλη ζ῅θƂ Λπƀίῳ,
(51) ƄƂύρσλ ƁƂ῔πλνλ ἄƁƂηπλνλ ἀƁƀηƄξƂύƄνην Ƅξƀπέδεο,
(45) ƂἴƁƀƃηλ νὐƄηƁƀλν῔ƃη θƀὶ ἀγξƀύινηƃη θππέιινηο
(52) νἷƀ ΚιƂσλƀίνην ƅƀƄίδƂƄƀη ἀκƅὶ Μνιόξθνπ
θƂ῔λƀ, Ƅά πƂξ ƃπƂύƁνλƄη ιƂνλƄνƅόλνπο ἐο ἀγ῵λƀο
ὥπιηƃƂλ ἧξƀθι῅η. ρύƁελ Ɓ᾽ ἐπέβƀιιƂ Ƅξƀπέδῃ
(55) Ƃἰλ ἁιὶ λερνκέλεο ƅζηλνπσξίƁνο ἄλζνο ἐιƀίεο
Βξόγγνο, ἔρσλ κίκεκƀ ƅηινƃƄόξγνην λνκ῅νο,
πιƂθƄν῔ο ἐλ Ƅƀιάξνηο λƂνπεγέƀ Ƅπξὸλ ἀƂίξσλ,
ἰθκƀιένλ, ƄξνρόƂλƄƀ. žƂὸο Ɓ᾽ ἐγέιƀƃƃƂ ƁνθƂύσλ
ἀγξνλόκσλ ιηƄὰ ƁƂ῔πλƀ· ƅηινμƂίλῳ Ɓὲ λνκ῅η
(60) ἵιƀνλ ὄκκƀ ƅέξσλ ὀιίγεο ἔςƀπƃƂ Ƅξƀπέδεο
ƁƀξƁάπƄσλ ἀθόξεƄνο· ἀƂὶ Ɓ᾽ ἐκλώƂƄν θƂίλεο
Ƃἰιƀπίλελ ἐιάρƂηƀλ ἀλƀηκάθƄνην Ƅξƀπέδεο
κεƄξὸο ἑ῅ο πƀξὰ Ɓόξπνλ, ὀξƂƃƃƀύινην Κπβήιεο.
Κƀὶ θξƀλƀνὺο ππιƂ῵λƀο ἐζάκβƂƂ θπθιάƁνο ƀὐι῅ο,
(65) π῵ο ſύƃηο ἐξγνπόλνο Ɓόκνλ ἔγιπƅƂ, π῵ο Ɓίρƀ Ƅέρλεο
ἀλƄηƄύπνηο θƀλόλƂƃƃηλ ἐƄνξλώζεƃƀλ ἐξίπλƀη.
AD 450
Littera Antiqua
Kyrbeis: Those containing (sc. lists of) the festivals of the gods; being a sort of secret
sources, in which the matters of the gods were to be hidden away. Asclepiades
(FGrHist 339 F1) says that (the term comes) from Kyrbes, who ‗defined the
sacrifices,‘ as Phanias the Eresian says (fr. 22b Wehrli). By him these (matters) were
validated in writing. Eratosthenes (fr. 80 Strecker) says they were three-cornered.
Aristophanes (of Byzantium) says they are like the ‗axles,‘ except that the axles
contained the laws but the kyrbeis the sacrifices. (the SOL translation, modified)
There as the company of footmen with the homed Satyrs travelled beside the richly
stored rocks, Bacchus on his march was entertained by a countryman in a lonely hut,
Brongos, dweller in the highland glens where no houses are built. Beside the
unquarried wall of these giant strongholds he dwelt, in a house that was no house. The
hospitable shepherd milked a goat, and drew a potion snowy-white, to seek the favor
of the giver of jolly good cheer with his milky draught in country cups, with common
vittles. He brought out a fleecy sheep from the fold, as an offering for Dionysus, but
the god stayed him. The old man obeyed the immutable bidding of Bacchus, and
leaving the sheep untouched he set shepherd's fare before willing Lyaios. So he served
a supper no supper, board without beef, such as they say in Cleonai Molorcos once
provided for Heracles on his way to fight the lion. Brongos like that kind-hearted
shepherd set on the board plenty of the autumn fruit of the olive swimming in brine,
and brought fresh curdled cheese in wickerwork baskets, juicy and round. The god
laughed when he saw the countryman's light supper, and turning a gracious eye on the
hospitable shepherd, he partook of the humble fare, munching greedily. All the time he
was reminded of the frugal banquet on that bloodless table, when there was a meal for
his Mother, Cybele of the highlands. And he wondered at the stone doors of the round
courtyard, how industrious nature had carved a house, how without art the cliffs were
rounded in answering proportion. (trans. Rouse 2: 35–37)
T.264 Dionysius, Gigantias, GDRK 1 no. 19.26, p. 76
AD third century
Ƅν῔ο ἐλὶ κὲλ θύƀκνη δ(
νἴθπιƀ ƄƂ ζƂηƀί ƄƂ πƂξ(
ƀὐƄὰξ ἐπὴλ ρƀιθὸο κ(
Ƅηλζƀιένο δƂίῃƃη Ƅƀ(
(5) Ɓὴ ƄόƄ᾽ ἐγὼ ζάιƀκόλƁ(Ƃ
.. ινκƀη ὄƅξƀ θƂ Ɓƀ῔Ƅƀ(
…)λ θάγθƀλƀ θ῅ιƀ (
…)Ƃζ᾽ ὕƁσξ
In which there were beans, cereals, grains of wheat, and….. When the brazen……
potion with meal….. Then I want to…… to the house until the banquet…… dried
woods…... with water. (trans. E. O.)
T.265 Palladius of Helenopolis, Lausiac History 11.4 (52 Bartelink)
AD 388
Littera Antiqua
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
ƄνύƄνπ Ƅνῦ Ἀκκσλίνπ ƅέξƂƄƀη Ƅὸ ζƀῦκƀ ƄνῦƄν, ὅƄη νὐƁέπνƄƂ ἟Ɓνλ῅ο ƀὐƄ῵η
ἐπƀλƀƃƄάƃεο Ƅνῦ ƃƀξθίνπ ƀὐƄνῦ ἐƅƂίƃƀƄν, ἀιιὰ ƃίƁεξνλ ἐθππξώƃƀο πξνƃƂƄίζƂη Ƅν῔ο
ἑƀπƄνῦ κέιƂƃηλ, ὡο πάλƄνƄƂ ƀὐƄὸλ ἟ιθσκέλνλ Ƃἶλƀη. ἟ κέλƄνη ƄξάπƂδƀ ƀὐƄνῦ γέγνλƂλ
ἐθ λƂόƄεƄνο ὠκνƅƀγίƀ ἕσο ζƀλάƄνπ· νὐƁὲλ γὰξ ὃ Ɓηὰ ππξὸο ƁηήξρƂƄν ἔƅƀγέ πνƄƂ ἐθƄὸο
About this Ammonius the following marvelous story was told. When desire arose in
him, he never spared his poor body, but heating an iron in the fire he would apply it to
his members, so that he became a mass of ulcers. Now his table from youth until death
contained raw food only. For he never ate anything that had passed through the fire
except bread. (trans. Clarke 65)
T.266 Euripides, Bacchants 136–42 (6: 22 Kovacs)
἟Ɓὺο ἐλ ὄξƂƃηλ, ὅƄƀλ
ἐθ ζηάƃσλ Ɓξνκƀίσλ
πέƃῃ πƂƁόƃƂ, λƂβξίƁνο ἔρσλ
ἱƂξὸλ ἐλƁπƄόλ, ἀγξƂύσλ
ƀἷκƀ ƄξƀγνθƄόλνλ, ὠκνƅάγνλ ράξηλ,
ἱέκƂλνο ἐο ὄξƂƀ
ΛύƁη᾽, ὁ Ɓ᾽ ἔμƀξρνο Βξόκηνο,
406 BC
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Welcomes is the god when on the mountains he leaves the coursing covens and falls to
the ground, his holy garment of fawn-skin about him, in pursuit of the shed blood of
the skin goat, the glad meal of raw flesh, rushing to the mountains of Lydia, this leader
of ours, Bromios, euhoi! (trans. Kovacs 6: 23)
OF 583
․․․․Ν. ὅƄƀλ Ɓὲ ἟ ἱέξƂηƀ ἐπη(ƄƂιέƃ)εη Ƅὰ ἱƂξὰ ὑπὲξ Ƅ῅ο πόι(Ƃσ)ο
(πάƃεο) κὴ ἐμƂ῔λƀη ὠκνƅάγηνλ ἐκβƀιƂ῔λ κεζƂλὶ πξόƄƂξνλ
(ἠ ἟ ἱέ)ξƂηƀ ὑπὲξ Ƅ῅ο πόιƂσο ἐκβάιεη.
Littera Antiqua
T.267 Regulation concerning the bloody sacrifices to Dionysus Bacchius, from Miletus,
LSAM no. 48
276/275 BC
It is not permitted to anyone to put down the omophagion before the priestess does so
on behalf of the city. (trans. Kane 336)
T.268 Plutarch of Chaeronea, Obsolence of Oracles 14, 417C (117 Flacelière) AD 119
ΠƂξὶ κὲλ νὖλ Ƅ῵λ κπƃƄηθ῵λ, ἐλ νἷο Ƅὰο κƂγίƃƄƀο ἐκƅάƃƂηο θƀὶ ƁηƀƅάƃƂηο ιƀβƂ῔λ ἔƃƄη
Ƅ῅ο πƂξὶ Ɓƀηκόλσλ ἀιεζƂίƀο, ‗ƂὔƃƄνκά κνη θƂίƃζσ‘ θƀζʹ ἧξόƁνƄνλ· ἑνξƄὰο Ɓὲ θƀὶ
ζπƃίƀο, ὥƃπƂξ ἟κέξƀο ἀπνƅξάƁƀο θƀὶ ƃθπζξσπάο, ἐλ ƀἷο ὠκνƅƀγίƀη θƀὶ Ɓηƀƃπƀƃκνὶ
λεƃƄƂ῔ƀί ƄƂ θƀὶ θνπƂƄνὶ πνιιƀρνῦ Ɓὲ πάιηλ ƀἰƃρξνινγίƀη πξὸο ἱƂξν῔ο…
Regarding the rites of the Mysteries, in which it is possible to gain the clearest
reflections and adumbrations of the truth about the demigods, ‗let my lips be piously
sealed,‘ as Herodotus says (Histories 2.171); but as for festivals and sacrifices, which
may be compared with ill-omened and gloomy days, in which occur the eating of raw
flesh, rending of victims, fasting, and beating of breasts, and again in many places
scurrilous language at the shrines… (Babbitt 5: 391)
T.269 Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2.12.2 (20–21 Marcovich). AD 195
Γηόλπƃνλ κƀηλόιελ ὀξγηάδνπƃη Βάθρνη ὠκνƅƀγίᾳ Ƅὴλ ἱƂξνκƀλίƀλ ἄγνλƄƂο θƀὶ
ƄƂιίƃθνπƃη Ƅὰο θξƂνλνκίƀο Ƅ῵λ ƅόλσλ ἀλƂƃƄƂκκέλνη Ƅν῔ο ὄƅƂƃηλ, ἐπνινιύδνλƄƂο
Δὐάλ, Δὔƀλ ἐθƂίλελ, Ɓἰ ἡλ ἟ πιάλε πƀξεθνινύζεƃƂλ: θƀὶ ƃεκƂ῔νλ ὀξγίσλ βƀθρηθ῵λ
ὄƅηο ἐƃƄὶ ƄƂƄƂιƂƃκέλνο. ƀὐƄίθƀ γνῦλ θƀƄὰ Ƅὴλ ἀθξηβ῅ Ƅ῵λ ἗βξƀίσλ ƅσλὴλ Ƅὸ ὄλνκƀ
Ƅὸ Ἕπηƀ ƁƀƃπλόκƂλνλ ἑξκελƂύƂƄƀη ὄƅηο ἟ ζήιƂηƀ.
The raving Dionysus is worshipped by Bacchants with orgies, in which they celebrate
their sacred frenzy by a feast of raw flesh. Wreathed with Dionysus snakes, they
perform the distribution of portions of their victims, shouting the name of Eva, that
Eva through whom error entered into the world; and a consecrated snake is the
emblem of the Bacchic orgies. At any rate, according to the correct Hebrew speech,
the word ‗hevia‘ with an aspirate means the female snake. (trans. Butterworth 31)
T.270 Lucian of Samosata, Dionysus 2 (17 MacLeod)
AD 165–80
Ƅὰο Ɓ᾽ νὖλ πνίκλƀο Ɓηεξπάƃζƀη ἢƁε ὑπὸ Ƅ῵λ γπλƀηθ῵λ θƀὶ ƁηƂƃπάƃζƀη ἔƄη δ῵λƄƀ Ƅὰ
ζξέκκƀƄƀ· ὠκνƅάγνπο γάξ Ƅηλƀο ƀὐƄὰο Ƃἶλƀη.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
The flocks have already been harried by the women, and the animals torn limb from
limb while still alive; for they are eaters of raw meat. (trans. Harmon 51)
Littera Antiqua
OF 322
T.271 Firmicus Maternus, On the Error of the Pagan Religions 6.5 (89–90 Turcan). AD 340
Cretenses ut furentis tyranni saevitiam mitigarent festos funeris dies statuunt et
annuum sacrum trieterica consecratione componunt, omnia per ordinem facientes quae
per puer moriens aut fecit aut passus est. vivum laniant dentibus taurum, crudeles
epulas annuis commemorationibus excitantes, et per secreta silvarum clamoribus
dissonis eiulantes fingunt animi furentis insaniam, ut illud facinus non per fraudem
factum, sed per insaniam crederetur. Prefertur cista in qua cor soror latenter
absconderat tibiarum cantu et cymbalorum tinnitus crepundia, quibus puer deceptus
fuerat, metiuntur, sic in honorem tyranny a serviente plebe deus factus est qui habere
non potuit sepulturam.
The Cretans, to soothe the fierce mood of the angry tyrant (i.e. Jupiter), instituted
certain days as a funeral feast and coupled a yearly rite with a celebration on alternate
years, performing in order due all that the boy (i.e. Liber) had done or suffered at his
death. They tore a live bull with their teeth, recalling the savage banquet by a yearly
commemoration of it. They penetrated the solitudes of the forest uttering discordant
cries and so feigning madness, that the crime might be set down to lunacy, not to
guile. Before them was carried the basket in which the sister (i.e. Minerva) had
concealed and hidden the heart. With the music of pipes and the clash of cymbals they
got up a make-belief of the rattles by which the boy had been deluded. (trans. Cook
T.272aOrphic Hymns 52.4–7 (427 Fayant)
λπθƄέξη᾽, ΔὐβνπιƂῦ, κηƄξεƅόξƂ, ζπξƃνƄηλάθƄƀ,
ὄξγηνλ ἄξξεƄνλ, Ƅξηƅπέο, θξύƅηνλ Γηὸο ἔξλνο,
ΠξσƄνγνλ᾽, ἦξηθƂπƀ῔Ƃ, ζƂ῵λ πάƄƂξ ἞Ɓὲ θƀὶ πἱέ,
ὠκάƁηƂ, ƃθεπƄνῦρƂ, ρνξνηκƀλέο, ἁγέƄƀ θώκσλ…
?AD 200
…you lead them in the night, o filleted, o thyrsus-shaking Eubouleus. Your nature
three-fold, your rites ineffable, o secret offspring of Zeus, primeval, Erikepaios, father
and son of the gods, you take raw flesh (Omadie), and sceptered you lead us into the
madness of revel and dance… (trans. Athanassakis 43)
T.272b Euelpis of Carystus, FHG 4: 408 qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence from Living
Animals 2.55.3 (118 Bouffartigue)
before AD 263
ἔζπνλ Ɓὲ θƀὶ ἐλ Χίῳ Ƅῶ ὨκƀƁίῳ Γηνλύƃῳ ἄλζξσπνλ Ɓηƀƃπ῵λƄƂο, θƀὶ ἐλ ΤƂλέƁῳ, ὡο
ƅεƃὶλ ΔὔƂιπηο ὁ ΚƀξύƃƄηνο…
In Chios they used to sacrifice a human to Dionysus Omadios, tearing him to pieces;
this also happened to Tenedos, according to Euelpis of Karystos (trans. Clark 77)
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Milk: Not Good for You?
T.273 Derveni Papyrus, col. 6 lines 5–10 (73 KTP)
340 BC
(5) Ƅν῔ο Ɓὲ
ἱƂξν῔(ο) ἐπηƃπέλƁνπƃηλ ὕ(Ɓσ)ξ θƀὶ γάιƀ, ἐμ ὧλπƂξ θƀὶ Ƅὰο
ρνὰο πνηνῦƃη. ἀλάξηζκƀ (θƀ)ὶ πνιπόκƅƀιƀ Ƅὰ πόπƀλƀ
ζύνπƃηλ, ὅƄη θƀὶ ƀἱ ςπρƀὶ ἀλάξηζκν(ί Ƃἰ)ƃη. ΜύƃƄƀη
ΔὐκƂλίƃη πξνζύνπƃη θ(ƀƄὰ Ƅὰ) ƀὐƄὰ κάγνηο· ΔὐκƂλίƁƂο γὰξ
(10) ςπρƀί Ƃἰƃηλ.
Littera Antiqua
OF 471; Orfismo C6 Scarpi
And on the offerings they pour water and milk, from which (plural) they also make the
libations to the dead. Innumerable and many-knobbled are the cakes they sacrifice,
because the souls too are innumerable. Initiates make a preliminary sacrifice to the
Eumenides in the same way the magi do; for the Eumenides are souls. (trans. KTP
T.274 Scholia vetera in Aeschinem 1, 374a (53–54 Dilts)
before AD tenth century
Ƅƀ῔ο ΣƂκλƀ῔ο ζƂƀ῔ο·…. ἤλ Ɓὲ Ƅὰ πƂκπόκƂλƀ ƀὐƄƀ῔ο ἱƂξὰ πόπƀλƀ θƀὶ γάιƀ ἐλ ἄγγƂƃη
θƂξƀκƂίνηο. ƅƀƃὶ κέλƄνη ƀὐƄὰο νἱ κὲλ Ž῅ο Ƃἶλƀη θƀὶ ΣθόƄνπο, νἱ Ɓὲ ΣθόƄνπο θƀὶ
Δὐσλύκεο, ἡλ θƀὶ Ž῅λ ὀλνκάδƂƃζƀη. θιεζ῅λƀη Ɓὲ ΔὐκƂλίƁƀο ἐπὶ ὆ξέƃƄνπ πξ῵Ƅνλ
἖ξηλύƀο θƀινύκƂλƀο.
The Semnai Goddesses:… there were sacrificed to them sacred cakes and milk in the
special ceramic vessels. Some people say that they were born from Ge and Skotos, the
others that from Skotos and Euonyme who was also named Ge. In Orestes‘ times they
were bestowed Eumenides, albeit formerly they were called Erinyes. (trans. E. O.)
T.275 Athenaeus of Naucratis, Learned Banqueters 11.93, 496A–B (5: 412–14 Olson). AD
Πιεκνρόε· ƃθƂῦνο θƂξƀκƂνῦλ βƂκβηθ῵ƁƂο ἑƁξƀ῔νλ ἟ƃπρῆ, ὃ θνƄπιίƃθνλ ἔληνη
πξνƃƀγνξƂύνπƃηλ, ὥο ƅεƃη Πάκƅηινο. ρξ῵λƄƀη Ɓὲ ƀὐƄῶ ἐλ ἖ιƂπƃ῔λη Ƅῆ ƄƂιƂπƄƀίᾳ Ƅ῵λ
κπƃƄεξίσλ ἟κέξᾳ, ἡλ θƀὶ ἀπ᾽ ƀὐƄνῦ πξνƃƀγνξƂύνπƃη Πιεκνρόƀο· ἐλ ᾗ Ɓύν
πιεκνρόƀο πιεξώƃƀλƄƂο Ƅὴλ κὲλ πξὸο ἀλƀƄνιάο, Ƅὴλ Ɓὲ πξὸο Ɓύƃηλ < . . . >
ἀληƃƄάκƂλνη ἀλƀƄξέπνπƃίλ ƄƂ ἐπηιέγνλƄƂο ῥ῅ƃηλ κπƃƄηθήλ.
Plemochoe: A ceramic vessel that resembles a top, but is relatively stable; some
people employ the term kotuliskos for it, according to Pamphilus (of Alexandria). It is
used at Eleusis on the final day of the Mysteries, which is accordingly referred to as
Plemochoai. On this day they fill two plemochoai, and standing facing east in the case
of one, and facing west in the case of the other . . . and turn them upside down, reciting
a formula associated with the Mysteries.62 (trans. Olson 5: 413–15)
Edward Ochsenschlager speculates that the mystic formula spoken during the libations from the
plemochoai was the same as: ὕƂ … θύƂ (―rain … conceive‖), attested by Proclus in his Commentary on the
Timaeus 3: 176.28–30 Diehl.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
T.276 Numenius of Apamea fr. 32 Places qtd. in Porphyry of Tyre, On the Cave of the
Nymphs 28 (74 Simonini)
AD 150
Littera Antiqua
Ɓ῅κνο Ɓὲ ὀλƂίξσλ θƀƄὰ Ππζƀγόξƀλ ƀἱ ςπρƀὶ, ἃο ƃπλάγƂƃζƀη ƅεƃὶλ Ƃἰο Ƅὸλ γƀιƀμίƀλ
Ƅὸλ νὕƄσ πξνƃƀγνξƂπόκƂλνλ ἀπὸ Ƅ῵λ γάιƀθƄη ƄξƂƅνκέλσλ, ὅƄƀλ Ƃἰο γέλƂƃηλ πέƃσƃηλ.
ᾧ θƀὶ ƃπέλƁƂηλ ƀὐƄƀ῔ο Ƅνὺο ςπρƀγσγνὺο κέιη θƂθξƀκέλνλ γάιƀθƄη ὡο ἂλ Ɓη᾽ ἟Ɓνλ῅ο
Ƃἰο γέλƂƃηλ κƂκƂιƂƄεθπίƀηο ἔξρƂƃζƀη· ƀἷο ƃπγθπƂ῔ƃζƀη Ƅὸ γάιƀ πέƅπθƂλ.
According to Pythagoras, the souls are the ‗people of dreams‘ (Homer, Odyssey 24.12)
who, as he says, are assembled in the Milky Way which derives its name from ‗milk‘
because they are nourished with milk when they first fall into genesis. For this reason
also, he says, those who call forth souls pour libations of milk and honey to them,
since they are accustomed to enter genesis, because of the lure of pleasure. Also, milk
is produced from the time of birth. (trans. Lamberton 36)
Cheers! Wine Is Allowed
T.277 Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 10.7.2 (2: 199 Vogel)
60–30 BC
πνιινὺο Ɓὲ ἔπƂηζƂλ ἀπύξνηο ƃηƄίνηο ρξ῅ƃζƀη θƀὶ ὑƁξνπνƃίƀηο πάλƄƀ Ƅὸλ βίνλ ἕλƂθƂλ
Ƅνῦ Ƅἀγƀζὰ ζεξ᾵ƃζƀη Ƅὰ θƀƄὰ ἀιήζƂηƀλ.
Many men were also persuaded by him (sc. Pythagoras) to eat uncooked food and to
drink only water all their life long, in order to pursue what is in truth the good. (trans.
Oldfather 4: 63)
T.278 Aelius Aristides, Hieroi Logoi 3.32 (421 Keil)
AD 148
ὅƃνλ κὲλ νὖλ Ƅηλƀ ρξόλνλ ƁηήλƂγθƀ Ƅὴλ ὑƁξνπνƃίƀλ, νὐƁὲ ƄνῦƄν ἔρσ ιέγƂηλ· ὅƄη Ɓ᾽
Ƃὐθόισο ƄƂ θƀὶ ῥᾳƁίσο ἀƂί πσο πξόƄƂξνλ ƁπƃρƂξƀίλσλ Ƅὸ ὕƁσξ θƀὶ λƀπƄη῵λ. ὡο Ɓὲ θƀὶ
ƄνῦƄν ἐιƂιƂηƄνύξγεƄν, Ƅνῦ κὲλ ὕƁƀƄνο ἀƅίεƃί κƂ, νἴλνπ Ɓὲ ἔƄƀμƂ κέƄξνλ, θƀὶ ἤλ γƂ
ῥ῅κƀ ἟κίλƀ βƀƃηιηθή· γλώξηκνλ Ɓή πνπ ὅƄη ἔƅξƀδƂλ ἟κηθόƄπινλ. ἐρξώκελ ƄνύƄῳ θƀὶ
νὕƄσο ἢξθƂη ὡο νὐθ ἢξθƂη πξόƄƂξνλ Ƅὸ Ɓηπιάƃηνλ…
I also cannot say for how long I endured water drinking, but it was easy and pleasant,
although before I always found water somehow disagreeable and disgusting. When
this duty also had been performed, he (sc. Asclepius) took me off water, and assigned
me a measure of wine. The word was a demiroyal. It is quite clear that he meant a half
cup. I used this, and it sufficed, as formerly twice the amount did not. (trans. Behr 313)
T.279aPseudo-Apollodorus, Library 1.3.2 (18 Frazer)
OF 501; Orfismo A20 Scarpi
ƂὗξƂ Ɓὲ ὆ξƅƂὺο θƀὶ Ƅὰ Γηνλύƃνπ κπƃƄήξηƀ…
Orpheus also invented the mysteries of Dionysus…63 (trans. Frazer 19)
For more testimonies on Orpheus as a founder of mysteries see Frazer 18 note 1.
ca. AD 100
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T.297b Onomacritus of Athens, Orphic Initiations (὆ξƅέσο ΤƂιƂƄƀί) fr. II A4 D‘Agostino
qtd. in Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.37.5 (2: 301 Rocha-Pereira) ca. 508 BC
πƀξὰ Ɓὲ ὇κήξνπ ὆λνκάθξηƄνο πƀξƀιƀβὼλ Ƅ῵λ ΤηƄάλσλ Ƅὸ ὄλνκƀ Γηνλύƃῳ ƄƂ
ƃπλέζεθƂλ ὄξγηƀ θƀὶ Ƃἶλƀη Ƅνὺο ΤηƄ᾵λƀο Ƅῶ Γηνλύƃῳ Ƅ῵λ πƀζεκάƄσλ ἐπνίεƃƂλ
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OF 1113
From Homer the name of the Titans was taken by Onomacritus, who in the orgies he
composed for Dionysus made the Titans the authors of the god‘s sufferings. (trans.
Jones 4: 87)
T.280 Plato, Republic 363c–d Burnet
371 BC
OF 431i
Μνπƃƀ῔νο Ɓὲ ƄνύƄσλ λƂƀληθώƄƂξƀ Ƅἀγƀζὰ θƀὶ ὁ ὑὸο ƀὐƄνῦ πƀξὰ ζƂ῵λ ƁηƁόƀƃηλ Ƅν῔ο
Ɓηθƀίνηο· Ƃἰο ἍηƁνπ γὰξ ἀγƀγόλƄƂο Ƅῶ ιόγῳ θƀὶ θƀƄƀθιίλƀλƄƂο θƀὶ ƃπκπόƃηνλ Ƅ῵λ
ὁƃίσλ θƀƄƀƃθƂπάƃƀλƄƂο ἐƃƄƂƅƀλσκέλνπο πνηνῦƃηλ Ƅὸλ ἅπƀλƄƀ ρξόλνλ ἢƁε ƁηάγƂηλ
κƂζύνλƄƀο, ἟γεƃάκƂλνη θάιιηƃƄνλ ἀξƂƄ῅ο κηƃζὸλ κέζελ ƀἰώληνλ.
Musaeus and his son64 make the gods give the just more headstrong goods than these.
In their stories, they lead the just to Hades, seat them on couches, provide them with a
symposium of pious people, crown them with wreaths, and make them spend all their
time drinking—as if they thought drunkenness forever was the finest wage of virtue.
(trans. Cooper 1003, modified)
A City of Pigs?
T.281 Plato, Republic 372b–d Burnet
371 BC
ζξέςνλƄƀη Ɓὲ ἐθ κὲλ Ƅ῵λ θξηζ῵λ ἄιƅηƄƀ ƃθƂπƀδόκƂλνη, ἐθ Ɓὲ Ƅ῵λ ππξ῵λ ἄιƂπξƀ, Ƅὰ
κὲλ πέςƀλƄƂο, Ƅὰ Ɓὲ κάμƀλƄƂο, κάδƀο γƂλλƀίƀο θƀὶ ἄξƄνπο ἐπὶ θάιƀκόλ Ƅηλƀ
πƀξƀβƀιιόκƂλνη ἠ ƅύιιƀ θƀζƀξά, θƀƄƀθιηλέλƄƂο ἐπὶ ƃƄηβάƁσλ ἐƃƄξσκέλσλ κίιƀθί ƄƂ
θƀὶ κπξξίλƀηο, ƂὐσρήƃνλƄƀη ƀὐƄνί ƄƂ θƀὶ Ƅὰ πƀηƁίƀ, ἐπηπίλνλƄƂο Ƅνῦ νἴλνπ,
ἐƃƄƂƅƀλσκέλνη θƀὶ ὑκλνῦλƄƂο Ƅνὺο ζƂνύο,… (372c) θƀὶ ὁ Žιƀύθσλ ὑπνιƀβώλ, ἌλƂπ
ὄςνπ, ἔƅε, ὡο ἔνηθƀο, πνηƂ῔ο Ƅνὺο ἄλƁξƀο ἑƃƄησκέλνπο. ἀιεζ῅, ἤλ Ɓ᾽ ἐγώ, ιέγƂηο.
ἐπƂιƀζόκελ ὅƄη θƀὶ ὄςνλ ἕμνπƃηλ, ἅιƀο ƄƂ Ɓ῅ινλ ὅƄη θƀὶ ἐιάƀο θƀὶ Ƅπξόλ, θƀὶ βνιβνὺο
θƀὶ ιάρƀλά γƂ, νἷƀ Ɓὴ ἐλ ἀγξν῔ο ἑςήκƀƄƀ, ἑςήƃνλƄƀη. θƀὶ ƄξƀγήκƀƄά πνπ
πƀξƀζήƃνκƂλ ƀὐƄν῔ο Ƅ῵λ ƄƂ ƃύθσλ θƀὶ ἐξƂβίλζσλ θƀὶ θπάκσλ, θƀὶ κύξƄƀ θƀὶ ƅεγνὺο
ƃπνƁηνῦƃηλ (372d) πξὸο Ƅὸ πῦξ, κƂƄξίσο ὑπνπίλνλƄƂο· θƀὶ νὕƄσ ƁηάγνλƄƂο Ƅὸλ βίνλ ἐλ
Ƃἰξήλῃ κƂƄὰ ὑγηƂίƀο, ὡο Ƃἰθόο, γεξƀηνὶ ƄƂιƂπƄ῵λƄƂο ἄιινλ ƄνηνῦƄνλ βίνλ Ƅν῔ο ἐθγόλνηο
πƀξƀƁώƃνπƃηλ. θƀὶ ὅο, Ƃἰ Ɓὲ ὑ῵λ πόιηλ, ὦ ΣώθξƀƄƂο, ἔƅε, θƀƄƂƃθƂύƀδƂο, Ƅί ἂλ ƀὐƄὰο
ἄιιν ἠ ƄƀῦƄƀ ἐρόξƄƀδƂο;
Musaeus‘ son was Orpheus, to trust Plutarch of Chaeronea who states that Plato alludes here to
Orpheus, Ƅνὺο πƂξὶ Ƅὸλ ὆ξƅέƀ (OF 431ii). See Bernabé 2013, 137.
For food, they‘ll knead and cook the flour and meal they‘ve made from wheat and
barley. They‘ll put their honest cakes and loaves on reeds or clean leaves, and,
reclining on beds strewn with yew and myrtle, they‘ll feast with their children, drink
their wine, and, crowned with wreaths, hymn the gods… (372c) It seems that you
make your people feast without any delicacies, Glaucon interrupted. True enough, I
said, I was forgetting that they‘ll obviously need salt, olives, cheese, boiled roots, and
vegetables of the sort they cook in the country. We‘ll give them desserts, too, of
course, consisting of figs, chickpeas, and beans, and they‘ll roast myrtle and acorns
(372d) before the fire, drinking moderately. And so they‘ll live in peace and good
health, and when they die at a ripe old age, they‘ll bequeath a similar life to their
children. If you were founding a city for pigs, Socrates, he replied, wouldn‘t you fatten
them on the same diet? (trans. Cooper 1011)
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T.282 Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 1.8.1 (1: 46–47 Jones). AD 215–17
θƀὶ Ƃἰπὼλ ƄνῦƄν Ƅὰο κὲλ ἐκςύρνπο βξώƃƂηο ὡο νὔƄƂ θƀζƀξὰο θƀὶ Ƅὸλ λνῦλ πƀρπλνύƃƀο
πƀξῃƄήƃƀƄν, ƄξƀγήκƀƄƀ Ɓὲ θƀὶ ιάρƀλƀ ἐƃηƄƂ῔Ƅν, θƀζƀξὰ Ƃἶλƀη ƅάƃθσλ, ὁπόƃƀ ἟ γ῅
ƀὐƄὴ ƁίƁσƃη, θƀὶ Ƅὸλ νἶλνλ θƀζƀξὸλ κὲλ ἔƅƀƃθƂλ Ƃἶλƀη π῵κƀ ἐθ ƅπƄνῦ νὕƄσο ἟κέξνπ
Ƅν῔ο ἀλζξώπνηο ἣθνλƄƀ, ἐλƀλƄηνῦƃζƀη Ɓὲ Ƅῆ Ƅνῦ λνῦ ƃπƃƄάƃƂη ƁηƀζνινῦλƄƀ Ƅὸλ ἐλ Ƅῆ
ςπρῆ ƀἰζέξƀ.
And after saying this he refused the meat of animals as impure and dulling the mind,
and lived off dried fruit and vegetables, saying that everything was pure which the
earth produced unaided. Wine, he said, was a pure drink, since it came from a plant so
beneficial to humans, but it obstructed mental balance by confusing the ether in the
soul. (trans. Jones 1: 47–48)
E. Conclusions
T.283 Porphyry of Tyre, On Abstinence from Living Animals 4.16.6 (26–27 Pattilon). AD
Eleusi F31 Scarpi
Μƀ῔ƀ Ɓὲ ἟ ƀὐƄὴ Ƅῆ ſƂξƃƂƅόλῃ ὡο ἂλ κƀ῔ƀ θƀὶ Ƅξνƅὸο νὖƃƀ· ρζνλίƀ γὰξ ἟ ζƂὸο θƀὶ
ΓεκήƄεξ ἟ ƀὐƄή. θƀὶ Ƅὸλ ἀιƂθƄξύνλƀ Ɓὲ ƄƀύƄῃ ἀƅηέξσƃƀλ. Γηὸ θƀὶ ἀπέρνλƄƀη νἱ
ƄƀύƄεο κύƃƄƀη ὀξλίζσλ ἐλνηθηƁίσλ. ΠƀξƀγγέιιƂƄƀη γὰξ θƀὶ ἖ιƂπƃ῔λη ἀπέρƂƃζƀη θƀὶ
θƀƄνηθηƁίσλ ὀξλίζσλ θƀὶ ἰρζύσλ θƀὶ θπάκσλ ῥνη᾵ο ƄƂ θƀὶ κήισλ, θƀὶ ἐπ᾽ ἴƃεο
κƂκίƀƄƀη ὅ ƄƂ ιƂρνῦο ἁςάκƂλνο θƀὶ ὁ ζλεƃƂηƁίσλ.
Maia is the same as Persephone, in that she is nurse and nurturer, for she is an earthgoddess and Demeter is the same. They also consecrated the cock to her. That is why
her initiates abstain from household birds. It is also a rule at Eleusis to abstain from
domestic fowls, from fish, and from beans, pomegranates and apples; and pollution is
incurred equally by coming into contact with childbed or with animals that have died.
(trans. Clark 112)
T.284 Scholia on Lucian‘s Dialogues of the Courtesans 7.4 s.v. ―Haloa‖ (280–81 Rabe).
Before AD 13th century
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ἐλƄƀῦζƀ νἶλόο ƄƂ πνιὺο πξόθƂηƄƀη θƀὶ ƄξάπƂδƀη πάλƄσλ Ƅ῵λ Ƅ῅ο γ῅ο θƀὶ ζƀιάƃƃεο
γέκνπƃƀη βξσκάƄσλ πιὴλ Ƅ῵λ ἀπƂηξεκέλσλ ἐλ Ƅῶ κπƃƄηθῶ, ῥνη᾵ο ƅεκη θƀὶ κήινπ θƀὶ
ὀξλίζσλ θƀὶ ᾠ῵λ θƀὶ ζƀιƀƄƄίσλ Ƅξίγιεο, ἐξπζίλνπ, κƂιƀλνύξνπ, θƀξάβνπ, γƀιƂνῦ.…
πξόƃθƂηƄƀη Ɓὲ Ƅƀ῔ο Ƅξƀπέδƀηο θƀὶ ἐθ πιƀθνῦλƄνο θƀƄƂƃθƂπƀƃκέλƀ ἀκƅνƄέξσλ γƂλ῵λ
There is plenty of wine and variety of seafood and all fruits of the earth laid on the
tables, except the ones prohibited during the mysteries, I mean pomegranate, apple,
domestic fowl, and eggs; from seafood, red mullet, pandora, blacktail, crayfish, and
dogfish are excluded.… Besides, cakes shaped like the symbols of both sexes are laid
on the tables. (trans. E. O.)
T.285a Scholia on Aristophanes Acharnians 764 (101 Wilson)
before AD tenth century
ρνίξνπο ἐγώλγƀ κπƃƄηθάο· Ɓηὰ Ƅὸ ἐλ Ƅν῔ο κπƃƄεξίνηο Ƅ῅ο ΓήκεƄξνο ζύƂƃζƀη ρνίξνπο.
I‘ve got piglets for the Mysteries: because during the Mysteries of Demeter the piglets
were sacrificed. (trans. E. O.)
T.285b Aristophanes, Frogs 337–39 (2: 150–51 Wilson)
405–404 BC
{Ξƀλζίƀο} ὦ πόƄληƀ πνιπƄίκεƄƂ ΓήκεƄξνο θόξε,
ὡο ἟Ɓύ κνη πξνƃέπλƂπƃƂ ρνηξƂίσλ θξƂ῵λ.
{Γηόλπƃνο} νὔθνπλ ἀƄξέκ᾽ ἕμƂηο, ἢλ Ƅη θƀὶ ρνξƁ῅ο ιάβῃο;
{Xanthias} Most exalted lady, daughter of Demeter, what a nice aroma of pork wafted
over me! {Dionysus} Then be still, and you might get some sausage too. (trans.
Henderson 4: 73)
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Artykuł jest poświęcony tak zwanemu życiu orfickiemu, które wedle Platona polegało
na zadowalaniu się pokarmem bezmięsnym i składaniu bogom ofiar bezkrwawych. Szereg
świadectw starożytnych potwierdza praktykowanie diety orfickiej w Atenach co najmniej od
początku wojny peloponeskiej (431 p.n.e.).
Część pierwsza omawia teksty źródłowe mówiące o tym, czym było życie orfickie i
skąd się wzięło. Źródła jednoznacznie wskazują na Orfeusza jako sprawcę rewolucji
dietetycznej i przypisywane mu poematy, które zakazywały jedzenia trzech produktów:
mięsa, jaj i bobu greckiego. Ten ostatni nie był identyczny z naszym bobem, bo roślina
zakazana przez Orfeusza już nie istnieje (ilustracja 1). Wiadomo, że bób grecki miał łodygi
puste w środku, złowróżbne cętki na kwiatach i czarne okrągłe nasionka. Źródła niedokładnie
cytują Orfeusza, nie podając tytułu jego pieśni i przytaczając zaledwie dwa bezpośrednie
cytaty: „jedzenie bobu jest jak pożeranie głów rodziców‖ i „ogień niech płonie na
nieskrwawionym ołtarzu.‖ Plutarch z Cheronei twierdzi, że wyczytał zakaz jedzenia jaj w
Świętym orędziu orfickim, którego wszakże nie wolno było recytować w obecności
niewtajemniczonych. Z kolei autor Złotych wierszy pitagorejskich utrzymuje, że poemat o
zakazanych pokarmach nosił tytuł Oczyszczenia.
Część druga dotyczy diety pitagorejskiej, która często bywa mylona lub utożsamiana z
dietą orficką. Moje wnioski są takie, że dieta stosowana przez pitagorejczyków w
poludniowej Italii w latach 520–360 p.n.e. nie powinna być identyfikowana z dietą orficką
rozpropagowaną w Atenach po 431 roku p.n.e. Powód jest następujący. Akuzmatycy po
katastrofie w 450 roku p.n.e. zlecili spisanie tradycji życia pitagorejskiego, w tym kodeksu
dietetycznego. Ich zapiski przeciekły do opinii publicznej ok. 350 roku p.n.e. i odtąd były
szeroko komentowane. Z nich wiadomo, że pitagorejczycy przestrzegali zakazu spożywania
bobu i jaj, który był zbieżny z regułą orficką; ponadto nie wolno im było konsumować liści
laurowych i malwy (malachē to kolejna wymarła odmiana, zob. ilustracja 7). Nie mieli jednak
całkowitego zakazu jedzenia mięsa, co ich odróżniało od orfickiego wegetarianizmu. Mogli
więc jeść mięso zwierząt ofiarnych – oprócz wołów i baranów – z wyjątkiem ich serc,
mózgów, szpiku, głów, nóg, genitaliów i lędźwi oraz wieprzowego boczku. Zakazane było
pieczenie uprzednio ugotowanego mięsa. Mogli jeść drób, z wyjątkiem białych kogutów, oraz
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ryby i owoce morza, oprócz czterech „świętych‖ gatunków: morlesz szkarłatny, barwena,
oblada i jeżowiec (ilustracje 2, 3, 4, 6). Powodem nałożenia prohibicji na białe koguty oraz
zwierzęta morskie, z których dwie pierwsze ryby są intensywnie czerwone, trzecia ma czarną
plamkę na ogonie, a czwarte stworzenie – jeżowiec – zawiera koralową ikrę, była symbolika
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barw. Wedle pitagorejczyków biel symbolizowała dobro i bóstwa solarne, czerń – zło i bogów
podziemia, zaś czerwień – narodziny i ich patronkę Hekate. Starożytni komentatorzy
zauważają podobieństwo diety pitagorejskiej do Prawa Mojżeszowego i postów
obowiązujących podczas misteriów w Eleusis i gdzie indziej w Grecji.
Część trzecia dyskutuje mistyczne przyczyny nałożenia sankcji na mięso, bób i jaja,
które były podane w poematach Orfeusza. Mimo że oryginalne teksty orfickie zaginęły, to
jednak późniejsi autorzy, poczynając od Empedoklesa a kończąc na scholiastach
bizantyńskich, relacjonują je na tyle, że można pokusić się o próbę rekonstrukcji. Zakaz
jedzenia jaj kurzych wynikał z orfickiego mitu o kosmicznym jaju, z którego miał się wykluć
Pierwszy Żyjący, stwórca świata. Następnie, kategoryczny zakaz jedzenia mięsa zwierzęcego
wyrósł z sagi o srebrnym pokoleniu, które żyło za Kronosa i odżywiało się wyłącznie
owocami ziemi, by w końcu ustąpić gorszej rasie ludzi wskrzeszonych z krwi Tytanów –
zabójców Dionizosa, szóstego i ostatniego króla bogów. Zbrodnia popełniona przez Tytanów
była szczególnie perwersyjna. Tytani najpierw zaszlachtowali boskie dziecię, które
metamorfozowało w byka, potem poćwiartowali jego ciało, ugotowali, nadziali na rożny,
upiekli i zjedli. Rozgniewany Zeus spalił ich za to piorunem. Dusze ludzkie, które powstały z
prochów tych kanibali, zwykły wcielać się w organimy zarówno ludzkie, jak i zwierzęce, tu
są wyszczególniane: koń, baran, ptak, pies i wąż. Zatem człowiek, który zjada mięso
jakiegokolwiek zwierzęcia, pożera istotę sobie pokrewną, przez co staje się takim samym
kanibalem jak Tytani. Zakaz konsumpcji bobu był wyjaśniany w ten sposób, że bób wyrósł z
nasienia Tytanów, protoplastów ludzkości, a to oznacza, że zjadanie go jest równoznaczne z
kanibalizmem. Orfickie mity wywarły wpływ nie tylko na dietę orficką, lecz także
pitagorejską z jej zakazami konsumpcji bobu, jaj i mięsa niektórych zwierząt,
Część czwarta bada źródła, które zawierają informacje na temat orfickiego jadłospisu.
Można przyjąć za rzecz pewną, że podstawę diety orfickiej stanowiły zboże, ziarna (tj. sezam
i mak), oliwa, miód, wino, natomiast unikano mleka ze względu na skojarzenia z cyklem
narodzin. Zachowała się glosa z komedii pt. Orfeusz (ok. 365–360 p.n.e.), która mówi o
bochenku wykonanym ze sprasowanych liści. Szereg komedii z połowy czwartego wieku
wyśmiewających tak zwanych „pitagorystów‖ (ateńskich naśladowców pitagorejskiego stylu
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życia) wymienia produkty, które mogły być także wegetariańskimi przysmakami orfików:
szparagi, marynowane owoce i łodygi kaparowca, gotowane liście łobody solniskowej,
wytłoki z oliwek, suszone figi, czosnek, cebulę, tymianek, miętę polej – ta ostatnia była
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d, gdzie układa menu wegetariańskie („świńskie,‖ wedle jego własnych słów) dla
mieszkańców swego idealnego państwa. Serwuje im chleb, ser, oliwki, wino, sól, pieczone
warzywa i kasztany, figi, jagody mirtu, ciecierzycę i groch.
Spośród przytaczanych źródeł najciekawszy, ale i najbardziej kontrowersyjny, jest
znany fragment z Eurypidesa Kreteńczyków (ok. 438 p.n.e.), dotyczący – zdaniem badaczy
( Alberto Bernabé) – inicjacji w misteria, która miałaby polegać na omofagii
definiowanej jako jednorazowa rytualna konsumpcja surowego mięsa. Kontrargumentuję
przeciw tej powszechnie przyjętej hipotezie, próbując odtworzyć oryginalny kontekst tego
wyrwanego z kontekstu fragmentu. Mój wniosek jest taki, że fragment TrGF 472 dotyczy
ōmophagous daitas rozumianych – zgodnie z etymologią greckiego wyrazu – jako wikt na
surowych, niegotowanych produktach. Tego rodzaju omofagia mogła być faktycznie
przestrzegana w ramach miesięcznego oczyszczenia poprzedzającego inicjację w misteria
Idajskiego Zeusa i Korybantów, dokonywanych właśnie we wskazanym przez Eurypidesa
miejscu na Idzie i szeroko znanych z detestacji do ofiar krwawych. Antoniusz Diogenes i
składnikiem eleuzyńskiego kykeonu. Platon czyni aluzję do diety orfickiej w Państwie 372b–
kilku innych autorów z okresu Cesarstwa przekazuje recepty na surowe wegetariańskie pasty
hamujące apetyt i pragnienie, które miały być wymyślone przez eksperta od rytuałów
korybanckich: Epimenidesa z Krety (500 p.n.e.). Moim zdaniem sporny fragment Eurypidesa
nie ma związku z misteriami orfickimi ani dionizyjskimi, natomiast odnosi się do rytuałów
korybanckich i Oczyszczeń Epimenidesa.
Część piąta formułuje konkluzje. Analizowane teksty nie dają podstaw do łączenia
„życia orfickiego‖ z działalnością domniemanej sekty orfickiej w Attyce czy południowej
Italii. Dieta orficka, polegająca na dożywotnim unikaniu produktów zwierzęcych i bobu, była
czymś znacznie więcej niż kilkudniowe posty przestrzegane podczas Misteriów Eleuzyńskich
i innych świąt ateńskich ku czci Demeter. Jedyny trop prowadzi do zaginionych pieśni
Orfeusza, znanych tylko wtajemniczonym, które przedstawiały jedzenie mięsa, jaj i bobu jako
odrażający akt kanibalizmu.
Część szósta obejmuje korpus 285 tekstów, które stanowiły bazę źródłową analiz
przeprowadzonych w niniejszym artykule, podając je w wersji bilingwicznej: w oryginale
greckim lub łacińskim oraz w przekładzie na język angielski. Część siódma zawiera wykaz
cytowanych pozycji bibliograficznych i edycji wykorzystanych tekstów źródłowych.
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Abstract: The paper discusses the dietary prohibitions implied by Orpheus‘ poems, the socalled Orphica, attested since ca. 444 BC; the interrelations between the Orphic diet and the
taboos observed by early Pythagoreans (520–360 BC); the reasons why the adherents of
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Orphic movement used to abstain from meat, beans, and eggs; and the virtual Orphic menu.
Keywords: Orphic diet; vegetarianism; Pythagoreanism; taboo foods; sacrifices; mysteries;
Graeco-Roman religion
Słowa kluczowe: dieta orficka; wegetarianizm; pitagoreizm; zakazane pokarmy; ofiary;
misteria; religia grecko-rzymska.
Ewa Osek is associate professor at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland.
Her research interests focus on the late ancient religions, the mystery cults, and so-called
Orphism; (email protected)
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Modlitwa Chrystusa w Centonach homeryckich
(Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II)
Tematyka modlitwy pojawia się już u samych początków kształtowania się piśmien-
nictwa. Precyzyjne uwagi na jej temat zawiera zarówno literatura akadyjska, ugarycka, sta-
roaramejska, hebrajska jak i grecka1. To bogactwo tekstów modlitewnych skłania do poszu-
kiwań podobieństw i różnic między modlitwą w różnych religiach, i epokach. W ten kierunek badań wpisuje się także obecna publikacja, która stawia sobie za cel przedstawienie modlitwy Jezusa w Centonach homeryckich.
W starożytności powstało wiele różnych centonów, które czerpały inspirację z poe-
matów Homera2. Tematyka modlitwy Jezusa pojawia się tylko w utworach z kręgów chrześcijańskich i właśnie te dzieła staną się przedmiotem analizy. Chrześcijańskie Centony homeryckie to utwory, które w swojej ostatecznej formie zostały zredagowane V wieku. Łączą w
sobie treści ewangeliczne z poematami Homera. Mówiąc obrazowo, Centony homeryckie powstały w wyniku pocięcia Iliady i Odysei na wersety, z których ułożono zupełnie nową treść
ewangeliczną, ukazującą wydarzenia z życia Jezusa i Jego publiczną działalność. Treści te
centonista zamyka w 50 utworach, dzieląc na trzy części: pierwsza dotyczy przygotowania
do publicznej działalności Jezusa, kolejna koncentruje się na publicznej działalności Syna
Bożego, ostatnia natomiast kończy ją i wprowadza w misterium paschalne3.
Skoro Centony homeryckie zostały skonstruowane w oparciu o tekst poematów home-
ryckich, to rodzą się w tym kontekście pytania: Czy modlitwa Chrystusa w Ewangeliach jest
czymś wyjątkowym, czy też jest podobna do modlitw bohaterów spod Troi? Czy jest coś
specyficznego w tej modlitwie, czego nie udało się przedstawić językiem poematów home-
ryckich? Czy da się postawić znak równości między modlitwą religii chrześcijańskiej, a modlitwą starożytnej religii greckiej?
Chociaż w ostatnim okresie pojawiło się szereg publikacji poświęconych Centonom
homeryckim oraz studiów poszukujących podobieństw i różnic między światem starożytnej
West 2008: 82-3.
Centony skonstruowane w oparciu o poematy Homera, a pochodzące spoza kręgów chrześcijańskich
wymienia Usher 1998: 3.
3 Por. Piasecki 2014: 13.
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Grecji a światem Biblii4, to jednak nie udało się wśród nich znaleźć artykułu, który podejmowałby tematykę modlitwy Jezusa w perspektywie poematów homeryckich.
Tematyka modlitwy zajmuje wiele miejsca zarówno u Homera, jak i w Biblii. Niewie-
le jest ksiąg w poematach homeryckich, w których nie byłoby wzmianek na temat modlitwy.
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Jak słusznie zauważa Marek Gilski w monografii Koncepcja wzroku w poematach homeryckich,
modlitwa wpisana jest ściśle w strukturę poematów Homera. Grecki aoid rozpoczyna bo-
wiem Iliadę od inwokacji do Muzy i jak klamrą poematy jego wydają się być spojone wypowiedzią Ateny pod koniec Odysei. Pierwsze słowa poematów są zatem modlitwą człowieka
do bóstwa. Ostatnie, jakie padają w poematach homeryckich, to słowa bóstwa do człowieka5.
Modlitwa towarzyszy bohaterom homeryckim na każdym etapie ich życia. Wiąże się
ona z przyjęciem konkretnej postawy wobec bóstwa, począwszy od stojącej z rękoma i
wzrokiem wzniesionymi ku niebu, poprzez klęczącą, której towarzyszy uderzanie rękami w
ziemię (kiedy chcą uzyskać posłuch i przychylność bóstw podziemia), aż po modlitwę ciszy,
będącej jednym z elementów modlitwy rytualnej6.
Analiza tekstów centonów pod kątem modlitwy Chrystusa pozwala wyłonić spośród
nich takie, które zawierają zachętę do modlitwy oraz osobistą modlitwę Syna Bożego. Grupę
tych pierwszych tworzą utwory, nawiązujące do ewangelicznego opisu rozmnożenia siedmiu chlebów (C. 36, 19-20, 24)7, uroczystego wjazdu Jezusa do Jerozolimy, w tym również
incydentu Jezusa ze świątynnymi handlarzami (C. 38, 91-92), oraz do zdrady Judasza (C. 42,
Druga natomiast grupa tekstów dotyczy Jezusa modlącego się w różnych okoliczno-
ściach: w Kanie Galilejskiej (C. 14, 40), podczas drugiego rozmnożenia chlebów (C. 36, 29-30),
w czasie ostatniej wieczerzy z uczniami (C. 40, 64-77), obecności Jezusa w Ogrodzie Oliwnym (C. 42, 27-35) oraz modlitwę Syna Bożego z wysokości krzyża (C. 44, 77-80).
MacDonald 2003; West 2008; Sandnes 2011.
Gilski 2011: 219. Autor wylicza 18 ksiąg Iliady i 13 ksiąg Odysei, w których zawarte są konkretne
przykłady modlitw bohaterów homeryckich. Oprócz tego wymienia jeszcze inne 3 księgi Iliady oraz 7
ksiąg Odysei, w których są krótkie informacje o modlitwie.
6 Gilski 2011: 220
7 Skrót ten i kolejne oznaczone literą „C” odnoszą treść do poszczególnych utworów (centonów) zawartych w: Centons Homériques (Homerocentra), édit. Rey A. L., SCh 437, Paris 1998.
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Zagadnienie modlitwy Jezusa w Centonach homeryckich zostanie przedstawione w
dwóch etapach: najpierw przedmiotem analiz staną się zachęty Jezusa do modlitwy, a na-
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Zachęta Jezusa do modlitwy
stępnie zostaną zaprezentowane teksty Jego modlitw.
Zaledwie trzy teksty, zachęcające do modlitwy, wpisują się w cykl mów dydaktycz-
no-moralnych Jezusa. Nie przedstawiają one modlitwy jako takiej, są natomiast wezwaniem
do jej praktykowania, wynikającym z wewnętrznego pragnienia Boga. W utworze nawiązującym do rozmnożenia przez Jezusa siedmiu chlebów (C. 36, 19-24) czytamy:
19. Lecz chodźmy! Zaprawdę powiadam, obyśmy wszyscy zechcieli (Il. 2, 139); 20. się
modlić: wszyscy ludzie pragną Boga; (Od. 3, 48); 24. oby w ten sposób większa i wspanialsza była moja chwała. (Od. 18, 255).
Z kolei uroczysty wjazd Jezusa do świątyni jerozolimskiej (C. 38, 91-92) autor parafrazy prezentuje słowami zaczerpniętymi w całości z Odysei:
91. i zachęcając wówczas swoich towarzyszy polecił: (Od. 2, 422; 15, 217, 287); 92. Módlcie się, wszyscy bowiem ludzie potrzebują Boga. (Od. 3, 48).
Gest wzniesionych w kierunku nieba rąk i pragnienie Boga autor centonów ukazuje za pomocą Homerowego wersetu:
25. Dobrze jest bowiem do Boga wznieść ręce, aby się zlitował (Il. 24, 301),
który umieszcza w kontekście zdrady Judasza (C. 42, 25).
Powyższe wersety centonista czerpie zarówno z Iliady, jak i z Odysei. Dziesięcioletnia
wojna pod Troją i brak jej wymiernego efektu zniechęca wojska achajskie do tego stopnia, że
wodzowie greccy rozważają konieczność powrotu do ziemi ojczystej. Konieczność powrotu
wojsk achajskich do domów rodzinnych centonista przemienia w modlitewny kontekst potrzeby i pragnienia Boga. Pragnienie to, wpisane w naturę ludzką, nie jest charakterystyczne
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tylko dla ludów starożytnych. Znajduje ono również swoje odbicie między innymi w biblijnym wypełnianiu się nadziei mesjańskich pokładanych w Jezusie radośnie witanym podczas
wjazdu do Jerozolimy8.
Modlitwie postaci poematów Homera towarzyszy odpowiednia postawa ciała, która
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wraz ze słowami stanowi integralny element wiary. Liczne tego przykłady dostarcza w swoich poematach autor, który nierzadko prezentuje modlących się bohaterów z uniesionymi w
górę rękami i podniesionym wzwyż wzrokiem9. Gest wzniesienia rąk utożsamia centonista z
modlitwą, podobne elementy występują w tradycji sięgającej epoki Sumerów10.
Zarówno modlitwa, jak i towarzysząca jej odpowiednia postawa proszącego, stano-
wią element łączący świat starożytnych Greków ze światem wierzących w Chrystusa. Akt
religijny przynosi w tradycji Homerowej sławę bogom11, w biblijnej zaś Bogu Ojcu12.
Modlitwa Jezusa
Ze względu na odmienność kulturową poematów Homerowych i Biblii nie zawsze
udało się centoniście wiernie odtworzyć ewangeliczną modlitwę Jezusa. Te braki centonista
kompensuje dodatkowymi modlitewnymi scenami, których brak w ewangeliach, jak: modlitwa Jezusa podczas przemiany wody w wino w Kanie Galilejskiej (C. 14, 40):
40. (Jezus) modlił się wznosząc ręce do gwiaździstego nieba. (Il. 15, 371; Od. 9, 527).
W przeciwieństwie do św. Jana Ewangelisty, odmienną relację z godów w Kanie Galilejskiej
przedstawia autor centonów. Wprowadza on do swojej relacji z Kany modlitewną postawę
Jezusa, której brak u ewangelisty. W relacji centonisty, Jezus, po interwencji swej matki,
wznosząc ręce ku gwiaździstemu niebu, w geście błagalnika, wyprasza u Ojca łaskę przemiany wody w wino. Tę modlitewną postawę Jezusa autor centonów zapożycza od okaleczonego przez Odyseusza Cyklopa, który wznosząc ręce w kierunku gwiaździstego nieba,
woła o pomstę do Posejdona. Homerycki kontekst zemsty autor parafrazy umiejętnie łączy z
Por. Mt 21, 1-11; Mk 11, 1-11; Łk 19, 29-40; J 12, 12-18.
Il. 1, 450; 7, 177-178; 16, 231.
10 Jak zaznacza West (2008: 82), już w języku sumeryjskim „podniesienie jednej ręki” jest określeniem
równoznacznym z terminem „modlitwa”.
11 Il. 1, 38-44.
12 Mt 6, 9-10; Łk 11, 2.
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Jezusową modlitwą. I choć w centonie występuje wyraźna niezgodność relacji z ewangelicznym przekazem to modyfikacja autorska ubogaca tekst ewangeliczny o nowe elementy. W
tym przypadku mamy więc do czynienia nie tyle z wyrażeniem treści ewangelicznych za
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pomocą poematów homeryckich, co z uzupełnieniem Biblii o całkowicie nowe rzeczy.
Próbując przedstawić ewangeliczny opis rozmnożenia siedmiu chlebów (C. 36, 29-
30), centonista sięga do obu eposów Homerowych, z których zapożycza zaledwie po jednym
wersecie najwierniej oddającym cud rozmnożenia:
29. i wziąwszy cały chleb z przepięknego kosza (Od. 17, 343); 30. modlił się: wszyscy zaś
razem rozsiedli się w ciszy. (Il. 19, 255).
Opowiadaniem o rozmnożeniu siedmiu chlebów autor parafrazy nawiązuje do relacji
św. Mateusza (15, 32-36) i św. Marka (8, 1-6). Podobnie jak w opisie cudu w Kanie Galilejskiej, nie zamieszcza on słów modlitwy Jezusa, koncentrując się jedynie na Jego modlitewnej
postawie i przyrównując ją do zachowania i gestów Telemacha, syna Odyseusza. Modlitewna postawa Syna Bożego jest natomiast nawiązaniem do modlitwy króla Myken i Argos
Agamemnona. Homerycka zaś rzesza achajskich żołnierzy, otaczająca swego wodza, staje się
w centonie tłumem zgłodniałych ludzi w ciszy słuchających Jezusa i oczekujących cudu
Spośród tekstów, prezentujących modlitwę Jezusa w centonach, opis ostatniej wie-
czerzy (C. 40, 64-77) stanowi najdłuższą ekfrazę modlitewną, składającą się z 13 wersetów:
64. Kiedy była już pora posiłku i nadszedł czas, (Od. 17, 170); 65. trzymając w prawej
dłoni wino słodkie jak miód (Od. 15, 148); 66. wziąwszy z przepięknego kosza chleb (Od.
17, 343); 67. modlił się: wszyscy zaś wspólnie w ciszy się rozsiedli, (Il. 19, 255); 68. rozdzielił wówczas wszystkim nalewając pierwsze wino w kielichy. (Il. 1, 471); 69. A kiedy
im już dał i się napili zaraz potem (Od. 10, 237); 70. modlił się, wznosząc ręce do gwiaździstego nieba. (Il. 15, 371); 71. A kiedy posilił się i zadowolił serce pokarmem, (Od. 5,
95); 72. wziąwszy chleb z przepięknego kosza, (Od. 17, 343); 73. połamawszy w rękach,
wyciągnął i głośno się modlił (Il. 1, 351, 450; 5, 216); 74. za dwunastu towarzyszy i skierował do nich słowo: (Il. 5, 26); 75.” Bierzcie z tego chleba i bądźcie radośni; następnie
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(Od. 4, 60); 76. całe ciało moje dajecie ucztującym do domu (Il. 22, 342); 77. kiedy już
podzielicie między sobą, aby nikt nie odszedł pozbawiony swojej części”. (Od. 16,
385/Od. 9, 42).
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Wydaje się, że kompozycja opisu ostatniej wieczerzy nie sprawiła centoniście większych
problemów z wyborem tekstów, ponieważ poematy Homera obfitują w liczne sceny gościnności, towarzyszącym im uczt, czy też obiat ku czci bogów. Autor parafrazy sięga więc czy
to do biesiadnych tekstów Iliady (Il. 1, 471), czy to do kontekstu ubiegających się o rękę Penelopy zalotników (Od. 17, 170), czy też w końcu do jednego z nich, Antinoja, który stając się
niegodziwym prawzorem Judasza, podburza swych towarzyszy przeciwko synowi Odyseusza, namawiając do zabicia Telemacha i nieskrępowanego już podzielenia się majątkiem zaginionego króla Itaki (Od. 16, 385/Od. 9, 42). W opisie Ostatniej Wieczerzy daje się zatem
zauważyć pewne podobieństwo związane z kontekstem wydarzeń. U Homera, w Biblii oraz
w Centonach homeryckich mamy do czynienia z kwestią zdrady i z perspektywą zabicia człowieka. Z tym że u Homera ostatecznie nie dochodzi do śmierci Telemacha, podczas gdy w
Centonach homeryckich Jezus zostaje pozbawiony życia.
Ponadto, licznie występująca tematyka uczty, jej przygotowania i przebieg wydała się
dla centonisty doskonałym materiałem do zobrazowania Ostatniej Wieczerzy Jezusa z
uczniami. Modlitwa ustanowienia Eucharystii, połamanie chleba i danie go apostołom stanowią modyfikację wersetów Iliady (1, 351, 450; 5, 216), ukazujących podniesione ręce błagalników w modlitwie. Słowa Jezusa, dotyczące kontynuacji eucharystycznego misterium
przez uczniów, centonista czerpie od Hektora, a następnie modyfikuje. Pokonany przez
Achillesa Hektor prosi, aby przekazać jego ciało rodzinie. Ten element troski o nieobecnych i
przekazania im, czy zaniesienia eucharystycznego pokarmu stanowi novum w centonach
nieobecne w ewangeliach. Dzięki różnorodności biesiadnych tekstów w poematach Homera,
jak i czynów oraz negatywnych zachowań bohaterów (zalotnicy), udaje się autorowi Centonów zawrzeć w opisie ostatniej wieczerzy najważniejsze komponenty ewangelicznego wydarzenia, mianowicie: elementy uczty, słowa ustanawiające eucharystię i jej kontynuację. I cho-
ciaż centonista nie zamieszcza opisu dotyczącego zdrady Jezusa, to jednak, sięga do Homerowego tekstu, w którym jest mowa o przygotowywanym spisku na życie Telemacha i moż-
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liwych korzyściach odniesionych z jego śmierci (Od. 16, 385/Od. 9, 42), odnosząc ten Homerowy kontekst do ewangelicznej zdrady Judasza.
27. i modlił się (Jezus), wznosząc ręce do gwiaździstego nieba: (Il. 15, 371); 28. „Ojcze,
nie oburzasz się, widząc te straszne czyny? (Il. 5, 872); 29. jakże okazujesz łaskawość ludziom niegodziwym? (Il. 13, 633); 30. Teraz chcą zabić umiłowanego Syna Twojego.
(Od. 5, 18); 31. Lecz Ty, jeśli możesz, ocal Syna swego, (Il. 1, 393); 32. jeśli jestem istotnie Twój i szczycisz się być moim Ojcem (Od. 9, 529); 33. jeśli więc tak to jest, przeznaczenia nie zmienię. (Il. 1, 564); 34. Lecz jeśli chcesz tego, i podoba się w sercu Twoim, (Il.
14, 337); 35. spocznę po śmierci: a teraz obym mógł pozyskać zaszczytną sławę.” (Il. 18,
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W osobnym centonie (C. 42, 27-35) autor prezentuje zdradę Jezusa przez Judasza:
Wydarzenie to stanowi kolejną okazję do zaprezentowania osobistej modlitwy Chry-
stusa. Na podstawie zachowania Achillesa, jak również zalotników, ubiegających się o rękę
Penelopy udało się centoniście przedstawić pełną dramatyzmu scenę w Ogrodzie Oliwnym,
gdzie Jezus wznosząc swe ręce wzwyż, do gwiaździstego nieba, kieruje do Ojca słowa pełne
zdziwienia, że nie oburzają Go straszne czyny niegodziwych, chcących zabić umiłowanego
Syna. W modlitwie swojej Jezus podkreśla równe pochodzenie od Ojca i uległość Jego pla-
nom, świadom, że śmierć dopełni Jego przeznaczenia i przyniesie zaszczytną chwałę. Werset
trzydziesty drugi, ukazujący w centonie pochodzenie Syna Bożego od Ojca, stanowi własną
twórczość centonisty. Powołanie się natomiast Jezusa na pochodzenie od Ojca jest zapożyczeniem z Odysei, gdzie okaleczony przez Odyseusza Cyklop żali się Posejdonowi na swoje
kalectwo, a powołując się na pochodzenie od boga mórz prosi o pomszczenie jego cierpienia
(Od. 9, 529). Rodzinne więzy, jak również pochodzenie bohaterów Homera stają się dla centonisty doskonałym materiałem, w którym prezentuje pochodzenie Syna Bożego od Ojca.
Ostatnią modlitwą Jezusa, zaprezentowaną w Centonach, są słowa Syna Bożego z wysokości krzyża (C. 44, 77-80):
77. modlił się wówczas, wpatrując się w niezmierne niebo i mówił: (Il. 19, 257); 78. ”Ojcze, rzecz przedziwną oglądam oczami: (Od. 19, 36); 79. jakże okazujesz łaskawość lu-
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dziom niegodziwym, (Il. 13, 633); 80. którzy, niegodziwcy, obmyślają przeciwko mnie
zgubę (Od. 3, 207).
Ukrzyżowany Jezus po raz ostatni modli się do Ojca. Nie udało się centoniście znaleźć od-
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powiednich Homerowych wersetów, oddających ewangeliczny okrzyk Jezusa skierowany
do Ojca, Boże mój, Boże mój, czemuś mnie opuścił< (Mt 27, 47; Mk 15, 33) oraz: Ojcze, w Twoje
ręce składam ducha mego< (Łk 23, 46), dlatego komponuje własną wypowiedź Chrystusa, któ-
ry wznosząc wzrok ku górze kieruje do Ojca słowa pełne żalu: Ojcze, rzecz przedziwną oglą-
dam oczami (Od. 19, 36). Te pełne zdumienia słowa, wyrwane z ust Telemacha, syna Odyseusza, centonista wkłada w usta Jezusa, który kieruje je ku Bogu, zdziwiony łaskawością Ojca
wobec niegodziwców, obmyślających zgubę Synowi Bożemu (C. 44, 79-80).
Powyższe analizy tekstów modlitwy Jezusa i zachęty do niej pozwalają sformułować
następujące wnioski:
1. Ze względu na odmienną treść poematów Homerowych i Ewangelii nie udało się
centoniście przedstawić wszystkich ewangelicznych scen modlitewnych Jezusa. Jedne pomija (modlitwa arcykapłańska Jezusa), inne dodaje odautorsko i uzupełnia o
nowe elementy (modlitwa w Kanie Galilejskiej).
2. Centonista, komponując sceny modlitewne, sięga do różnych kontekstów homeryc-
kich, związanych z codzienną modlitwą starożytnych, gościnnych i biesiadnych zwy-
czajów, osobistego żalu bohaterów Iliady i Odysei (Achilles, Cyklop), przygód Telemacha i zuchwałości zalotników, walecznych czynów Diomedesa oraz innych.
3. W prezentacji sceny rozmnożenia chleba centonista pomija rozmnożenie ryb, co jak
się wydaje, wskazuje na niemożność znalezienia odpowiednich tekstów u Homera.
Podobnie ma się rzecz z opisem przeistoczenia chleba w Ciało Jezusa, w którym autor centonów opuszcza przeistoczenie wina w Krew Pańską.
4. Elementem łączącym modlitwę Jezusa w Ewangelii z modlitwą zawartą w centonach
jest gest spojrzenia w niebo. Jak widać, jest to element modlitwy obecny w wielu religiach. Do dziś gest wzniesienia oczu ku niebu pozostał w katolickiej Mszy św. w
pierwszej modlitwie eucharystycznej.
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5. Najistotniejszym wnioskiem wydaje się stwierdzenie, że Centony homeryckie są dowodem na to, że nie da się zredukować modlitwy chrześcijańskiej do modlitwy starożytnych Greków. Nie różnimy się od Greków, jeśli chodzi o postawy czy gesty mo-
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dlitewne. Różnimy się w tym, co dotyczy treści. Nie udało się bowiem w centonach
znaleźć takich treści modlitwy Jezusa jak Jego wołania o przebaczenie dla tych, co nie
wiedzą, co czynią. Ten wniosek wydaje się być kompatybilny z wynikami badań innych centonów chrześcijańskich. S. Drzyżdżyk i M. Gilski w swoich analizach relacji
między greckim a chrześcijańskim rozumieniem mądrości w dramacie Christus patiens (centon z tragedii greckiej) jako chrześcijańskie novum wskazali jedynie mądrość
serca, podkreślając istnienie wielu podobieństw między greckim a chrześcijańskim
pojmowaniem mądrości13. Tak, więc chrześcijaństwo wyrosłe z kultury greckiej,
wzbogaca ją o nowe elementy.
Centons Homériques (Homerocentra), édit. Rey A. L., SCh 437, Paris 1998.
Homeri opera, rec. T. W. Allen, voll. I-IV, Oxford 1917-1919.
Drzyżdżyk S., Gilski M. 2014: Spotkanie mądrości pogańskiej z chrześcijańską w dramacie
«Christus patiens», in Drzyżdżyk S., M. Gilski (eds.), Oblicza mądrości. Z czego wyrastamy, ku
czemu zmierzamy, Kraków 2014, 7-16.
Gilski M. 2011: Koncepcja wzroku w poematach homeryckich, Kraków.
MacDonald D.R. 2003: Does the New Testament Imitate Homer? New Haven-London.
Piasecki D. 2014: Centony homeryckie. Spotkanie tradycji pogańskiej z chrześcijańską, Kra-
Popowski R. – M. Wojciechowski 1995: Grecko-polski Nowy Testament, wydanie interli-
nearne z kodami gramatycznymi, Warszawa.
Sandnes K.O., The Gospel ‘According to Homer and Virgil’, Leiden – Boston 2011.
Usher M.D. 1998: Homeric Stitchings. The Homeric Centos of the Empress Eudocia, Lanham.
Drzyżdżyk – Gilski 2014: 16.
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West M.L. 2008: Wschodnie oblicze Helikonu. Pierwiastki zachodnioazjatyckie w greckiej po-
Homeric Centones. Encounter of the pagan and Christian traditions
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ezji i micie, przeł. M. Filipczuk, T. Polański, Kraków.
The article brings up the matter of Jesus’ prayer in Homeric Centos. The works, which
were written in the fifth century AD, are a connection of The Bible with Homer’s works Illiad
and Odyssey. There are some questions because of the fact that Homeric Centos were con-
structed on the basis of the text of Homeric lyric, and they are: Is the prayer of Christ in Gospels something exceptional, or is it similar to the ones of the hero of Troy? Is there anything
specific in this particular prayer, which failed to be portrayed in the language of Homeric
lyric? Is it possible to equate Christian religion’s prayer to the prayer of the ancien Greek
SŁOWA KLUCZOWE: Homer; Iliada; Odyseja; Biblia; Ewangelia; centon; parafraza; modlitwa
KEYWORDS: Homer; Illiad; Odyssey; The Bible; Gospel; cento; paraphrase; prayer
Dariusz Piasecki – ur. w 1969, kapłan diecezji sosnowieckiej, doktor nauk humanistycznych
z zakresu filologii klasycznej, asystent w Katedrze Filologii Greckiej w Instytucie Filologii
Klasycznej KUL.
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Who sang the Orphic Hymns?
(The University of California, Santa Barbara)
An answer to the question posed by the title of my talk may not be possible. However,
the question might bring us a little closer to the answer.
More than ten of the Hymns end with a prayer for good health, riches/wealth and a
good end to life on earth. A few end with a prayer for two or only one of these blessings.
There is nothing mystical or spiritual about the desired aims of the prayers of the initiates. In
fact, what they pray for appears rather frequently in the well-wishing of people in several
cultures, including the modern Greek one. Up to now, in the remoter parts of the country,
sometimes people wish each other a “good end”. Much more remarkable is the fact that at
some point of the liturgy of Saint Chrysostom, every Sunday, the priest chants before the
congregation as follows:
«Χριστιανά τα τέλη της ζωής ημών, ανώδυνα, ανεπαίσχυντα, ειρηνικά και
καλήν απολογίαν την επί του φοβερού βήματος του Χριστού αιτησώμεθα».
“We pray for a Christian end to our lives, without pain, without shame, a peaceful end, as well as for an unblemished account of our deeds before Christ’s seat of
This prayer is certainly asking God to give the faithful a good end to their lives, to
spare them pain and to give them peace. The prayer is very much like the Orphic prayer
mentioned above, except that wealth, πλούτος, is omitted. If wealth existed in a Christian
family, it might be considered a blessing, one to share with others in Christ-like deeds. The
pursuit of wealth, however, would not be included in the prayer of a good Christian. As I
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have written elsewhere, Saint Paul condemns wealth and greed and substitutes material
wealth for the spiritual wealth given by Christ.
As all who have read the Orphic Hymns know, the Orphic world we encounter in the
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Golden tablets is nowhere to be found in these quite unusual texts of late antiquity. There are
no symbolic cypress trees, no ever flowing fountains, no lake of Mnemosyne. We hear of
transformation e.g. in the hymn to Proteus no. 25. We are told that he is transformed far be-
yond all other immortals (line 6). The hymns to Dionysus make no mention of transformation. One wonders why this is so. A comparison of these Hymns with the Homeric Hymn
to Dionysus is indeed instructive. The Homeric Hymn to the God points to a strong tradition
in which Dionysus is the supreme shape-shifter.
The Orphic Hymns do not seem to have been composed for the average person. They
presume a good knowledge of Greek especially of poetic, religious vocabulary. It is only possible that these texts have been put together for the benefit of an upper-class religious association, for which a strong commitment to religion per se was not so necessary. There are some
basic rituals, such as burning incense or aromatic herbs. There was a leader, very likely simp-
ly the person in charge of protocol. The leader’s title was Boukolos, Oxherd. This word is listed
in LSJ as meaning worshipper of Dionysus in bull-form (note that the residence of the Archon
Basileus in Athens was called Boukoleion). Note that in Sparta boua was “a herd of very
young boys”. Bouagos was clearly an oxherd, but why were the initiates metaphorically oxen? Perhaps because oxen do work hard and they can be trained to be obedient. They also
are put to the yoke to plow the earth. In this image, the oxen are symbols of hard work and
the yoke stands for discipline.
When we look at the Orphic Hymns and read them it is natural for us to place them au-
tomatically within a Hellenic context. Yet, we must not forget that by the 3 rd century AD, the
presumed date of the Orphic Hymns, Pergamon had been part of the Roman world for
roughly 400 years. Roman rule in Pergamon was consolidated in 129 BC. After this date, Pergamon was a very significant part of the province of Asia. The transition of the political status of Pergamon from a Hellenistic kingdom to a province of the Roman Empire does not
seem to have been a painful process. Pergamon was host to many other peoples. Some of
them came from other parts of Asia Minor. The Jewish diaspora accounted for a very active
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Jewish minority. By 300 BC, Pergamon had adopted Greek civic organization. The kings
promoted Athena as their presiding deity. The city was magnificent: palace, temples, and
other public buildings. Athens was the model. Pergamon was subordinate to Ephesos.
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Saint Paul may have visited Pergamon. He certainly did visit Ephesos, a city at a very
small distance from Pergamon. It was mostly for the benefit of the members of the Jewish
synagogue of Ephesus that he wrote his very important letter to the Ephesians. There is no
doubt in my mind that the new faith made advances in Ephesos and Pergamon. During the
two centuries that followed Saint Paul’s visits to Ephesos, people of all backgrounds adopted
the Christian faith. The Christian religion must have become a challenge for which not a few
felt apprehensions. It has been said that the orphic Hymns were revivalist documents. In
other words, they were part of a counter movement, a line of defense. The proper medium
for resistance may have been a collegium, an association of people who probably belonged to
the same class and shared the same interests. Such an association could be based on a blend
of religious preferences and financial opportunities for contact and useful information.
The foremost divinities in Ephesos and Pergamon were Artemis in Ephesos and Athe-
na Nikephoros in Pergamon. Pergamon was a stellar city in Asia Minor with a record of loyalty to Rome especially under the Attalid dynasty. It is worth noting that Zeus Sabazios was
worshipped in Pergamon. After Saint Paul’s visits to Ephesos (52 and 54 AD), the process of
conversion to the Christian faith acquired great momentum. As others followed in his steps,
the new religion became a threat to the established pagan religions. Rome was unhappy with
all this. So, there were persecutions of the Christians. Also the tensions surrounding the
many heresies which arose from the very beginning caused additional conflict. Saint Antipas
who belongs to the time of the Apostles provoked the anger of the pagans and ended his life
in humiliation and pain, sometime between 92 and 96 AD. We read in Revelation that Antipas, a faithful witness to the Christian faith, had been killed in a riot. Since the conventional
date for Revelation is 96 AD, obviously the murder of Antipas is another indication that persecutions of the Christians started early. By the end of the third century AD, the church of
Pergamon was an episcopacy. Already in the time of the composition of Revelation, Pergamon rose to the status of being one of the seven churches (2:12-13). There was a religious
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ferment in the place for many centuries. The city was a seat of learning boasting a great library. There were many temples in it.
Noteworthy, among religious institutions, was the Collegium of the Kouretes.
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The worship of Magna Mater had been prominent in Ephesos since the beginning of
time. Most likely, Artemis of Ephesos was a double of Magna Mater. It is interesting that we
have evidence in Pergamon for the presence of the Egyptian deities Isis and Serapis. We have
no evidence for the cults of Mise and Hipta, but we do have an inscription which mentions
Melinoe. There were violent persecutions against the Christians under Diocletian. His first
edict for such persecutions was issued in 303.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul mentions pleonexia, greed, which accompanies
deeds of impurity (4.20, 5.3). He also, seems to contrast pleonexia with the wondrous wealth,
ploutos, given by Christ. Elsewhere, he brings up the wealth, ploutos, of the glory of Jesus
(3.16). We should consider the possibility that ploutos, the object of fervid prayer in many of
the Orphic Hymns would not be Saint Paul’s top recommendation. Even though we place
the composition of the Orphic Hymns more than 200 years after Saint Paul’s famous letter,
ideas about material wealth in Ephesos and very likely in Pergamon could not have changed
much in the course of a few centuries. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Christian ideology was not intent on promoting wealth. “Do not accumulate treasures upon this earth…
accumulate treasures in heaven.” (Matthew, 6:19-20) These are the words of Jesus. Elsewhere
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field” (Matthew, 13:44). In
memorable words Jesus tells someone who seeks his advice “If you wish to be perfect, go sell
your property and give the proceeds to the poor and you shall have a treasure in heaven”
(Matthew, 19:21-22). Especially significant is what Jesus does when he enters the temple and
throws out all those who sell and buy in the temple - the merchants that is. From Acts 19 we
learn that a certain Demetrios, a gifted silver worker, was in the business of making imitations of the temple of Artemis. He employed many people. One day, he gathered them and
he said to them: “All of you know that your wellbeing comes from the work you do for me.
You do see and you hear that this man who is named Paul has converted a lot of people, not
only in Ephesos but also in all of Asia. He keeps on saying that objects made by the human
hand are not divine. It is not only our profession that runs the risk of being slandered, but
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also the temple of the great goddess Artemis, a temple worshipped in the whole world and
of course in Asia, runs the risk of being reduced to nothing.” All this caused a huge row in
the assembly, where people were shouting “Artemis of Ephesos is a great goddess”. Soon
after this episode, Saint Paul bid farewell to his disciples and left for Macedonia. In all this,
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we see the great potential for conflict between the rising Christian faith and especially the
business people. There was a conflict here, so the frequent prayer in the Orphic Hymns for
health, a good end to life and wealth, even if it is traditional, it is a reaffirmation of pagan
values and an effort to build ideological defenses against a religion which literally nullified
their status and wealth.
In chapter five of his letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul advises the recipients of his let-
ter to avoid drinking wine to the point of intoxication and to communicate with one another
with psalmoi, hymnoi and spiritual songs. Perhaps what Saint Paul had in mind when he used
the word hymns was some sort of song or chant which belonged to a long standing tradition.
Clearly the context of the words just cited is religious.
Ephesos had a cult of the Kouretes. However, this fact is not mentioned in the Hymn to
the Kouretes. The Egyptian deities Isis and Serapis were also part of the religious life in
Ephesos. There is scant epigraphical evidence for Mise, Hipta and Melinoe.
We need evidence but we have little of it. However, imagination can help us penetrate
the millennia and reach deep into the dim past. It is evening now. Wisps of incense and the
fragrances of aromatic plants are mingling. All this is a place which is about to receive all
kinds of people. Many Greeks are coming in. Soon, they are followed by Romans and Jews.
Distinct in the crowd are people from other parts of Asia Minor, Lycians, Cilicians, Pisidians
and, who knows, even barbarian Gauls. There is excitement in the air. The man in charge, the
Boukolos, is busy making sure everyone is properly accommodated. People sit. They recognize one another. They are all bound by a sense of a common purpose of shared economic
and social values. There may be a lectionary.
Who are these men? It seems they are well to do people from all walks of life. They are
not bad people. In fact, they are good people. They enjoy their comforts and their good
health which would come with the use of gymnasium and perhaps with visits to the temple
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of Hygiea, the goddess of health. They are wealthy and they saw nothing wrong with becoming wealthier. Demetrios of Acts 19.24-29 should receive careful attention. At some point,
there was great trouble, in fact violence, in Ephesos.
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The Orphic Hymns were intended to bypass nationality and to minimize the importance of people’s birthplace. What mattered was the sharing of certain social and econom-
ic values. Clearly as in all such associations, central was a network for the benefit of all involved. Respect for commonly held religious ideas supplied a comfort zone.
There are many parallels to the type of religious association just described. The many
lodges of the Free Masons in the United States offer an analogue. The pyramid, which is
topped by the all-seeing eye on the back side of the one dollar bill, is a good example. This
image which is and is not religious could be shared by all who honor the United States of
America as an almost god given truth.
We have two inscriptions bearing the name “Mise”. One was found in the precinct of
Demeter in Pergamon, the other on an altar dedicated to “Mise Kore”. For a review see Ricciardelli 2000: 398-400, and Morand 2001: 169-74.
Hipta: her name is mentioned in four inscriptions found close to Mount Tmolos, in
Libya; see Morand 2001: 177-81.
Melinoe: hymn 71 is the only literary testimony to the existence of Melinoe. The only
other appearance of her name is on a magical device which contains an invocation to Hekate.
See Morand 2001: 185-8.
Athanassakis A.N. – B.M. Wolkow 2013: The Orphic Hymns. Translation, introduction and
notes, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Morand A.-F. 2001: Études sur les “Hymnes Orphiques,” Leiden: Brill.
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Ricciardelli G. 2000: Inni orfici, Milan: Mondadori.
KEYWORDS: The Orphic Hymns; Ephesos; Pergamon; Artemis; Athena Nikephoros; Saint
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Paul; prayer
Apostolos N. Athanassakis – Professor of Classics – Emeritus (the University of California,
Santa Barbara). With the exception of a guest appointment at the University of Crete 19841986 where he served as Head of the Humanities Division, he is now completing close to
thirty years of service to the Department of Classics at UCSB. Much of his work is in the language of Homer and Hesiod. He is also a translator and a poet. He has received many hon-
ors, among these the Alumni Teaching Award for his positive impact on the lives of his students and his inspirational teaching. He studied the Scandinavian languages and was direc-
tor of the UC program in Lund, Sweden from 1978-1979. He spent time in Iceland and became interested in Icelandic poetry and the Icelandic sagas and has served as vice president
of the ASFSB due to his interest in Scandinavia.
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(Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach)
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Śmierć jako pietas erga patriam w historiografii starożytnego Rzymu
Temat samobójstwa w starożytnym Rzymie, dającego możliwość zachowania honoru
lub poświęcenia się jednostki w imię dobra państwa rzymskiego, był bardzo często podej-
mowany przez autorów tekstów antycznych. W kulturze obrazował on ambiwalentne od-
czucia Rzymian związane z dychotomią dobrej i złej śmierci. Z jednej strony kwestie samobójstwa rozpatrywano z pewną podejrzliwością, jako akty motywowane wyrzutami sumienia winnego lub też jego słabą determinacją. Z drugiej strony było ono wyrazem dzielności i
szanowanego wyboru dokonanego w obliczu prawdziwej przeciwności losu1. W zależności
od zaistniałych okoliczności mogło być ono tym samym rozpatrywane w kategoriach rzymskich virtutes.
Celem artykułu jest przybliżenie kwestii devotio, jej poszczególnych etapów oraz zna-
czenia. W oparciu o teksty autorów antycznych omówione zostaną wybrane przypadki samobójstw będące przykładami pietas erga patriam.
Próbując pokrótce przybliżyć znaczenie pietas w antycznym Rzymie warto odwołać
się do traktatu De inventione Cycerona. Nazywając pietas obowiązkiem (officium) wobec ojczyzny (erga patriam), rodziców (erga parentes) czy bogów (erga deos) porusza on trzy jej
aspekty. Pierwszy związany jest z relacją bogów i ludzi, a zatem odwołuje się bezpośrednio
do religii. Kolejne dwa stanowią odniesienie do relacji międzyludzkich i obowiązku w sto-
sunku do państwa rzymskiego. Przypuszcza się, że zróżnicowana natura koncepcji pietas
pośród innych rzymskich virtutes sięga czasów wczesnej republiki. Jej zinstytucjonalizowany
kult odbywał się w dwóch świątyniach – na Forum Holitorium oraz Circum Flaminium.
Można sądzić, że sama koncepcja pietas erga patriam została wprowadzona u schyłku republiki. Impulsem miały być prawdopodobnie ówczesne wydarzenia i znacząca rola przywódców politycznych2.
Devotio, ze względu na wysoką rangę ofiar i ich poświęcenie była formą ofiary, do
której przywiązywano w czasach starożytnych wiele uwagi i emocji. Spośród najbardziej
Hope 2009: 57.
Berdowski 2014: 143–145.
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znanych z literatury antycznej przypadków samobójstw obok rodu Decjuszów należy wymienić także Marka Kurcjusza czy senatorów oczekujących Galów3.
Jako skrajna forma wotywna devotio było aktem poświęcenia życia bogom chtonicz-
nym w zamian za wygraną własnych wojsk w starciu z wrogiem4. Wspomnianego obrzędu
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dokonywano w wyjątkowych sytuacjach, kiedy bitwa przyjmowała zły obrót. Rytuał poświęcenia miał ściśle określony przebieg, a nad jego dopełnieniem czuwał towarzyszący armii kapłan – pontifex. Osoba mająca oddać życie ubrana była w białą togę z purpurowym
paskiem na brzegu (toga praetexta). Po zakryciu głowy i wysunięciu pod brodę ręki spod togi
stawała na położonej na ziemi włóczni powtarzając słowa ślubowania wypowiadane przez
kapłana. Zgodnie z przekazem Liwiusza brzmiały one następująco:
Iane, Iuppiter, Mars pater, Quirine, Bellona, Lares, Diui Nouensiles, Di Indigetes, Diui,
quorum est potestas nostrorum hostiumque, Dique Manes, uos precor ueneror, ueniam
peto feroque, uti populo Romano Quiritium uim uictoriam prosperetis hostesque populi
Romani Quiritium terrore formidine morteque adficiatis. sicut uerbis nuncupaui, ita pro
re publica  Quiritium, exercitu, legionibus, auxiliis populi Romani Quiritium, legiones auxiliaque hostium mecum Deis Manibus Tellurique deuoueo5.
Po dopełnieniu rytualnych czynności, dokonujący devotio rzucał się na szyk wroga. W
momencie śmierci osoby spełniającej devotio z rąk wrogów na wojska przeciwnika spadała
klątwa prowadząca do ich klęski. Składając w ofierze swoje życie wódz przypieczętowywał
los wrogiej armii, która miała podążyć za nim do krainy umarłych. Zgodnie z rzymską tradycją rytuału devotio mógł dokonać konsul, dyktator lub pretor poświęcając życie swoje lub
jednego z obywateli legionu. Liwiusz podaje również zasady postepowania na wypadek
niepowodzenia rytuału. Jeśli poświęcony człowiek przeżył samobójczy atak na wroga ko-
Barton 1993: 43.
Adkins 2004: 312.
5 Liv. VIII 9, 6–8: „Janusie, Jowiszu, ojcze Marsie, Kwirynie, Bellono, Lary, bogowie nowo przyjęci,
bogowie opiekunowie ziemi naszej, bogowie, w których mocy jesteśmy my i nieprzyjaciele, boskie
cienie zmarłych, do was się modlę, z czcią was błagam, o łaskawość proszę i wołam, byście narodowi
rzymskiemu Kwirytów dali moc i zwycięstwo, a nieprzyjaciół narodu rzymskiego Kwirytów dotknęli
strachem, przerażeniem i śmiercią. Jak to wypowiedziałem słowami, tak za rzeczpospolitą Kwirytów,
za wojsko, legiony i posiłki narodu rzymskiego Kwirytów poświęcam legiony i wojsko nieprzyjacielskie razem ze mną bogom podziemnym i ziemi” *przeł. A. Kościółek+.
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nieczne było zakopanie w ziemi jego posągu – wysokiego na co najmniej 7 stóp – i złożenie
ofiary przebłagalnej ze zwierzęcia. W miejscu tym nie mógł stanąć żaden urzędnik rzymski.
Jeśli atak samobójczy przeżył ktoś poświęcający samego siebie nie wolno mu było składać
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również ochrona włóczni, na której stawano podczas ślubowania:
Sin autem sese deuouere uolet, sicuti Decius deuouit, ni moritur, neque suum neque publicum diuinum pure faciet, siue hostia siue quo alio uolet. qui sese deuouerit, Uolcano
arma siue cui alii diuo uouere uolet ius est. telo, super quod stans consul precatus est, hostem potiri fas non est; si potiatur, Marti suouetaurilibus piaculum fieri6.
ofiar bogom, ani obejmować stanowisk politycznych we władzach republiki. Istotna była
Najlepiej potwierdzonym przykładem devotio jest rytuał dokonany przez ród Decju-
szów. Publiusz Decjusz Mus poświęcił się w bitwie pod Sentinum, a jego dziad prawdopodobnie uczynił to również w bitwie pod Veseris stoczonej z Latynami7. Najmłodszy z rodu
miał ofiarować swe życie za wygraną wojsk w strarciu z Pyrrusem pod Ausculum8.
W rzymskich dziełach historiograficznych możemy znaleźć jednak i innych bohate-
rów, którzy poświęcili swe życie erga patriam.
Pierwszym przykładem, na który warto zwrócić uwagę jest fragment Epitome de Tito
Livio Lucjusza Anneusza Florusa. Po klęsce Rzymian nad rzeką Allią, zaliczonej do tzw. dies
atri, Galowie wtargnęli do miasta. Wówczas swoje życie w akcie devotio poświęciła starszyzna, o czym czytamy:
Tum igitur aut numquam alias apparuit vera illa Romana virtus. iam primum maiores
natu, amplissimis usi honoribus, in forum coeunt, ibi devovente pontifice se diis manibus
consecrant, statimque in suas quisque aedes regressi, sic ut in trabeis erant et amplissimo
Liv. VIII 10, 13–14: „Jeśli zaś będzie chciał poświęcić samego siebie , jak to zrobił Decjusz, to jeżeli nie
zginie, nie będzie mógł spełniać należycie żadnej służby bożej, ani państwowej, ani prywatnej, czy to
gdy chodzi o ofiarę z zabitego zwierzęcia, czy jakąś inną. Kto by siebie poświęcił, a chciałby poświęcić
broń Wulkanowi albo jakiemuś innemu bogu, wolno mu. Włócznia, na której stał konsul podczas
wypowiadania formuły poświęcenia, nie może wpaść w ręce nieprzyjaciela: gdyby wpadła, to czyni
się Marsowi ofiarę z wieprza, barana i byka” *przeł. A. Kościółek+.
7 Cowan 2007: 50–51.
8 Popławski 2011: 91–92.
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cultu, in curulibus sellis sese reposuerunt, ut, cum venisset hostis, in sua quisque dignitate morerentur9.
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cych obywateli:
Et quo id aequiore animo de plebe multitudo ferret, senes triumphales consularesque simul se cum illis palam dicere obituros, nec his corporibus, quibus non arma ferre, non tueri patriam possent, oneraturos inopiam armatorum. haec inter seniores morti destinatos
iactata solacia10.
Liwiusz wspomina, że starszyzna poświęciła swoje życie nie chcąc być ciężarem dla walczą-
Niewielka zwłoka w działaniach Galów po bitwie nad Allią umożliwiła mieszkańcom Rzymu przygotowanie ostatniej pozycji obronnej na Wzgórzu Kapitolińskim. Pozostałe dzielnice
nie miały dostatecznie silnych fortyfikacji, przez co wrogie wojska zajęły miasto nie natrafiając na żaden opór. Obrońcy Kapitolu, którzy przez siedem miesięcy nie otrzymywali żadnej
pomocy z Wejów ani miast latyńskich, zostali ostatecznie zmuszeni do kapitulacji11.
Innym przykładem rytuału devotio jest historia Marka Kurcjusza. Młodzieniec, który
poniósł śmierć dla dobra swej ojczyzny, jest bohaterem jednego z podań przekazanych przez
Liwiusza. Jego gotowość poświęcenia życia erga patriam nie nosiła znamion poczucia winy
ani strachu, przez co może być interpretowana i przedstawiana jako przykład prawdziwej
virtus Romana12. Zgodnie z legendą w 362 p.n.e. na Forum Romanum otworzyła się głęboka
przepaść, co zdaniem kapłanów było wróżbą wielkiego niebezpieczeństwa. Warron w swo-
im dziele De Lingua Latina podkreśla, że przyczyną dla której zapadła się ziemia, było prawdopodobnie zaniedbanie ślubowania, podczas którego najdzielniejszy spośród rzymskich
Flor. I 7, 8–9 : „Wtedy to, jak w żadnym innym czasie, zajaśniało owo prawdziwe rzymskie męstwo.
Najpierw starszyzna ciesząca się największym poważaniem zebrała się na Forum, gdzie za sprawą
kapłana poświęciła swe życie bogom podziemnym. Każdy wrócił natychmiast do swojego domu i tak,
jak był ubrany w paradne szaty i wspaniałe ozdoby, zasiadł na krześle kurulnym, aby z chwilą wtargnięcia wroga mógł umrzeć z należytym dostojeństwem” *przeł. I. Lewandowski+.
10 Liv. V 39: „Aby zaś tłum plebejski tym spokojniej zniósł ten los, starcy, mający za sobą triumfy i
konsulaty, oświadczyli, że zginą razem z ludem, i skoro nie mogą już dźwigać zbroi ani bronić ojczyzny, nie będą ciężarem dla uzbrojonych wojowników w ich niedoli. Takimi myślami pocieszali się
starzy, przeznaczeni na śmierć” (przeł. A. Kościółek+
11 Cary – Skullard 1992: 155.
12 Lennon 2014: 113–114.
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obywateli miał być poświęcony bogu śmierci13. Jedynym sposobem na uratowanie miasta
miało być pogrążenie w otchłani tego, co dla Rzymian było najcenniejsze. Próby wrzucenia
cennych przedmiotów zakończyły się niepowodzeniem. Wówczas Kurcjusz, słysząc wyja-
śnienia kapłanów, postanowił poświęcić to, co sam uważał za najcenniejsze – swą odwagę i
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siłę rzymskiego żołnierza. Okryty zbroją, rzucił się razem ze swoim rumakiem w otchłań,
która natychmiast się za nimi zamknęła. Liwiusz tak opisuje to wydarzenie:
Tum M. Curtium, iuuenem bello egregium, castigasse ferunt dubitantes an ullum magis
Romanum bonum quam arma uirtusque esset; silentio facto templa deorum immortalium,
quae foro imminent, Capitoliumque intuentem et manus nunc in caelum, nunc in patentes terrae hiatus ad deos manes porrigentem, se deuouisse; equo deinde quam poterat
maxime exornato insidentem, armatum se in specum immisisse14.
Podobnie relacjonuje je Waleriusz Maksymus:
Curtius et animi et generis nobilissimi adulescens interpretatus urbem nostram uirtute
armisque praecipue excellere, militaribus insignibus ornatus equum conscendit eumque
uehementer admotis calcaribus praecipitem in illud profundum egit15.
Za ginącym w przepaści Kurcjuszem mieszkańcy Rzymu wrzucali liczne dary i owo-
ce. Zgodnie z tradycją miejsce to przyjęło miano jeziora Kurcjusza – Lacus Curtius. Inne legendy związane z powstaniem tego miejsca odnoszą się do konsula Gajusza Kurcjusza Philo,
który miał zlecić wykonanie ogrodzenia w miejscu, gdzie uderzył piorun16 oraz do Mettiusza
Enenkel – De Jong – De Landtsheer 2001: 147.
Liv. VII 6: „Wtedy to Marek Kurcjusz, młodzieniec wyróżniający się w wojnie, miał zganić namyślających się pytając, czy Rzym ma jakiekolwiek większe dobro nad miecz i męstwo. Nastała cisza, a on
spojrzał na świątynie bogów nieśmiertelnych, które wznoszą się na Forum, spojrzał na Kapitol, podniósł ręce do nieba, to znów wyciągnął je ku czeluści rozdartej ziemi do bogów podziemnych i poświęcił się na ofiarę: wsiadł na konia możliwie pięknie przybranego i w zbroi rzucił się w przepaść”
*przeł. A. Kościółek+.
15 V. Max. V 6, 2: „Kurcjusz był szlachetnym młodzieńcem, zarówno pod względem ducha jak i urodzenia, który zrozumiał, że wyrocznia miała na myśli miejscową przewagę odwagi i działań wojennych. Założył więc zbroję, dosiadł konia i energicznie ruszył prosto w przepaść” *przekład własny+.
16 Var. L. V 150.
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Kurcjusza, który podczas walki, do której doszło między Rzymianami i Sabinami po uprowadzeniu ich kobiet, miał ugrzęznąć w błocie:
Mettius in paludem sese strepitu sequentium trepidante equo coniecit; auerteratque ea res
multorum addito animo euadit17.
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etiam Sabinos tanti periculo uiri. et ille quidem adnuentibus ac uocantibus suis fauore
Z przekazu Swetoniusza dowiadujemy się ponadto, że w antycznym Rzymie znany był
zwyczaj związany z obchodami urodzin Oktawiana Augusta. Wtedy odwiedzający miasto
wrzucali do Jeziora Kurcjusza drobne monety, wypełniając ślub złożony na intencję jego
zdrowia i pomyślności18.
W drugiej księdze Ab urbe condita Liwiusz pisze o Horacjuszu Koklesie, który poświę-
cił swoje życie w imię ojczyzny, przy czym miał przeżyć swoją samobójczą próbę19:
Tum Cocles 'Tiberine pater' inquit, 'te sancte precor, haec arma et hunc militem propitio
flumine accipias.' ita sic armatus in Tiberim desiluit multisque superincidentibus telis
incolumis ad suos tranauit, rem ausus plus famae habituram ad posteros quam fidei20.
Podczas wojny toczonej z etruskim królem Porsenną Horacjusz Kokles obronił w pojedynkę
most na Tybrze (Pons Sublicius). Początkowo odpierał on ataki Etrusków wraz z dwoma towarzyszami, Spuriuszem Larcjuszem i Tytusem Herminiuszem, dając swoim oddziałom
czas na zerwanie belek podtrzymujących most. W ostatniej chwili odesłał ich jednak i samotnie stawiał opór wrogowi. Gdy most się zawalił, Horacjusz wezwał boga Tiberinusa i
wskoczył w pełnej zbroi do rzeki. W zależności od wersji legendy dopłynął bezpiecznie do
brzegu lub zginął w nurtach Tybru, jak pisze Polibiusz:
Liv. I 12, 10: „Mettiusz zapędził się w bagno, bo krzyki goniących spłoszyły mu konia, niebezpieczeństwo grożące bohaterowi odwróciło od walki uwagę Sabinów. Poczęto mu znakami i wołaniem
dodawać otuchy, a on widząc u ogółu taką miłość ku sobie rzeczywiście się stamtąd wydostał” *przeł.
A. Kościółek+.
18 Suet. Aug. 57.
19 McDonnell 2006: 199–200.
20 Liv. II 10 : „A Kokles zawołał: ‘Ojcze Tyberynie” Błagam cię, święty, przyjmij łaskawie w swe nurty
ten oręż mój i mnie żołnierza!’. I tak w zbroi skoczył do Tybru. Posypało się za nim mnóstwo pocisków, on jednak cało dopłynął do swoich , dokonując czynu, który miał u potomnym znaleźć więcej
sławy niż wiary” *przeł. A. Kościółek+.
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διασπασθείσης δὲ τῆς γεφύρας, οἱ μὲν πολέμιοι τῆς ὁρμῆς ἐκωλύθησαν, ὁ δὲ
Κόκλης ῥίψας ἑαυτὸν εἰς τὸν ποταμὸν ἐν τοῖς ὅπλοις κατὰ προαίρεσιν
καὶ τὴν ἐσομένην μετὰ ταῦτα περὶ αὐτὸν εὔκλειαν τῆς παρούσης ζωῆς καὶ
τοῦ καταλειπομένου βίου21.
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μετήλλαξε τὸν βίον, περὶ πλείονος ποιησάμενος τὴν τῆς πατρίδος ἀσφάλειαν
Kiedy Rzym stał się monarchią rytuał devotio stał się również wyrazem oddania życia
za zdrowie władcy. Znanym przykładem jest historia Publiusza Afraniusza Potitusa, który
obiecał popełnić samobójstwo za ozdrowienie cesarza Kaliguli:
ἐκεῖνος μὲν οὖν ὡς καὶ τῇ ἀρρωστίᾳ αὐτοῦ ἐφεδρεύσας ἀπώλετο, Πούπλιος
δὲ Ἀφράνιος Ποτῖτος δημότης τε ὢν καὶ ὑπὸ μωρᾶς κολακείας οὐ μόνον
Kaligula był trzecim imperatorem Rzymu. Po śmierci Tyberiusza, którego uważano
za zepsutego i zdeprawowanego obywatele przyjęli wiadomość o objęciu przez niego wła-
dzy z ulgą. Na początku Kaligula wydał rozkaz umorzenia wszystkich procesów politycznych, odwołał osoby zesłane oraz wprowadził ulgi podatkowe nie zważając na ostrzeżenia
senatorów przewidujących rychłe bankructwo skarbca państwowego. W listopadzie 37 roku
cesarz zapadł na dosyć poważną chorobę, prawdopodobnie mózgu. Gdy powrócił do zdrowia, był już innym człowiekiem23. Od tej pory uważano go za irracjonalnego, nieodpowiedzialnego, okrutnego, zazdrosnego, ogarniętego różnymi paranojami, skorego do zemsty i
żądnego krwi. Normą stały się odtąd egzekucje bez sądu, przez co nikt z obywateli nie mógł
czuć się bezpiecznie24.
Polyb. VI 55, 3: „Kiedy most runął, atak wrogów został wstrzymany. Wtedy Kokles w swojej zbroi
rzucił się w nurt Tybru i celowo poświęcił swoje życie, ponieważ cenił bezpieczeństwo narodu i swoją
przyszłą reputację ponad obecne życie i lata jakie mu pozostały” *przekład własny+.
22 D. C. LIX 8, 3: „Z drugiej strony Publiusz Afraniusz Potitus, plebejusz, zginął, ponieważ w akcie
lekkomyślnej służalczości obiecał nie tylko swoją wolną wolę, lecz także pod przysięgą ślubował, że
odda swoje życie jeśli tylko Gajusz wyzdrowieje” *przekład własny+.
23 Castleden 2008: 29–30.
24 Dando-Collins 2008: 202.
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Kolejnym przykładem może być poświęcenie Semproniusza Densusa, który oddał
swoje życie by ocalić cesarza. Centurion gwardii pretoriańskiej, zgodnie z przekazem Tacyta
osłaniał Lucjusza Kalpurniusza Pizona, wybranego przez Galbę na jego następcę i współ-
Insignem illa die virum Sempronium Densum aetas nostra vidit. centurio is praetoriae
cohortis, a Galba custodiae Pisonis additus, stricto pugione occurrens armatis et scelus
exprobrans ac modo manu modo voce vertendo in se percussores quamquam vulnerato
Pisoni effugium dedit25.
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Devotio, podobnie jak fides charakteryzowały postawy rzymskich sług. Ich lojalność i wzajemna relacja względem pana niejednokrotnie objawiała się w gotowości poświęcenia życia
dla jego dobra i ocalenia26.
W rzadkich przypadkach role potrafiły się odwrócić. Waleriusz Maksymus w szóstej
księdze Facta et Dicta Memorabilia pisze:
Non sustinuit deinde Plancus tam fideles tamque boni exempli seruos ulterius cruciari,
sed processit in medium iugulumque gladiis militum obiecit27.
Cytowany fragment dotyczy konsula Lucjusza Plotiusza Plancusa. Wpisany przez triumwirów na listę proskrypcyjną ukrywał się w okolicy Salernum. Sekretne miejsce poszukującym
go miał jednak ujawnić zapach jego maści28. Schwytani niewolnicy nie wyjawili miejsca pobytu pana, pomimo długotrwałych i okrutnych tortur. Plancus, który nie był w stanie znieść
poniżenia i cierpienia swoich niewolników, sprowokował własną śmierć.
Tac. I 43: „Wiek nasz widział, jak w owym dniu odznaczył się jeden mąż – Semproniusz Densus.
Ten setnik kohorty pretoriańskiej, przydzielony przez Galbę do straży Pizona, z dobytym puginałem
zaszedł drogę zbrojnemu orszakowi żołnierzy, wyrzucając im zbrodnię, i już to ręką, już to głosem
usiłował na siebie zwrócić uwagę morderców, w ten sposób Pizonowi, choć zranionemu, dał sposobność do ucieczki” *przeł. S. Hammer+.
26 Van Hoff 2002: 18.
27 V. Max. VI 8, 5: „Nie zgodził się Plancus żeby tak wierni i przykładni niewolnicy byli tak okrutnie
torturowani, lecz wyszedł na środek i podsunął gardło pod miecze żołnierzy” *przekład własny+.
28 Forbes 1993: II 27.
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Należy dodać, że znaczenie słowa devotio zmieniło się znacznie w schyłkowym okresie Cesarstwa Rzymskiego. Utraciło ono wówczas wymiar heroiczno-militarny, stając się
cnotą cywilną - lojalnością obywatela względem państwa, niejednokrotnie zawężoną do
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uzyskało ono ponownie w religii chrześcijańskiej29.
skrupulatności podatkowej (devotio rei annorariae). Nowy sens – jako synonim religijności –
Gotowość oddania życia w imię dobra ojczyzny czy współobywatela oddawała istotę
pietas, zachowanej w kanonie rzymskich cnót. Rozumiana początkowo jako sumienne i rzetelne wykonywanie obowiązków względem duchów zmarłych członków rodziny, z czasem
przybrała szersze znaczenie, jako stosunek do rodziców, bogów i ostatecznie do ojczyzny30.
Bogactwo utworów autorów antycznych podejmujących kwestie samobójstwa erga patriam
pozwalają dziś poznać jego znaczenie i symbolikę. Przedstawiają ponadto obraz viri boni, dla
którego ojczyzna i honor stanowiły w tradycji rzymskiej najwyższe wartości.
Fisher C. D. (ed.) 1962: Cornelii Taciti Historiarum libri, Oxonii: Oxford Classical Texts.
Florus, Zarys dziejów rzymskich, transl. I. Lewandowski, Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy
im. Ossolińskich 2006.
Hase B. (ed.) 1822-1823: Valerius Maximus, De dictis factisque memorabilius, 1-2 vols., Pa-
risii: Lemaire.
Ihm M. (ed.) 2003: C. Suetonius Tranquillus, De vita Caesarum libri VIII, Lipsiae: Saur.
Jal P. (ed.) 2002: Florus. Oeuvres, 1-2 vols., Paris: Les Belles Lettres.
Liwiusz, Dzieje Rzymu od założenia miasta, transl. A. Kościółek, Wrocław: Zakład Naro-
dowy im.Ossolińskich 1968-1971.
Pedech P., de Foucault J., Weil R. (eds.) 2003: Polybe, Histoires, 6 vol., Paris: Les Belles
Tacyt, Dzieła, transl. S. Hammer, Warszawa: Czytelnik 1957.
Evola 2011: 123.
Styka 1994: 128.
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Weissenborn G. (ed.) 1902-1912: Titi Livii Ab Urbe condita libri. 1-2 vols., Lipsiae:
Littera Antiqua
Adkins L. R. 2004: Handbook to life in Ancient Rome, New York: Facts on file.
Barton C. A. 1993: The sorrows of the Ancient Romans: the Gladiator and the Monster,
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Berdowski P. 2014: Pietas erga patriam: ideology and politics in Rome in early first century
BC. The evidence from coins and glandae inscriptae, in: K. Twardowska, M. Salamon, S.
Sprawski, M. Stachura, S. Turlej (eds.), Within the circle of Ancient Ideas and Virtutes. Studies in
Honour of Professor Maria Dzielska, Kraków: Historia Iagellonica.
Cary M., Scullard H. 1992: Dzieje Rzymu. Od czasów najdawniejszych do Konstantyna, 1-2
vols., Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy.
Castleden R. 2008: Wcielenia zła. Najgorsi ludzie świata, Warszawa: Bellona.
Cowan R. 2007: Wojny, bitwy i wojownicy rzymscy, Warszawa: Bellona.
Dando-Collins S. 2008: Machina do zabijania: XIV Legion Nerona, Warszawa: Bellona.
Enenkel K., De Long J. L., De Landsheer J. (eds.) 2001: Recreating Ancient History: epi-
sodes from the Greek and Roman past in the arts and literature of the Early Modern Period, Leiden:
Evola J. 2007: Metaphisics of War. Battle, victory and death in the world of tradition,
Forbes R. J. 1993: Studies in Ancient Technology, 1-9 vols., Leiden: Brill.
Hope v. M. 2009: Roman death. The dying and the Dead in Ancient Rome, London: Contin-
Lennon J. J. 2014: Pollution and Religion in Ancient Rome, Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity Press.
McDonell M. 2006: Roman Manliness. Virtus and the Roman Republic, Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press.
Popławski M. S. 2011: Bellum Romanum. Sakralność wojny i prawa rzymskiego, Lublin:
Uniwersytet Lubelski.
Styka J. 1994: Studia nad literaturą rzymską epoki republikańskiej. Estetyka satyry republikańskiej. Estetyka neoteryków, Kraków: Uniwersytet Jagielloński.
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Van Hoff A. 2002: From Autothanasia to Suicide. Self-killing in Classical Antiquity, New
Death as pietas erga patriam in the historiography of the ancient Rome
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York: Routledge.
The aim of this article is to outline the question of devotio, its particular stages as well
as its meaning. The selected examples of suicide regarded as pietas erga patriam are going to
be elaborated on the base of ancient authors’ texts.
SŁOWA KLUCZOWE: pietas; devotio; samobójstwo; historiografia rzymska
KEYWORDS: pietas; devotion; suicide; Roman historiography
Edyta Gryksa – mgr, słuchaczka studiów doktoranckich z zakresu literaturoznawstwa, aktywna przy Katedrze Filologii Klasycznej Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach. Zaintere-
sowania naukowe: uzbrojenie rzymskie (praca magisterska: „Gladius i ensis w kulturze rzymskiej”), historiografia rzymska (obecnie w przygotowaniu rozprawa doktorska: „Obraz
Rzymu u Florusa”); (email protected)
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Color affectus jako źródło semantycznej ewolucji terminu pietas1
(Uniwersytet Jagielloński)
W leksykalnym zasobie języka łacińskiego, charakteryzującego się szczególną zdolno-
ścią do zwięzłego wyrażania myśli, istnieje pewna grupa pojęć abstrakcyjnych, których
przekład na języki nowożytne niejednokrotnie przysparza poważnych problemów translatorskich ze względu na trudność w odnalezieniu właściwego ekwiwalentu semantycznego,
który satysfakcjonująco wyrażałby sens danego terminu. Dla przykładu można wymienić
takie słowa jak: ratio, religio czy humanitas.
Do wymienionej grupy zalicza się również pojęcie pietas, tłumaczone często na język
polski słowem “pobożność”. Jednakże przekład ten nie jest w stanie oddać w pełni znaczeniowego bogactwa omawianego leksemu i można go zastosować jedynie w ściśle określonym kontekście. Co więcej, na przestrzeni tekstów pogańskich i chrześcijańskich nastąpił
interesujący proces reinterpretacji pojęcia. Jaka jest zatem istota i dokładne znaczenie słowa
pietas2? Gdzie znajduje się źródło jego semantycznej ewolucji?
1. Pietas Romana ex iustitia
By odpowiedzieć na powyższe pytanie, należy najpierw pokrótce przedstawić,
jakie sensy prezentował termin pietas w literaturze klasycznej3.
W De inventione Cyceron przytacza następującą definicję: “Pietatem *appellant+, quae
erga patriam aut parentes aut alios sanguine coniunctos officium conservare moneat”4.
W De natura deorum zaś podaje: “Est enim pietas iustitia adversum deos”5. Słowa Arpinaty
stanowią precyzyjne i syntetyczne wyjaśnienie rozważanego pojęcia oraz wskazują
na typowy dla rzymskiego myślenia sposób jego rozumienia. Na szczególną uwagę zasługu-
Należy podkreślić, iż uwagi zawarte w niniejszym artykule poświęcone znaczeniu i semantycznej
ewolucji rzeczownika pietas znajdują zastosowanie również w przypadku przymiotnika pius, określającego podmiot, który odznacza się pietas.
2 Co do etymologii rzeczownika pietas derywowanego od przymiotnika pius cf. De Vaan 2008: 468469.
3 Temat pietas w ujęciu klasycznym był już wielokrotnie dyskutowany, cf. bibliografia. W tym miejscu
ograniczymy się do najważniejszych informacji niezbędnych w toku dalszego dyskursu.
4 Cicero, De inventione II 66.
5 Cicero, De natura deorum I 116.
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ją dwa wyrażenia: officium oraz iustitia. Są one kluczowe dla właściwej interpretacji cyceroniańskiej definicji i odgrywają zarazem istotną rolę w badaniach nad znaczeniem rzymskiej
pietas. Zgodnie z przytoczonymi wyżej sformułowaniami, w mniemaniu Cycerona, którego
uznać możemy za wyraziciela rzymskich opinii, przede wszystkim była ona poczuciem na-
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leżnego obowiązku i szacunku (sensus officii, officium pietatis6) względem kogoś innego o
wyższej pozycji i znaczeniu, oddawaniem każdemu tego, co stosowne (cuiusque debentia ac
decentia reddere) oraz odpowiednie do jego godności i autorytetu. Stąd też takie konotacje jak
pietas erga deos7, erga parentes8 czy też erga patriam9. Wyjątek stanowi tu pietas erga liberos10,
jednakże i ta postawa, podobnie jak poprzednie, polega na wypełnianiu obowiązku, w tym
przypadku przez rodziców względem dzieci. Działania te można zaś określić mianem
sprawiedliwości (iustitia). Pietas należy więc do grona rzymskich cnót (virtutes), których
praktykowanie wpisuje się w kulturę mos maiorum i stanowi jej realizację.
W kontekście dalszych rozważań warto zaznaczyć, iż literatura klasyczna atrybuuje
termin pietas przede wszystkim ludziom, stąd też pietas hominis erga alios, z zachowaniem
wspomnianej hierarchiczności. Konotacja pietas deorum erga homines pojawia się zdecydowanie rzadziej. W drugiej księdze Eneidy czytamy: “«At tibi pro scelere», exclamat (Priamus),
«pro talibus ausis,/ di, si qua est caelo pietas, quae talia curet,/ persolvant grates dignas et
praemia reddant/ debita»”11. Syliusz Italikus zaś notuje: “Si qua deis pietas, tales, Carthago,
videre/ dent tibi Sidonias matres”12. Naturalnie, biorąc pod uwagę charakter rzymskiej religii, trudno w tym miejscu mówić o jakimś miłosierdziu bóstw względem ludzi rozumianym
jako bezinteresowny dar. Bogowie oddają człowiekowi to, co są mu dłużni za składane wyrazy czci i ofiary. Realizuje się więc zasada do ut des. Jedynie w ten sposób błagalnik może
doświadczyć boskiej “łaskawości”. Również zatem pietas deorum wpisuje się w krąg znaczeń
Sondel 2005: 749.
Cf. Cicero, De officiis II 11; idem, De finibus bonoroum et malorum III 73; Vergilius, Aeneis I 8-11; idem,
Aeneis I 151-152.
8 Cf. Tacitus, Vita Agricolae VII 2.
9 Cf. Cicero, De republica VI 16.
10 Cf. Plautus, Poenulus, v. 1277.
11 Vergilius, Aeneis II 535-538.
12 Silius Italicus, Punica VI 410-411.
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związanych z officium i iustitia13. Ponadto występuje poważna wątpliwość co do możliwości
jej uzyskania, wyrażona w obydwu przytoczonych fragmentach poprzez przysłówek qua.
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2. Pietas Christiana
Pewien rodzaj zbieżności między klasycznym a chrześcijańskim pojmowaniem anali-
zowanego terminu odnajdujemy w kontekście związanym z religią. Dla autorów chrześcijańskich bowiem pietas stanowi określenie kultu oddawanego Bogu, pojmowanego jako
wszelkie oznaki czci, modlitwy i ofiary, a zatem w tym kontekście jako to, co moglibyśmy
dziś określić właśnie mianem pobożności.
W De civitate Dei Augustyna czytamy: “Pietas quoque proprie Dei cultus intellegi
solet, quam Graeci eusebeian uocant”14. Podobne znaczenie spotykamy u Leona Wielkiego:
“Et quid tam sacerdotale quam (...) immaculatas pietatis hostias de altari cordis offerre?”15
i Paulina z Noli: “Nam ut evocationem ad Deum sanctae sororis meae, ita devotionem
pietatis in Christo tuae pariter audivi”16. Fragmenty te, poprzez konotacje z takimi słowami
jak cultus, hostia, altare czy devotio, wyraźnie wskazują na kontekst kultowy. Swoistym
novum jest jednak fakt, iż pobożność ta ma charakter duchowy17 i rodzi się nie tyle z czyste-
go obowiązku i zwyczaju albo z powodu chęci zjednania sobie przychylności Boga, co z miłości do Niego. Pietas christiana erga Deum to zatem cultus Dei proprius, którego źródło wypływa ex affectu, czy też posługując się słowami Leona, “ex altari cordis”. Modyfikacja ta
umotywowana była zmianą religijnego kontekstu. Ponadto pietas w kontekście chrześcijańskim to także gorliwość w wyznawaniu ewangelicznej wiary apostolskiej, na co wskazują
słowa wspomnianego już papieża: “Evangelicae atque apostolicae fidei pietas defendatur”18.
Kontynuuację sensów klasycznych, również ze względu na kontekst swego użycia,
prezentują dwa fragmenty z Divinae Institutiones apologety Laktancjusza. W pierwszym
W taki też sposób zacytowany wyżej fragment Eneidy interpretuje autor przekładu polskiego Zyg-
munt Kubiak: „Za zbrodnię, / Za okrucieństwo – krzyknął *Priam+ – niech bogowie,/ Jeśli jest w niebie
jeszcze sprawiedliwość,/ Która to widzi, niechże ci bogowie, Odpłacą, niech cię nagrodzą, jak trze-
ba<”. Słowo pietas przetłumaczono jako „sprawiedliwość”, zgodnie z tezą officium ex iustitia, cf. Kubiak 1987: 85; Lewis-Short 1930: 1375; Plezai 1999: 160.
Augustinus, De civitate Dei X 13.
Leo Magnus, Sermo IV 1.
16 Paulinus Nolensis, Epistula XIII 13.
17 Cf. J 4, 24.
18 Leo Magnus, Epistula LIV 1.
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z nich opisuje on postać Furiusza Bibakulusa, korzystając przy tym z tekstu Waleriusza
Maksymusa19: “Nam Furius Bibaculus inter praecipua pietatis exempla numeratur, qui, cum
praetor esset, tamen lictoribus praeeuntibus ancile portavit, cum haberet magistratus benefi-
cio muneris eius vacationem”20. Niesienie przez Bibakulusa w uroczystej procesji specjalnej
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tarczy, zwanej ancile - mimo zwolnienia z tego obowiązku ze względu na sprawowany
urząd - uznane zostało za niezwykły przejaw pobożności21, rozumianej jako szacunek
względem bogów i oddawanie im czci. Drugi zaś fragment traktuje o składaniu przez pogan
ofiar z dzieci: “Tam barbaros, tam immanes fuisse homines, ut parricidium suum, id est taetrum atque exsecrabile humano generi facinus, sacrificium vocarent, cum teneras atque innocentes animas, quae maxime est aetas parentibus dulcior, sine ullo respectu pietatis extin-
geurent”22. Według Laktancjusza barbarzyństwo i szaleństwo opisywanych ludzi przeja-
wiało się w składaniu ich małych dzieci w ofierze, a zatem w złamaniu zasady pietas erga
liberos. Autor ma jednak na myśli również to, iż ludzie ci wyzuci byli z wszelkich uczuć to-
warzyszących zazwyczaj relacjom rodziców z dziećmi. Obecny jest więc tutaj element emocjonalny istotny w perspektywie dalszych rozważań.
z prymarnym znaczeniem pietas obecnym w literaturze klasycznej, utwory autorów wyznających wiarę w Chrystusa prezentują inne jeszcze sensy analizowanego słowa. Zaskakującym, i dlatego też bardzo interesującym faktem jest to, iż w tekstach wchodzących w skład
spuścizny chrześcijańskiej, zarówno starożytnych, jak i późniejszych, szczególnie liturgicznych, pietas to przede wszystkim synonim miłości, dobroci, łagodności i miłosierdzia, i to nie
tylko w kontekście pietas hominis erga alios, lecz zwłaszcza w kontekście pietas Dei erga homines.
Po raz kolejny warto odwołać się do Laktancjusza, który w szóstej księdze swego apo-
logetycznego dzieła notuje: “Deus imbecilitatem nostram sciens pro sua pietate aperuit homini portum salutis”23. Nie ma wątpliwości, iż właściwie interpretując do zdanie, należy
Cf. Valerius Maximus I 1,9.
Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones I 21.
21 W tym przypadku przekład ten jest jak najbardziej odpowiedni, na co wskazuje również kontekst
zacytowanego fragmentu. Końcowe rozdziały pierwszej księgi Divinae Institutiones poruszają bowiem
problematykę rzymskich praktyk kultowych.
22 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones I 21.
23 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones VI 24.
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stwierdzić, że Bóg udzielił człowiekowi łaski zbawienia przez wzgląd na swą litość, z uwagi
na swe miłosierdzie i dobroć. Podobny motyw spotykamy w prologu Reguły świętego Benedykta: “Ecce pietate sua demonstrat nobis Dominus viam vitae”24.
Cyprian z Kartaginy zaś, pisząc o modlitwie Chrystusa podczas Ostatniej Wieczerzy,
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zaznacza: “Magna Domini propter salutem nostram benignitas pariter et pietas, ut non contentus quod nos sanguine suo redimeret, adhuc pro nobis amplius et rogaret”25. Na oma-
wiane znaczenie wskazuje wyraźnie konotacja słowa pietas z rzeczownikiem benignitas,
wzmocniona ponadto przysłówkiem pariter. Podobne połączenie odnajdujemy w kazaniu
Leona Wielkiego: “Benignitatem itaque in hoc et dispensationem divinae pietatis agnosce”26.
Co więcej, w liturgicznym tekście Praeconium paschale, znanym szerzej pod nazwą
Exultet, czytamy: “O mira circa nos tuae, *Domine+, pietatis dignatio! O inaestimabilis dilectio caritatis: ut servum redimeres, Filium tradidisti!”. Kontekst świadczy, iż pietatis dignatio
to w gruncie rzeczy dilectio caritatis. Na uwagę zasługuje również werbalna abundancja,
mająca na celu wyrazić miłość Boga okazaną w dziele Odkupienia.
Analizując teksty liturgii rzymskiej, zawarte choćby w trzeciej edycji typicznej posobo-
rowego Missale Romanum, napotykamy na bardzo liczne występowanie terminu pietas w
znaczeniu dobroci i miłości okazywanej przez Boga. W okresie adwentu Kościół łaciński
modli się następującymi słowami: “Festina, quaesumus, ne tardaveris, Domine Iesu, ut adventus tui consolationibus subleventur, qui in tua pietate confidunt”27. Na użycie rzeczow-
nika pietas w znaczeniu dobroci i łaskawości wskazuje jego powiązanie z czasownikiem confidere. Wierni pokładają ufność w pietas Jezusa, to znaczy w Jego miłosierdziu.
Taki sam sens prezentuje również tekst oratio super populum przypisany na je-
den z powszednich dni Wielkiego Postu i to nie tylko – jak w poprzednim przypadku - poprzez konotację z czasownikiem confidere, lecz także z rzeczownikami caritas oraz misericordia: “Implorantes, Domine, misericordiam tuam fideles tuos propitius intuere, ut qui de tua
pietate confidunt, tuae caritatis dona ubique diffundere valeant”28.
Modlitwa obrzędu poświęcenia popiołu zawiera prośbę o błogosławieństwo Boże
dla osób, które przyjmą na siebie znak pokuty: “Deus, qui humiliatione flecteris et satisfacRegula Sancti Benedicti, Prologus 20.
Cyprianus, De dominica oratione 30.
26 Leo Magnus, Sermo VI 1.
27 Missale Romanum 2002, oratio de die 24 decembris.
28 Missale Romanum 2002, oratio super populum de feria sexta III hebdomadae Quadragesimae.
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tione placaris, aurem tuae pietatis precibus nostris inclina, et super famulos tuos, horum
cínerum aspersione contactos, gratiam tuae benedictionis effunde propitius”29. Źródłem zaś
owego błogosławieństwa jest łaskawość Boga i fakt, że nakłania On ucha swej pietas ku
prośbom ludzi, kierując się łaskawością (propitius). Podobną metaforę odnajdujemy w innej
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z wielkopostnych modlitw nad ludem: “Pateant aures misericordiae tuae, Domine, precibus
supplicantium”30. Użycie słowa misericordia potwierdza tezę, iż pietas stanowi jego synonim, podobnie jak w tekście hymnu Attende Domine31, za pośrednictwem którego błagalnik
prosi Chrystusa o przebaczenie grzechów: “Tua, Redemptor, pietas ignoscat”.
Augustyn z Hippony stwierdza, iż w chrześcijańskim kontekście pietas hominis erga
alios termin ten używany był na określenie dzieł miłosierdzia: “More autem vulgi hoc nomen (pietatis) etiam in operibus misericordiae frequentatur; quod ideo arbitror evenisse,
quia haec fieri praecipue mandat Deus eaque sibi uel pro sacrificiis vel prae sacrificiis placere testatur”32. Można zatem powiedzieć, iż zgodnie z opinią Augustyna również dobre
uczynki chrześcijanina są przejawem wspomnianego już kultu Bożego ex affectu. Dobroć
wyświadczana bliźniemu jest także miłością, a zarazem czcią okazywaną Panu33, stanowiąc
wyraz pietas erga Deum. W Carmen 10 Paulin z Noli stawia natomiast pytanie: “Pietas abesse
Christiano qui potest?/ Namque argumentum mutuum est/ Pietatis, esse Christianum”.
Wzajemne wyświadczanie sobie pietas, czyli miłosierdzia i dobroci (argumentum mutuum),
jest znakiem rozpoznawczym chrześcijan oraz centrum ich życia oraz wiary.
Należy zatem stwierdzić, iż w literaturze chrześcijańskiej widoczne są podobieństwa z
klasycznym ujęciem pietas, jako że wciąż pobrzmiewa w niej echo klasycznego officium. Pietas hominis erga Deum jest bowiem oddawaniem Bogu należnej Mu czci, wynikającej
z Jego potęgi i majestatu, a ponadto uzasadniona jest przykazaniem34, podobnie jak pietas
hominis erga alios - “haec fieri praecipue mandat Deus” - jak pisał Augustyn. Pewne zbieżno-
ści widoczne są też w kontekście pietas Dei erga homines. Bóg, poczuwając się niejako do odpowiedzialności za stworzenie, troszczy się o swoje dzieci, co nasuwa skojarzenia z klasyczną pietas erga liberos.
Missale Romanum 2002, oratio benedictionis cinerum de feria IV Cinerum.
Missale Romanum 2002, oratio super populum de sabbato II hebdomadae Quadragesimae.
31 Wielkopostny hymn łaciński wywodzący się z liturgii mozarabskiej z X wieku.
32 Augustinus, De civitate Dei X 13.
33 Cf. Mt 25, 40.
34 Cf. Mt 22, 37-38.
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Jednakże podstawową różnicą jest fakt, iż owo officium w literaturze klasycznej prymarnie wypływało ex iustitia i w pewien sposób było uregulowane przez mos maiorum, zaś w
tekstach chrześcijańskich wypływa w głównej mierze ex affectu. Co więcej, pietas dla chrze-
ścijan, będąc synonimem takich słów jak misericordia czy caritas, to affectus par excellence, i
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to zarówno ze strony Boga względem człowieka, jak i ze strony człowieka względem Boga i
innych ludzi.
Warto wspomnieć, że wskazane wyżej emocjonalne znaczenia rozważanego terminu
kontynuują języki romańskie. Dla przykładu włoska pietà oznacza litość, miłosierdzie, podobnie jak francuska pitié czy hiszpańska piedad. Z kolei w polskim słowie “pietyzm” słychać
raczej echo znaczenia klasycznego, mieszczącego się w znaczeniu szacunku i respektu.
3. Pietas Romana ex affectu
Jest rzeczą wiadomą, iż literatura chrześcijańska przekształcała znaczenie klasycznych
pojęć, zarówno greckich, jak i łacińskich, akomodując je do potrzeb nowej religii. Zachowywała
to stróż, strażnik, i podobnie w tekstach chrześcijańskich to strażnik grupy wierzących,
ich przewodnik czyli biskup. Dla pogan ekklesia36 to zebranie obywateli, dla chrześcijan jest
to również zgromadzenie ludzi, zwołane jednak przez Chrystusa, innymi słowy Kościół.
W przypadku jednak terminu pietas zdaje się, iż mamy do czynienia nie tyle
z przekształceniem sensu, co z nowym znaczeniem. Rodzi się zatem pytanie o przyczynę
i źródło takiej semantycznej ewolucji. Dlaczego w literaturze chrześcijańskiej pietas oznacza
przede wszystkim łaskawość, miłość czy miłosierdzie, podczas gdy zgodnie z sensem kla-
sycznym polega ona na spełnianiu obowiązku w celu praktykowania cnoty sprawiedliwości?
Należy zaznaczyć, iż wprawdzie, jak wskazano wcześniej, rzymska pietas stanowiła
wypełnienie iustitia i officium, jednakże motywacja do jej praktykowania wypływała
nie tylko - choć przede wszystkim - z restrykcyjnie pojmowanego mos maiorum, ze ściśle
ustalonego porządku, zbioru praw, zasad i obyczajów. Jak w przypadku każdego człowieka,
tak również i u starożytnych Rzymian, ważną rolę musiał odgrywać czynnik emocjonalny.
Liddell – Scott – Jones 1968: 657.
Liddell – Scott – Jones 1968: 509.
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Można zatem uznać, że pietas Romana to nie tylko officium ex iustitia, lecz również officium ex
affectu, dowody czego odnajdujemy w tekstach źródłowych.
Szczególną uwagę zwraca zakończenie poematu Aetna nieznanego autora, z którego
dowiadujemy się o dokonanym przez synów uratowaniu rodziców z pożaru: “Illis divitiae
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solae materque paterque:/ hanc rapient praedam. Mediumque exire per ignem/ ipso dante
fidem properant. O maxima rerum/ et merito pietas homini tutissima virtus!”37. Motywem
wyświadczania przez dzieci pietas erga parentes (zaliczonej przez autora poematu w poczet
cnót) jest oczywiście iustitia, ale niewątpliwie istotną rolę spełnia również affectus, jako że
synowie niosą ratunek rodzicom nie tylko ze względu na obowiązek i odpowiedzialność
wobec nich, lecz także na miłość, jaką ich obdarzają. Czynnik emocjonalny zatem nie może
być pominięty38.
W Panegiryku Pliniusz Młodszy zwraca się do cesarza Trajana: “Te fama, te gloria, te
civium pietas super ipsos principes vehunt”39. Również i w tym przykładzie możemy do-
strzec zabarwienie uczuciowe. Źródłem pietas erga principem jest nie tylko poczucie szacunku
i respektu wobec władcy, ale też przywiązanie do tego, który zapewnia obywatelom żywność i przewodzi państwu.
Podobny kontekst spotykamy u Liwiusza: “Ut tribuni militares contione advocata pe-
ditibus equitibusque gratias agerent, memorem pietatis eorum erga patriam dicerent senatum
Pietas erga
to nie
obowiązek względem
ale niewątpliwie również pragnienie jego wielkości i potęgi, co z kolei wynika ex affectu,
z pewnego rodzaju uczucia, a więc jest czymś, co dzisiaj nazwalibyśmy patriotyzmem.
Wskazane przykłady w sposób pośredni wskazywały na emocjonalne zabarwienie
rzymskiej pietas. Możemy jednak odnaleźć źródła, w których color affectus jest bezsprzecznie
widoczny. Cyceron pisze w jednym z listów Ad familiares: “Caesarem vero, quod me in
tanta fortuna modo cognitum vetustissimorum familiarium loco habuit, dilexi summa cum
Incerti auctoris Aetna, v. 631-634.
Tak też interpretuje ten fragment autor angielskiego przekładu, który termin pietas tłumaczy zwrotem “loving duty”, a zatem zgodnie z tezą officium ex affectu, cf. Duff 1954: 419. Stanisław Śnieżewski,
autor przekładu polskiego, pozostaje przy stricte klasycznym ujęciu, tłumacząc tę frazę jako “poczucie
obowiązku wobec rodziców”, cf. Śnieżewski 2002: 143.
39 Plinius Minor, Panegyricus 24.
40 Livius, Ab urbe condita V 12.
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pietate et fide”41. Sens całego zdania, jak i konotacja terminu pietas z czasownikiem diligere
nie pozostawia żadnych wątpliwości, że w tym przypadku pietas posiada charakter uczuciowy.
W plautyńskich Dwóch Bakchidach natrafiamy zaś na następującą frazę: “Sine, mea
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pietas, te exorem”42. Kontekst fragmentu wskazuje, iż obecne w nim słowo pietas wyraża
bez wątpienia sens emocjonalny, a jego polskim ekwiwalentem może być zwrot “moje kochanie”43. Widać zatem, iż rzymska pietas, choć zdecydowanie z mniejszą częstotliwością,
opisuje również uczucia miłości.
Na uwagę zasługuje również fakt używania formuły pietatis causa lub ex pietate
w epitafach, świadczącej, iż dziedzic wzniósł pomnik nie tyle w celu wypełnienia ostatniej
woli zmarłego (ex testamento), ale przez wzgląd na uczucie, jakim go obdarzał44.
4. Pietas Romana id est clementia
Kontynuację emocjonalnego nurtu semantycznego rzymskiej pietas możemy odnaleźć
w pewnych - choć bardzo nielicznych - fragmentach, w których omawiane słowo zostało
użyte jako synonim takich terminów jak clementia, a zatem w sensie podobnym,
w jakim jako prymarnym wykorzystywać je będzie łacina chrześcijańska. W żywocie Domicjana autorstwa Swetoniusza czytamy: “Permittite, patres conscripti, a pietate vestra impe-
trari, ut damnatis liberum mortis arbitrium indulgeatis”. Na fakt użycia słowa pietas w znaczeniu “łaskawości” po raz kolejny wskazuje zestawienie z innym słowem, tym razem z
czasownikiem indulgere.
W tym miejscu warto wspomnieć, iż termin pietas był również tytułem honorowym
władcy45, co wiązało się z pragnieniem uzyskania łaskawości monarchy, dlatego też zwrot
ten tłumaczono często frazą “Wasza Łaskawość”. Ponadto jedna z sentencji zawartych w
Cicero, Ad familiares X 31.
Plautus, Bacchides, v. 1176.
43 W taki sposób interpretuje ten fragment Ewa Skwara, autorka współczesnego przekładu polskiego,
tłumacząc: “Ma Miłości, me kochanie”. Według tłumaczki Plaut nawiązuje w tym miejscu do rzymskiej bogini Pietas, która uosabiała szacunek, wierność, przywiązanie, a także miłość, cf. Skwara 2004:
154. Zabarwienie emocjonalne obecne jest również w starszym przekładzie Gustawa Przychockiego,
który omawianą frazę oddaje zwrotem: “O mój słodki”, cf. Przychocki 1935: 227.
44 Lewis-Short 1930: 1375.
45 Sondel 2005: 749; Plezia 1999: 160.
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Digesta Iustiniani głosi: “Patria potestas in pietate debet, non atrocitate consistere”46. Jak widać, pietas stoi w opozycji do atrocitas, stanowiąc odpowiednik łagodności i dobroci, na któ-
5. Summarium
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rej powinna opierać się władza ojcowska.
Na przestrzeni tekstów pogańskich i chrześcijańskich, poza naturalnymi zbieżnościa-
mi widocznymi w pewnej kontynuacji sensów związanych z officium, dostrzegalne są przede wszystkim różnice w rozumieniu i interpretacji terminu pietas.
Sens emocjonalny obecny w literaturze klasycznej pozostawał w gronie znaczeń se-
kundarnych. Dla Rzymianina bowiem pietas to przede wszystkim poczucie obowiązku wynikające z mos maiorum. W tekstach chrześcijańskich zaś klasyczny sens sekundarny stał się
sensem prymarnym i dlatego dla autorów wierzących w Chrystusa omawiane słowo było
synonimem miłości, miłosierdzia, łaskawości i dobroci.
Nowością są jednak nie tylko modyfikacje znaczeniowe. Na uwagę zasługuje również
zmiana w atrybucji pojęcia. Pisarze pogańscy rzadko przypisywali ten termin bóstwom,
a jeżeli już, to w znaczeniu officium ex iustitia, a nie ex affectu. Literatura chrześcijańska zaś
bardzo chętnie posługiwała się terminem pietas w odniesieniu do Boga we wskazanych sensach emocjonalnych, co umotywowane było nowym kontekstem religijnym.
Zmiany semantyczne i odmienna atrybucja wpłynęły również na odwrócenie hierar-
chiczności podmiotów. O ile tradycyjnym kierunkiem wyświadczania pietas przez pogan był
zazwyczaj kierunek od kogoś mniej znaczącego do kogoś ważniejszego: erga deos, parentes,
patriam (ze wskazanym wyjątkiem pietas erga liberos), o tyle teksty chrześcijańskie, traktując o
pietas Dei erga homines, znacząco ten kierunek zmieniły.
Trzeba zatem stwierdzić, iż emocjonalne zabarwienie terminu pietas występujące
w literaturze klasycznej wpłynęło decydująco na semantyczny rozwój pojęcia w utworach
autorów chrześcijańskich. Ów klasyczny color affectus stał się podstawą dla rozumienia terminu pietas przede wszystkim w kategoriach uczuciowych.
Rozważanie na temat znaczenia rzymskiej pietas zakończmy słowami Horacego, który
zastanawiając się nad semantycznymi zmianami słów, napisał: “Ut silvae foliis pronos mutantur in annos,/ prima cadunt, ita verborum vetus interit aetas,/ et iuvenum ritu florent
Digesta Iustiniani 48,9.
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modo nata vigentque./ Debemur morti nos nostraque, (...) nedum sermonum stet honos et
gratia vivax./ Multa renascentur quae iam cecidere, cadentque/ quae nunc sunt in honore
Blaise A. (ed.) 1967: Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs chrétiens, Turnhout.
Emilie G. 1944: Cicero and the Roman Pietas, “The Classical Journal” 39, 536-542.
Forcellini A. (ed.) 1940: Lexicon totius Latinitatis, Patavii.
Garrison J. D. 1992: Pietas from Vergil to Dryden, Pennsylvania.
Glare P.G.W. (ed.) 1990: Oxford Latin Dictionary, Oxford.
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vocabula, si volet usus,/ quem penes arbitrium est et ius et norma loquendi”47.
Duff J.W. (ed.) 1954: Minor Latin Poets with introductions and English translations, Lon-
Hellegouarc’h J. 1963: Le vocabulaire latin des relations et des partis politiques sous la Ré-
publique, Paris.
Jougan A. (ed.) 1958: Słownik kościelny łacińsko-polski, Poznań.
Korpanty J. 1974: Pietas Romana, “Filomata” 279, 469-476.
Korpanty J. 1975: Z dziejów rzymskiej pietas, “Meander” 30, 7-18.
Korpanty J. 1976: Studia nad łacińską terminologią polityczno-socjalną okresu Republiki
Rzymskiej, Wrocław-Kraków.
Korpanty J. (ed.) 2003: Słownik łacińsko-polski, 2 vol., Warszawa.
Kowalski H. 2002: Pietas jako wyznacznik odniesień między rodzicami a dziećmi w republi-
kańskim Rzymie, in: J. Jundziłł – D. Żołądź-Strzelczyk (eds.), Dziecko w rodzinie i społeczeństwie.
Starożytność - Średniowiecze, 1 vol., Bydgoszcz.
Kubiak Z (ed.) 1987: Publius Vergilius Maro. Eneida, Warszawa.
Lewis Ch.T., Short Ch. (eds.) 1930: A Latin dictionary, Oxford.
Liddell H.G., Scott R., Jones H.S., McKenzie R. (eds.) 1968: A Greek-English Lexicon.
Ninth edition, Oxford.
Olejnik S. (ed.) 1968: Słownik łacińsko-polski terminów teologiczno-moralnych, Warszawa.
Pieńkoś J. (ed.) 2001: Słownik łacińsko-polski. Łacina w nauce i kulturze, Kraków.
Horatius, Ars poetica, v. 60-63. 69-72.
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Plezia M. (ed.) 1999: Słownik łacińsko-polski, 4 vol., Warszawa.
Przychocki G. (ed.) 1935: T. Maccius Plautus. Komedje, 3 vol., Kraków.
Skwara E. (ed.) 2004: Plaut. Komedie, 3 vol., Warszawa.
Śnieżewski S. (ed.) 2002: Etna nieznanego autora, “Terminus” IV 2, 129-143.
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Sondel J. (ed.) 2005: Słownik łacińsko-polski dla prawników i historyków, Kraków.
De Vaan M. (ed.) 2008: Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages,
Wagenvoort H. 1980: Pietas: Selected Studies in Roman Religion, Leiden.
Color affectus as a source of semantic evolution of Latin term pietas
According to Cicero, the term pietas stands for officium and iustitia. The meaning of this
term in classical Roman literature signifies sense of duty, especially towards the gods, parents and country which has it’s source in mos maiorum culture. Yet when we read texts of the
ancient Christian literature as well as Latin prayers present in the liturgy of Roman Catholic
Church, we find other, very surprising and interesting meaning of pietas. Christian authors
use this term as a synonym of love, affection, goodness and benignity.
Where is the source of this semantic evolution? When we analyze more precisely the
works of classical writer, we can find some texts in which pitas is used in more affectional
and emotional tone. For instance pietas erga parentes in Aetna poem is not only motivated by
sense of duty, but also by love and affection towards the parents. Moreover, Plautus in one
of his comedies use phrae mea pietas in the meaning of “my darling”. What is more, some
classical authors, like Suetonius, use term pietas as a synonym of clemency and mercy. This
affectional tone (color affectus) is a source of semantic evolution of Latin term pietas.
SŁOWA KLUCZOWE: pietas; semantyczna ewolucja; literatura klasyczna; literatura chrześcijańska
KEYWORDS: pietas; semantic evolution; classical literature; Christian literature
Łukasz Halida – ur. 1992; studia magisterskie w Instytucie Filologii Klasycznej Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego w Krakowie rozpoczęte w 2014 roku; zainteresowania naukowe: seman-
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tyka języka greckiego i łacińskiego, filologia biblijna, chrześcijańska literatura patrystyczna i
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apologetyczna, kultura klasyczna a chrześcijaństwo; e-mail: (email protected)
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Pindar of Thebes: The Orphic Mystagogue
(The Ohio State University)
Scholars have long debated Pindar’s involvment with the Orphic movement. Ulrich
von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1922)1 and W. K. C. Guthrie (1993)2 both argued that Pindar
was catering to the Orphic beliefs of his patron Theron when he composed Olympian 2. Er-
win Rhode (1925)3 suggested Pindar learned Orphic doctrine directly from his repeated visits
to Sicily, and, more recently, Jan N. Bremmer (2002)4 pointed out the influence of Orphic
thought on Pindar’s poetry. Domenico Comparetti first remarked at the striking similarities
between the Orphic Gold Tablets and Pindar’s Olympian 2.5 Fritz Graf and Sarah Johnston
(2007)6 and Dirk Obbink (2011)7 have argued Pindar’s representation of the afterlife was
based on a similar eschatological scheme as the Gold Tablets. Pindar describes a tripartite
division of souls in the afterflife8 and he even designates Chronos as ‚the father of all.‛9 Martin West (1983)10 questioned whether Pindar’s Orphic themed eschatology in addition to
cosmology was merely a coincidence. Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones (1990)11 responded that Pindar
Wilamowitz 1922: 251.
Guthrie 1993: 236: ‚We must not forget that the second Olympian ode, which is our chief Pindaric
source for transmigration and the life of the blessed, was written for recital before a Sicilian audience,
who might be supposed to be more interested than others in Orphico-Pythagorean beliefs.‛
3 Rhode 1925: 417: ‚From what particular direction Pindar’s theological interests may have come to
him we cannot say with precision or certainty. Orphic as well as Pythagorean doctrines may have
come to his notice in Sicily whither he made repeated visits after 477 BC.‛
4 Bremmer 2002: 21, 23, 91.
5 Graf and Johnston 2007: 54.
6 Graf and Johnston 2007: 101: ‚In both Pindar and the tablets, the bad, the good, and the good-plus
are geographically and experientially separated in the Underworld.‛
7 Obbink 2011: 308-309: ‚Pindar could also be seen as offering in the epilogue of the sixth Isthmian an
exegesis of the sacred doctrine (as he similarly treats other aspects of Orphic eschatology in Olympian
8 Willcock 1995: 137.
9 Χρόνος ὁ πάντων πατὴρ (Ol. 2.17 Race). All translations are mine (D. H.) unless otherwise stated.
10 West 1983: 110n82: ‚The eschatology of this ode is indeed close to that of the Orphic poem. There is
judgment of the dead (56-60), a pleasant existence for the good with those gods who have not perjured
themselves (61-67), a hell for the wicked, presumably with the perjurer gods (67), repeated
reincarnations with the possibility of final escape to the Isle of the Blessed where the heroes live (68
ff.). . . Is it coincidence that in the same poem (17) Pindar refers to ‘Chronos, the father of all’?‛
11 Lloyd-Jones 1990: 83: ‚Pindar could, I think, speak of Time the father of all things without having in
mind the special importance of Time in Orphic theogonies.‛
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could invoke Time without implying Chronos as the primordial Orphic god, yet he catalogued compelling observations between the afterlife depicted in Olympian 2 and the Gold
Tablets. Most recently, Marco Santamaría (2008) has argued that in Pindar’s poetry, ‚there
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are as many typically Orphic doctrines as there are images.‛12
I propose that Pindar’s poetry contains ideas inherent in the foundational Orphic be-
lief, the Zagreus myth, which does not survive in a complete form before Olympiodorus’ 6th
century CE commentary on Plato’s Phaedo (OF 220 Kern + 304 F, 318 F, 320 F Bernabé), but is
reflected in older texts—including, I argue, Pindar’s Odes and Threnoi.13 According to Olym-
piodorus’s narrative, Hera, in her hatred of Dionysus, the son of Zeus and Persephone, incited the Titans to kill Dionysus, dismember him, and feed upon his flesh. In punishment Zeus
blasted the Titans with lightning, and from their ashes sprung the human race, composed of
both Dionysus and the Titans. The Orphic Zagreus myth can be considered fundamental
because it contains specific entailments and assumptions that resonate throughout Orphic
thought: that the human soul is immortal because of its divine origins; that it faces judgment
in the afterlife; that there is a reward of heroization for the initiate; but also that there is a
need for salvation because of an ‚ancient transgression‛ such that initiation functions as a
kind of poinē ‚blood payment‛ for the murder of Dionysus implicit in mankind because of
our Titanic portions; and, finally, that initiation offers a better afterlife and distinguishes the
soul based on her memory of this ancient transgression. I contend that Pindar’s poetry contains ideas inherent in the Zagreus myth, organized according its mythico-religous belief
system, and, most importantly, expressed in the same terminology as we find in Orphic
texts, such as the Gold Tablets. I specifically draw attention to the term ποινή, ‚penalty‛ or
‚blood-payment‛ used in the Threnoi and Olympian 2 and its corresponding use on the Gold
Tablets. I suggest ποινή functioned as an Orphic symbolon, or password exchanged between
fellow initiates that established their identity as initiates with one another through their
Santamaría 2008: 1184. Santamaría (2008: 1183) argues ‚In various passages of Pindar (especially in
Olympian 2 and in different fragment of the Threnoi and Dithyrambs) numerous passages of Pindar are
percieved, as well as features of the style and literary expression that these beliefs had received in a
homogeneous series of writings,‛
13 For poinē in Orphism and fragment 133 of Pindar see Santamaría 2003: 397-405 and 2008: 1161-1184.
For the antiquity of the myth of Dionysus Zagreus see Graf and Johnston 2007: 66-93. There is evidence from Nonnus’ Dionysiaca 44.255–57, Dio’s Charidemos (OF 320vii), and the Smyrna inscription
(OF 582.15–16 Bernabé) that the Zagreus myth was known earlier. For the antiquity of the myth of the
Titans see Bernabé 2002: 401-433.
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knowledge of the implied myth of the cannabalism of Dionysus by the Titans. Hence, Pindar’s use of the word points to his intimate knowledge of Orphic ritual. Following the work
of Graf, Johnston and Obbink, I argue that the tripartite division of souls in Olympian 2 and
the depiction of the waters of Memory imparting immortality in Isthmian 6 are parallel to the
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tripartite scheme and the mnemonic function of immortalization on the Gold Tablets. I read
this as evidence that Pindar was not simply catering to a specific audience, but that he was
also working within the literary tradition that produced the tablets. I propose Pindar learned
Orphic doctrine by being initiated into its Mysteries, after which he integrated Orphic myth
into his poetry.
The poetry of Pindar is filled with ideas and imagery reminiscent of Orphic belief and
the Orphic Gold Tablets in particular. In the Threnoi, Pindar describes Orpheus as ‚Orpheus
of the golden lyre,‛14 and in his description of the Isles of the Blessed, ‚flowers of gold are
blazing,‛15 and even Memory is ‚golden-robed.‛16 Pindar’s golden imagery and goldenrobed Memory seem to recall the Orphic Gold Tablets, where Memory plays a key role in
heroization as she distinguishes an initiate and grants his immortality.17 The Gold Tablets
themselves functioned as a ritual mnemonic device for the initiate in the afterlife, and they
contained passwords to help the initiate enjoy his blessed immortality. Immortality was
promised to an initiate by his claim to divine lineage. This belief provided a theoretical justi-
fication for salvation and was a central belief of the Orphic cult. The Petelia tablet commands
the initiate to give a secret password in order to gain access to the blessed afterlife: Γῆς παῖς
εἰμι καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος | αὐτὰρ ἐμοὶ γένος οὐράνιον, ‚I am a child of Earth and
starry Sky, but my race is heavenly‛ (2.6-7 Graf/Johnston = B1 Zuntz, L3 Bernabé). The γένος
οὐράνιον of the Petelia tablet is echoed in Pindar’s Nemean 6 where he too expresses the idea
of divine lineage of mankind. Ἓν ἀνδρῶν, ἓν θεῶν γένος· ἐκ μιᾶς δὲ πνέομεν | ματρὸς
ἀμφότεροι· ‚One is the race of men, one is the race of gods, and from one mother do we both
derive our breath‛ (Nem. 6.1-2 Race).
Ὀρφέα χρυσάορα (Thren. 3.12 Race = Pindar fr. 139 Snell).
ἔνθα μακάρων | νᾶσον ὠκεανίδες | αὖραι περιπνέοισιν· ἄνθεμα δὲ χρυσοῦ φλέγει ... (Ol. 2.7072 Race).
16 χρυσοπέπλου Μναμοσύνας (Isthm. 6.75 Race).
17 Although the epithet χρυσόπεπλος is used in other non-Orphic contexts, and gold is a common sign
of immortality, it is the specific conjunction with gold and Memory that I argue is marked as Orphic.
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An Orphic initiate claimed divine lineage from Dionysus and his mother Persephone.
This aetiological myth of an ancient transgression formed the basis of the Orphic cult. Although the antiquity of the myth has been questioned, Paul Tannery (1899), who was fol-
lowed by Herbert J. Rose (1943), developed the argument that Pindar’s fragment 133 referred
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to the Orphic myth of Dionysus, and that, therefore, Pindar and Plato knew about the myth
before its Hellenistic elaboration. Martin West (1983),18 Walter Burkert (1985),19 E. R. Dodds
(2004),20 Fritz Graf and Sarah Johnston (2007),21 and even Ivan Linforth (1941)22 have all supported the myth’s antiquity; Alberto Bernabé and Ana Isabel Jiménez San Cristóbal (2008)23
situated Pindar within the same system of beliefs that produced the tablets. I argue that Pindar was himself an Orphic initiate as revealed by his intimate knowledge of the method by
West notes: ‚Let us recall the details of the story of Dionysus as it was told in the Rhapsodies, or
rather, of that part of the story which we attribute to the Eudemian Theogony because of its
connections with a preceding episode in that poem. Dionysus is born in Crete to Zeus and Kore. He is
guarded by the dancing Kouretes, as Zeus was. This probably lasts for five years. Zeus installs him on
his own throne and tells the gods that this is their new king. But the Titans, whitening their faces with
gypsum, lure him away with a mirror, apples, a bull-roarer, and other articles. They kill him and cut
him into seven pieces, which they first boil, then roast and proceed to eat. But Athena preserves the
still living heart and takes it to Zeus in a casket. The gods grieve. Zeus discharges his thunderbolt at
the Titans and removes them from the face of the earth. The residual smoke contains a soot from
which mankind is created. The remnants of the Titans’ feast are given to Apollo, who takes them to
Parnassus (that is, to Delphi) and inters them. But from the heart a new Dionysus is made‛ (West
1983: 140). He also observes, ‚The Eudemian Theogony was current at Athens in the fourth century
BC; the earliest reference to it, in Plato’s Cratylus, takes us back to the 380s‛ (West 1983: 174).
19 ‚One should therefore concede that the myth of the dismemberment of Dionysus is relatively old
and well known among the Greeks but was consciously kept secret as a doctrine of mysteries‛
(Burkert 1985: 298).
20 ‚Several considerations combine to persuade me that the myth is nevertheless old. The first is its
archaic character: it is founded on the ancient Dionysiac ritual of Sparagmos and Omophagia, and it
implies the archaic belief in inherited guilt, which in the Hellenistic Age had begun to be a discredited
superstition. The second is the Pindar quotation in Plato’s Meno where ‘the penalty of an ancient grief’
is most naturally explained as referring to human responsibility for the slaying of Dionysus. Thirdly,
in one passage of the Laws Plato refers to people who ‘show off the old Titan nature,’ and in another to
sacrilegious impulses which are ‘neither of man nor of god’ but arise ‘from old misdeeds unpurgeable
by man.’ And fourthly, we are told that Plato’s pupil Xenocrates somehow connected the notion of the
body as a ‘prison’ with Dionysus and the Titans. Individually, these apparent references to the myth
can at a pinch be explained away; but taking them together, I find it hard to resist the conclusion that
the complete story was known to Plato and his public‛ (Dodds 2004: 155-56).
21 Graf and Johnston 2007: 127.
22 ‚But after all, and in spite of these objections, one must acknowledge that there is a high degree of
probability in Rose’s interpretation. The fragment may be accepted as at least plausible evidence that
the story of the dismemberment was known to Pindar‛ (Linforth 1941: 350).
23 Bernabé and Jiménez San Cristóbal observe (2008: 72): ‚This is the same situation alluded to in a
Pindaric fragment (133 Maehl),‛ and again, ‚A text from Pindar seems clearly to allude to the same
scheme as the one found in the tablets‛ (106).
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which an initiate could atone for this primordial blood crime—namely, through ποινή,
‚penalty, blood price, retribution,‛ by which the initiate expiated the Titanic crime through
initiation and ritual purifications.
The goal of Orphism was for the initiate to atone for the ancient blood crime through-
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out a cycle of rebirths until, upon paying the ποινή, he once again becomes a god instead of
a mortal. In Pindar fragment 133, Persephone will recieve ‚the requital of the ancient sorrow‛:
οἷσι δὲ Φερσεφόνα ποινὰν παλαιοῦ πένθεος
δέξεται, ἐς τὸν ὕπερθεν ἅλιον κείνων ἐνάτῳ ἔτεϊ
ἀνδιδοῖ ψυχὰν πάλιν, ἐκ τᾶν βασιλῆες ἀγαυοί
καὶ σθένει κραιπνοὶ σοφίᾳ τε μέγιστοι
ἄνδρες αὔξοντ᾽· ἐς δὲ τὸν λοιπὸν χρόνον
ἥροες ἁγνοὶ πρὸς ἀνθρώπων καλέονται.
But for those from whom Persephone accepts requital for the ancient grief, in
the ninth year she returns their souls to the upper sunlight; from them arise
proud kings and men who are swift of strength and greatest in wisdom, and for
the rest of time they are called sacred heroes by men.
Pindar fr. 133 (trans. Race 1997: 369)
Rose argued this fragment must refer to the Orphic myth of Dionysus based on the conjunc-
tion of the words Persephone, ποινὰν, and πένθεος. With regards to the ποινή, which by its
traditional definition of ‚blood-guilt‛ suggests the murder of Persephone’s son Dionysus by
the Titans, Rose argued ‚ποινάν is simple enough, for it always means a recompense of
some sort in Pindar, though generally keeping close to its proper sense of wergelt.‛24 Rose’s
argument that Pindar is expressing an Orphic eschatology hinges on the word πένθεος, for
which only two events seem likely, the rape of Persephone by Hades or the death of her son
Dionysus Zagreus: ‚No human soul could be expected to make requital to the goddess for
what she underwent then. Remains therefore only one possibility, the death of her son, Dio-
Rose 1967: 81.
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nysus or Zagreus, at the hands of the Titans.‛25 Most recently, Radcliffe G. Edmonds III contends that in Pindar fragment 133 ποινή means ‚reward‛ rather than its original meaning of
Wergeld, and Pindar’s use of ποινή is instead a reference to cult honors paid to Persephone
because of the sorrow (πένθος) of her traumatic rape by Hades.26 Furthermore, Edmonds
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asserts that Pindar never uses ποινή with the sense of Wergeld.27 In his review of Edmond’s
book, Robert Parker points out, ‚In the particular fragment, however, the verb ‘accept’
(δέχεσθαι) strongly suggests a relation between an offender and an offended party, who
may or may not accept the proffered ποινά.‛28 Furthermore, although Edmonds argues that
Pindar does not use ποινή in the precise sense of Wergeld in such Odes as Pythian 4.63 and
especially Nemean 1.70, the Scholia vetera for Pythian 4.63 clearly define ποινή as ‚acquit-
tal.‛29 I argue that Pindar’s use of ποινή as ‚requital‛ only in fragment 133 and Olympian 2
suggests that it is a marked term and has a specific usage within the particular eschatological
contexts of both poems. Furthermore, it is significant to recall that Plato cites Pindar’s frag-
ment 133 in the context of Socrates’ argument that anamnēsis ‚recollection‛ as a proof of the
immortality of the soul and the doctrine of reincarnation (Meno 81b-e). Plato is quoting Pindar as an authority for the belief in reincarnation and the fragment informs Plato’s eschato-
logical context. Therefore, I contend, we must interpret fragment 133 within this specific context of reincarnation and the soul’s immortality rather than within the context of Persepho-
ne’s rape by Hades. We see a very similar eschatological description to Pindar’s fragment 133
on Orphic tablet 6 from Thurii:
4 ποινὰν ,ν} ἀ<ν>ταπ|έτε<ισ᾽> ἔργω<ν ἕνεκ᾽> οτι δικ|| verso α<ί>ων<
6 νῦν δὲ <ι>κ<έτις> ἥκω, | ἥκω παρὰ Φ<ερ>σεφ<όνειαν>.
7 ὥς ,λ} με <π>ρόφ<ρων> πέ*μ+ψει ,μ} ἕδρας ἐς εὐ<α>γ<έων>
Rose 1967: 85.
Edmonds 2013: 305.
27 Edmonds 2013: 307.
28 Parker 2014.
29 Schol. Vet. Pyth. 4.111 Drachmann: τίς ἔσται τῆς φωνῆς ποινὴ, τουτέστιν ἀπόλυσις· ἐπεὶ ἡ ποινὴ
ἀπολύσεως ἕνεκεν γίνεται. ‚What will be the blood-price for speaking, this is the requital, since the
blood-price comes on account of the requital.‛
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I have paid the penalty for unrighteous deeds< Now I have come beside Persephone as a suppliant in order that she may willingly send me to the seat of the
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Thurii tablet 6.4-7 (trans. Graf and Johnston 2007: 15)
The idea of paying the penalty is equated with escaping the painful cycle of incarnations on
Tablet 5 from Thurii:
5 κύκλο δ᾽εξέπταν βαρυπενθέος ἀργαλέοιο
6 ἱμερτο δ᾽ἐπέβαν στεφάνο ποσὶ καρπαλίμοισι·
7 Δεσσποίνας δὲ ὑπὸ κόλπον ἔδυν χθονίας Βασιλείας
I have flown out of the painful, grief causing circle, I have approached the long
for crown with swift feet, I have sunk beneath the breast of the Lady, the Chthonian Queen.
Thurii tablet 5.5-7 (trans. Graf and Johnston 2007: 13)
The tablets from Thurii and Pindar fragment 133 both use ποινή when speaking about the
cycle of incarnations. Pindar associates the two ideas of ποινή and πένθος in fragment 133.
In turn, I relate ποινή with πένθος on the Thuriian tablets since the idea of retribution, or
blood-payment is a result of Persephone’s grief. The epithet Δεσσποίνας on tablet 5 gives
anaphoric resonance since Persephone is the goddess who recieves the ποινή; the resonance
may suggest a folk-etymology associating Persephone with ‚requital.‛30 On tablet 5 the initiate, ‚sinks into the breast of the Chthonian queen,‛ and becomes a god instead of a mortal.
Likewise on tablet 6 we read, ‚I have come beside Persephone in order that she may willingly send me to the seats of the pure.‛ I argue the word ποινή is used by both Pindar and the
tablets as a technical term referring to the specific Orphic belief known to initiates. In Pindar
fragment 133, after souls have atoned for the ποινή of Persephone they become ἥρωες
I do not suggest a direct etymological relation between ποινή and Δεσσποίνας, since ‚δεσποινα is
from *δεσ-ποτ-νια. The first part, IE *dems (whence Gr. δεσ-, Skt. dam- ), is the genitive of a word for
‘house’‛ (Beekes 2010: 319). But the anaphoric resonance of Δεσσποίνας in conjunction with
βαρυπενθέος in Thurii tablet 5 is striking nonetheless.
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ἁγνοὶ. The association between purity and heroization is consistent with tablet 6 as Persephone sends the initiate to the seats of the pure (ἕδρας ἐς εὐ<α>γ<έων>).
Pindar’s use of ποινή extends to Olympian 2, which scholars focus on when speaking
of Pindar’s Orphica. Pindar describes a tripartite division of souls by designating separate
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destinations for the bad, the good, and the heroic souls. The destinations are separated by an
elaborate succession marked by μὲν and δὲ. The afterlife is introduced with the conjunction
ὅτι, and the first division is marked by μὲν.
εἰ δέ νιν ἔχων τις οἶδεν τὸ μέλλον,
ὅτι θανόντων μὲν ἐνθάδ' αὐτίκ' ἀπάλαμνοι φρένες
ποινὰς ἔτεισαν—τὰ δ' ἐν τᾷδε Διὸς ἀρχᾷ
ἀλιτρὰ κατὰ γᾶς δικάζει τις ἐχθρᾷ
λόγον φράσαις ἀνάγκᾳ·
If one has it and knows the future, that the helpless spirits of those who have
died on earth immediately pay the penalty—and upon sins committed here in
Zeus’ realm, a judge beneath the earth pronounces sentence with hateful necessity.
Ol. 2.56-60 (trans. Race 1997: 69)
For the category of bad souls, ‚when men have died here on earth, wicked minds immedi-
ately pay the penalty.‛ Lloyd-Jones also proposed Pindar was relating similar beliefs behind
the initiatory rites depicted on the Gold Tablets, and he first demonstrated that ποινὰς
ἔτεισαν is identical to the atonement of the ποινή accepted by Persephone in fragment 133.31
Following Lloyd-Jones, I read the eschatological scheme of Olympian 2 as an elaboration of
fragment 133, both of which correspond to the scheme depicted on the tablets. In other
words, I contend that Pindar’s usage of ποινή in Olympian 1 and fragment 133 is employed
identically as the term appears in the Orphic tablets; Pindar’s use of a marked Orphic term in
eschatological contexts affirms Pindar’s Orphic status.
Lloyd-Jones 1990: 94.
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Wilamowitz explained the corresponding μὲν and δὲ of lines 56-60 of Olympian 2 as
two separate points of view, that of the deceased and that of the judge,32 but the scholiast
Aristarchus understood these lines as an indication of the idea of rebirth.33 In turn, I read
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not as ‚here on earth‛ as suggested by Willcock34 but rather as a reference to Pindar’s
διόσδοτον ἀρχάν ‚Zeus-given beginning‛ from his fragment 137 (Race) on the Eleusinian
these lines as two corresponding and cyclical ideas—death and rebirth. I interpret Διὸς ἀρχᾷ
mysteries which expresses the soteriological dichotomy between life and death, in the same
terms as an Orphic Olbian bone tablet does in its formula: bios-thanatos-bios.35
ὄλβιος ὅστις ἰδὼν κεῖν᾽εἶσ᾽ὑπὸ χθόν᾽
οἶδε μὲν βίου τελευτάν,
οἶδε δὲ διόσδοτον ἀρχάν.
Blessed is he who sees them (the mysteries) and goes beneath the earth; he knows
the end of life and knows the Zeus-given beginning.
Pindar fr. 137 (trans. Race 1997: 371)
The contrasting μὲν and δὲ in Pindar’s fragment 137 separate the idea of βίου τελευτάν ‚the
end of life,‛ and διόσδοτον ἀρχάν, ‚the Zeus-given beginning.‛ Based on my reading of
fragment 137, I argue that in Olympian 2 we see the same elaboration of this dichotomy be-
tween death and life marked by the contrasting μὲν and δὲ: θανόντων μὲν ... τὰ δ' ἐν τᾷδε
Διὸς ἀρχᾷ. This Orphic life-death dichotomy is also evident on the Pelinna leaf:
Νῦν ἔθανες καὶ νῦν ἐγένου, τρισόλβιε ἄματι τωῖδε.
εἰπεῖν Φερσεφόν|αι σ᾽ ὅτι Β<άκ>χιος αὐτὸς ἔλυσε.
Now you have died and now you have come into being, O thrice happy one, on
this same day. Tell Persephone that the Bacchic One himself released you.
Wilamowitz 1922: 248 n.1.
See Willcock 1995: 155.
34 Willcock 1995: 155.
35 The top of tablet A (Graf and Johnston 2007: 185) reads βίος θάνατος βίος | ἀλήθεια; the bottom of
the tablet reads: Διόνυσος Ὀρφικοί (or Ὀρφικόν).
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Tablet 26a Pelinna (trans. Graf and Johnston 2007: 36-37)
The use of ποινή in addition to the Orphic formula life-death indicates Pindar’s intimate
Pindar’s second category of souls is delineated by the δὲ at line 61:
ἴσαις δὲ νύκτεσσιν αἰεί,
ἴσαις δ' ἁμέραις ἅλιον ἔχοντες, ἀπονέστερον
ἐσλοὶ δέκονται βίοτον<
But forever having sunshine in equal nights and in equal days, good men receive
a life of less toil<
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knowledge of Orphic mysteries.
Ol. 2.61-63 (trans. Race 1997: 69)
These good souls ‚receive a life free from less toil‛ (Ol. 2.62-63). The contrast with the bad
souls is implied by the force of the comparative ἀπονέστερον, but also emphasized by a
subordinated μὲν δὲ clause:
(<) ἀλλὰ παρὰ μὲν τιμίοις
θεῶν οἵτινες ἔχαιρον εὐορκίαις,
ἄδακρυν νέμονται
αἰῶνα, τοὶ δ' ἀπροσόρατον ὀκχέοντι πόνον.
No, in company with the honored gods, those who joyfully kept their oaths
spend a tearless existence, whereas the others endure pain too terrible to behold.
Ol. 2.65-67 (trans. Race 1997: 71)
The second division consisting of the good souls (marked by μὲν), ‚delighting in good oaths,
live a life free from grief among the gods who have honor‛ (Ol. 2.65-66), whereas the first
division consisting of bad souls (marked by δὲ), ‚endure toil not to be looked upon‛ (Ol.
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2.67). Pindar clearly delineates the distinction between souls in Olympian 2 as does the author
Μναμοσύνας τόδε ἔργον, ἐπεὶ ἂν μέλλεισι θανεσθαι
εἰς Ἀΐδαο δόμος εὐέρεας. ἔστ᾽ἐπὶ δ<ε>ξιὰ κρένα,
πὰρ δ᾽αὐτὰν ἑστακῦα λευκὰ κυπάρισος·
ἔνθα κατερχόμεναι ψυκαὶ νεκύον ψύχονται.
ταύτας τᾶς κράνας μεδὲ σχεδὸν ἐνγύθεν ἔλθεις.
πρόσθεν δὲ hευρέσεις τᾶς Μναμοσύνας ἀπὸ λίμνας
ψυχρὸν ὕδορ προρέον· φύλακες δὲ ἐπύπερθεν ἔασι.
τοὶ δέ σε εἰρέσονται ἐν φρασὶ πευκαλίμαισι
ὅ τι δὲ ἐξερέεις Ἄϊδος σκότος ὀρφέεντος.
εἶπον· ύὸς Γᾶς ἐμι καὶ Ὀρανο ἀστερόεντος.
δίψαι δ᾽ἐμ᾽αὖος καὶ ἀπόλλυμαι· ἀλὰ δότ᾿ ο*κα
ψυκρὸν ὕδορ πιέναι τες Μνεμοσύνες ἀπὸ λίμν*α+ς
καὶ δή τοι ἐρέοσιν hυποχθονίοι βασιλεϊ·
καὶ δέ τοθ δόσοσι πιεν τῆς Μναμοσύνας ἀπὸ λίμνα*ς+.
καὶ δὲ καὶ σὺ πιὸν ὁδὸν ἔρχεα<ι>, hάν τε καὶ ἄλλοι
μύσται καὶ βαχχοι hιερὰν στείχοσι κλεινοί.
This is the work of Memory, when you are about to die down to the well-built
house of Hades. There is a spring at the right side, and standing by it a white
cypress. Descending to it, the souls of the dead refresh themselves. Do not even
go near this spring! Ahead you will find from the Lake of Memory, cold water
pouring forth; there are guards before it. They will ask you, with astute wisdom,
what you are seeking in the darkness of murky Hades. Say, ‘I am a son of Earth
and starry Sky, I am parched with thirst and am dying; but quickly grant me
cold water from the Lake of Memory to drink.’ And they will announce you to
the Chthonian King, and they will grant you to drink from the Lake of Memory.
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of the Hipponion tablet:
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And you, too, having drunk, will go along the sacred road on which other glorious initiates and bacchoi travel.
On the Orphic tablet, ‚there is a spring on the right, and standing by it a white cy-
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Tablet 1 Hipponion (trans. Graf and Johnston 2007: 4)
press‛ (1.2-3). The tablet firmly commands not to approach this direction, the first division of
souls. On the other side is the lake of Memory, which delineates the second division of souls
(1.6-7). These good souls may only drink and become immortalized if they know the correct
password. Graf and Johnston argue that initiation specifically separated the good from the
heroic souls (their good-plus).36 Knowing the password elevates the initiate from a good to a
heroic soul. The initiated soul must proclaim, ‚I am a child of earth and starry heaven, grant
me to drink from the lake of Memory‛ (1.10), then the soul passes down the sacred road with
the other initiates. The initiate is distinguished by his memory of knowledge obtained
through initiation, and the tablet thereby functions as his mnemonic for achieving immortality. Pindar equates these privileged souls with heroes both in Olympian 2 and fragment 133.
Pindar’s heroes attain a blessed immortality after completing the cycle of rebirths—a distinctly Orphic idea:
ὅσοι δ' ἐτόλμασαν ἐστρίς
ἑκατέρωθι μείναντες ἀπὸ πάμπαν ἀδίκων ἔχειν
ψυχάν, ἔτειλαν Διὸς ὁδὸν παρὰ Κρόνου τύρσιν·
ἔνθα μακάρων νᾶσον ὠκεανίδες
αὖραι περιπνέοισιν· ἄνθεμα δὲ χρυσοῦ φλέγει,
ὅρμοισι τῶν χέρας ἀναπλέκοντι καὶ στεφάνους
But those with the courage to have lived three times in either realm, while keeping their souls free from all unjust deeds, travel the road of Zeus to the tower of
Kronos, where ocean breezes blow round the Isle of the Blessed, and flowers of
Graf and Johnston 2007: 101.
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gold are ablaze, some from radiant trees on land, while the water nurtures others; with these they weave garlands for their hands and crowns for their heads.
Ol. 2.68-74 (trans. Race 1997: 71)
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Pindar’s heroic souls such as Peleus, Cadmus, and Achilles, after they have kept their soul
pure during the tripartite cycle of incarnations, dwell in a blessed afterlife. Likewise, on the
Petelia tablet after a soul pays the penalty: καὶ τότ᾽ἔπειτ᾽ἄ(λλοισι μεθ᾽) ἡρώεσσιν
ἀνάξει(ς), ‚you will rule among the other heroes‛ (2.11, Graf and Johnston 2007: 7). Scholars
have pointed out the similarity between Pindar’s Διὸς ὁδὸν (Ol. 2.70) and the Hipponion
tablet’s sacred road (1.15). In addition, I argue Pindar’s tripartite formula ἐστρίς (Ol. 2.68)
corresponds to a makarismos formula, which grants heroization, such as on the Pelinna leaf
(tablet 26a), which describes an initiate as τρισόλβιε ‚thrice-blessed.‛37 And on the Pherae
leaf the initiate gives the tripartite password: ἀνδρικεπαιδόθυρσον, after which he becomes
ἄποινος, ‚redeemed.‛38 Succesfully paying the ποινή of the Titanic crime results in the initiate becoming ἄποινος or free from the guilt and punishment of the Titanic crime and there-
fore, I argue, heroized or immortal. The alpha-privative articulates this distinction of the initiated soul over other souls.
Olympian 2 (line 74) and Thurii tablet 5 (line 6) both associate immortality with the
stephanos ‚victory crown.‛ The initiate who escaped the cycle of incarnation was equated to a
victorious and heroic athlete:
5 κύκλο δ᾽εξέπταν βαρυπενθέος ἀργαλέοιο
6 ἱμερτο δ᾽ἐπέβαν στεφάνο ποσὶ καρπαλίμοισι·
7 Δεσσποίνας δὲ ὑπὸ κόλπον ἔδυν χθονίας Βασιλείας.
On Pelinna 26a, see Graf and Johnston 2007: 36-37 and my discussion above.
Pherae leaf: Σύμβολα· Ἀν<δ>ρικε- | παιδόθυρσον, ἀνδρικεπαι- | δόθυρσον· Βριμώ, Βριμώ.
εἴσιθ<ι> | ἱερὸν λειμῶνα· ἄποινος | γὰρ ὁ μύστης. | ΓΑΠΕΔΟΝ. ‚Passwords: Man-and-childthyrsus. Man-and-child-thyrsus. Brimo, Brimo. Enter the holy meadow, for the initiate is redeemed.
GAPEDON (apparently a nonsense word, written upside down)‛ (27 Graf and Johnston 2007: 39). I
follow the reading of Graf and Johnston: ‚The word that I have translated above as ‚redeemed,‛
apoinos, is cognate with the one that I have translated elsewhere as ‚retribution,‛ poinē‛ (2007: 207).
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I have flown out of the heavy, difficult circle, I have approached the longed for
crown with swift feet, I have sunk beneath the breast of the Lady, the Chthonian
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Thurii tablet 5.5-7 (trans. Graf and Johnston 2007: 13)
Tablet 5 equates achieving immortality with winning a prize in a footrace. The stephanos had
ritualistic implications in Mystery cults since initiates were crowned like athletes.39 Likewise,
in the epilogue of Isthmian 6, Pindar imparts immortality to the crowned hero:
φαίης κέ νιν ἄνδρ' ἐν ἀεθληταῖσιν ἔμμεν<
πίσω σφε Δίρκας ἁγνὸν ὕδωρ, τὸ βαθύζωνοι κόραι
χρυσοπέπλου Μναμοσύνας ἀνέτειλαν παρ' εὐτειχέσιν Κάδμου πύλαις.
Among athletes… I shall offer them a drink of Dirce’s sacred water, which the
deep-bosomed daughters of golden-robed Mnemosyne made to surge by the
well-walled gates of Cadmus.
Isthm. 6.72-75 (trans. Race 1997: 193)
The Petelia tablet also imparts immortality to the crowned-initiate through Memory:
9 ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ προρέον τῆς Μνημοσύνης ἀπὸ λίμνης<
11 καὶ τότ᾽ἔπειτ᾽ἄ(λλοισι μεθ᾽) ἡρώεσσιν ἀνάξει(ς).
12 (Μνημοσύ)νης τόδ<ε> ἔ*ργον
Grant me cold water flowing from the Lake of Memory…
And thereafter you will rule among the other heroes.
This is the work of Memory.
Petelia tablet 2.9-12 (trans. Graf and Johnston 2007: 7)
See Euripides Bacchae 81; Plato Republic 363cd; Bernabé and Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008: 123-124;
and, in general, Blech 1982.
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Obbink (2011) maintained Pindar was disseminating some of the sacred Orphic doctrine in
Isthmian 6 as he does in Olympian 2, and, following Faraone (2002), Obbink argued, ‚Pindar
is alluding to the same myth and performative pattern found in the gold leaves.‛40 Perhaps it
is only coincidence that Pindar’s heroic souls use golden leaves to weave crowns in the after-
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life, but the significance of Memory imparting and the use of ποινή are unique conjunctions
between Orphic eschatology and Pindar’s poetry, which suggest that Pindar performed a
greater role in the development of the Orphic movement. As Currie recently argued, ‚Doc-
trines of rebirth and the immortality of the soul should be regarded as a development of the
general picture, not a wild deviation from it.‛41 I have argued Pindar was an Orphic initiate,
who used his platform as an epinician poet in order to disseminate the new ideas of Orphic
personal salvation on a Pan-Hellenic scale. Pindar’s wide assimilation of Orphic eschatology
implies Pindar’s choice of themes and vocabulary was a deliberate integration and assimilation of Orphic beliefs within epinician poetry.
Beekes, Robert S. Etymological Dictionary of Greek. Leiden/Boston: Brill. 2010. The Leiden
Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series 10. Print.
Bernabé, Alberto. ‚La toile de Pénélope: a-t-il existé un mythe orphique sur Dionysos
et les Titans?‛ Revue de l’histoire des religions 219: 401-433. 2002. Print.
Bernabé, Alberto, ed. Poetae epici Graeci: testimonia et fragmenta. Pars II. Orphicorum et
Orphicis similium testimonia et fragmenta. Fasciculus I. Leipzig: K.G. Bibliotheca Teubneriana.
2004. Print.
Bernabé, Alberto, ed. Poetae epici Graeci: testimonia et fragmenta. Pars II. Orphicorum et
Orphicis similium testimonia et fragmenta. Fasciculus II. Leipzig: K.G. Bibliotheca Teubneriana.
2005. Print.
Bernabé, Alberto. ‚Píndaro y el orfismo.‛ In Bernabé and Casadesús (eds.), Orfeo y la
tradición órfica: un reencuentro, Madrid 2008: 1161-1184. Print.
Obbink 2011: 308.
Currie 2005: 40.
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Bernabé, Alberto. and A. Jiménez San Cristóbal. Instructions for the Netherworld: The Orphic Gold Tablets. Trans. Michael Chase. Leiden: Brill. 2008. RGRW 162. Print.
Blech, Michael. Studien zum Kranz bei den Griechen. Religions-geschichtliche Versuche
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und Vorarbeiten, 38. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 1982. Print.
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University of Bristol. London/New York: Routledge. 2002. Print.
Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical. Trans. John Raffan. Oxford:
Blackwell. 1985. Print.
Currie, Bruno. Pindar and the Cult of Heroes. New York: Oxford UP. 2005. Oxford Classi-
cal Monographs. Print.
Dodds, Eric. R. The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley/Los Angeles: U of California P.
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Edmonds III, Radcliffe. Redefining Ancient Orphism: A Study in Greek Religion. Cam-
bridge and New York: Cambridge UP. 2013. Print.
Faraone, Christopher. A. ‚A Drink from the Daughters of Mnemosyne: Poetry, Escha-
tology, and Memory at the End of Pindar’s ‘Isthmian’ 6.‛ in J. F. Miller, C. Damon, K. S. Myers, eds., ‘Vertis in usum’: Studies in Honor of Edward Courtney. Munich/Leipzig: Saur. 2002.
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Graf, Fritz. and Sarah. I. Johnston. Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic
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Guthrie, William. K. C. Orpheus and Greek Religion: A Study of the Orphic Movement.
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Linforth, Ivan. M. The Arts of Orpheus. Berkeley/Los Angeles: U of California P. 1941.
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Lloyd-Jones, Hugh. ‚Pindar and the Afterlife.‛ In Hugh Lloyd-Jones, ed., Greek Epic,
Lyric and Tragedy: The Academic Papers of Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones. Oxford: Clarendon. 1990. 80109. Print.
Obbink, Dirk. ‚Poetry and Performance in the Orphic Gold Leaves.‛ In R. G. Edmonds
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III, ed., The ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets and Greek Religion: Further Along the Path. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2011. 291-309. Print
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Race, William. H., ed. and trans. Pindar: Odes and Fragments. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard UP. Loeb. 1997. Print.
Riedweg, Christoph. ‚Initiation – Death – Underworld: Narrative and Ritual in the
Gold Leaves.‛ In R. G. Edmonds III, ed., The ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets and Greek Religion: Further
Along the Path. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2011. 219-56. Print.
Rohde, Erwin. Psyche: The Cult of Souls and the Belief in Immortality Among the Greeks. 8th
ed. W. B. Hollis, trans. London: Routledge & Keegan Paul. 1925. (Original publication, 1894.)
Rose, Herbert. J. ‚The Ancient Grief: A Study of Pindar, Fragment 133 (Bergk), 127
(Bowra)‛ in Bailey et. al. 1967. Greek Poetry and Life. Oxford: Clarendon. Print.
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Pindar’s references to the soul have long intrigued scholars studying the Orphic
movement. The fragments of Pindar’s Threnoi attest to specific knowledge of Orphic doctrine
concerning the divinity and immortality of the soul (e.g. Thren. 7 Race), while his Odes
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demonstrate familiarity with Orphic beliefs (Lloyd-Jones 101). In Olympian 2 and the Threnoi,
Pindar describes a marked division of souls by designating separate destinations for the bad,
the good, and the heroic souls. This tripartite division is also depicted in the so-called Orphic
Gold Tablets, whose descriptions were possibly based on an archetypal Katabasis poem
known to Orphic initiates (West 12; Riedweg 247). Nemean 6 suggests Pindar embraced the
distinctive Orphic belief about a common origin for gods and men, while Isthmian 6 and the
Gold Tablets both depict the waters of Mnemosyne as imparting a form of immortality upon
the crowned hero-initiate (Obbink 308). Furthermore, the ‚secret‛ doctrinal Orphic myth of
Zagreus, where the Titans kill Dionysus (Burkert 298), appears to be familiar to Pindar in
fragment 133 Race (Bernabé and Jimenéz San Cristóbal 106); even the skeptic Linforth confesses that the Zagreus story was known to the ancients (350), and West points out (110 n. 82)
that Pindar imbues the god Chronos "Time" with Orphic cosmological resonance when he
calls him "the father of all" (Olym. 2.17).
This paper hypothesize that Pindar was an Orphic initiate, and therefore had access to
Orphic arcana such as the ‚Protogonos Theogony‛ postulated by West (260) and even the
Orphic Katabasis poem. As an initiate, Pindar was privy to Orphic arcana such as the myth of
Zagreus. Moreover, Pindar intentionally used Olympian 2 as a poetic platform to bridge traditional Homeric religion with the emerging Orphic mysticism, so that, as Rohde suggests,
Pindar’s ‚views of the nature, origin, and destiny of the soul seem to be combined in his
mind with equal claim to authority‛ (414). Accordingly, I interpret Olympian 2 as an Orphic
triumph that elevates the Homeric heroes to Orphic souls by re-mythologizing the Isles of
the Blessed into a common meeting place for both Orphic and Homeric souls. My exegesis
will assemble Pindar’s fragments concerning transmigration and the immortality of the soul
(fr. 133, 137 Race), as well as the Odes which allude to Orphic beliefs (Olym. 2, 6; Nem. 6; Isth.
6), and compare them with the Orphic Gold Tablets to argue that Pindar was working in a
similar literary tradition as the composers of the Tablets and thus likely to have been an initiate. I will demonstrate that Pindar was not only composing Orphic-themed poetry for a spe-
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cific audience, as was argued by Guthrie (236), but was disseminating Orphic arcana in the
veiled tradition of the Mysteries more broadly, as the fact that his references to Orphic beliefs
are widespread throughout his poetry (and not merely in his odes for Theron) suggests. I
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mouth shut.
KEYWORDS: Orphism; Pindar; Eschatology; Gold Tablets; ποινή
conclude that the celebrated poet Pindar was a μύστης who had a hard time keeping his
Dannu J. Hütwohl earned his B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of New Mexico
in 2012 and is now completing his Master’s thesis titled ‚Plato’s Orpheus: The Philosophical
Appropriation of Orphic Formulae‛ in fulfillment of the M.A. in Comparative Literature and
Cultural Studies at the University of New Mexico; will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in Classics at
The Ohio State University in fall 2016.
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Allocriticism and Autocriticism
in the Views of Xenophanes of Colophon
(University of Silesia in Katowice)
Skepticism in its zetetic dimension is an expression of broadly-understood criticism
taken as an anti-dogmatic position. However, in passages of Xenophanes' works both
skeptical and negative dogmatic elements can be found.1 It seems that the Colophonian does
not adequately differentiate between these two positions; rather, he adheres to a view which
may be called skeptical negative dogmatism, in accordance with which one continually
searches for truth while simultaneously upholding that truth cannot be found. Despite this,
he is rightly considered a critical thinker in the broadest sense of the word. Since he does not
precisely distinguish between skepticism and negative dogmatism, however, his criticism as
anti-dogmatism refers solely to positive dogmatism.2 Thus, Xenophanes criticizes all claims
Skepticism – from the perspective of Sextus' typology (Pyr., I, 1-4) - assumes investigation, a constant
search for truth, with the simultaneous awareness that it has not yet been cognized; thus, the skeptic is
forced to refrain from final, decisive judgments and cannot dogmatically determine whether the truth
will be reached, or not. Thus, when Xenophanes writes in fragment D-K B 34 that is no one and will
never be anyone who will possess knowledge of the gods and of the things, of which he speaks, this
statement must be classified not as skepticism, but as negative dogmatism. On the other, however, in
other passages (especially D-K B 18) Xenophanes presents a skeptical view that does not lead into
negative dogmatism. To clarify these positions, we can say that negative dogmatism declares that
truth cannot be found, whereas skepticism is a negation of dogmatism in general, including both
positive and negative dogmatism. A skeptic declares that he can neither state that truth can be found,
nor that it cannot be found. For more on this subject, see: Woleński 1992: 18-19. Here, I would like to
stipulate that I am only referring to Sextus' typology as a certain general model for distinguishing
three basic philosophical standpoints (positive dogmatism, negative dogmatism, skepticism) to help
recognize them in the context of the views of Xenophanes. At the same time, I am aware that I am
using a historically-later typology to analyze Xenophanes' thought - a typology burdened with many
long, philosophical discussions. Except where noted contrary, the Greek text of the fragments is taken
from Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. Griechisch und Deutch von H. Diels, herausgeg. von W. Kranz,
Bd. 1 – 3, Zürich 1985. Hereafter cited as D-K.
It is worth noting that Xenophanes is autocritical, but not completely autocritical, because there are a
few things of which he is quite certain. Such testimonies can be found in the texts of ancient authors.
Galen (Hist. phil. 7, D-K 21A35) writes: "Xenophanes was in doubt about everything, being certain only
that everything was one, and this was a god who was limited, rational, changeless." Graham’s (2010:
127) translation. Sextus Empiricus, in turn, in Pyr. (I, 224, cf Diog. IX, 18) describes Xenophanes of
Colophon as hupatuphos, which means that he was a skeptic who did not entirely free himself of
dogmatic assertions. Among these assertions are the passages regarding the deity, which constitute an
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to positive and final truth, seemingly not noticing that his own fragment B 34 (excluding the
last sentence) also expresses a definitive and final thesis, according to which objective
knowledge is unattainable (at least such that is ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω (scil.
Xenophanes) περὶ πάντων), just like the hypothetical metaobjective knowledge that one has
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spoken the truth is unattainable. In this context, another question appears as to whether he
considered the negative dogmatism he professed to be universal, or whether it allowed for
exceptions. In other words, the question arises if the statement that no man possesses clear
and distinct knowledge refers to all human beings, including Xenophanes, or whether he
considered himself an exception to this rule. Is it the case that no one possesses knowledge,
and neither does Xenophanes, or rather that no one possesses knowledge, but he himself
constitutes an epistemic exception? In the context of the entirety of fragment B 34, this
problem boils down to a dichotomy: either Xenophanes, like others, does not possess and
cannot possess knowledge, thus making him one of those, who make do only with belief and
opinion (δόκοι), or Xenophanes does possess knowledge in contrast to the rest of mankind,
which can only hold opinions. This issue can be understood as the wise man - masses
relationship, though it seems that this is a problem concerning reflection on criticism as such,
namely, the problem of allocriticism and autocriticism.
Generally speaking, critique is a cognitive action that accompanies scientific, practical
(for example, ethical), and creative cognition. Both actions and their products may be the
objects of critique. In the case analyzed here, we are taking into account scientific cognition,
expression of a positive theology, as well as the monistic theses (everything is one) ascribed to this
thinker. For many commentators, Xenophanes’ skepticism is in conflict with his positive theology and
ontology. Sextus Empiricus treats Xenophanes as hupatuphos that is, as someone who is partly free
from tuphos, and so has not yet freed himself completely of the arrogance of (positive) dogmatic
statements. Thus, we can accept the interpretation that Xenophanes is not completely autocritical
(because he is quite certain of a few things), on the basis of the opinions of Galen and Sextus. In my
opinion, another interpretation is also permissible, which alleviates Xenophanes’ alleged positive
dogmatism. Xenophanes’ supposed monism may result from attempts at systematizing the
philosophic tradition by later commentators (especially by Plato and Aristotle). On the other hand,
Xenophanes’ alleged new positive theology can be treated as a way of expressing opposition to
traditional conceptions of the gods; in this interpretation, the aim of Xenophanes’ comments about
God would be to emphasize the epistemological presuppositions of all conceptions concerning notions
of the gods. In the light of these assumptions, we can say that Xenophanes’ certainty is not absolute
and final. We cannot, therefore, exclude the possibility that Xenophanes is aware of the fact that all
human convictions are only opinions (B 34, 4), including his own. This issue, as well as the problem of
negative dogmatism’s universality and scope, is the subject of analysis in this article.
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and at the objective level, the possibility of possessing knowledge. Autocriticism takes as its
object the cognitive actions and cognitive products (statements) of the author, which
allocriticism concerns these actions and products in relation to everyone but the author of the
critique. On the basis of extant fragments of Xenophanes' texts, we must consider whether he
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was an allocritical or autocritical thinker in regards to the question of the possession of
certain knowledge. In other words, did he think that no one except he himself could possess
knowledge (epistemological allocriticism in its modal version), or did he presume that he
also could not attain knowledge (epistemological autocriticism in the modal version)? The
sum of both of these positions would be the conviction that no one could ever attain such
The thesis that Xenophanes was an allocritical thinker is not controversial (his criticism
was aimed at other thinkers); the question disputed is whether or not he was also
autocritical. If we take the object of critique to be the possibility of possessing knowledge,
then the effect of allocritique would be the assertion that no one, excluding the critiquing
subject, can either now, or in the future, possess certain knowledge; the effect of
autocriticism, on the other hand, would be the assertion that the critiquing subject cannot
possess such knowledge. Full criticism, as the enjoinment of allocriticism and autocriticism,
would in this case boil down to the assertion that no one can possess such knowledge. Such
criticism in reference to the possibility of knowledge would be co-extensive with the position
of negative dogmatism (such a position may be called general negative dogmatism, GND).3
Two things must be added here:
(1) We are only speaking here of the possibility of clear and certain knowledge
(τὸ σαφές - B 34, 1), not of doxal knowledge laying claim to final certainty, for example
(B 34, 4; B 18; B 35);
(2) Criticism is understood here as an evaluation of the possibility of accepting
and justifying a given statement.
It should be noted here that GND, in contrast to skepticism, is vulnerable to the accusations of selfrefutation and inconsistence.
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In reference to Xenophanes' philosophy, we must then ask whether he professed GND,
or whether he remained on an allocritical position excluding autocriticism. Did Xenophanes,
in proclaiming that there neither was, nor will be anyone who would possess the clear and
distinct truth, include himself in the range in which this thesis is binding, or did he exclude
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himself? It is worth noting here that this problem refers to a more narrow understanding of
criticism than the broadest sense of the term, signifying the ability to divide and distinguish.4
It seems that the issue of including or excluding oneself from the general mass of the opining
is based on elementary distinction of oneself from others. Of course, we can accept that in
professing GND one need not be conscious of this division, but the passages of Xenophanes
containing the critique of various other viewpoints (eg. anthropomorphism, potential
zoomorphism, metempsychosis) seem to undermine this thought. Thus, we must consider
which thesis the testimonies concerning Xenophanes make more probable: that he was both
autocritical and allocritical, or that he was only allocritical.5
The above statements and typology of criticism require clarification in light of
fragment D-K B 34.
καὶ τὸ μὲν οὖν σαφὲς οὔτις ἀνὴρ ἴδεν οὐδέ τις ἔσται
εἰδὼς ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω περὶ πάντων·
εἰ γὰρ καὶ τὰ μάλιστα τύχοι τετελεσμένον εἰπών,
αὐτὸς ὅμως οὐκ οἶδε· δόκος δ' ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται·
Firstly, the word τὸ σαφές (B 34, 1) means certain and clear truth, which no one has
perceived or will know. Secondly, this truth (knowledge) is further described in B 34, 2,
which states ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω (scil. Xenophanes) περὶ πάντων. Thirdly,
Criticism refers back to the terms: krino (to separate, distinguish, judge, evaluate, explain, investigate,
among others) and kritikos (critical, able to distinguish, deciding, among others).
Theoretically, it is also possible to hold that aside from the position that upholds the knowing opining distinction and the one that assumes that everyone is condemned to opinion, a third position
exists asserting that everyone in some sense knows. Such an option would be difficult to uphold,
though it is true that the relativist views of the sophists, which Plato so passionately fought in the
Sophist, revealing the possibility and form of falsehood, leaned in that direction.
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Xenophanes asserts that no one has perceived this truth in the past, and that there will
likewise be no one in the future, who will possess knowledge about it. Thus, the allocritical
position in regards to this issue states that Xenophanes asserted that there would no one but
he himself either in the past or future who would possess σαφές (certain and clear truth)
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ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω *scil. Xenophanes+ περὶ πάντων; on the other hand, the
autocritical position holds that Xenophanes asserts that he himself did not and will not
possess σαφές (certain and clear truth) ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω (scil. Xenophanes)
περὶ πάντων. Full criticism, as the combination of autocriticism and allocriticism, in regards
to this issue holds that Xenophanes asserts that there was not, nor will there be anyone, who
would possess σαφές (certain and clear truth) ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω (scil.
Xenophanes) περὶ πάντων.
In Sextus' comments on fragment B 34, we can find it mentioned that Xenophanes
understood mankind as γένος, using as a designation for this the name ἀνήρ6 This would
signify that he counts himself among those, who did not have and will not have the
indicated objective knowledge. In light of Sextus' interpretation, Xenophanes professed full
criticism, i.e. both allo- and autocriticism. The same interpretation is held by Varro and Arius
Didymus, who oppose human opinion and divine knowledge. The former writes: ‚ὡς ἄρα
θεὸς μὲν οἷδε τὴν ἀλήθειαν, ‘δόκος δ' ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται’,‛7 while the latter notes: "Quid
putem, non quid contendam ponam, hominis enim est, haec opinari, Dei scire.‛8 Many
contemporary scholars, though differing in their detailed interpretations of the writings of
the thinker from Colophon, also hold this view proclaiming that Xenophanes counted
himself among those condemned to opinion, or at least that he did not consider himself
epistemically singled-out. H. Fränkel treats Xenophanes not as a skeptic (more precisely: as a
negative dogmatic), but as an empiricist. In fragment B 34 he states that knowledge about a
supraempirical reality is uncertain, contrary to empirical knowledge.9 Guthrie comments in a
„*...+ ἄνδρα δὲ τὸν ἄνθρωπον, τῷ εἰδικῷ καταχρώμενος ἀντὶ τοῦ γένους· εἶδος γὰρ ἀνθρώπου
καθέστηκεν ὁ ἀνήρ.‛ Sext. Emp., Adv. Math., VII, 50.
Arius Didymus ap. Stob. Ecl. II, 1, 17 (D-K 21 A 24).
Varro ap. Augustinus, De civ. dei, VII, 17.
Fränkel 1925.
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similar spirit, advocating a combination of allocriticism and autocriticism,10 as do Heitsch,11
Lesher,12 Philippoussis,13 and Marcinkowska,14 among others. Though Kirk and Raven do in
fact indicate the essential issue of the cognitive limitations of man discussed by Xenophanes,
as well as the fact that he indicated the contrast between gods and men (especially in
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fragment B 38, or in Kirk&Raven fr. 192), they vaguely suggest that Xenophanes, "like
Heraclitus, felt himself to be in special state of knowledge for this reason.‛15
On the other hand, some scholars are convinced that Xenophanes' criticism refers only
to the thought of others, and that he believed himself to be epistemically privileged, meaning
that he thought only he possessed knowledge. In light of this assumption, Xenophanes
would be only allocritical, not autocritical. For B. Snell "it is evident that Xenophanes himself
trusts to soar above the usual false assumptions of men.‛16 However, this scholar draws
attention to the fact that it is not certain how man could participate in divine knowledge,
which could indicate either that the thinker from Colophon simply did not write about this,
or that his writings on this subject have not survived. O. Gigon17 comments in a similar tone,
He writes: "His observations of the widely differing beliefs of mankind had led Xenophanes to the
conclusion that none of them could be right. In their place he puts forward what he personally feels is
the truth, yet in all modesty and honesty he must confess that as all men are fallible, so may he be.‛
Guthrie 1962: 396. Commenting on the interpretation assuming the existence of two different objects
of cognition in Xenophanes, he adds: "(...) we cannot affirm that Xenophanes posited two realms of
existence, of one of which men could have certain knowledge, and of the other only opinion. He said
that men could have no certain knowledge at all: that was reserved for God.‛ Guthrie 1962: 398.
Heitsch 1966: 193-235.
Lesher 1978: 1-21.
"It is of fundamental importance also to notice here that Xenophanes includes himself in (rather
then, as it is argued, excludes from) the οὔτις ἀνήρ and, consequently, his dokos.‛ Philippoussis 1989:
This author notes that "absolutely nothing in the fragments of Xenophanes indicates that he
considers himself inspired or in any way cognitively privileged. Thus, it remains for us to
acknowledge that the pessimistic statement contained in fr. 34 concerns the views of other
philosophers and Xenophanes' own to an equal degree.‛ Marcinkowska 2004: 12, trans. L. Fretschel.
Kirk, Raven 1964: 180.
Snell 1960: 143.
Gigon 1968: 178.
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which may indicate - in his opinion - the existence of a parallel between the views of
Xenophanes and Heraclitus regarding the opposition of the wise man to the masses. J. GajdaKrynicka openly indicates such a similarity.18 F. M. Cleve, on the other hand, excludes the
possibility of autocriticism in Xenophanes' views, owing to the fact that he treats this thinker
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as a prophet. This scholar asserts that "his doctrine is indeed not substantiated by any
philosophical arguments. It is preached with the authoritativeness of a prophet.‛19 As "the
devout herald of the Heis Megistos,‛ Xenophanes cannot be viewed as the father of
skepticism not only in the modern understanding, but also in the ancient understanding.20 A
detailed critique of the position asserting epistemological autocriticism on the part of
Xenophanes can be found in the work of S. Yonezawa. This scholar accurately recognizes
that essential problem, which I presented in the form of the dichotomy between the
combination of allocriticism and autocriticism on the one hand, and only allocriticism on the
other. Yonezawa, whose arguments will, to a large degree, constitute the basis for my
polemic, is against the interpretation asserting Xenophanes' autocriticism. He state that "it is
unthinkable that Xenophanes was a sceptic and that he included himself in ‘man’ of fr. 34
who he denied having ‘certain truth.’‛21
It is worth examining the extant fragments of Xenophanes from the perspective of the
two mentioned forms of criticism. The comments of Sextus, Varro, and Arius Didymus to
fragmentu B 34 cited above unambiguously suggest that Xenophanes stood on the position
of full criticism, counting himself among those bound to opinion, as he speaks there about
people as such, contrasted with the gods as the latter possess knowledge. Thus, in this
J. Gajda-Krynicka writes: "Only he knows the truth! What distinguishes Xenophanes from ignorant
masses, or rather 'opining' masses, is his wisdom – sofie. For the first time in the history of
philosophical thought we come in contact with the significant opposition of the 'wise man' and the
masses; we find the same opposition in Heraclitus.‛ Gajda-Krynicka 2007: 119-120, trans. L. Fretschel.
Cleve 1965: 27.
Cleve 1965: 28. It is worth noting here that according to Cleve – in contrast to other advocates of the
anti-autocritical interpretation - there is a difference between Xenophanes and Heraclitus, which this
scholar views in the psychological dimension. He writes: "Accordingly, the mood and hue of his
‘religion’ is rather contemplative, rather theorogon then pathogon. This lack in emotional appeal, this
failure to bestow meaning on the sufferings from destiny, makes for one of the main differences
between Xenophanes and that other religious reformer, the Ephesian Heraclitus.‛ Cleve 1965: 30.
Yonezawa 1989: 438.
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passage we can oppose: μέν from verse 1 - δ' from verse 4, and σαφές from verse 1 - δόκος
from verse 4.22
There can be no doubt that Xenophanes is an allocritical thinker. He critiques Homer
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and Hesiod (B 10, B 11, B 12)23 for their notions of the gods, and thus all those, who
unreflectively cite these testimonies. Aside from these two examples, further objects of
critique seem to be Simonides (B 21), Epimenides (B 20), Pythagoras (B 7), Lasos of Hermione
(A 16), and the inhabitants of Colophon.24 In the objective layer, the following become objects
of direct or indirect critique: arrogance (B 1), customs at feasts (B 1, B 5), the contents of
speeches lacking in arete and benefits (B 1), a lack of piety (B 1), people's excessive respect
and profits for Olympic champions (B 2), the erroneous discernment of the hierarchy of
values (B 2), a lack of teleological reflection on the good of the polis (B 2), useless pleasures (B
3), the concept of metempsychosis (B 7), anthropomorphism (B 11, B 12, B 14, B 16), potential
zoomorphism (B 15), superstition of bacchanals (B17), meteorological superstitions (B 32), the
Yonezawa also mentions the antithesis: nobody (οὔτις ἀνήρ) – everybody (πάντες). Yonezawa 1989:
433. In footnote 15, he states that he takes "πᾶσι as masculine with Burnet.‛ Yonezawa translates the
last sentence of fr. B 34: "all men have their opinion (δόκος) about them.‛ Yonezawa 1989: 434. It
seems, however, that Xenophanes is would rather say that δόκος is allotted to all (Lesher's proposal),
not that all men have their opinion about them. In my opinion, Xenophanes above all wants to
emphasize the objective universality of opinion (I understand the πᾶσι as a neuter), not simply the
subjective universality. Of course, the latter proposal cannot be rejected, but it suggests that everyone
has his opinions, i.e. that everyone chooses some solution to these problems. Rather, we should say
that this fragment states that those, who speak about all these things are condemned to opinion, as
there is no one would possesses the certain and clear truth ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω (scil.
Xenophanes) περὶ πάντων.
It is worth noting here that Xenophanes' critique in reference to Hesiod does not extend to all of his
views, only to those connected with notions of the gods described in the image of humans in his
Theogony. In my opinion, the critique does not encompass Hesiod's moral recommendations
formulated in the Opera et dies. Moreover, we can even go so far as to show the essential similarities
between Hesiod's ideas in that work and those of Xenophanes. Hesiod believes in a rigorous
relationship between work and justice, which allows man to obtain the necessary humility before the
gods (law) and nature, as well as rid themselves of arrogance and greed. Xenophanes, on the other
hand, seems to negate the arrogance of reason laying claim to certain knowledge. It is only thanks to
humility, expressed in the critical (zetetic) approach, that it is possible to find what is better, and free
oneself from unreflectively accepted tradition. Thus, both believe in self-perfection and in the "better":
Hesiod – through work and toil, Xenophanes – through a philosophical search and investigation. See:
Kubok 2014.
See: Marcovich 1978: 1.
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demand for a oath made on a pious person by an impious one (A 14)25. Of course, this list
does not take into account fr. B 34, which seems to be the most general and disputable. In the
subjective layer, the controversy is connected with the person of Xenophanes himself,
whereas in the objective layer it concerns the possibility of knowledge. It is worth noting a
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fragment omitted by opponents of the autocritical reading, though it is often used in
biographical descriptions. In fragment B 8, Xenophanes states that for 67 years he has
wandered on Hellenic soil, to which 25 more years must be added from the moment of his
birth. A summary of these biographical comments is the statement: " εἴπερ ἐγὼ περὶ τῶν δ'
οἶδα λέγειν ἐτύμως‛ ("if I know how to speak truly concerning these things‛).26 It is clear
that this passage should not be read literally as an expression of philosophical negative
dogmatism,27 though it is worth noting Xenophanes' well-founded restraint even in regards
to such facts as his age.
Sextus Empiricus, in commenting on fragment B 34 of Xenophanes, gives two
divergent interpretations. According to the first, Xenophanes was to profess that nothing is
cognizable (πάντα ἀκατάληπτα),28 thus rejecting all possible criteria of truth.29 According to
the second, the thinker from Colophon did not proclaim universal acatalepsy, but rather
permits δόκος as a criterion.30 This passage can also be looked at from the perspective of its
argumentational structure. Verses 1-2 contain a general thesis, while verses 3-4 are its
justification. The generality of this thesis seems to suggest that it is binding for everyone
See Yonezawa's own list: 1989: 434-435.
Lesher's translation.
Lesher accurately comments on this fragment, though he uses the term skepticism instead of
negative dogmatism, which may suggest that for Xenophanes, the question of his age was the object of
constant investigation, which there is no mention of in the texts. He writes: "Xenophanes’ expression
of some uncertainty in this connection provides some reason to think that (at least in this late period of
his life) his ‘scepticism’ was the usual ‘retail’ sort rather then the ‘wholesale’ or ‘philosophical
scepticism’ often found in fragment 34 *...+‛. Lesher 1992: 71.
‚Ξενοφάνης μὲν κατά τινας εἰπὼν πάντα ἀκατάληπτα‛. Sext. Emp., Adv. Math., VII, 49.
„ Οὗτος μὲν δὴ οὔ φησιν εἶναι κριτήριον ἀληθείας διὰ τὸ μηδὲν εἶναι καταληπτὸν ἐν τῇ φύσει
τῶν ζητουμένων‛ Sext. Emp., Adv. Math., VII, 52.
„φαίνεται μὴ πᾶσαν κατάληψιν ἀναιρεῖν ἀλλὰ τὴν ἐπιστημονικὴν καὶ ἀδιάπτωτον, ἀπολείπειν
δὲ τὴν δοξαστήν· τοῦτο γὰρ ἐμφαίνει τὸ ‘δόκος δ' ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται’.‛ Sext. Emp., Adv. Math., VII,
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regardless of time, i.e. it refers both to the past and future. Of course, due to the general
nature of this thesis, the interpretation according to which it also encompasses Xenophanes is
more justified. Verses 1-2 of fragment B 34 do not make any mention of excluding
Xenophanes from this general statement. It also seems that the justification of this thesis
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(verses 3-4) does not allow for the recognition of the thinker from Colophon as epistemically
singled-out. Xenophanes excludes the possibility of knowledge based on the element of
contingency in speaking the some truth with the simultaneous awareness that that truth is
possessed.31 Even if someone did accidentally speak of what has been brought to pass, he
would not be aware of it.32 Thus, fragment B 34 states that either clear knowledge concerning
the gods and everything else that Xenophanes talks about is not possible, or, if someone was
able to possess it, he could not state (know) that he had possessed it. Opponents of the
autocritical reading of Xenophanes' views would be forced to defend the thesis that the
knowledge that one had possessed knowledge is possible. More precisely, if Xenophanes did
indeed assert that he alone knows, contrary to all other mortals, he would also have to
assume that he knows that he possesses this certain knowledge. Of course, this metaobjective
knowledge on the certainty of objective knowledge does not fit within the scope of the latter;
indeed, such an argument could even suggest some kind of infinite regress. On the other
hand, however, this same argument can be formulated in regards to the thesis that someone
knows that he does not possess certain knowledge. Therefore, Xenophanes concludes this
argument with the assertion that dokos is appointed to all (B 34, 4).
Sextus Empiricus comments on this fragment referring to two metaphors. According to the first,
someone who searchs for truth is compared to someone searching for gold in a dark room. Even if he
finds gold (and is convinced of it), he does not possess knowledge (certainty) that it is, in fact, gold
(Sext. Emp., Adv. Math., VII, 52). According to the second metaphor, man's cognitive situation is
likened to people shooting arrows at a target in the dark. It is possible that someone hits the target, but
no knowledge about this can be attained (Sext. Emp., Adv. Math., VIII, 325). Both metaphors are linked
by a vision of darkness enveloping man. Sextus seems to suggest that man's reality is a world of
darkness. It is doubtless that Sextus' interpretation is weighed down by the later philosophical
tradition, eg. the Pythagoreans, Parmenides, Plato, and others. Nonetheless, however, we can use
Sextus' metaphors to illustrate the positions presented in this article. The opponents of an autocritical
reading of Xenophanes' views suggest that mortals inhabit a world of darkness, while Xenophanes
himself has access to the reality of light. In my opinion, the difference between the mortals and
Xenophanes boils down to the fact that he is aware of being in the dark, while the mortals are not.
The phrase τετελεσμένον εἰπών suggests stating of what has been brought to completion
(fulfillment), while τετελεσμένος signifies what has achieved τέλος (fulfillment, result, state of
perfection, meta, goal).
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Dokos signifies an opinion, supposition, or conjecture that refers to all objects, or more
precisely, to those things mentioned in verse 2 of fragment B 34. Either Xenophanes
considered himself epistemically distinguished and encompassed by οὔτις ἀνήρ, or δόκοι
are universal for everyone, including him. If we accept the second reading, that does not
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mean that Xenophanes and other mortals should necessarily be considered equal from the
perspective of epistemological awareness. Rejecting the conviction that only Xenophanes
possesses certain knowledge, the difference between him and other mortals appears in the
fact that the thinker from Colophon is - contrary to them - aware that he is condemned to
opinion, whereas they do not possess this awareness. Moreover, they are convinced that
their opinions (from the perspective of Xenophanes' view) constitute final knowledge, giving
rise to no objections and not open to revision. Xenophanes is convinced (only convinced), 33
that he is different from other mortals, not because he lays claim to possessing certain
knowledge, but rather because in contrast to them he is aware that his convictions are only
opinions, not certain knowledge.
This position will be discussed in more detail later. Here, it would be worthwhile to
critically reflect on the arguments of those, who consider Xenophanes to be epistemically
distinguished, i.e. who treat him as only allocritical, not auto- and allocritical, in regards to
matters of cognition. The first and simplest argument of this type asserts that Xenophanes
did not include himself or his views among the objects he critiqued (see the list above).
According to Yonezawa, "criticisms like these are quite suitable only to man who can have
The problem analyzed in this article concerns whether or not to exclude Xenophanes from the
binding range of the principle according to which there is no one, and will never be anyone who will
have clear knowledge about the gods or about the others things of which Xenophanes speaks. The
problem, then, concerns the level of objective (epistemic) knowledge, or more precisely, the possibility
of cognition. Reflection could also be undertaken on this problem from the level of meta-objective
knowledge, concerning the possibility of cognizing our cognition of things. In that case, from the
perspective of Xenophanes' distinction between knowledge, or certain and clear truth (τὸ σαφές), and
opinion (δόκος)), we can distinguish four different positions: 1) Xenophanes knows that he knows, 2)
Xenophanes knows that he opines, 3) Xenophanes opines that he knows, 4) Xenophanes opines that he
opines. For now we can say that in light of fr. B 34, 3-4, position 1) was explicitly rejected by
Xenophanes. Were we to also accept the thesis about the universality of opinion, positions 2) and 3)
would need to be questioned. However, the issue is more complicated, as verses 1-2 of fr. B 34 are
clear testimonies to negative dogmatism, as they suggest the definitive thesis (not only supposition)
that there is no one, nor will there be anyone, who would have knowledge about the gods or about
any of the things, of which Xenophanes speaks.
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unshakable confidence in his own views and assertions.‛34 This statement seems to go
decidedly too far. The fact that someone criticizes something does not mean that he has
unshakable confidence in his own views. Allocriticism does not assume an automatic
exclusion of autocriticism. Moreover, Xenophanes' criticism does not refer only to a critique
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of particular standpoints or attitudes, but is meant to recognize and subject to critical
reflection the foundations upon which people build their views. Xenophanes is one of the
initiators of epistemological reflection, which includes reflection on the source, essence, and
limitations of cognition. It seems that he is interested not only in the critique of erroneous
notions, but also in showing the universality of opinion. Thus, he does not critique particular
views in order to replace them with others, i.e. to introduce true views in the place of false
ones, but rather to reveal the doxal character of human cognition, which is open to revision.
In my opinion, the opposition setting the false opinions of others against the dogmatically
certain knowledge of Xenophanes is inadequate.
Certain scholars, attempting to reject the autocriticism of Xenophanes, i.e. to exclude
him from the group of those condemned to opinion, frequently cite fragment B 14 to support
their thesis:
ἀλλ' οἱ βροτοὶ δοκέουσι γεννᾶσθαι θεούς,
τὴν σφετέρην δ' ἐσθῆτα ἔχειν φωνήν τε δέμας τε
For example, S. Yonezawa in a comment on this fragment writes that Xenophanes
"criticizes the false beliefs of 'the mortals (οἱ βροτοί)' (...). In its literal sense, the term 'the
mortals' must include humankind as a genus, including Xenophanes himself. But he does not
share those beliefs of the mortals and criticizes them as false. So he must surely be exempt
from those false beliefs. Therefore, when he calls men 'the mortals' and criticizes their false
beliefs, it is most clear that he does not include himself as one of 'the mortals.'‛35 I do not
think the issue is as clear as Yonezawa would have it, moreover, the interpretation could be
accepted according to which Xenophanes is aware that everyone, including him, is
Yonezawa 1989: 435.
Yonezawa 1989: 435.
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condemned to opinion, i.e. is encompassed by the term "the mortals.‛ Xenophanes does not
critique the false beliefs of mortals, as the category of falsehood does not appear in this
passage.36 The arbitrary introduction of the concept of falsehood prejudges the possession of
truth on the part of Xenophanes; anyone who describes certain convictions as false must
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himself be convinced as what the truth really is. Such a conclusion does not follow from the
cited passage. Xenophanes only writes that mortals δοκέουσι, that gods are born, wear their
own clothes and have a voice and figure (body). The verb δοκέω used in this passage should
be compared with its derivatives in B 35 ("ταῦτα δεδοξάσθω μὲν ἐοικότα τοῖς ἐτύμοισι<‛)
and B 34, 4 ("(...). δόκος δ' ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται‛). There is no mention of falsity in any of these
passages,37 and δοκέω should rather be translated as "suppose,‛ "assume,‛ or "conjecture.‛ In
fragment B 14, Xenophanes does not assert that mortals harbor false convictions, he only
states that they accept such accept such views, that they supposed such an image of the gods.
He does not make these statements from the position of a privileged possessor of the truth
about the gods, but rather as a critical observer stating a fact. This fully corresponds with
fragment B 34, in which he states that "the clear truth no man has seen nor will there be
anyone who knows about the gods.‛ In addition, the verb δοκέω presupposes some element
of choice or assumption, which is characteristic for mortals. Xenophanes' assertions
contained in B 14 should not be viewed on the same level of objective reflection as those of
the remaining mortals. The aim is not to replace the false opinions of mortals with the true
views of the thinker from Colophon. His assertion belongs to the metalevel, as it concerns the
opinions of mortals as such. He does not state, however, that they are true or false in their
entirety; he only states that mortals harbor such opinions, that they are condemned to
It is worth noting that in the extant fragments of Parmenides' poem, the category of falsehood also
does not appear, and - what follows - neither does the opposition truth – falsehood. The fundamental
distinction for the thinker from Elea is that of two paths of investigation: the way of truth (literally: the
way of persuasion, which accompanies truth) and the way of opinion of mortals. The truth – opinion
distinction can also be illustrated as the contrast between true certainty and untrue certainty (D-K 28 B
1, 30; B 8, 28).
In his commentary to fragment B 34, J. H. Lesher writes: "In light of the inferior status of mortal
δόξα in Parmenides’ account (and subsequently in Plato’s) one might imagine that δόκος here in
Xenophanes must have contained an implicit element of error or falsity. But this does not appear to be
the case. (...) δόκος, therefore, like δοκέω, involves what one ‘takes’ to be the case, what one
‘opines’*...+, without an inherent suggestion that what one opines is false.‛ Lesher 1992: 159.
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opinions, suppositions, and conjectures. A confirmation of this reading can be found in the
statement: "δόκος δ' ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται‛ (B 34, 4).
The difference between Xenophanes and the mortals does not lie in the fact that the
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mortals are stuck in falsity, while Xenophanes alone possesses knowledge, but boils down to
the fact that Xenophanes is aware that everyone is condemned to opinion, including he
himself,38 while the mortals are unable to realize that their opinions are simply opinions;
thus, consciously or not, they believe their opinions should be treated as the final truth.
Mortals, in their opinions, are certain of their own convictions and do not admit the
possibility of error; they have achieved certainty, but it is only their subjective certainty,
which lays claim to finality.
The next issue that should be taken into account is the problem of clarifying οἱ βροτοί
in fragment B 14. The question arises whether Xenophanes perceives himself as one of the
mortals. Yonezawa firmly accepts that Xenophanes excludes himself from this set, as he does
not share these false views.39 The category of falsity was discussed earlier. Here, it is worth
noting that a critique of the opinions of mortals does not have to automatically be connected
with setting oneself beyond those mortals.40 It is also worth noting that Xenophanes uses in
these passages both the word βροτοί and ἄνθρωποι. The first appears in the context of
accepting or assuming certain views about the gods, and so ties in with the acceptance of a
certain doxal standpoint (B 14). The use of the word ἄνθρωποι on the other hand, is more
neutral, as it is not connected with any particular assumption as to the nature of the gods or
the world. In fragment B 11 Xenophanes writes that Homer and Hesiod ascribed certain
Of course, in reference to this assertion the accusation can be made that Xenophanes was not aware
of the fact that if he opines that everyone opines, this does not necessarily have to be the case; it could
be the case that someone (or even everyone except him) possesses truth. Of course, we are unable to
resolve this matter on the basis of the extant fragments. It seems, however, that Xenophanes'
statements are aimed at the "promotion" of cognitive humility, so to speak, or at least holding back
from the arrogance of dogmatic, conclusive claims to certain cognition of the gods and the world.
"Therefore, when he calls men 'the mortals' and criticizes their false beliefs, it is most clear that he
does not include himself as one of 'the mortals.'‛ Yonezawa 1989: 435.
J. Philippoussis asserts that "Xenophanes is one of the brotoi and anthrôpoi who, in frgs B 11 and 14,
dokeousi and kaleousi; he is one of the thnêtoi to whom, in frg 18, the panta have not been revealed; he is
one of the pantes who, as the first plural ekgenomestha indicates in frg 33, came from ‘earth and water.’‛
Philippoussis 1989: 335, n. 15.
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traits to the gods, which are shameful and embarrassing for people. In this passage, it is
Homer and Hesiod who hold a certain position, while people almost by nature consider
theft, adultery, and deceit shameful. In fragment B 23, on the other hand, Xenophanes
mentions a god who is the greatest among gods and men. Here again people are not
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described from the perspective of their cognitive reference to the world. Moreover,
Xenophanes adds in the same passage that god is not similar to mortals (θνητοῖσιν), neither
in terms of thought (νόημα) or body (δέμας). It is difficult to unambiguously judge whether
the distinction between βροτοί and ἄνθρωποι in Xenophanes has a deeper philosophical
significance, though if we were to seek one, ἄνθρωποι rather signifies mankind as a whole,
while βροτοί those, who accept certain conjectures describing reality.41 It seems to me,
however, that a more interesting distinction can be found in Xenophanes. In reference to
Homer and archaic literature, we can state that βροτοί signifies those, who are mortal in
contrast to the immortal gods. This finite nature of human existence in inseparably tied with
the finite nature (limitations on) cognition, which Xenophanes emphasizes in his statements
that δόκος is universal (B 34, 4) and that there never was, nor ever will be anyone who will
possess the clear truth about the gods and everything else, about which Xenophanes speaks
This problem also appears in interpreting the philosophy of Parmenides. He also distinguishes
between βροτοί and ἄνθρωποι. Coxon states that "the term βροτοί does not refer to the man-in-thestreet, but to philosophers‛ (Coxon 1934: 134), whereas ἄνθρωποι refers to mankind as a whole. This
view is shared by Owen 1960: 91, n. 2 and Meijer 1997: 225-227. Verdenius is of a different opinion,
calling this distinction quite arbitrary (Verdenius 1942: 56, n. 3). The word βροτοί does indeed appear
in Parmenides in the context of concrete views on the nature of things that are subjected to critique.
Fragments B 1, 30, B 6, 4, B 8, 38-39, B 8, 51-52, B 8, 60-61 speak about the fact that mortals do not have
certainty, they do not know anything, they wander around two-headed, having only convictions, and
their statements are deceitful. On the other hand, in the context of the word ἄνθρωποι polemic
descriptions almost do not appear. In fragments B 1, 27, B 16 (twice), B 19 there is talk of what belongs
to people for the sole reason that they are people. Fragment B 19 is the most disputable, as it contains
that statement that people (ἄνθρωποι) gave things their names. In B 8, 38-39, on the other hand,
Parmenides writes that everything will be a name, that mortals (βροτοί) accepted in the conviction
that it was true. Thus, it is difficult to uphold that there exists some rigorous distinction between these
categories; rather, it seems reasonable to agree with the view of A. Finkelberg that we are dealing with
a certain tendency. "If the alternation of βροτοί and ἄνθρωποι it not due to material convenience, a
possibility which should not be neglected, and consequently the difference is not purely incidental, we
may speak of a tendency in Parmenides to use ἄνθρωποι in a more general sense (1.27, 16.2), but only
of a tendency, for in 19.3 ἄνθρωποι appear in exactly the same association with the pluralistic outlook
as βροτοί usually do. This undermines the basis of Coxon’s suggestion, improbable in itself, that by
βροτοί and ἄνθρωποι Parmenides systematically distinguishes between philosophers and ordinary
men.‛ Fikelberg 1988: 11, n. 34. We should be all the more cautious in drawing long-term conclusions
in the case of Xenophanes, because even this tendency is rather weakly present in his views.
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(B 34, 1-2). In this sense, it is clear that Xenophanes cannot possibly think of himself as
someone, who is not a mortal. Such arrogance expressed as an attempt at making himself
equal to the gods or setting himself beyond the mortals does not at all fit with his piety
expressed in the elegies. Among the mortals, however, as was mentioned, there are those,
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who are aware that their views are only convictions, and those, who do not admit such a
possibility, if only in the fact that they treat their convictions as final, with the claim to
complete truth. To better clarify this distinction, we must refer to fragment B 18. In it,
Xenophanes states that ‚not from the beginning did gods intimate all things to mortals, but
in time those, who search (ζητοῦντες) find what is better‛ (D-K B 18). Thus, we can say that
in general, βροτοί are divided into ζητοῦντες and those, who do not search. Only the former
can find what is better, the rest will continue to remain within the bounds of their own
convictions, or those simply sanctified by tradition.
On the basis of fr. B 18, we can say that Xenophanes refers in his studies to the
zetetic-syncritic method, which boils down to a constant search for better solutions (the fig
and honey example, B 38), while simultaneously rejecting the belief that the final truth has
been found. The purpose of the syncritic aspect of this procedure is to critically compare
(juxtapose) convictions in order to grasp what is better (ἄμεινον), not the dogmatic assertion
that what is best has been found (ἄριστον).42 An expression of this zetetic-syncritic attitude
can be found in Xenophanes' elegies. In fr. B 2 he writes that our wisdom is better than the
strength of men and horses (ἡμετέρη σοφίη, B 2, 11-12) and that good (true) wisdom should
be valued more highly than physical strength (B 2, 14).43 The phrase "our wisdom‛ (ἡμετέρη
J. Philippoussis writes: "The comparison, result of a critique, implies both a critic (a human observer)
and a criterion (be it a relative one). But the relative criterion provides only a relative and conjectural
conclusion and, as both the criterion and the conclusion are subject to doubt and revision, they can
always be re-questioned and revised.‛ Philippoussis 1989: 333.
Some scholars translate the term σοφίη used in his elegies as ‘art’ or ‘skill’ (for example Burnet 1930:
117, n. 2; Bowra 1953: 16-20; Guthrie 1962: 364), others as ‘knowledge,’ ‘wisdom,’ ‘Wissen’ (for
example D-K: 129; Marcovich 1978: 22). E. Heitsch, on the other hand, combines both of these
meanings (‘unsere Kunst und Kenntnis’ Heitsch 1983: 19), whereas J. H. Lesher translates this word as
‘expertise’ (Lesher 1992: 56). S. Yonezawa, to defend his interpretation excluding Xenophanes'
autocriticism, writes: "Therefore, it is most natural to think that Xenophanes’ wisdom is in the center
of ‘our wisdom’ and representative of it, although ‘our wisdom’ is shared among ‘us.’ Hence, the
word ‘our’ points out those people who accepted Xenophanes’ wisdom and his sense of values. After
all, ‘our wisdom (line 12)’ or ‘a good wisdom (line 14)’ here means nothing more than his thought and
insight expressed in his poems.‛ Yonezawa 1989: 436-437. Translating σοφίη as ‘art’ would lead to
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σοφίη) unambiguously suggests that Xenophanes is not only referring to himself. This
indicates that the division among mortals (βροτοί) is drawn according to who possesses a
critical zetetic attitude. On the one hand, there are mortals who do not seek truth, because
they are satisfied with their dogmatic convictions, often drawn from unreflectively-accepted
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tradition; in the case of these mortals, since they do not search, they cannot find what is
epistemically better. On the other hand, there are those, who seek (ζητοῦντες), who
persistently look for truth, and only they can find what is better. In addition, it is probably
only the latter, and certainly Xenophanes, who are aware of the status of their investigations.
They are aware that their views (δόκοι) are only opinions, and thus only temporary, relative
(syncritic)44 truths open to revision, as they are obtained as a result of applying the critical
syncritic method with the simultaneously held (de facto dogmatic) assumption that certain
knowledge is unattainable for mortals. Thus, when Xenophanes writes about "our wisdom,‛
he means above all the critical wisdom of ζητοῦντες, to which he himself belongs. This
criticism of the searching is, therefore, both allocritical and autocritical, as those who search
are aware that their hitherto convictions may be rejected, revised, and replaced with new
(better) convictions.
Therefore, Xenophanes is not a thinker convinced that only he knows, while all other
mortals only hold opinions (allocriticism without autocriticism), but is aware of the fact that
all human convictions are only opinions (B 34, 4), including his own (allo- and autocriticism
difficulties in clarifying the phrase ‘our art,’ as it is difficult to say who would belong to this group
besides Xenophanes himself (it would also be possible to translate ‘ἡμετέρη σοφίη’ as ‘my art’). It
would be difficult to image that Xenophanes had Homer and Hesiod, whom he critiques, in mind. In
my opinion, σοφίη in this fragment signifies a certain type of skill, or critical attitude connected with
certain critical wisdom that takes into account reflection on man's cognitive limitations, which from a
practical perspective would serve the good of the polis. This critical wisdom is both theoretical (it
undertakes problems tied with cognition) and practical, as it is directed towards socio-political good.
Cognitive humility, resulting in critical reflection concerning man and the hierarchy of values, can be
built upon the foundation of epistemological reflection. This good (true) wisdom (B 2, 14) is critical
wisdom, including (and maybe above all) autocritical wisdom.
Xenophanes distinguishes those, who search from those, who do not, while Parmenides creates a
division of the paths of investigation, distinguishing the way of persuasion, which accompanies truth,
and the way of opinion. In Xenophanes' view, truths discovered (scil. disclosed by the gods – B 18) by
those who seek are temporary, relative, and open to revision, while truth for Parmenides was final,
absolute, and complete. An interesting research topic – extending beyond the framework of this article
- would be the comparison of Xenophanes' position with Parmenides' way of opinion.
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combined). However, there are those among mortals who dogmatically (uncritically) accept
their convictions as final, and those capable of searching for truth; the latter's cognitive effort
is expressed in the application of the zetetic-syncritic method directed at finding better
answers (because only those, who seek, can find) with the full awareness that what is
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ἄμεινον should not be treated as that, which is ἄριστον, since man cannot cognize the clear
and certain truth and has only opinion at his disposition. Xenophanes' pan-criticism as a
combination of allo- and autocriticism shows that Western philosophy already at its source
strongly accented the critical, anti-dogmatic, and zetetic attitude, thanks to which it had the
opportunity to develop creatively instead of stagnating.
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and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics. Part I. Translated and Selected by
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Xenophanes’ thought, in: Boudouris K.J.: Ionian Philosophy, Athens.
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Boudouris K.J.: Ionian Philosophy, Athens.
The article analyzes extant fragments of Xenophanes of Colophon's works from
the perspective of broadly-understood criticism, with special emphasis on fragment
B 34 (Diels-Kranz). Two types of criticism can be distinguished: allocriticism and
autocriticism. The first refers to criticism of the opinions of others, while the second
type of criticism is directed at one's own opinions. The object of criticism discussed in
the article is the possibility of possessing knowledge. In this context, it is worth
considering whether Xenophanes believed that no human being, including himself,
could possess clear and certain knowledge (a combination of allocriticism and
autocriticism), or whether he believed himself excluded from this general rule (solely
KEYWORDS: criticism; knowledge; skepticism; dogmatism; Xenophanes of Colophon
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Dariusz Kubok, currently serves as Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the
University of Silesia in Katowice. He is the author of, among others, Problem apeiron i
peras w filozofii przedsokratejskiej (1998) and Prawda i mniemania. Studium filozofii
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(email protected)
Parmenidesa z Elei (2004). His main research interests include ancient philosophy and
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Devotio Decjuszy jako exemplum republikańskiej pietas
(Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach)
W swej kanonicznej już książce „From Autothanasia to Suicide. Self-Killing in
Classical Antiquity” poświęconej samobójstwu i porządkującej jego typologie Anton van
Hooff wśród przykładów wymienia także devotio1. Jest ona specyficznym rodzajem
samobójstwa2, jak zauważa Mieczysław Popławski prastarym italskim zwyczajem3. Na 52
zebrane przez Hooffa przypadki aż trzy dotyczą tej samej rodziny – Publiuszy Decjuszy
Musów (Publii Decii Mures): kolejno dziadka, ojca (syna) i wnuka4. Idea poddania się devotio
pokolenie po pokoleniu jest niezwykle interesująca, nawet jeśli nie byłby to fakt historyczny
a jedynie koncept antycznych autorów.
Pierwszy z rodziny – Publiusz Decjusz Mus (I) był konsulem roku 340 p.n.e.
Poświęcił się w czasie bitwy z Latynami pod rzeką Weseris, niedaleko Wezuwiusza, zwaną
też bitwą pod Wezuwiuszem w 340 r. p.n.e. w czasie drugiej wojnie latyńskiej.
Drugi Publiusz Decjusz Mus (II), był synem Decjusza Musa (I). Czterokrotnie
piastował urząd konsula w latach 312, 308, 297 oraz 295 p.n.e. Poświęcił się w czasie bitwy
pod Sentinum w 295 r. p.n.e. w trzeciej wojnie samnickiej.
Trzeci Publiusz Decjusz Mus (III), był synem Decjusza Musa (II) i wnukiem Decjusza
Musa (I), konsulem roku 279 p.n.e. Poświęcił się w czasie bitwy z Pyrrusem pod Asculum
(lub też Ausculum, miejscowości znajdującej się w Apulii) w 279 r. p.n.e.
Devotio jako mors voluntaria5 polega na poświęceniu życia (własnego lub innego
Rzymianina) przez dyktatora, konsula lub pretora w imię zwycięstwa rzymskiego wojska6.
Następuje po dopełnieniu ceremonii polegającej na wypowiedzeniu carmen devotionis w
obecności pontifeksa, dokonujący devotio powinien być ubrany w białą szatę bramowaną
Hooff 2002: 126–128.
Szerzej na temat devotio jako pietas erga patriam i innych przykładów z czasów republiki w artykule
Edyty Gryksy w tym samym tomie. O rzymskiej idei samobójstwa Sapota 2009: 281–287.
3 Popławski 2011: 89–90.
4 Dla rozróżnienia opisywanych przeze mnie Decjuszy zastosowałam oznaczenie: Decjusz (I) –
dziadek, Decjusz (II) – ojciec/syn i Decjusz (III) – wnuk.
5 Liv. 8, 6, 12.
6 Liv. 8, 10, 11–14.
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togą7. Celem tej ceremonii jest wyproszenie od bogów dla Rzymian siły (vis) i zwycięstwa
(victoria), dla wrogów lęku i przerażenia (terror et formido), a wreszcie śmierci (mors), jak
uti populo Romano Quiritium uim uictoriam prosperetis hostesque populi Romani
Quiritium terrore formidine morteque adficiatis8.
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dowiadujemy się z przekazu Liwiusza dotyczącego devotio Decjusza (I):
Florus w Epitome przesuwa akcent z wywoływania strachu na zapowiedź zwycięstwa.
Podkreśla także element rzymskiego bohaterstwa. W niezwykle plastycznym obrazie
Decjusz (I) miał utorować drogę do zwycięstwa ścieżką swojej krwi: ut in confertissima se
hostium tela iaculatus novum ad victoriam iter sanguinis sui limite aperiret9.
Devotio Decjusza (I) dokonała się na skutek przepowiedni zawartej w widzeniu
sennym obu konsulów – Decjusza i Torkwata (Titus Manlius Torquatus):
ibi in quiete utrique consuli eadem dicitur uisa species uiri maioris quam pro humano
habitu augustiorisque, dicentis ex una acie imperatorem, ex altera exercitum Deis
Manibus Matrique Terrae deberi; utrius exercitus imperator legiones hostium superque
eas se deuouisset, eius populi partisque uictoriam fore10.
Obaj konsulowie opowiedzieli sobie swoje sny, a następnie złożyli ofiary. Wróżby uzyskane
przez haruspików potwierdzać miały te ze snu. Zatem pojawia się tutaj element
powinności11, niekoniecznie wolnej woli, oraz namysłu i przygotowania do samego aktu.
Brakuje tego w przypadku Decjusza (II). Liwiusz wkłada w jego usta słowa właściwie
stwarzające legendę rodu. W dramatycznej chwili, gdy rzymskie wojsko ucieka z pola bitwy,
Liv. 8, 9, 5.
Liv. 8, 9, 7.
9 Flor. 1, 9, 3: „*<+ aby ścieżką swojej krwi, gdy rzuci się w miejsce najgęściej padających pocisków
nieprzyjacielskich, utorować nową drogę do zwycięstwa” *wszystkie przekłady Florusa autorstwa
Ignacego Lewandowskiego).
10 Liv. 8, 6, 9–10: „Tutaj obu konsulom miało się objawić we śnie takie samo widzenie: człowiek
nadludzkiej postaci, pełen dostojności, zapowiadający, że z jednej strony wódz, a z drugiej wojsko jest
przeznaczone cieniom podziemnym i matce Ziemi; który wódz poświęci im legiony nieprzyjacielskie,
a z nimi i siebie samego, tego naród i wojsko będą zwycięzcami” *wszystkie przekłady Liwiusza
autorstwa Andrzeja Kościółka).
11 Liv. 8, 6, 12: animo tacitae religioni.
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Decjusz sam zastępuje im drogę i wzywa ich z powrotem, a następnie poddaje się losowi,
który wydaje mu się przeznaczony:
periculis publicis piacula simus. iam ego mecum hostium legiones mactandas Telluri ac
Dis Manibus dabo’12.
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‘quid ultra moror' inquit 'familiare fatum? datum hoc nostro generi est ut luendis
Owa spontaniczna reakcja stoi w niezgodzie z trzymaniem przy sobie pontyfika, Marka
Liwiusza, mogącego wypowiedzieć słowa carmen devotionis13, pasuje zaś do gwałtownej
reakcji, o której piszę dalej.
Tenże Decius Mus (II) według Liwiusza14 poświęcił się w tych samych szatach, co
ojciec – eodemque habitu, co wydaje się być jednak trudnym logistycznie przedsięwzięciem. Po
pierwsze, obydwa akty devotiones dzieli 45 lat. Po drugie, Decius Mus (I) według
Patawińczyka padł pod gradem pocisków: corruit obrutus telis15, dopiero drugiego dnia po
bitwie został znaleziony i pochowany16, zresztą podobnie jak później jego syn17. Po trzecie –
skąd nagle się wzięła na polu bitwy owa szata i kto ewentualnie ją przechowywał? Sam
Decjusz (II) przygotowany na taką ewentualność? Uważam, że jeśli eodem habitu nie oznacza
podobieństwa pod względem ubrania w obramowaną purpurą togę, przypisaną rytuałowi
devotio, ale niekoniecznie tą samą, którą nosił ojciec, ewentualnie jeśli nie chodzi o
odniesienie do cinctu Gabino, a więc opasania togi na sposób gabiński, stosowany w
niektórych rytuałach18, to w tym przypadku habitus należałoby przetłumaczyć nie jako
„ubranie”, jak zrobił to Andrzej Kościółek, lecz jako pewną postawę, zarówno fizyczną, jak i
Liv. 10, 28, 12: „Czegóż wzdragam się jeszcze przed losem przeznaczonym mej rodzinie? Tak już
pisano naszemu rodowi, że mamy być ofiarą przebłagalną za całość rzeczypospolitej. Oto i ja razem z
sobą poświęcę Ziemi i cieniom zmarłych legiony nieprzyjacielskie na śmierć”.
13 Liv. 10, 28, 14: *<+ M. Liuium pontificem, quem descendens in aciem digredi uetuerat ab se *<+.
14 Liv. 10, 28, 15: deuotus inde eadem precatione eodemque habitu quo pater P. Decius ad Ueserim bello Latino
15 Liv. 8, 9, 12.
16 Liv. 8, 10, 10: Decii corpus ne eo die inueniretur, nox quaerentes oppressit; postero die inuentum inter
maximum hostium stragem, coopertum telis, funusque ei par morti celebrante collega factum est.
17 Liv. 10, 29, 19–20: consulis corpus eo die, quia obrutum superstratis Gallorum cumulis erat, inueniri non
potuit; postero die inuentum relatumque est cum multis militum lacrimis. intermissa inde omnium aliarum
rerum cura Fabius collegae funus omni honore laudibusque meritis celebrat.
18 Liv. 8, 9, 9 – Decjusz Mus (I): ipse incinctus cinctu Gabino oraz Liv. 10, 7, 3; Liv. 5, 46, 2 – Gabiusz
Fabiusz Dorsuo składający ofiary na Kapitolu w czasie najazdu Galów w 390 r. p.n.e.: Gabino cinctu
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związaną z charakterem, Decjusza (II), przypominającą per analogiam postawę Decjusza (I),
a może właściwy Decjuszom sposób zachowania. Taką wersję zdaje się potwierdzać inne
miejsce u Liwiusza. W związku z opisem walk pomiędzy zwolennikami i przeciwnikami
ustawy Ogulniuszy o dostępie plebejuszy do kolegium pontyfików i augurów pojawia się
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osoba Decjusza Musa (II), który miał właśnie postawą przypominać swego ojca, opasanego
togą na sposób, czy też styl (Gabino cultu) gabiński. Użyty w tym miejscu habitus odnosi się
do postawy lub postaci, scharakteryzowanej poprzez wygląd (toga) i miejsce (na leżącej
dicitur Decius parentis sui speciem, qualem eum multi qui in contione erant uiderant,
incinctum Gabino cultu super telum stantem, quo se habitu pro populo ac legionibus
Romanis deuouisset19.
Decjusz Mus (II) do standardowej formuły (eadem precatione20) dodał także słowa:
prae se agere sese formidinem ac fugam caedemque ac cruorem, caelestium inferorum iras,
contacturum funebribus diris signa tela arma hostium, locumque eundem suae pestis ac
Gallorum ac Samnitium fore<21.
Do elementów istniejących, takich jak formido (lęk, przerażenie, strach) dodał fuga
(ucieczka), caedes (rozlew krwi, a nawet masakra) oraz cruor (przelaną w walce krew, a także
rzeź, masowy mord), a wreszcie te związane z bogami – gniew nie tylko tych w niebie, ale i
bóstw podziemnych. Wynikiem jego devotio ma być pestis Galów i Samnitów, a więc
całkowita zagłada i zniszczenie fizyczne. Co ciekawe, Decjusz Mus (I) jako piaculum, czyli
dopełnienie rytuału lub wręcz ofiarę przebłagalną gniewu bogów miał ową pestis przenieść
ze swoich żołnierzy na wrogów: piaculum omnis deorum irae qui pestem ab suis auersam in hostes
Liv. 10, 7, 3: „Decjusz miał przypominać postać swego ojca; wielu z obecnych na zgromadzeniu
widziało go, jak przybrany w strój gabiński stał na leżącej włóczni i w tym stanie poświęcał się za lud i
legiony rzymskie”.
20 Liv. 10, 28, 15.
21 Liv. 10, 28, 17: „Strach i ucieczkę, śmierć i krew, gniew bogów niebieskich i podziemnych niosę
przed sobą, przekleństwem zguby obarczam nieprzyjacielskie chorągwie, pociski i broń, a miejsce
mojej śmierci będzie miejscem zniszczenia Gallów i Samnitów”.
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ferret22, na dodatek przerażając wrogów poprzez wyobrażenie gwiazdy przynoszącej zgubę:
pestifero sidere23.
Zarówno ojciec, jak i syn, w przekazie Liwiusza, skoczyli w środek wojsk
nieprzyjaciela. Decjusz Mus (I) rzucił się na koniu w sam środek wroga: se in medios hostes
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immisit24, na dodatek zupełnie niespodziewanie, jak z nieba: sicut caelo missus25, wywołując
wśród wrogów strach i trwogę: terror pavorque26. Decjusz Mus (II) dodatkowo popędził konia
concitat equum27, gwałtownie się kierując inferensque28 w miejsce, gdzie wrogowie tworzyli
bardzo zwarty szyk: qua confertissimam cernebat Gallorum aciem29. Co ciekawe w epitomie
Florusa to jego ojciec miał się rzucić tam, gdzie pociski padały najgęściej: in confertissima se
hostium tela iaculatus30. Obaj wykazali się ogromną odwagą, przy czym w opisie czynu
Decjusza Musa (I) przeważa zaskoczenie i strach Latynów, u Decjusza Musa (II) zaś najpierw
jego popędliwość i gwałtowność, a dopiero następnie wywołany aktem samopoświęcenia
efekt u wrogów, którzy uelut alienata mente uana in cassum iactare tela; torpere quidam et nec
pugnae meminisse nec fugae31. Zarówno w pierwszym, jak i drugim przypadku efekt był
natychmiastowy, a wojsko rzymskie wykazało się ogromną wolą walki. Po pierwszej devotio
wojsko pozbyło się bojaźni i rzuciło do bitwy z zapałem jak po pierwszym sygnale do boju32.
Po drugiej devotio pontyfik Liwiusz wołał, że śmierć Decjusza (II) uratowała Rzymian, którzy
zwyciężali33. W czasie bitwy pod Wezuwiuszem, będącej istną rzezią (tantaque caede34), a
wygranej przez Rzymian, według Liwiusza pozostać przy życiu miała zaledwie czwarta
część nieprzyjaciół: uix quartam partem relinquerent hostium35. Bitwa pod Sentinum również
zakończyła się zwycięstwem Rzymian, według autora Ab Urbe Condita zginęło 25 tysięcy
Liv. 8, 9, 10.
Liv. 8, 9, 12.
24 Liv. 8, 9, 9.
25 Liv. 8, 9, 10.
26 Liv. 8, 9, 11.
27 Liv. 10, 28, 18.
28 Liv. 10, 28, 18.
29 Liv. 10, 28, 18.
30 Flor. 1, 9, 3.
31 Liv. 10, 29, 2: „jakby pozbawieni zmysłów daremnie rzucali chybiające pociski, niektórzy drętwieli i
ani o bitwie, ani o ucieczce nie mogli myśleć”.
32 Liv. 8, 9, 12: simul et Romani exsolutis religione animis, uelut tum primum signo dato coorti pugnam
integram ediderunt.
33 Liv. 10, 29, 3: uociferari uicisse Romanos defunctos consulis fato.
34 Liv. 8, 10, 6.
35 Liv. 8, 10, 6.
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wrogów, a 8 tysięcy wzięto do niewoli36. Po stronie Rzymian zanotowano stratę 7 tysięcy
żołnierzy z wojska Decjusza (II) i 1700 z wojska Fabiusza37. Devotiones obu Decjuszy
przyczyniły się nie tylko do wygrania obu bitew, ale co za tym idzie także do wygrania
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kulminacyjnym punktem zarówno rzymskiej pietas jak i umiejętności militarnych38.
całych wojen. Jak zauważa D.S. Levene w przypadku bitwy pod Sentinum zwycięstwo było
Na zebrane przez Hooffa 52 przykłady devotiones39 na 960 potwierdzonych przykładów
samobójczej śmierci, autor analizuje w Appendixie B 37 przypadków, stanowiących ogółem
6% samobójstw. Wśród nich 27% zostało dokonanych za pomocą broni, 3% przez
powieszenie, 19% przez skok (z mostu), 3% poprzez truciznę, 8% ogień a 41% (czyli 15
przypadków) było prowokacją40. Devotio poprzez zagłodzenie, które także było sposobem
popełniania samobójstwa, co zrozumiałe w tym wypadku, nie stwierdzono.
Wszystkie trzy devotiones Decjuszy Hooff zaliczył do rodzaju tak zwanych
prowokacji41. Wśród 22 przypadków śmierci przez prowokację w aż 15 przypadkach
przyczynę stanowiło devotio42.
Owo wspomniane już familiare fatum43, czyli los przeznaczony rodzinie, o którym miał
według Liwiusza wspomnieć Decjusz (II) w czasie bitwy pod Sentinum, czy też Florusowe
sformułowanie more patrio44, a więc zwyczaj ojcowski, bądź odziedziczony po przodkach,
rodowy przywołuje analogię losu Korneliuszy Scypionów. Florus w Epitome w opisie trzeciej
wojny punickiej zauważa, że nomen Scipionum wydaje się przynosić zgubę Afryce (fatale
Africae videbatur), dlatego też – mimo braku pełnego cursus honorum i przewidzianego
Liv. 10, 29, 17.
Liv. 10, 29, 18.
38 Levene 1993: 236.
39 Appendix A: Adrastos, Alkestis, Alkestis in Odessos, Anchouros, Anthia, Antilochos, Antinoos,
Antipoini filiae, Brennos, captivus Romanus, Coma, Curtius, Decius Mus I, Decius Mus II, Decius Mus
III, depugnaturi pro Calig., Eleazar Auran, Epicharis, Galli, Gobryas, Hipponoos, Iulius Agrestis,
iuvenes Terracinenses, Iuventius M. Laterensis, Kallikrateia, Kodros, Kratinos, Lactorius, Leokorides,
Longinus, magistratus curuleus, Makaria, Menestratos, Menippe et Metioche, Menoikeus, miles
nuntius quidam, miles Othonis gregarius, Oinokles, Othonis eques, periturus pro Caligula, Persae,
Petronius M., Plotius Plancus, Pomponius, Pomptilla, Pexaspes, Pythagorae discipuli, Sempronius
Densus, servus Pisonis, strategi Athenienses, Urbinii servus, Zenon Eleates. Hooff 2002: 198–232.
40 Hooff 2002: 237–238.
41 Hooff 2002: 54–57.
42 Hooff 2002: 57.
43 Liv. 10, 28, 13.
44 Flor. 1, 12, 7.
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prawem wieku45 – na konsula w 147 roku p.n.e. wybrano Scypiona Emiliana, wnuka przez
adopcję Scypiona Afrykańskiego Starszego:
Igitur in alium Scipionem conversa res p. finem belli reposcebat46.
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Quamvis profligato urbis excidio tamen fatale Africae nomen Scipionum videbatur.
Cyceron w „Rozmowach Tuskulańskich” analizując śmierć niosącą brak czucia, a
zatem wymykającą się kategoriom szczęścia i nieszczęścia, między innymi przywołuje
przykład obu rodzin – Decjuszy i Scypionów. Jest on bardzo wymowny zarówno dzięki swej
frekwentatywność altruistycznych poświęceń przedstawicieli najlepszych rzymskich rodzin:
quotiens non modo ductores nostri, sed universi etiam exercitus ad non dubiam mortem
concurrerunt! quae quidem si timeretur, non Lucius Brutus arcens eum reditu
tyrannum, quem ipse expulerat, in proelio concidisset; non cum Latinis decertans pater
Decius, cum Etruscis filius, cum Pyrrho nepos se hostium telis obiecissent; non uno bello
pro patria cadentis Scipiones Hispania vidisset, Paulum et Geminum Cannae, Venusia
Marcellum, Litana Albinum, Lucani Gracchum47.
Devotio przedstawicieli każdego pokolenia rodziny jest czymś wyjątkowym. Już Émile
Durkheim w podstawowej dziś pracy o samobójstwie z 1897 roku „Le Suicide. Étude de
Sociologie” poruszył kwestię dziedziczności samobójstw. Zauważył, że odziedziczyć można
jedynie chorobę nerwową bądź umysłową, która może, ale nie musi, doprowadzić do
śmierci48. Jednakże podkreślił ogromną rolę procesu naśladownictwa – powtarzanie
App. Lyb. 112 (528); Alfőldy G. 1998: 95.
Flor. 1, 31, 12: „Chociaż zagłada Kartaginy dobiegała końca, wydawało się jednak, że dla Afryki
zgubne jest wyłącznie imię Scypionów. Przeto rzeczpospolita zwróciwszy się do innego Scypiona
żądała położenia kresu wojnie”.
47 Cic. Tusc. 1, 89: „Ileż to razy nie tylko nasi wodzowie, lecz nawet całe armie szły na pewną śmierć!
Gdyby budziła ona lęk, to Lucjusz Brutus nie poległby w bitwie, broniąc powrotu tyranowi, którego
sam wypędził; nie wystawialiby się na pociski nieprzyjaciół ojciec Decjusz walcząc z Latynami, syn z
Etruskami, wnuk z Pirrusem; Hiszpania nie widziałaby Scypionów, Kanny nie widziałyby Paulusa i
Geminusa, Wenuzja Marcellusa, Litania Albinusa, Lukanowie Grakchusa, którzy w jednej wojnie
ginęli za ojczyznę” *tłum. J. Śmigaj+.
48 Durkheim 2011: 101–128.
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zwyczajów czy też tradycji jest wynikiem czynników społecznych, od których zależna jest
autodestrukcja49. Zatem w przypadku Decjuszy ogromną rolę mogła odgrywać (a zapewne
także wywierać presję) przypisywana rodzinie tradycja50, owo familiare fatum51oraz more
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patrio52, a nie ewentualna choroba psychiczna.
Durkheim zaproponował także sklasyfikowanie samobójstw w trzech głównych
typach. Wyróżnił mianowicie samobójstwo egoistyczne, altruistyczne oraz anomiczne.
Devotio należy do rodzaju samobójstw altruistycznych53, podtypu popełnianych z
obowiązku54, choć mogłoby się wydawać (zarówno jednostce, obserwatorom, jak i
odbiorcom późniejszego literackiego przekazu), że decyduje tu jedynie wolna wola. Stefan
Chwin podkreśla istniejącą w różnych kulturach symboliczną heroizację samobójstwa
altruistycznego, które może popychać jednostki ku – jak to określił – „suicidal destruction”55.
Taka jednostka, która wcieliła się w „narzędzie” zbiorowości, zabijająca się dla „wspólnego
dobra” staje się ikoną najwyższego poświęcenia56.
Mieczysław Brożek i Józef Wolski w komentarzu do przekładu Liwiusza podkreślają w
dwóch miejscach57, że przypuszczalnie historyczną devotio jest ta Decjusza (II), natomiast
chronologicznie wcześniejsza jego ojca Decjusza (I) jest jej kopią, dubletem. Bizantyński
historyk Zonaras z XII wieku przytacza dwie tradycje – jedną mówiącą o devotio i drugą,
według której Decjusz (I) został zabity przez jednego ze swych żołnierzy: ὑπο
συστρατιώτου πολιτικοῦ σφαγῆναι58. Czasownik σφάζω oprócz neutralnego znaczenia
„zabijać”, niesie jeszcze dodatkowe: „zarzynać” bądź „zabijać na ofiarę”. Opisująca tą część
historii księga Kasjusza Diona zachowała się we fragmentach, nie możemy więc stwierdzić,
czy Zonaras powołując się na dwie tradycje opierał się na Dionie, czy na jakimś innym
źródle. Sam Dion wypowiada wielce wątpiące zdanie na temat tradycji i Decjusza (I):
Durkheim 2011: 163.
Bernard 2000: 176–177.
51 Liv. 10, 28, 13.
52 Flor. 1, 12, 7.
53 Durkheim 2011: 277–307.
54 Durkheim 2011: 290.
55 Chwin 2010: 77.
56 Chwin 2010: 78.
57 Liv. 8, 9 – przyp. 31 na s. 114 oraz Liv. 10, 28 – przyp. 94 na s. 248.
58 Zon. 7, 26.
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Dziwię się, że śmierć Decjusza nadała walce lepszy obrót, pokonała zwyciężających i dała
zwycięstwo uciskanym. Nie mogę dojść, co było tego powodem. Kiedy pomyślę o czynach
pewnych ludzi (bo wiemy, że już wiele podobnych rzeczy przytrafiło się wielu ludziom),
wielkie zakłopotanie. Bo jakże tu nie wierzyć, że na skutek samopoświęcenia człowieka tak
wielki tłum zdołał się od razu uratować i zwyciężyć? Zostawmy innym troskę o zbadanie
stanu rzeczywistego i jego powodów59.
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nie mogę nie dowierzać tradycji. Kiedy jednak wnikam w ich przyczyny, popadam w
D.S. Levene wychodząc zaś od myśli wyrażonej przez Diona podkreśla, że i u
Liwiusza nigdzie nie przeczytamy, że zwycięstwo w bitwie pod Wezuwiuszem było
spowodowane devotio Decjusza (I), raczej równoważąc swój przekaz starał się on też
podkreślić umiejętności militarne drugiego konsula Torkwata Manliusza60.
O poświęceniu życia Decjusza (III) w dostępnych nam dziś źródłach wspomina tylko
Cyceron61. Florus nie dość, że nie odnotowuje devotio Decjusza (III), mimo odniesień do
poświęceń pozostałych dwóch, to jeszcze jako wodzów pod Askulum notuje konsulów
Kuriusza i Fabrycjusza (Curio Fabricioque consulibus62). O ile Fabrycjusz (Caius Fabricius
Luscinus) był konsulem, ale w roku następnym 278 (a nie w roku bitwy i śmierci Decjusza
(III) – 279 p.n.e.), o tyle jego kolegą był Quintus Aemilius Papus (także w pełnionym
wcześniej konsulacie – w 282 r. p.n.e.) a nie Kuriusz (M. Curius Dentatus), który był
konsulem dopiero w 275 r. p.n.e. Widocznie Florusowi zlały się w jedno wydarzenie dwie
bitwy stoczone z Pyrrusem – pod Asculum w 279 p.n.e. oraz pod Beneventum w 275 r. p.n.e.
Jest to kolejny błąd epitomatora – w opisie devotio Decjusza (II) pomieszał Fabiuszy
Maksymusów – Fabiusa Maximusa Rullianusa, konsula 310 r. oraz Q. Fabiusa Maximusa
Rullianusa, konsula z roku 295 p.n.e. Nie zgadza się również miejsce – Decjusz (II) poświęcił
się w czasie bitwy pod Sentinum w 295 roku, a nie w bitwie w Lesie Cymińskim w roku 310
p.n.e.63 Ponieważ nie zachowały się księgi Liwiusza, prymarnego źródła Florusa, opisujące
historię potyczek z Pyrrusem, nie można stwierdzić, czy Florus pominął Decjusza (III), czy
też może Liwiusz w ogóle go w swej relacji nie uwzględnił. Skoro Florus odnotował obu
Cass. Dio fr. 7, 32, 7–8 *przeł. W. Madyda+.
Levene 1993: 222.
61 Cic. Tusc. 1, 89; fin. 2, 61.
62 Flor. 1, 13, 9.
63 Jal 2002: I 127.
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Decjuszy (I i II), wydaje się, że nie pominąłby także spinającego historię rodzinnych
devotiones opisu dokonań Decjusza (III). A jeśli tak, to może devotio Decjusza (III) nie
zaistniała ani w dziele historyka z Patavium, ani w rzeczywistości. Jest to jednak w tej chwili
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spekulacja oparta na podwójnym argumencie ex silentio.
Być może nie było więc wspaniałego poświęcenia dla ojczyzny kolejnych członków
rodziny, nie przekazywali sobie oni pałeczki międzypokoleniowej. Jak zauważył jednak
cytowany powyżej Kasjusz Dion, stan faktyczny nie był tak ważny. Wartość takiej opowieści
o samobójstwach patriotycznych64 leżała w jej możliwościach propagandowych, w
„ikonizacji” pewnych elementów rzymskości i heroizacji dawnych Rzymian. Dla Cycerona,
powołującego się na chwalebne dokonania przodków, było to znakomite, najwyższe wręcz
exemplum republikańskiej pietas erga patriam, do którego mógł się odwoływać, podobnie jak
do niezwykle często przywoływanego przykładu rodziny Scypionów.
Patriotyczna wymowa gestu poświęcenia znalazła odzwierciedlenie w twórczości
malarskiej Petera Paula Rubensa. Między 1616 a 1617 rokiem namalował on tzw. „Cykl
Decjusza Musa”, odnoszący się do Decjusza (I), liczący 8 obrazów, obecnie znajdujący się w
kolekcji Liechtenstein (The Princely Collections)65, wraz z dziełami naśladowców Rubensa,
tworzącymi dalsze tytuły cyklu oraz kopie już istniejących66. Dzięki temu patriotyczna idea
poświęcenia Decjuszy dla ojczyzny mogła zaistnieć ponownie w czasach nowożytnych,
spełniając przypisaną funkcję heroicznego exemplum, i dotrzeć do szerszego grona
odbiorców niż czytelnicy Liwiusza, Cycerona czy Florusa.
Alfőldy G. 1998: Historia społeczna starożytnego Rzymu, przeł. A. Gierlińska, Poznań:
Wydawnictwo Poznańskie.
Grisé 1982: 86.
Baumstark 1985: passim. Tytuły cyklu to: „Decius Mus Relating His Dream”, „The Interpretation of
the Victim”, „Decius Mus Preparing for Death”, „The Dismissal of the Lictors”, „The Obsequies of
Decius Mus”, „The Trophy”.
66 Adam Bartsch „The Obsequies of Decius Mus”, Domenico Mainardi „The Death of Decius Mus in
the Battle of Veseris”, Gustav Adolph Müller „The Death of Decius Mus”, Jan II Raes „The
Consecration of Decius Mus”, Jakob Matthias Schmutzer, Andreas Schmutzer.
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Baumstark R. 1985: Peter Paul Rubens. The Decius Mus Cycle, New York: Metropolitan
Museum of Art.
Bernard J.-E. 2000: Le portrait chez Tite-Live. Essai sur une écriture de l’histoire romaine,
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Bruxelle: Latomus.
Chwin S. 2010: Samobójstwo jako doświadczenie wyobraźni, Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Tytuł.
Durkheim E. 2011: Samobójstwo. Studium z socjologii, przeł. K. Wakar, Warszawa:
Oficyna Naukowa.
Grisé Y. 1982: Le suicide dans la Rome antique, Montréal: Bellarmin, Paris: Les Belles
Gryksa E. 2015: Śmierć jako pietas erga patriam w historiografii starożytnego Rzymu,
„Littera Antiqua” 10-11 (2015), 218-28.
Hooff A. van 2002: From Autothanasia to Suicide. Self-Killing in Classical Antiquity,
London: Routledge.
Jal P. (ed.) 2002: Florus. Oeuvres, vol. 1, Paris: Les Belles Lettres.
Levene D.S. 1993: Religion in Livy, Leiden – New York – Köln: E.J. Brill.
Popławski M.S. 2011: Bellum Romanum. Sakralność wojny i prawa rzymskiego, Lublin:
Wydawnictwo KUL.
Sapota T. 2009: Rzymska idea samobójstwa, „Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium” 19,
s. 281–287.
Tytus Liwiusz, Dzieje Rzymu od założenia miasta. Księgi VI–X, przeł. A. Kościółek, kom. J.
Wolski, M. Brożek, Wrocław – Warszawa – Kraków – Gdańsk 1971.
Decii Mures’ devotio as an example of Republican pietas
Among all examples of an unique manner of suicide, known as devotio, which occur in
ancient sources, the one is especially interesting. It concernes family of the Decii Mures.
Three of its members – father, son and grandson – one by one sacrificed themselves and their
soldiers during battles with Latins, Samnites and Pyrrhus. It is the only instance of "family"
sacrifice among cases listed by Anthony van Hoff – 52 examples of devotio known from
ancient times and 21 found in Roman historiography. Livy defined it as familiare fatum, that is
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the fate destined for a particular family. It means that the Decii became an exemplum to which
e.g. Cicero appeals.
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KEYWORDS: devotio; suicide; Decius Mus; Livius; Cicero; pietas
SŁOWA KLUCZOWE: devotio; samobójstwo; Decius Mus; Livius; Cicero; pietas
Patrycja Matusiak, dr, adiunkt w Katedrze Filologii Klasycznej Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w
Katowicach. Zajmuje się zagadnieniami związanymi z wojnami punickimi i Hannibalem,
historiografią rzymską, antykiem w komiksie oraz antyczną kuchnią. Autorka „Obrazu
Hannibala w literaturze antycznej” (Katowice 2015). Współredaktorka „Szkiców o antyku”
oraz czasopisma „Scripta Classica”.
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Recenzja: Spetsialnyie istoricheskiie distsipliny, vyp. 1, otvestv. red. B.L. Fonkich,
Rossiiskaia Akademia nauk. Institut vseobshchei istorii. Otdel spetsialnykh
istoricheskikh distsiplin, Moskva: IVI RAN 2014, ss. 612
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W ramach Instytutu Historii Powszechnej Rosyjskiej Akademii Nauk (RAN) działa
dwanaście naukowych jednostek. Jedną z badawczych sekcji jest Oddział Nauk Pomocniczych Historii (ONPH), który w 2014 roku zainicjował periodyczną działalność wydawnicza
w formie pracy zbiorowej prezentującej wyniki badań swoich pracowników (Nauki pomocnicze historii, t. 1). Recenzentami serii zostali: Elena V. Ukhanova oraz Mikhail V. Bibikov.
Redaktorem odpowiedzialnym za nową serię jest wybitny badacz, historyk, paleograf
i kodykolog, jeden z założycieli Comité International de Paléographie Grecque, prof. Borys
L. Fonkich, członek Akademii Ateńskiej oraz doktor honoris causa Uniwersytetu Arystotele-
sa w Salonikach, który w ramach ONPH RAN prowadzi od 1998 «Centrum Paleografii, Kodykologii oraz Dyplomatyki». Jednostka badawcza pod jego kierunkiem z powodzeniem
wydaje już dwie serie: Rossiia i Khristianskij Vostok oraz Monfokon. Issledovaniia po paleografii,
kodikologii, diplomatike. W ramach pierwszej serii ukazują się dwie części: zbiór artykułów (do
2014 roku wydano pięć tomów) oraz biblioteka – w dziesięciu tomach prac monograficz-
nych. Druga seria (dotychczas wydano też pięć tomów) wzięła swoją nazwę od nazwiska
francuskiego paleografa Bernarda de Montfaucona. W niej poruszane są ściśle paleograficzne
oraz kodykologiczne zagadnienia, jak także historia kolekcji i dylomatyka.
W przedmowie do recenzowanego dzieła (s. 3.) Fonkich stwierdza, że tom ten powi-
nien ukierunkować, nadać główny charakter oraz wskazać na podstawowe cechy całej serii.
Chodzi mianowicie o ujęcie trzech elementów. Po pierwsze, znajdą się w niej wyniki badań
każdej z samodzielnych nauk pomocniczych historii. Ta część powinna zarazem stanowić
trzon każdego kolejnego wydania. Drugą część będą stanowić prace odwołujące się do historii każdej z dyscyplin, której poświęcony będzie kolejny tom. Trzeci zaś element, to recenzje
nowych dzieł („poważnego i krytycznego charakteru”) oraz obowiązkowy przegląd nowszych publikacji i konferencji w interesującej dziedzinie.
Recenzowana praca została podzielona na pięć części, które poprzedza przedmowa
(s. 3.), a zamyka notka o autorach (s. 604-5), wykaz skrótów (s. 606) i spis treści (s. 607-11).
Pierwsza część została poświęcona kwestiom paleograficznym (paleografia grecka, łacińska i
staroruska), kodykologii, dyplomatyce, wprowadzeniu w badania historyczne, tekstologii,
prozopografii oraz heraldyce od IV do XVIII wieku. Artykuły bazują na tekstach źródłowych
(we wspomnianych wyżej językach) wraz z bogatym aparatem krytycznym i ukazaną najnowszą literaturą. Dołączone są ponadto zdjęcia rękopiśmiennych arkuszy, tabele i ilustracje.
Część wstępna, najbardziej rozbudowana (ss. 5-481), liczy piętnaście artykułów naukowych.
Spośród nich najwięcej uwagi poświęcono paleografii greckiej (6 artykułów) oraz aspektom
tekstologicznym badanych źródeł pisanych (3).
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Drugą część wydania (ss. 482-519) tworzą tzw. Pamiętniki (Memuary). Zaprezentowano tutaj postać Evgenii E. Granstrem, która w środowisku przed- i powojennego Leningradu
/ Petersburga zajmowała się paleografią grecką. Drugim artykułem w tej części są wspo-
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tę zamyka tekst: Mój pierwszy grecki rękopis – Borysa Fonkicha.
mnienia S.M. Kashtanova odnoszące się do jego naukowego pobytu na Górze Athos, a sekcję
W ramach części recenzyjnej (cz. III, ss. 522-47) znalazły się: jedna recenzja petersbur-
skiej książki, popełniona przez E.V. Kazbekovą oraz głos w dyskusji do kwestii funkcjono-
wania w XVII-wiecznej Moskwie grecko-łacińskiej szkoły Arseniusza Greka (B. Fonkich).
Temat ten pojawił się w kilku ostatnich pracach współczesnych rosyjskich badaczy, a Fon-
kich, który na ten temat napisał książkę, nie omieszkał pominąć tego tematu w swoich rozważaniach.
Dwa ostatnie rozdziały omawianego tomu (IV oraz V) stanowią kolejno: opisy (Anno-
tatsii) dwudziestu siedmiu książek, albumów, akt kongresów i konferencji za lata 2010-13 (ss.
548-85) oraz kronika (ss. 586-603) – jako przegląd konferencji 2012-14.
Tom Nauki pomocnicze historii są ciekawą pracą, w której nie tylko kształceni historycy
mogą znaleźć coś dla siebie, ale wszyscy sympatycy vitae magistra. Zakres tematyczny poruszanych artykułów jest szeroki i różnorodny. To problematyka źródeł, ich odczytywania i
interpretacji, zagadnienia tekstologiczne i dotyczące historii oraz transmisji tekstu. Wreszcie
to nowości w aspekcie datowania manuskryptów greckich, łacińskich i słowiańskich, co często rzuca nowe światło na przyjęte kiedyś twierdzenia i pozwala w innym kontekście patrzeć
na znane wszystkim wydarzenia.
Tom ten pozwala także zorientować się, czym naukowo zajmują się badacze RAN.
Autor powyższych słów uważa, że recenzowana publikacja powinna być zauważona rów-
nież przez polskie środowisko naukowe, ponieważ szereg pojawiających się w rosyjskim
dziele kwestii, w naszych badaniach istnieje w znikomym stopniu lub w ogóle.
dr Lesław Łesyk
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Recenzja: Andrzej Gillmeister, The Point of View. Tadeusz Zieliński on Ancient Religions,
Akme. Studia Historica: nr 11/2013, Warszawa, 67 pp.
Andrzej Gillmeister’s book on Tadeusz Zieliński as a historian of ancient Greek
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religion was published in 2013 as a part of the series titled “Akme. Studia Historica”
published by the Institute of History of the University of Warsaw. Before the book, the
author had published an article about Zieliński: Kontrowersje wokół książki Hellenizm a
judaizm Tadeusza Zielińskiego. Polemiki chrześcijańskie1 (Controversies around Tadeusz
Zieliński’s book Hellenism vs. Judaism. Christian polemics) (Przegląd Religioznawczy *3+ 2011,
pp. 275-288). Some other works concerning Tadeusz Zieliński and his scholarly work have
recently been published: Badania nad religiami starożytnymi Tadeusza Zielińskiego i Ryszarda
Gansińca2 (Tadeusz Zieliński and Ryszard Gansiniec’s research on ancient religions), Tadeusz
Zieliński (1859-1944) i jego interpretacja motywów dionizyjskich w tragedii greckiej3(Tadeusz
Zieliński (1859-1944) and his interpretation of Dionysian motives in Greek tragedy), Religia
starożytnej Grecji w koncepcji Tadeusza Zielińskiego (Tadeusz Zieliński’s account of ancient
Greek religion)4 and Relacje Tadeusza Zielińskiego z rosyjskimi uczonymi w Petersburgu w świetle
jego Autobiografii (Tadeusz Zieliński’s relations with Russian scholars in Petersburg in the
light of his Autobiography)5.
The book consists of five parts, preceded by a short introduction (p. 3-5) in which the
author explains the reasons behind writing the book. Gillmeister claims that the role of
Tadeusz Zieliński in the development of the research on ancient culture and literature is
inestimable and his studies on Homer and Cicero have long been considered major
achievements of classical philology. It happened so because that Zieliński has published in
Polish and his religious studies have not been very popular among the historians of idea and
A. Gillmeister, Kontrowersje wokół książki Hellenizm a judaizm Tadeusza Zielińskiego. Polemiki
chrześcijańskie, ,,Przegląd Religioznawczy” (3) 2011, 275-88.
2 H. Hoffmann, Badania nad religiami starożytnymi Tadeusza Zielińskiego i Ryszarda Gansińca, ,,Biuletyn.
Instytut Filozoficzno-Historyczny WSP w Częstochowie” (30) 2002, 185-90.
3 H. Hoffmann, Tadeusz Zieliński (1859-1944) i jego interpretacja motywów dionizyjskich w tragedii greckiej,
,,Nomos” (41/42) 2003, 85-95.
4 R. Nieczyporowski, Religia starożytnej Grecji w koncepcji Tadeusza Zielińskiego, Gdańsk 1998.
5 Z. Opacki, Relacje Tadeusza Zielińskiego z rosyjskimi uczonymi w Petersburgu w świetle jego Autobiografii,
in Studia z dziejów Europy Wschodniej. Księga pamiątkowa dedykowana Profesorowi Arturowi Kijasowi w 70.
rocznice urodzin, G. Błaszczyk, P. Kraszewski (eds.), Poznań 2010, 237-53.
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historiography. As a result, Zieliński has been forgotten by the scholarly world to a large
In the first part Gillmeister (p. 5-9) briefly relates the basic biographical data of this
outstanding scholar. Tadeusz Zieliński was born in 1859. He was educated in Saint
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Petersburg under the supervision of his father. In 1869 young Tadeusz enrolled in the
German Saint Ann's Gymnasium. After passing the exam for a secondary school certificate,
Tadeusz was granted a government scholarship, and in October he went to Leipzig to study
classical philology. Those months spent at German universities became the foundation of his
scholarly approach. The studies in Leipzig ended with a Ph.D. in classical philology granted
for the paper about the last period of the Second Punic War. Zieliński completed his
education in Munich, Vienna, Rome and Naples, among other places. He returned to Russia
in 1882 and a year later he passed an M.A. examination, which in the Russian education
system corresponded to the academic degree of doctor. Subsequently he started to lecture at
a university in Saint Petersburg. In 1886 Zieliński became an associate professor at Saint
Petersburg and took over the department of Greek literature. After Poland regained
independence, the University of Warsaw offered Zieliński the position of the head of the
Classical Philology department. The offer was accepted eagerly and Tadeusz Zieliński
quickly became an unquestioned authority in the world of Polish humanities of the interwar
period. Frequent travels abroad and his presentation of Polish scholarship during
international conventions made Zieliński one of the most recognizable Polish researchers of
the ancient world. In 1935, Zieliński went into retirement, but since he received a degree of
the honorary professor at the University of Warsaw he continued lecturing. He died on the
8th of May 1944.
The second part of the book (p. 9-14) briefly discusses Zieliński’s most important
publications about Greek religion. Gillmeister proves that the six-volume cycle Religions of the
Ancient World became Tadeusz Zieliński's personal opus magnum, the culminating point of
his academic path. It also became the ultimate proof of the synthesis of work and life, always
the humanist's pursuit, which he managed to achieve. Gillmeister quotes Plezia's correct
opinion about Religions of the Ancient World: ,,Plezia noticed that the second volume is
analogical to the third one, just as the fifth one is analogical to the sixth. The volume about
Judaism begins in one of the chapters of Religion of Hellenism. Ancient Christianity, on the
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other hand, was treated as one of the religions of the Roman Empire that deserved a separate
study due to the significance of the role it played. Plezia notices that, thanks to that, the
antithesis of Judaism and Christianity, typical of Zieliński, gained clarity” (p. 14).
In the next part, numbered as fourth6 (p. 14-49), the author summarizes main points
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concerning Greek religion made by Zieliński in the book Religion of Ancient Greece. He writes
,,I. Scholarly research on the origin of religion, similarly to the scientific research on the
origin of life, is destined to be pointlessness from the beginning: ignoramus et ignorabimus.
II. Just like a man with no artistic sense cannot understand ancient art, the one who has no
religious feelings will not understand ancient religion.
III. Ignite a bright torch of religious feeling in your heart, but leave a dim oil lamp of
denomination at home if you want the temple of ancient religion to show you its wonders.
IV. God reveals himself in beauty, in truth and in goodness; the only perfect religion is the
one that takes into account those three revelations in their wholeness.
V. The height of the religious pursuits of mankind is Christianity in its most developed form.
VI. The ancient religion is the true Old Testament of this Christianity”7.
The author observes that Tadeusz Zieliński’s understanding of Greek religion differed
considerably from the opinions of other researchers.
According to Gillmeister, in Zieliński's view ,,a man of normal faith did not fear his
gods but loved them”. The definition of Greek religion as the ,,religion of happiness” and the
full identification of ,,god-fearing” with superstition took on an additional meaning when
the religion in question was contrasted with Judaism, portrayed by the Polish scholar as the
,,religion of fear”. On that grounds Zieliński was criticized by his opponents, Szczepan
Szydelski and Rudolf Otto. Szczepan Szydelski published a vast study containing the
criticism of all historical and religious views of Tadeusz Zieliński. He protested against
contrasting Judaistic ,,religion of fear” with the Greek ,,religion of happiness”, claiming that
Zieliński confused ,,god-fearing”, Otto's numinosum, with ordinary fear and anxiety. At the
same time, according to Andrzej Gillmeister, not all researchers opposed Zieliński’s views.
Zieliński’s view shows many similarities to the equally emotional vision presented by the
Number 3 was omitted in this publication.
Gillmeister, The Point of View, 14-5.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
German philologist Walter F. Otto; suffice it to recall the role that both scholars attributed to
the goddess Demeter. For the Polish scholar, Demeter and her Roman counterpart Ceres
were prefigurations of the Christian ,,Mater Dolorosa”. He dedicated quite a lot of attention
to this goddess, also in the context of the Mysteries. Author's The Point of View notices that
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according to Edmund Stein the publication about Hellenism and Judaism made meaningful
progress in the research on ancient religions in Polish scholarship, proving Zieliński's great
courage, but the author lacked objectivity and the awareness of his own limits. Apart from
that, Gillmeister considered the polemics with Zieliński's opinions to be important from the
scholarly and social viewpoint. Gillmeister touched on the question asked by Józef
Teodorowicz. Already at the outset of his reflections he pointed out the greatest danger
resulting from the publication of Zieliński's work, connected with its convergence in time
with the growing anti-Semitism in Europe, especially in Germany.
The last part of Gillmeister’s considerations is devoted to the presentation of some
elements of the vision of Roman religion presented by Tadeusz Zieliński. Being opposed to
the picture of the evolution of Roman religion created by Georg Wissowa, Zieliński proposed
another depiction of the changes occurring in it. Wissowa divided the history of religion into
several stages: primary religion (since the time of the kings), the period of Etruscanisation,
then Hellenisation and the final collapse at the decline of the Republic. The most important
to him was the first period, which resulted from the cult of genesis popular at that time. To
Zieliński, Roman religion included three merging currents: national, Greek and eastern. The
currents in question did not unite despite the fact that they had been merging for ages.
Roman religion developed in many directions so as to be able to satisfy the needs of its
believers and fulfill the function of the religion of the Empire. Zieliński claimed that the
two ,,doctrines” of Hellenic religion were developed in Roman religion and enabled the
"psychological" adoption of Christianity.
In the fifth part of book is included the study of the poetics of this work. Gillmeister
notes that Tadeusz Zieliński frequently used a technique close to the ,,peripatetic” dialogue
and the use of literary.
In the final part the author summarises his research and concludes: ,,I'm inclined to
believe that the following assessment could easily refer to the whole cycle: the reviewer of
the French edition of Religions of Ancient Greece called the discussed study a ,,point of view”.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Religions of the Ancient World are just that, a point of view of one of the last great masters of
the golden age of Altertumwissenschaften”8. The work is complemented by detailed
bibliographies (pages 57-67), enumerating all works by Tadeusz Zieliński as well as the
works about him. Andrzej Gillmeister's book is the first book written in English that deals
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with Tadeusz Zieliński's writing, thus being able to restore this Polish author to his due place
in the pantheon of the major researchers of ancient religions.
Mariola Sobolewska
A. Gillmeister, The Point of View. Tadeusz Zieliński on Ancient Religions, p. 56.
„Littera Antiqua” 10 (2015)
Recenzja: Irene J.F. de Jong, Narratology and Classics. A Practical Guide, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014, ss. 230
Książka Narratology and Classics. A Practical Guide autorstwa Irene De Jong, którą wy-
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dawnictwo Oxford oddało do rąk czytelnika w ubiegłym roku, jest pozycją niezbędną w biblioteczce wszystkich, którzy są zainteresowani współczesną teorią narracji wraz z jej kate-
goriami oraz ich aplikacją do tekstów starożytnych. Publikacja ta jest tym bardziej pożądana,
ponieważ pisze ją jedna z najlepszych specjalistek, której obfity dorobek naukowy potwierdza znajomość zaproponowanego tematu1. Książka składa się z dwu części: pierwszej, dają-
cej niejako „podkład” teoretyczny oraz drugiej, w której przedstawiona została analiza wybranych passusów z dzieł antycznych w świetle omówionych już pojęć narratologicznych. W
rozdziale wprowadzającym części I (ss. 3-15) Autorka wiąże początki narratologii z filozofią
antyczną i przywołuje dialogi Platona (Państwo III.392-3) czy też Poetykę Arystotelesa (rozdziały 7, 24) jako przykłady refleksji na tematy związane z opowiadaniem w sztuce poetyckiej - diegesis oraz z samą naturą procesu reprezentowania w niej przez poetę rzeczywistości
– mimesis2. Odwołując się zaś do nowożytnych powieściopisarzy oraz szkoły Formalistów
Publikacje Prof. I.J.F. de Jong z jedynie roku 2014-2013 już stanowią dość pokaźny zbiór tekstów zogniskowanych wokół tego zagadnienia. Por. Jong (2014). After Auerbach: Ancient Greek literature as a test case of European Literary historiography. European Review, 22 (1), 116-128. doi:
10.1017/S1062798713000689 I.J.F. de Jong (2014). Diachronic Narratology: (the example of Ancient
Greek narrative). In P. Hühn, J.C. Meister, J. Pier & W. Schmid (Eds.), Handbook of narratology. -1 (De
Gruyter handbook) (pp. 115-122). Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter. I.J.F. de Jong (2014). The anonymous
traveller in European literature: a Greek meme? In D. Cairns & R. Scodel (Eds.), Defining Greek narrative (Edinburgh Leventis Studies, 7) (pp. 314-333). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. I.J.F. de
Jong (2013). Diachronic Narratology (the example of Ancient Greek narrative). In P. Hühn, J.C. Meister, J. Pier & W. Schmid (Eds.), The living handbook of narratology. Hamburg: Hamburg University
Press.(go to publisher's site) I.J.F. de Jong (2013). Metalepsis and Embedded Speech in Pindaric and
Bacchylidean Myth. In U.E. Eisen & P. von Möllendorff (Eds.), Über die Grenze: Metalepse in Text
und Bildmedien des Altertums (Narratologia, 39) (pp. 97-118). Berlin-New York: De Gruyter.
2 Przywołane pisma to nie jedyne loci, z których przebija refleksja teoretyczno-literacka słynnych Filozofów. O poezji i prozie jako medium słowa traktuje Platońska Uczta (205 B-C; 209 D; 215 D-E; 187 BC), konwencjonalnością mowy zajmuje się Platon w krótkim, acz bogatym w treść dialogu Kratylos, a
w X księdze Państwa interesują go możliwości poznawcze oraz naśladowcze poezji. W końcu w dialogu Ion Filozof ateński mierzy się z problemem natchnienia poetyckiego, a w Fajdrosie bezlitośnie potępia pismo; topiką poetycką zajmuje się w VII księdze Praw (804 C). Arystoteles natomiast problematyce sztuki poetyckiej poświęca całe swoje dzieło, zatytułowane od przedmiotu rozprawy po prostu
Poetyką (Techne poietiké). Traktat ten w dwu księgach (zachowała się do naszych czasów jedynie księga
I) omawia, jak stwierdza jego autor w ustępie 1447a: