Classics@5: Bernabé

ON THE RITES DESCRIBED AND COMMENTED UPON IN THE DERVENI PAPYRUS, COLS. I-VI [*]

Alberto Bernabé – Universidad Complutense de Madrid

1. Introduction

In this paper, I intend to discuss a number of issues concerning the rituals described and commented upon in the first six columns of the Derveni papyrus, and to propose a few suggestions regarding two specific aspects: first, the nature of the rituals described in the document; and second, the interpretation of these rituals offered by the text’s author. Several seminal studies have already made significant progress in this field, [1] but it is possible, in my opinion, to advance a few steps forward.
Nevertheless an obstacle in such progress is the fact that the text of the first columns has suffered continuous and significant changes in the last years. In the first draft of this paper for the CHS Conference I used the text of the six first columns in the form it has in my edition of the papyrus, [2] analysing the remains of these, taking into account recent interpretations of this text, and trying to situate the isolated and incomplete statements within a context that will plausibly serve to explain them. But Janko proposed many changes in the arrangement of the fragments of the columns I-III and introduced some joins of fragments unplaced in the edition by Kouremenos, Parássoglou, and Tsantsanoglou (henceforth KPT) [3] ; in the conference itself, Tsantsanoglou made new proposals based on Janko’s text of the third column; [4] since then, Ferrari has made successive efforts to place some scraps in the first columns and rearrange the fragments. [5] So, after reading my paper at the CHS I have reworked it four or five times, accepting and rejecting statements according to the successive rearrangements of the text.
Now I have learned that Ferrari and other prestigious Italian papyrologists are studying the first three columns, looking afresh at the arrangement of the scraps. Ferrari has sent to me preliminary results of this study. In this situation I have preferred to adopt a cautious ἐποχή. I will refer, then, to the reasonably safe parts of the text and only occasionally to the controversial parts.

2. Text analysis: Column I

2.1 Some statements

The reconstructions of both Janko and Ferrari [6] agree on the following points: a) the mention of εὐχαί; b) references to σημεῖα and to the verb σημαίνω; c) the use of the verbal form ἐπέθηκεν; d) the sequence π]υρός, ὕδατος; e) the word-final ]λυς that can probably read ἀχ]λύς.
Let us make some reflections upon these points.

2.2 εὐχαί

The commentator refers to a prayer (εὐχή) as part of the ritual. Probably this prayer is addressed to the Erinyes. According to Janko’s reconstruction, the word εὐχή appears also in line 1 of column I, preceded by a negation: οὐ]κ εὐ̣[χ-. Perhaps in the commentator’s opinion what is normally considered as an εὐχή really is not one. It must be stressed that, after he lists the component parts of the ritual in col. VI 1 (χοαὶ … εὐ]χ̣α̣ὶ καὶ θυσ[ί]α̣ι, ‘libations, pra]yers and sacrifices’), both χοαί and θυσίαι recur in the column, but εὐχ̣αί does not. [7] Instead, we find in col. VI 2 ἐπ̣[ωιδή ‘spell’, a term that most likely refers to the same reality, which may be evidence of connections to magical practice. [8] Perhaps the commentator somehow explained by this means the reason why he changed in col. VI the normal ritual term εὐχή for the magical one ἐπωιδή.

2.3 References to σημεῖα and to verb σημαίνω

The commentator’s references to σημεῖα and to the verb σημαίνω indicates that he is describing particular ritual practices with the intention of attributing them some specific meaning. This seems to indicate that he takes for granted that the meaning of the ritual is not evident (i.e. it is not what it seems to be). [9]
The commentator does this in precisely the same way in which he later cites verses from an Orphic text verbatim in order to ascribe to them an interpretation from philosophical points of view. In other words, in the same way in which the literary text contains two distinct levels—the first being the ancient poem and the other its subsequent commentary—so also does the ritual description. The first level describes the performance of the ancient ritual. On another level, the commentator’s interpretation of the performance is provided, following the idea that rituals, like Orpheus’ verses, contain an undisclosed meaning. The commentator, therefore, considers himself able to explain what lies behind the surface of the text—its hidden truth and final significance. [10] He differs from other practitioners in positioning his explanations within a cosmic framework much vaster in extent than that of others. [11]
Furthermore, as we shall see, the text contains linguistic markers indicative of this hermeneutic activity. In brief, these are: a) the use of the verb ‘to be’ in expressions of the form ‘A is B’ in which A frequently corresponds to what is done during the ritual and B to its interpretation; b) a variant of (a), whereby ‘A and B’ are identified as ‘the same [thing]’ (τὸ αὐτό); c) the use of the verb δηλόω indicating that Orpheus ‘makes clear’ something that is a part of the commentator’s explanation; d) rhetorical questions used as argumentative resources (ἆρα, τί); e) the use of the optative referring to alternative possibilities (e.g. ‘if we interpret a in some way, then b might occur, so we must interpret a in a different way’); f) references to the ignorance of others (οὐ γινώσκοντες); g) comparative particles like ὅπωσπερ; and h) causal expressions such as ὅτι, γάρ, or τούτου ἕνεκα, used to introduce an explanation by the commentator of ritual performance. The ritual does not supply its own interpretation as such; only an etiological myth can explain its raison d’être. [12] Thus, if the text includes an explicitly casual explanation, one clearly arises from the commentator’s intervention.

2.4 ἐπέθηκεν

The subject of the verb ἐπέθηκεν should be the person who transmitted the ritual. If we are here dealing with Orphic rites, as everything seems to indicate, this person cannot be anyone other than Orpheus himself, who at several points is mentioned either by name or using the third person pronoun as the author of the poem which is to be discussed in following columns; Orpheus is always considered to be responsible for introducing the τελεταί into Greece. [13]

2.5 Water and fire

Fire and water should be considered references to ritual elements, the purifying water and the fire of sacrifice, but according to KPT 114 ‘fire and water are referred to here probably as means of divination (pyromancy and hydromancy)’, an interpretation confirmed by Ferrari.

2.6 ἀχ]λύς

In the fr. F 18 + H 45 (now in col. I, according to J. and F.), we read the sequence ]λ̣ὺς καὶ̣ τ̣ἆ̣λ̣λ᾽ ὅσα̣ [ . KPT 114 suggest the reading πο]λ̣ὺς, which would not seem to tie in very well with the following καὶ τ᾽ ἆλλ᾽ ὅσα. Conversely, ἀχ]λ̣ὺς, as proposed by J., provides a wonderful reading. It would refer to a ‘shroud of mist’, a clouded frame of mind that can hinder the proper comprehension of things. [14] The commentator would be referring to the fact that most people do not understand the meaning of ritual (cf. σημαίνει, σημεῖα) due to certain mental clouding. The expression is very similar to the one we find in col. V 8-9 (ὑπὸ τ̣[ῆς τε] ἁμαρτ<ί>ης̣ / κ̣αὶ [τ]ῆς ἄλλης ἡδον[ῆ]ς νενικημέν̣[οι, οὐ] μ̣α̣ν̣θ̣[άνο]υ̣σιν οὐδὲ] π̣ιστεύουσι ‘overcome both by error and pleasure as well, they neither learn nor believe’) and is consistent with the numerous references in the poem to the ignorance of others.

2.7 In sum

In col. I the commentator is making references to a purificatory ritual, most likely to honour the Erinyes, in which prayers, the burning of pure offerings, and water were included and which can be also divinatory. He advises that the ritual has a meaning and that there are signs in it (σήματα) that could be (philosophically) interpreted. People, however, are unable to either notice this meaning or interpret the signs due to their obfuscated minds.

3. Text Analysis: Column II

3.1 Text

J. edits only ll. 7-9 of his reconstruction, whereas F. includes in col. II what I can briefly define as the right half of the column and the scarce letters of the left side in KPT’s edition. [15] The majority of this fragment is considered to belong to col. III by Janko. In any case, I must say something about the matters dealt with in this fragment, in spite of its location in the papyrus. Ferrari’s text is as follows:
               [   ] 
               ]ωι̣[ 
               ] Ἐ̣ριν[υ- 
               ] τιμῶσιν 
               α̣υ̣[ χ]ο̣αὶ στα̣γόσιν̣ [χ]έον̣[ται 5
               ̣[ ]γο̣υς τιμὰς [χ]ρὴ
               ̣[ ] ἑκάστοι̣ς ὀρ̣ν̣ί̣θ̣ε̣ιόν τι
               κλε̣[ισθὲν ]οστο[ ̣]στ[ ] ̣ου ̣[ ̣]κηι 
               ].στ[ ̣ ̣]υτο̣[ ̣ ̣ ]
            
6 [τοὺς μ]ά̣γο̣υς J. || 8 κλε̣[ισθὲν supplevi : κλε̣[ legit F. : κα̣[ KPT | ]μ̣ουσ̣[ι]κῆι KPT : ]α̣ οὐ δ̣[ί]κηι J. || 9 τ[οιο]ύτο̣[υς T.
… Eriny(e)s … they honour … drop-libations are poured … honours the magoi? must …. for each of them (they give?) a little bird locked (in a cage?)

3.2 Some Impressions

This is the first time that the Erinyes, who will be analysed by the commentator in the following columns, are mentioned, probably as addressees of a ritual performed by the magoi (col. VI) and as objects of the verb τιμῶσι. Libations are poured [16] and some ritual duty, consisting of honouring somebody (probably the Erinyes), is stated. Each of the participants in the rite seems to receive a little bird in a cage. [17] It is impossible to decide if in l. 8 there is a reference to music (]μ̣ουσ̣[ι]κῆι), a usual part of Orphic rituals, or to justice (οὐ δ̣[ί]κηι), a the topic that will be dealt with in the following columns.

4. Text Analysis: Column III

The reconstructions of KPT, J., and F. are very different, but they agree on the following points: a) the mention of a δαίμων; b) references to Erinyes; c) the mention of some δαίμονες that seem tο be θεῶν ὑπερέται; d) a comparison (ὅπωσπερ); and e) the expression αἰτίην [δ᾽ ἔ]χουσι or [ἴσ]χουσι. The contexts, however, are not clear and vary greatly according to the reconstructions of the columns. So for the moment it is preferable not to go forward with an interpretation.

5. Text Analysis: Column IV

The text of the first five lines of column IV has been improved by the integration of two scraps (F 14 and 17) by Ferrari. [18] But these lines are not important for our purposes. In the lines that follow, the function of the Erinyes in their role as auxiliaries of Justice is connected to the cosmic order as a whole. The commentator insists that the punishment of the Erinyes is not solely related to the bloodshed; in fact, the text by Heraclitus cited in support does not concern itself with the topic of violent crime within the family. ‘It is unlikely that he (Heraclitus) completely ignored the roles and characteristics that common opinion had assigned to them (the Erinyes), but it is likely that he adapted them probably by extending the jurisdiction in which the Erynis operated’, [19] and so they persecute unjust celestial bodies. The commentator quotes Heraclitus because he ascribes to the Erinyes the role of guarantors of natural order and justice in the universe. [20]
On the contrary, his insistence on the link between the Erinyes and Justice leads us to postulate that good destiny in the afterlife is connected to justice, a theory that seems strange in the context of the Orphic leaves, but not in that of Apulian pottery (where Orpheus and Dike appear on the same vase and in the same explanatory context) or of Plato. [21]

6. Text Analysis: Column V [22]

In column V, the commentator mentions, most likely in relation to the punishments just discussed, that ‘the terrors of Hades’ should be taken seriously. The terrors are connected to the consultation of oracles. Janko [23] has suggested a reading for lines 5-6 that makes this connection explicit: εἰ θέμι[ς ἀπιστ]ῆ̣σ̣α̣[ι / ἂ̣ν̣ Ἅιδου δεινά ‘whether it is right if one were to disbelieve in the terrors of Hades’.
The first person πάριμεν̣ (line 4) [24] and χρη[στη]ριαζόμ[εθα in line 2 seem to present the very author of the papyrus as a specialist in oracular consultation. [25] If there is no punctuation after αὐ̣τοῖς we should understand that the consultation is on behalf of others. [26] One parallel that immediately suggests itself if this is the case is Tiresias’ consultation of the Delphic Oracle at the request of Oedipus in the Oedipus the King of Sophocles. [27]
The mention of dreams appears to indicate that, if correctly interpreted—an act of which common people are incapable—they provide, as παραδείγματα of reality, testimony of the existence of horrific scenes in Hades. [28] The commentator censures people because they are ignorant and because, as they do not wish to restrict their pleasures with just behaviour, they take no notice of this testimony. He argues that dream-visions (and perhaps also oracles, given the reference to their consultation) are παραδείγματα, in which correct faith and learning should be rooted. Because people ignore these models, however, they neither learn nor believe. In this way the commentator equates lack of faith with ignorance. It is worthwhile to recall at this point that, according to the Pythagorean text I will quote in §9.5, daimones are responsible for dream-visions and for oracles [29] . In any case, the author intends to convince these people that they are endangering their own salvation.

7. Text Analysis: Column VI

7.1 New readings

Janko has integrated fr. I 70 in this column, affecting the reading of lines 8-10; I have also modified a former suggestion of mine for lines 11-12; [30] Ferrari has offered a better alternative, slightly adjusted by me. The text is as follows: [31]
               χοαὶ γάρ, εὐ]χ̣α̣ὶ καὶ θυσ[ί]α̣ι μ[ειλ]ί̣σ̣σ̣ο̣υσι τ̣ὰ̣[ς ψυχάς.
               ἐπ̣[ωιδὴ δ]ὲ̣ μάγων δύν[α]ται δ̣αίμονας ἐμ[ποδὼν
               γι̣[νομένο]υ̣ς μεθιστάν̣αι· δαίμον̣ες ἐμπο[δὼν ὄντες εἰσὶ
               ψ[υχαὶ τιμω]ροί. τὴν θυσ[ία]ν̣ τούτου̣ ἕνεκε[μ] π̣[οιοῦσ]ι̣[ν
               οἱ μά̣[γο]ι̣, ὡ̣σ̣περεὶ ποινὴν̣ ἀποδιδόντες. τοῖ<ς> δὲ5
               ἱεροῖ[ς] ἐπισπένδουσιν ὕ[δω]ρ καὶ γάλα, ἐξ ὧμπερ καὶ τὰς
               χοὰς ποιοῦσι, ἀνάριθμα̣ [κα]ὶ̣ πολυόμφαλα τὰ πόπανα
               θύουσιν, ὅτι καὶ αἱ ψυχα[ὶ ἀν]ά̣ριθμοί̣ εἰσι. μύσται
               Εὐμεν̣ίσι προθύουσι κ[ατὰ τὰ] α̣ὐτὰ μάγοις· Εὐμενίδες γὰρ
               ψυχαί ε̣ἰ̣σιν. ὧν ἕνεκ̣[εν ὁ μέλλων ἱ]ερὰ θεοῖς θύειν10
               `ὀ̣´[ρ]ν̣ί̣θ̣[ε]ιον πρότερον [λύει, εἰ σὺν ψυχ]α̣ῖ̣ς̣ π̣ο̣τ̣ε̣ [ἔσ]ται 
               κάτ]ω, [ὅ]τε καὶ τὸ κα̣[κὸν ]ου...[..]οι̣,
               εἰσὶ δὲ [ψυχα]ὶ...[. ].τουτο.[
               ὅσαι δὲ [ ]ων ἀλλ̣[
               φ̣ο̣ρ̣ου[ ]...[ 15

            
1 χοαὶ Tsants. | γάρ Bernabé || 10 ὁ μέλλων ἱ]ερὰ J. 2008 : τὸμ μέλλοντ]α Tsants. || 11 `ὀ̣´[[θ̣ ]] [ρ]ν̣ί̣θ̣[ε]ιον J. 2008 | λύει Bernabé, prob. F. : θύει J. 2008 | εἰ σὺν ψυχ]α̣ῖ̣ς̣ π̣ο̣τ̣ε̣ [ἔσ]ται F. : ὅτι σὺν αὐτ]ο̣ἷ̣ς̣ π̣ο̣τ̣έ̣[ον]ται Bernabé : ]α̣ι̣σ̣π̣ο̣τ̣ε̣[. .]ται J. 2008 || 12 κάτ]ω, [ὅ]τε καὶ τὸ κα̣[κὸν F. : . . .] ὥ[σ]τε (iam Janko) καὶ τὸ κα̣[ (κα̣[κὸν dub. in ap. crit.) Bernabé

For libations, prayers and sacrifices placate souls. An incantation by magoi can dislodge daimones that have become a hindrance; daimones that are a hindrance are vengeful souls. This is why the magoi perform the sacrifice, as they are paying a blood-price. Onto the offerings they make libations of water and milk, with both of which they also made drink-offerings. They sacrifice cakes which are countless and many-humped, because the souls too are countless. Initiates make a first sacrifice to the Eumenides in the same way as magoi do; for the Eumenides are souls. For these reasons a person who intends to make offerings to the gods, first frees a bird, having a hope of being sometime in the netherworld with the souls, when the evil (?) … but they are souls … this (?), but as many (souls) as … of … but (?) they wear

7.2 Description and explanation

In col. VI the commentator returns to the ritual and its explanation; as a result, the two levels I pointed out in §2.3 necessarily reappear. Following the above-explained methodology, I will analyse first the descriptive level (§8), trying to place this ritual within a Greek religious context. Afterwards, I will focus on the commentator’s interpretation (§9), aiming at placing it in a philosophical framework.

8. Reconstruction of Ritual [32]

8.1 δρώμενα and λεγόμενα

§8.1.1 χοαί

References to libations appear in col. VI 6 (ἐπισπένδουσιν) and 7 (χοὰς), and in col. II 5. As Tsantsanoglou has already noted, it is likely that among the six to eight letters missing in col. VI 1 we should read χοαὶ, which are usually associated with funerary rituals. [33] I propose χοαὶ γάρ, εὐ]χαὶ κτλ. In col. II 5, the commentator specifies that they are made in drops (στα̣γόσιν). Yet such a libation was in fact uncommon, since scholars define the χοή as a libation in which the content of the entire vessel was poured out, a practice common in the ritual dedicated to the dead. On the other hand, σπονδή consists of a moderate pouring over the altar. [34] However, sequences such as Aesch. Choeph. 149 (τάσδ᾽ ἐπισπένδω χοάς) [35] call into question the existence of a categorical difference between the two types of libation.
We must pay attention to a small fragment of the papyrus (Fr. I 78, KPT 124):
]σ[
]νηφ[
where νηφ[ could be read as a form of νηφάλιος ‘lacking in wine, sober, abstemious’. [36] In fact, many texts mention wineless libations for the Erinyes, [37] and in almost all cases their purpose is to appease these vengeful divinities. The most interesting is a passage of the Orphic Argonautica in which there are many striking coincidences with the Derveni text:

αὐτὰρ ἔγωγε
ψυχὴν ἱλασάμην, σπένδων μειλίγματα χύτλων
ὕδατί τ᾽ ἠδὲ γάλακτι, μελισσορύτων ἀπὸ νασμῶν
λοιβαῖς συμπροχέων, καὶ ἐμοῖς ὕμνοισι γεραίρων. [38]
That such libations are made without wine seems to arise from the fact that in sacrificial contexts wine is normally considered a substitute for blood. The ritual described by the commentator appears to be similar in this respect to those mentioned elsewhere. The occurrence of ὕδατος in col. I 10 also fits well with such a reality.

§8.1.2 θυσίαι

As the second component of the ritual, the author mentions sacrifices (θυσίαι) in col. VI 1 and 4; the verbs θύουσιν (VI 8), θύειν (VI 10), and προθύουσι (VI 9) also appear. Usually, the sacrifice in question is a burnt offering, and in fact we find π]υρός in col. I.
It is therein specified (as one might expect given Orphic beliefs) that this offering does not involve bloodshed, its main components being some cakes (col. VI 7 πόπανα). Other texts give evidence of cake offerings in similar ritual contexts, in particular the mysteries celebrated in honour of the chthonic deities Demeter and Dionysius [39] or in funeral rites. [40]

§8.1.3 εὐχαί/ ἐπωιδαί

The third component of the ritual, according to col. VI 1, consists of invocations εὐ]χ̣α̣ί. They are also clearly mentioned in col. I and reconstructed by Janko in col. I 1, preceded by a negation: οὐ]κ εὐ̣[χ- (§ 2.2). In col. VI 2 we find ἐπ̣[ωιδή instead of εὐχή. [41] In the ritual context, the most likely purpose of the ἐπωιδή is to appease the Erinyes. Yet the commentator hastens to explain, in the course of discussing the Erinyes and Eumenides, that the addressees are the souls of the dead, rather than the Erinyes—here identified, as always, with the Eumenides, a point to which I shall return (§8.2.1).

§8.1.4 ἔπη

Another component of the ritual is the hexameter text the author comments upon, which might form part of τὰ λεγόμενα, though the issue is not the primary focus of our current discussion.

§8.1.5 ὀρνίθειον

In cols. II 7 and VI 11 we read ὀρνίθειον. I have dealt with this topic in a former paper. [42] Here I will restate the main conclusions along with some new proposals:
a) ὀρνίθειον means ‘a little bird’.
b) Since the Orphics did not use living beings (ἔμψυχα) in their sacrifices, I think that this ὀρνίθειον cannot be destined for sacrifice.
c) In col. VI 11 I have supplemented π̣ο̣τ̣έ̣[ον]ται ‘they fly’ and stated that this verb clearly refers to living birds. For this reason (and for the one mentioned in b) I have suggested reconstructing λύει instead of Janko’s θύει in col. VI 11. Liberation of a bird can be understood as soul’s liberation from injustice by some sort of sympathetic magic. The mystai probably received (or took) a caged bird, a circumstance probably referred to in col. II 7-8. We have parallels to the bird metaphor, [43] and the motif of the cage of the soul-bird stands in clear relation to the Orphic theory of the body as prison of the soul, quoted by Plato, [44] and thus to the doctrine of metempsychosis. The Orphics held the belief that, once freed from the cycle of reincarnation, the soul would fly like a bird. If we are to imagine caged birds that later fly away as part of the ritual, their release would be an imitative act serving as a preliminary part of the ritual.
d) Before π̣ο̣τ̣έ̣[ον]ται I accepted Janko’s ὅτι as very suited to the commentator’s style, and I proposed after σὺν αὐτ]ο̣ῖ̣ς̣, which fits well with the letters ι and σ subsequently read. Thus, I read lines 10-11 as follows:
ὧν ἕνεκ̣[εν ὁ μέλλων ἱ]ερὰ θεοῖς θύειν10
`ὀ̣´[ρ]ν̣ί̣θ̣[ε]ιον πρότερον [λύει, ὅτι σὺν αὐτ]ο̣ῖ̣ς̣ π̣ο̣τ̣έ̣[ον]ται.
For these reasons a person who intends to make offerings to the gods,
first liberates a bird, because (the Eumenides) fly with them.
The agreement with the pronoun would be ad sensum; each mystes liberates a little bird, and with them (i.e. with the birds of all these mystai) the Eumenides—the souls—begin similarly to fly.
Nevertheless, Ferrari, accepting λύει, has proposed a different supplement: εἰ σὺν ψυχ]α̣ῖ̣ς̣ π̣ο̣τ̣ε̣ [ἔσ]ται ‘Nella speranza che un giorno possa stare … insieme con le anime’. This proposal has two advantages: first, before ι̣σ̣π̣ο̣τ̣ε̣ there seems to be an alpha (cf. Janko 2008); and second, in this formulation it is not necessary to postulate an ad sensum agreement. With this ritual act the initiated assures his liberation and secures his residence in the privileged place in the company of the other souls.
For the following line, I proposed ὥ[σ]τε (iam Janko 2001) καὶ τὸ κα̣[ (suggesting κα̣[κὸν in ap. crit.) with a tentative translation ‘with the result (?) that even the evil (?)’. However, this leaves a gap of three letters in the beginning of the line that is very difficult to fill. Ferrari, for his part, made a better proposal, κάτ]ω, [ὅ]τε τὸ κα̣[κὸν.

8.2 Addressees of the ritual

§8.2.1 The Eumenides/Erinyes

The addressees of the ritual performed by the magoi are the Erinyes/Eumenides. Given the frequency with which this euphemism is employed in cult worship, [45] it seems likely that the Eumenides are being also identified here with the Erinyes. [46] The type of the offering described is, in fact, the same as that usually offered to the Eumenides in the parallels given above (§8.1.1).
Martín Hernández [47] points out that outside of Orphic circles the ritual for the Erinyes would carry significance in eschatological terms only if the deceased or some of his ancestors had committed a blood crime or made a slanderous allegation against the family. [48] It would be nonsensical, however, to suppose that the ritual described in the papyrus would be aimed at a large group of mystai, all of whom were guilty of a crime of this type. Clearly, the ritual is exploiting eschatological imagery in which the Erinyes punish the dead in the afterlife. [49]
Martín Hernández furthermore turns her attention to the role that these divinities play in the afterlife as depicted on Apulian vase paintings. [50] As in the Orphic texts, in these paintings we find the Erinyes punishing the dead who were presumably uninitiated, unjust, or those who did not manage entirely to atone for guilt incurred during their lifetime. [51] Later on I will try to elucidate what kind of guilt is at stake here (§ 10.1).
Henrichs believes that the ‘preliminary sacrifice’ to the Eumenides cannot be anything like that dedicated to them in the woods near Athens because the cult of the Eumenides is not of a mystic nature and because, if it were a preliminary sacrifice, the principal one would then be dedicated to other gods. [52] Both assumptions would be correct within the context of the Attic cult of the Erinyes/Eumenides, but nothing prevents mystic rituals from embracing elements drawn from other Greek rituals and adapting them to their own ‘liturgy’.

§8.2.2 The hindering daimones

The other addressees mentioned are the hindering daimones (δ̣αίμονας ἐμ[ποδὼν γι̣[νομένο]υ̣ς, col. VI 2-3). They most likely hinder the passage of the soul to the afterlife by demanding a penalty for the guilt of each individual. It cannot be ruled out that, in the framework of a ritual or the analysis of the commentator, they might be identified with the Erinyes. [53]
Tsantsanoglou rightly rejects any supposed relationship between these daimones and the reference Patroclus makes in the Iliad to the souls that will not let him cross to the afterlife because he is unburied. [54] Instead he notes parallels to the μακραίωνες δαίμονες of Empedocles, who keep sinful souls away from those of the just. [55] According to a note in Alexander Polyhistor, the Pythagoreans held similar beliefs: [56] ‘impure souls were not allowed to approach each other, much less to come close to pure souls, since they were fettered in unbreakable bonds by the Erinyes.’ [57] Martín Hernández also draws attention to a very clear parallel in Plutarch. [58]
These hindering daimones are also related to the ῎Εμπουσα that Aristophanes introduces in The Frogs. [59] Brown believes that the appearance of Empusa in this role should be linked to the presentation of the φάσματα in the Eleusian Mysteries. [60] He furthermore suggests that this scene should be interpreted as comic imitation of the dramatization of the afterlife carried out by the mystai and priests in their concoction of their great mysteries. Martín Hernández, however, [61] argues that we should not reject the possibility that one or more similar beings might in fact appear in the panoply of Orphic ritual.

8.3 Ritual performers: mystai and magoi

In column VI, two types of ritual performers are mentioned: the μύσται (8) and the μάγοι (2, 5, and 9). [62]
The μύσται attend the initiation rituals which the μάγοι perform. Obbink calls attention to the fact that μύσται can be associated with both Eleusinian initiates and the Bacchic mysteries. [63] Earlier, Henrichs had suggested the possibility of linking this cult with that of Eleusis, [64] based on the fact that in this period μύσται refers above all to Eleusis. However, Tsantanoglou rightly refuses to credit this inference. [65] Moreover, Henrichs himself shows that μύσται can be found in the Heraclitus fragment already cited, and in the Orphic gold tablet from Hipponium, [66] where the word μύσται is paired with βάκχοι. Tsantsanoglou adds the testimony of the tablet from Pherae [67] that confirms that the mystai are freed from any punishment after death. Given that the μάγοι are not to be identified at all with the hierophants of Eleusis, it is clear that these mystai participate in an Orphic-Bacchic ritual.
Tsantsanoglou outlines clearly and precisely the conditions that a mystes should fulfil, always as seen through the eyes of our commentator: [68] he should live a righteous life, avoid injustice, acquire a certain degree of knowledge, eschew the pleasure and distrust that might hinder him from doing so, [69] and celebrate the rite. Dream-visions also provide a source of information for the mystai, and their exegesis a part of the process. The mystai probably believed that they could be liberated from their own injustice through the ritual.
On the other hand, the identity of the μάγοι is a controversial issue. Tsantsanoglou and Burkert insist that the μάγοι are professionals of foreign origin, perhaps Persian; Jourdan sees them as charlatans; Most and Betegh [70] see them as Orphic priests. I agree with Betegh’s explanation that, despite the Persian origin of the word, the μάγοι mentioned here are Orphic officiants. It seems likely, furthermore, that the Persian magoi were considered experts in ritual acts and that Orphic officiants were accordingly compared with them. I have dealt with μάγοι in the Derveni papyrus in other paper, [71] whose main conclusions are that μάγοι were neither charlatans nor Persian magoi, but Orphic officiants identical to those who in some sources are referred to as ‘Orpheotelests’. This name has never been documented in any Orphic source, yet it appears in works of ‘external’ authors, including those with an openly hostile attitude toward Orphism; it almost seems as though the word Ὀρφεοτελεστής is virtually a technical term for authors with an ‘external perspective’ upon Orphism. [72] If this is the case, the designation ‘Orpheotelest’ might best be understood as a term of art used by erudite ancient ‘historians of religions’, whilst the term μάγοι is that current with those who share the ‘internal perspective.’ If we compare the activities attributed to the Orpheotelests (or to the same professionals called by other names) with the ones quoted in the Derveni Papyrus, we can see that they are the same. In the table that follows, I compare the information given in the quoted texts regarding the Orpheotelests with the information about the μάγοι offered in col. VI. This comparative view clearly indicates that the sources refer to the same type of person.
Information given about the Orpheotelests in other sources Information about the μάγοι in P.Derv.
Their rituals are mystic [73] VI 8 μύσται
They perform sacrifices [74] VI 1 εὐ]χ̣α̣ὶ καὶ θυσ[ί]αι
They promise happiness in Hades [75] VI 2 δύν[α]ται δ̣αίμονας ἐμ[ποδὼν / γ̣ι̣[νομένο]υ̣ς μεθιστάν̣αι [76]
…and terrors to those who were not initiated [77] V 1, 6 ἐν Ἅιδου δεινά
They use incantation [78] VI 2 ἐπ̣ [ωιδή
and also divination [79] V 3 χ̣ρ̣ησ̣[τ]ηρ̣ιάζον[ται, V 4 μα]ν̣τεῖον
They base their knowledge in the books of Orpheus [80] The text of Orpheus is commented in P.Derv.
They purify from injustice [81] VI 4-5 τὴν θυσ[ία]ν̣ … π̣[οιοῦσ]ι̣[ν οἱ μά̣[γο]ι̣, / ὡ̣σ̣περεὶ ποινὴν̣ ἀποδιδόντες.
Dream-visions play a specific role [82] V 6 ἐ]ν̣ύ̣πνια
Edmonds offers an insightful approach to this topic when he points out ‘the Derveni author’s use of the text of Orpheus and mention of the magoi as part of his definition of himself as an extra-ordinary ritual specialist’ and that ‘one of the aims of the text was to establish the credentials of the Derveni author as an authority on religious matters, one who was able to give an explanation in support of his ritual practices.’ [83] Furthermore, he highlights that ‘the fundamental ambivalence of the term magos admits a sense of both a positive and a negative abnormality, and the shift from positive to negative is not a chronological, but a situational shift, dependent upon who is labeling whom and for what reasons.’ [84] It is likely that criticism cast by competitors upon the μάγοι in their capacity as religious or healing practitioners eventually infected the word with the negative connotations it acquires in other texts. The positive or strictly technical associations of the word thus came to be overshadowed by the ‘negative aspect’ that Edmonds recognizes within its ambivalent designation of what he calls ‘extra-ordinary people.’
The analysis of the given data leads us to conclude that the μάγος, a term of Persian origin referring to certain specific ritual performers, was accepted in Greece, most likely because of the professional prestige such performers enjoyed. More importantly, this expression refers to performers of non-civic rites related to mystic and initiatory rituals. It is crucial to understand that these rituals are Greek, in Greek language, and intended for Greek participants. The λεγόμενα refers almost certainly to explanations of the mythical significance of the mysteries, and also to ἐπωιδαί, which brings them closer to the world of magic. The professionals designated as magoi undertook diverse duties, such as sacrifice (apparently bloodless), divination, healing, purification, preparation for death, funerary rituals—all of them containing a strong magical component. Those who participated in the rituals were called μύσται, and they acted in the way indicated by the magoi.
Other type of priests, physicians, official diviners, and other ‘professionals’ must have seen in their performances a dangerous competition, or an intolerable intrusion. They accordingly denounced their practices as being ill-intentioned or simply deceptive and useless. The μάγοι thus became more and more discredited, and gradually the use of the term became restricted to what we now call ‘magicians.’

8.4. Conclusions

Let us briefly review, then, what elements of the ritual described in the first columns of the papyrus can be asserted.
The first libation is carried out by pouring droplets, as homage paid to the Eumenides/Erinyes. Every mystes takes a little bird, probably caged. The ritual act involves, in addition to the burning of many-lobed cakes, new libations made of water and milk being poured over offerings, accompanied by the recitation of an ἐπωιδή or Orphic poem. Every mystes then releases his caged bird.
It seems clear that the goal of such a ritual act is to propitiate the Erinyes in a funerary ceremony, or better in a τελετή that involves an imitatio mortis by means of sacrifices, prayers/incantations, and libations. [85] Releasing the bird is prima facie an act in accordance with the principles of sympathetic magic, performed to free the soul from its corporal imprisonment or as a metaphor of this liberation. In a previous paper I have underscored the significance of a series of Buddhist rituals linked with karma in which releasing caged birds [86] forms a part of the ritual act. Casadesús [87] provides an interesting alternative when he interprets the bird in a context of ornithomancy and supports this theory by a quotation of a Stoic passage. [88] However, he fails to offer any specific reading for filling the gap.

9. Ritual as interpreted by commentator

9.1 Premises

The commentator, as I have pointed out (§2.3), not only describes the rite, but also proceeds to explain its meaning. At this point it is important to scrutinize the principles upon which his explanation is based, as well as the linguistic markers that indicate his interpretation, which separate the roles of the μάγοι and the μύσται.

9.2 The function of μάγοι

The interpreter concludes the following about the rite performed by the μάγοι:
a) The effect he attributes to the χοαί, εὐχαί and θυσίαι (col. VI 1) is to appease the dead souls: μ[ειλ]ί̣σ̣σ̣ο̣υσι is an almost certain reading. The reconstruction τ̣ὰ̣[ς ψυχάς relies on the commentator’s following statements: daimones must be moved away, and they are souls (col. VI 3-4); it is said in lines 7-8 that πόπανα of countless ‘nombrils’ are sacrificed because the souls of the departed are themselves countless. [89] The commentator thus understands that those who are appeased are the souls. The marker could be γὰρ if, as I believe, this should be read in the lost initial part of line 1.
b) The effect he attributes to the ἐπωιδή is μεθιστάναι (col. VI 3) to the daimones that hinder (δέ coordinates the sentence with the first one introduced by γάρ). The problem is that the word μεθιστάναι has a double sense in Greek; it may refer to a ‘change of place’ or ‘displacement’, but it has also the sense ‘to change in spirits or mood’. [90] I have discussed this problem in another paper, [91] concluding that if the Eumenides are appeased they maintain their distance and do not attack, or, as Henrichs [92] rightly puts it, ‘they are kept at a safe distance by proper rites of appeasement.’ To use a phrase our commentator might have endorsed, ‘to appease’ and ‘to maintain distance’ τὸ αὐτό ἐστι.
c) Impeding daimones are vengeful souls (the linguistic marker being εἰσί) [93] .
d) This is why the magoi perform the sacrifice precisely as though they were paying a blood-price (the linguistic markers are τούτου̣ ἕνεκε[μ] and ὡ̣σ̣περεὶ) [94] .
e) The cakes have multiple lobes because the souls are likewise multiple (marker: ὅτι).

9.3 The function of μύσται

Regarding what the μύσται do, the commentator concludes:
a) The μύσται perform the same acts as the μάγοι (col. VI 8-98-9; the marker κατὰ τὰ αὐτά indicates the identification of apparently distinct phenomena).
b) The Eumenides are the souls of the dead.
c) προθύουσι is interpreted in etymological terms not as ‘to sacrifice in the foremost position’ in honor of the Eumenides, but rather as ‘to do prior to the sacrificial act’ (θύειν … πρότερον col. VI 10-11; marker: ὧν ἕνεκ̣[εν).
d) Due to the state of the text in lines 12-15, I cannot determine what statements were made by the commentator about the significance of the bird’s liberation.

9.4 The Eumenides/Erinyes in the interpretation of the commentator

The commentator identifies the Eumenides/Erinyes as the souls of the dead, which confirms the theory of Rohde to that effect. [95] This scholar, however, takes his hypothesis even further when he states that they are the souls of the dead who passed away in a violent fashion. Nothing in the text seems to indicate this conclusion. Tsantsanoglou suggests that they are the souls of the pious instead, the ἀγαθοί. [96]
Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is important to nuance this picture considerably. Johnston points out that ‘there is no good indication that the Erinyes were considered to be souls of the dead in popular belief,’ [97] and I believe she is absolutely right. More attention should be paid to the fact that the identification of the Eumenides/Erinyes with the souls of the deceased is not depicted in the text as being the belief of ritual performers; rather, as the linguistic marker γάρ in line 9 indicates, it is an explanation offered by the commentator. The Derveni commentator can thus be said to have arrived at Rhode’s idea many centuries earlier, but this is not to say his explanation reflects ancient beliefs. On the other hand, there is no indication that they are ‘principally positive agents’, given the necessity of performing a ritual act in order to appease them.

9.5 The demonological theory of the commentator

The commentator seems to support a rather complex demonological theory, but it is difficult to derive its exact formulation because it is for the most part revealed in the first columns, whose text is not yet sound. He makes mention of diverse types of daimones, but it is not easy to determine whether some of these groups can be distinguished from others. [98] I will summarize what we can currently read in the Papyrus about daimones:
a) Daimones are souls (col. VI 3-4).
b) They are countless and must be propitiated with offerings (col. VI 8).
c) They have different functions: c1] some of them are assistants of the gods (col. III θεῶν ὑπερέται); c2] some of them are a hindrance and are vengeful souls (col. VI 3-4); c3] perhaps they are responsible for something (αἰτίην [δ᾽ ἔ]χουσι or [ἴσ]χουσι col. III, but the subject is uncertain); and c4] the Eumenides are souls (that is daimones) (col. VI 9).
Although the issue can be only sketched here, this doctrine can be traced to Hesiod, who speaks about the golden race that become daimones, guardians of mortal human beings. [99] Some philosophers speak about a world that is ἔμψυχον and full of souls or daimones. [100] An enigmatic fragment by Heraclitus talks about certain beings who transform themselves into guardians watching over the living and the dead. [101]
On the other hand, Sara Macías [102] points out an interesting parallel in a fragment of Euripides, [103] where reference is made to a bloodless sacrifice accompanied by a libation to Zeus, here identified with Hades. Subsequently, they ask a god, whom Macías interprets as Dionysius, to wield the sceptre of Zeus, share power over the underworld with Hades, and send the souls of the dead to the light in order to increase the ritual knowledge of the participants in the rite.
Many points of contact with the commentator’s ideas can be found in a text by Alexander Polyhistor in which Pythagoras identifies the daimones with the souls of the dead and portrays the Erinyes, who put shackles on those who enter the afterlife without being ritually pure (ἀκαθάρτους), as divinities in charge of punishing such souls:

Hermes is the controller of the souls…he brings upwards the purified souls, but impure souls were not allowed to approach each other, much less to come close to pure souls, since they were fettered in unbreakable bonds by the Erinyes. And all the air is full of souls and they are called daimones and heroes; and they carry to men dreams, portents, diseases, and purification, averting by expiatory sacrifices, all divination and omens are related to them. [104]
Although it seems clear that Pythagorean eschatology is celestial (the righteous being brought upwards) whereas Orphic eschatology is chthonic, there are a number of significant points of contact between the two, most notably the presence of the Erinyes as guardians and punishers of impure souls, references to dreams, portents, and prophecies, and the relationship of these to daimones. Also we find in Chrysippos evil daimones used by gods as executioners and avengers upon unholy and unjust men. Plutarch says that, while others go about as avengers of arrogant and grievous cases of injustice, daimones are guardians of sacred rites of the gods and prompters of the Mysteries. [105] Plutarch also asserts that it is ridiculous that Apollo ‘should offer some libations and perform those ceremonies which men perform in the effort to placate and mollify the wrath of daimones whom men call the “unforgetting avengers,” as if they followed up the memories of some unforgotten foul deeds of earlier days.’ [106]
On the other hand, Plato presents daimones as intermediaries between gods and men in Symposium; in Republic the philosopher refers ‘to gods, daimones, heroes and Hades’ things.’ [107] Even Menedemos’ jokes indicate that the relationship between Erinyes and daimones was a widespread belief. [108]
To sum up, the commentator’s interpretation does not seem to be utterly idiosyncratic. Rather, it is situated within a deep, and widely understood, cultural context.

9.6 The absence of the gods

In the above-mentioned passages, we met Hermes in the text by Pythagoras (D. L. 8.32) and Zeus/Hades and Dionysius in the text by Euripides (fr. 192 Kannicht). We can also find gods situated within an Orphic eschatological context in the gold tablets. A gold tablet from Thurii reads that the soul of an initiate addresses a declaration of purity to Persephone (the queen of the subterranean world), Hades (Eucles), and Dionysus (Eubouleus). [109]
However, in the papyrus no god is mentioned in the context of the rituals related to the netherworld. Tsantsanoglou offers a useful explanation when he notes: ‘he would contradict himself if he spoke of the worship of Hades and Persephone, since he goes on subsequently to deny the existence of distinct deities, claiming that their different names represent successive stages in the creative process of the world.’ [110]

9.7 In sum

The commentator understands that the goal of the ritual act is to propitiate not the Erinyes or the daimones, but rather—given that the daimones, Eumenides, and Erinyes are merely souls of the dead—souls who may potentially seek to obstruct the liberation of the deceased after death. The mystai perform their preliminary sacrifice in the same way that the magoi do. He considers their acts to be parallel: the sacrifices to the Eumenides are identical to appeasing the souls of the dead, and liberating birds from their cages serves to remove impeding daimones.

10. Coda. Some Concluding Remarks

10.1 About the ritual described

Columns I-VI of the Derveni Papyrus describe a ritual that the μάγοι (in other words, Orphic priests) perform in the presence of initiates (μύσται) who also participate. A first libation is carried out by pouring droplets. The rest of the ritual involves simple elements well-known in the Greek world, including ‘abstemious’ libations, the burning of πόπανα, and magical rites (ἐπωιδαί and probably the liberation of caged birds) performed to ward off the hindering daimones and liberate the souls, as well as to propitiate the Erinyes/Eumenides, as they are the ones who punish the non-initiates in the Beyond. A poem is also recited that explains a ‘history of the world’ in which the ritual acquires its mythical foundation. The ritual probably also refers to gods such as Persephone, Dionysus, and Zeus-Hades, in accordance with the mythological and ritual practice elsewhere, but the commentator seems to have deliberately muted this aspect of the rite. In the commentary of the poem, the commentator proclaims an absolute supremacy of Zeus, though it is impossible to say if this reflects the first part of the papyrus.
It seems clear that, in a ritual such as this, the purpose is to propitiate the Erinyes in a funerary ceremony, or τελετή, which involves an imitatio mortis by means of sacrifices, enchanting songs, and libations. [111] The ritual is therefore performed on two levels, both initiatory and eschatological, for the τελετή anticipates in the ritual the soul’s journey into the afterlife. The act of releasing a bird follows the principle of sympathetic magic performed in order to liberate the soul from its bodily imprisonment, or alternatively serves as a metaphor for this liberation.
Betegh [112] recognizes two different kinds of rite: ‘one, rites that should secure the safe passage of the soul of the dead to the underworld and to the most blissful part of it; the other, initiation rites.’ He does not forget to add, however, that ‘these two ritual contexts are closely connected.’ His assumptions are entirely correct, but we may add another consideration to complete them. Martín Hernández [113] has postulated that what is described in the papyrus is a ritual intended to purify its participants of μίασμα, the stain caused by the rebellion of the Titans—the precedent sin which humanity must bear throughout its existence. [114] The soul of the participant, united with the body, is in a state of pollution due to the ancient blood crime committed against the son of Persephone. In this respect, the Erinyes would play a distinctive role since they are, as noted above, in charge of avenging crimes committed against blood relations, in this case, the blood of the child Dionysus that must be atoned for by all men, who are polluted by this crime. The magoi would try to appease the Erinyes by means of the sacrifices and prayers described in the papyrus, and would purify the souls of the mystai. The rite could liberate them from the μίασμα of the Titan’s crime and from the cycle of reincarnations. The ποινή quoted in col. VI 5 should be taken as a reference to the wrongdoings of ancestors—the Titans—committed against the son of the goddess of the Netherworld, before whom the dead must appear in the afterlife. We may find similar expressions in some gold tablets from Thurii (OF 489.4; cf. 490.4), where we read ποινὰν δ᾽ ἀνταπέτεισ᾽ ἔργων ἕνεκ᾽ οὔτι δικαίων, [115] in the Papyrus from Gurôb, [116] in two passages by Pindar [117] and in one by Plato. [118] One gold tablet from Pherae confirms that the mystai are freed from any penalty in the afterlife. [119] These texts describe the wrongdoings of the ancestors and their subsequent liberation in various ways, but the recurrence of vocabulary points to their shared religious beliefs. [120]
Thus it is more than likely that the myth of the Titans provides the very grounds of the ritual. In fact, col. XX 13ff. of the papyrus seems to allude to Demeter and Persephone, while XXVI makes clear reference to Zeus and the incestuous act that would lead to the birth of Persephone.
In this way, the mystai are liberated from the terror of Hades in a triple sense: first, they will be free from hindering daimones; second, because they are initiates, they have taken steps to ensure that they do not suffer punishment in the afterlife; and, third, they are liberated from having to fear these punishments in this world.

10.2. About the commentator’s interpretation of the ritual

The commentator, furthermore, attempts to confer a profound value upon the ritual act—a moral perspective—which it did not have before. He causes the gods to disappear from rites of magic propitiation. He also sketches a complex demonological theory with different types of daimones/souls, good and evil, and makes the Erinyes guarantors of justice. He considers the purpose of the ritual to be to the warding off and/or propitiating of the Eumenides and the δαίμονες who hinder the souls’ progress after death, and that both the Eumenides and the δαίμονες are in fact the souls of the deceased. The magoi perform the sacrifice as if they were paying a blood-price. So, in the commentator’s interpretation, the ritual acts, in a way, like criminal compensation, which individuals condemned for an offence are expected to pay; sacrifice plays the same role as ποινή in human justice. The poem contains an explanation of the world that is philosophical in tone and conceptualized within a framework of natural philosophy. That the commentator mentions neither Dionysus nor the myth of the Titans may reflect the scientific and quasi-monotheistic hermeneutic tendencies of the interpreter, who in fact strives to eliminate the infernal gods as the addressees of the ritual.
The most interesting point regarding the commentator’s contribution is, according to Betegh, the ethical perspective [121] with which he interprets the ritual. Betegh writes: ‘col. IV indicates that the discussion is still within the sphere of improper behaviour-justice-punishment.’ He then further indicates [122] that ‘the precondition both for piety and gain in knowledge about the divine can be taken as an intellectualised interpretation of the need for purification before initiation.’
Instead of the quasi-automatic nature of the ritual, the commentator introduces a more intense conceptualization of the idea of justice and transgression. References to Justice permeate the text. In col. IV, the author’s reference to a fragment by Heraclitus suggests that he considers the Erinyes to watch over transgressions of natural law, which allows him to contextualize the injustice-penalty schema within the cosmic order. In col. V he alludes to the terrors of Hades. In defending their existence, the commentator outlines a vision whereby wrongdoings, rather than any lack of initiation, constitute the faults that are atoned for with terrible punishments in the afterlife. In the next column, he offers an explanation of the ritual as a form of atonement, comparable to the role played by ποινή—the mandated compensation for a crime (almost always involving blood) in human justice. [123]
On the other hand, the Erinyes had already broadened their function [124] within the Orphic rite so that they might serve also as the guardians of the ritual order. In the commentator’s interpretation this role is defined even more broadly, so that they become guardians of the moral order.
The commentator thus shares with Plato a moralizing tendency, as well as the notion that ritual elements are not the sole or fundamental factor in affecting the punishments one can expect in the afterlife. Such an idea, in fact, would in this conception be an offence against justice and ethics. The difference between the commentator and the Athenian philosopher lies in the fact that, whereas the former attempts to include a new moralized and philosophical vision in ritual practice, Plato goes a step further as he denies the ritual act any kind of value, instead developing a system in which the true τελετή is philosophy. [125]

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Footnotes

[ back ] *The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation has given financial support for the research of this paper (FFI2010-17047).
[ back ] 1. Henrichs 1984, Obbink 1997, Tsantsanoglou 1997, Johnston 1999, Betegh 2004, 74-91, Kouremenos, in Kouremenos-Parássoglou-Tsantsanoglou (eds.) 2006 (henceforth KPT). Cf. also Chiarabini 2006, Martín Hernández 2010.
[ back ] 2. Bernabé 2007a.
[ back ] 3. Janko 2008.
[ back ] 4. Tsantsanoglou in this book. Also Scermino 2008/2009, 70ff.
[ back ] 5. He has published the new arrangement of column 4 (Ferrari 2010) and presented preliminary proposals for the others in a workshop in Madrid, 2009.
[ back ] 6. Janko 2008, 43 (henceforth J.), Ferrari per litt. (henceforth F.)
[ back ] 7. χοαὶ in line 1 is a conjecture by Tsantsanoglou (cf. § 8.1.1). The word recurs in line 7 χοὰς (cf. ἐπισπένδουσιν in line 6); θυσία reappears in line 4 θυσ[ία]ν̣ (cf. θύουσιν in line 8, προθύουσι in line 9, and θύειν in line 10).
[ back ] 8. Pfister 1924, Furley 1933. In Plu. Quaest. Conv. 706D ὥσπερ γὰρ οἱ μάγοι τοὺς δαιμονιζομένους κελεύουσι τὰ Ἐφέσια γράμματα πρὸς αὑτοὺς καταλέγειν καὶ ὀνομάζειν, the μάγοι—the term naturally being understood with the sense it had in the time of Plutarch—use a form of ἐπωιδή (the Ephesia grammata) to act upon daimones, in this case those who were possessing an unfortunate victim. On the Ephesia grammata cf. Bernabé 2003.
[ back ] 9. According to KPT 114 σημε[ῖα can be supernatural signs. Janko (2008, 44) thinks that the text deals with divination from signs, apparently using lots. Probably the word means ‘signals’ in rites that allow the wise (i.e. the commentator) to interpret rightly their meaning.
[ back ] 10. Cf. Bernabé 2010. Henrichs (1984, 261) writes: ‘the author of the papyrus speculates about the underlying meaning of the ritual which he is describing’, thus highlighting the fact that, except for Plato, this type of theological speculation is somewhat uncommon in authors writing in the fourth century. He also distinguishes (Henrichs 1998, 45) two methodologies of ritual explanation: ‘the traditional form provides an etiological explanation via the mythical paradigm, whereas the “historical” rationale explains the efficacy of action’. Obbink (1997) also emphasizes this point. Betegh (2004, 84) takes the ‛explanatory account’ a step further when he outlines the following formula: “the interpretation of ritual action can be described in the general form ‛Actor a performs ritual action R because E’”. He develops this theory on p. 350, but these remarks have generally failed to attract the attention of other scholars.
[ back ] 11. Betegh 2004, 354.
[ back ] 12. Cf. Henrichs 1984.
[ back ] 13. Cf. OF 546-562, and Bernabé 2008a. On the other hand, Kouremenos (KPT 145) believes that the person in question is Orpheus and he quotes OF 547, 549-554, though he does not exclude the possibility of ὁ τέχνην ποιούμενος τὰ ἱερά. The later proposal is difficult to accept since the performer does not create the ritual, he only performs it.
[ back ] 14. As in Archil. 191.2 West (here due to love), or in Criti. 6.10 West.
[ back ] 15. That is, G 8 col. II, F 20a + G 15 + G 6, G 5 + H 7, whereas he excludes G7, considering it a part of col I.
[ back ] 16. Cf. § 8.1.1.
[ back ] 17. Cf. § 8.1.5.
[ back ] 18. Ferrari 2010. For the following lines cf. Bernabé 2007a, 188-195.
[ back ] 19. Rightly Johnston 1999, 266.
[ back ] 20. Obbink 1997, 51. As Tsantsanoglou (1997, 109) points out, it is not the size of the Sun that worries the exegete but rather the theological problem of the role played by the Erinyes.
[ back ] 21. Cf. Bernabé 2011, 189ff. About δίκη among Orphics cf. Jiménez San Cristóbal 2005.
[ back ] 22. Cf. the deep analysis of this column in Johnston in her contribution to this volume.
[ back ] 23. Janko 2008, 50f.
[ back ] 24. Burkert in this volume prefers παρίμεν̣.
[ back ] 25. Johnston, however, in this volume, considers that our author is not talking only about himself and people just like him when he uses the first person plural.
[ back ] 26. Cf. the interpretative possibilities offered by Kouremenos in KPT 162, and by Johnston in this volume.
[ back ] 27. Edmonds 2008, 25, 34. Kouremenos (KPT 162, in reference to the Introduction VI §§ 10-11) asserts that ‘there is no reason to assume that the speaker here is the Derveni author’, but his text does not offer any alternative explanation of the first person plural.
[ back ] 28. Col. V 6-8 οὐ γινώσ̣[κοντες ἐ]ν̣ύ̣πνια ο̣ὐδὲ τῶν ἄλλωμ πρ̣αγμάτων ἕκασ̣[τον], δ̣ιὰ ποίω̣ν ἂν π̣α̣ρ̣α̣δειγμάτωμ π̣[ι]στεύοιεν; ‘without knowing (the meaning of) dreams or any of the other things, by what kind of evidence would they believe?’ (transl. KPT). Johnston in this volume considers that the commentator means ‘miseries that those already dead are suffering, which causes them, in turn, to inflict miseries on the living.’ If this is so, ritual described in the papyrus could mainly concern the correct manner to avoid such a situation.
[ back ] 29. καὶ ὑπὸ τούτων (sc. δαιμόνων) πέμπεσθαι ἀνθρώποις τούς τ᾽ ὀνείρους καὶ τὰ σημεῖα νόσους τε.
[ back ] 30. Bernabé 2007b, 2007c.
[ back ] 31. Janko 2008. In the critical apparatus I present only the new proposals. Cf. Bernabé 2007a for a more complete critical apparatus.
[ back ] 32. About Orphic rituals, cf. Jiménez San Cristóbal 2002. The reconstruction will be easier when we have a better text.
[ back ] 33. Tsantsanoglou 1997, 110, cf. Graf 1980, 217-218, Henrichs 1984, 76, Betegh 2004, 76.
[ back ] 34. Rudhardt 1958, 240-248, Casabona 1966, 231-297, Graf 1980, 217f., Henrichs 1984, Tsantsanoglou 1997, 102f., Jourdan 2003, 2 n. 2, Betegh 2004, 76.
[ back ] 35. Which Henrichs (1984, 260 n. 18) underscores as ‘exceptional’, even though he adds ‘and similar phrases in Euripides’. See further Martín Hernández’s, inspiring appraisals (2006, 476).
[ back ] 36. Cf. Bernabé 2007a. Ferrari (2007, 203) suggests to include α̣ὐ̣[ταῖς] δ̣᾽ ἄ̣ρ̣α̣ ν̣[ηφαλίοις χ]οαὶ in what was col. II 5.
[ back ] 37. Aesch. Eum. 107-109, Soph. Oed. Col. 100, 159, and schol. ad loc. (16.1 di Marco), Apoll. Rhod. 4.712-715. Cf. Henrichs 1983, 1984.
[ back ] 38. Orph. Arg. 572-575.
[ back ] 39. Clem. Alex. Protr. 2.22.4 (OF 590) πόπανα πολυόμφαλα (with regard to the mysteries related to Orpheus), Ar. Plut. 660 πόπανα καὶ προθύματα, Thesm. 284f. τὴν κίστην κάθελε, κἆιτ᾽ ἔξελε / τὸ πόπανον, ὅπως λαβοῦσα θύσω τοῖν θεοῖν (Demeter and Kore), Polyb. 6.25.7 τοῖς ὀμφαλωτοῖς ποπάνοις παραπλήσιον (a shield) τοῖς ἐπὶ τὰς θυσίας ἐπιτιθεμένοις, Menand. Dysc. 449-451 ὁ λιβανωτὸς εὐσεβὲς / καὶ τὸ πόπανον· τοῦτ᾽ ἔλαβεν ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ τὸ πῦρ / ἅπαν ἐπιτεθέν (from a pious sacrifice, as opposed to the sacrifice with extravagant expenditure), Epiph. Expos. fidei 10 (OF 592) τύμπανά τε καὶ πόπανα, ῥόμβος τε καὶ κάλαθος amongst the elements of the Eleusinian mysteries, Callim. fr. 681 Pf. νηφάλιαι καὶ τῆισιν ἀεὶ μελιηδέας ὄμπας / λήιτειραι καίειν ἔλλαχον Ἡσυχίδες, Inscr. Perg. Asklep. n. 161 (saec. II a. C. n.) 2 π[ροθυέσθω Διὶ] … πόπανον ῥαβδωτὸν ἐννεόμφαλον κτλ, Sokolowski, Lois sacrées 52.9 π[ό]πανον χιονικιαῖον ὀρθόμφαλον δωδεκόνφαλον, cf. Henrichs 1984, 260f., n. 22-24, Kearns 1994, Martín Hernández 2010, 248-252.
[ back ] 40. In Luc. Cat. 2 Charon says: παρ᾽ ἡμῖν μὲν γὰρ ἀσφόδελος μόνον καὶ χοαὶ καὶ πόπανα καὶ ἐναγίσματα.
[ back ] 41. Cf. § 2.2.
[ back ] 42. Bernabé 2007b. Although this paper was based in the former readings of the columns II-III, I think that the main arguments are still valid. Details and criticism of other interpretations can be read in it.
[ back ] 43. Plu. Cons. ad uxor. 10 p. 611D (OF 595 I), cf. Bernabé 2001 (cf. also a similar statement in Non poss. suav. viv. sec. Epic. 1105D), an Orphic gold leaf found in Thurii (OF 488.5), cf. Turcan 1959, Casadio 1991, 135f., Bernabé-Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008, 120.
[ back ] 44. Pl. Cra. 400c, cf. Bernabé 1995 and 2010, 115-143; cf. also Méautis 1932, 582, Nilsson 1957, 123 n. 15, Turcan 1959, 38.
[ back ] 45. Johnston 2004, 35, with additional bibliography; cf. also Johnston 1999, 267-273.
[ back ] 46. Henrichs 1994 points out that ‘Erinyes’ was a term that could be used, from the middle of the fifth century at the latest, to express negative aspects of the Eumenides. Betegh 2004, 86 points also to a close link between the Erinyes and Bacchic initiates —especially in tragedy, where the Erinyes frequently show Maenadic or Bacchant-like characteristics, or are explicitly described using such terms.
[ back ] 47. Martín Hernández 2010, 271.
[ back ] 48. In relation thereto he quotes Il. 9.571, Od. 11.280, Pi. O. 2.41, A. Th. 70, 700, 723, 1055, Ch. 283, Eu. 950, S. El. 112, Ant. 1075; see also Johnston 1999, 252.
[ back ] 49. Cf. Martín Hernández 2010, 272.
[ back ] 50. Cf. Schmidt 1975, Pensa 1977, Bernabé 2009.
[ back ] 51. Cf. Schmidt 1975, Bianchi 1976, 32-34, Aellen 1994, and Bernabé 2009. Cf. also Ar. Ra. 144ff., Pl. Ax. 371d, P.Bonon. 4 vv. 24ff.
[ back ] 52. Henrichs 1984, 266ff.
[ back ] 53. Betegh 2004, 88. Cf. As well as Martín Hernández 2010, 258-270.
[ back ] 54. Il. 23.71ff., Tsantsanoglou 1997, 112.
[ back ] 55. Emped. 31 B 115.
[ back ] 56. D. L. 8.31 (FGrHist 273 F 93 = 58 B 1a D.-K. ). Cf. § 9.5.
[ back ] 57. Tsantanoglou 1997, 112 and n. 23 claims this function of the Erinyes is represented on vase paintings in which the souls in the afterlife are punished and tortured, quoting Sarian 1986. In fact, we can see an Erinys tying up a condemned soul in an Apulian vase from Ruvo, 1904 (360-350 B.C.), cf. Bernabé 2009, 109-110.
[ back ] 58. Plu. Def. orac. 417C (περὶ μὲν οὖν τῶν μυστικῶν) θεῶν μὲν οὐδενὶ δαιμόνων δὲ φαύλων ἀποτροπῆς ἕνεκα φήσαιμ᾽ ἂν τελεῖσθαι μειλίχια. ‘I will never believe that this (sc. mysteria) is done for any of the gods: but will say rather, it is to appease the fury of some malign daimones.’ Cf. Martín Hernández 2010, 261.
[ back ] 59. Ar. Ra. 292-305, cf. Johnston 1999, 130-139, Betegh 2004, 89 n. 45.
[ back ] 60. Brown 1991.
[ back ] 61. Martín Hernández 2010, 261-264.
[ back ] 62. Perhaps μά]γο̣υς were also mentioned in col. II 6.
[ back ] 63. Obbink 1997, 51.
[ back ] 64. Henrichs 1984, 266f.
[ back ] 65. Tsantsanoglou 1997, 115.
[ back ] 66. Heraclit. fr. 87 Marcovich (= B 14 D.-K. and OF 474), cf. Bernabé-Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008, 9ff., especially 52f.
[ back ] 67. OF 493, cf. Bernabé-Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008, 151ff.
[ back ] 68. Tsantsanoglou 1997, 101.
[ back ] 69. Cf. Tsantsanoglou 1997, 102, who quotes the parallels of vocabulary in the Bacchae 473-474 (εἰδέναι), 480 (ἀμαθής) and 490 (ἀσέβεια).
[ back ] 70. Most 1997, Tsantsanoglou 1997, 110-115, Jourdan 2003, XIV and 37f., Burkert 2004, 117ff., Betegh 2004, 78ff. West remarks, in less explicit form, that the Babylonian or Assyrian priests, then subdued by the Persians, can serve as a role model of exegesis and that the exegete bridges the ritual of the Orphic initiates with the μάγοι ‘speaking as if the wisdom of the μάγοι guaranteed the validity of Orphic ritual’ (West 1997, 89f.). The expression ‘as if’ does not make it clear whether he believes that the authentic Babylonian magoi participated in the rituals or whether they are a model for the Greek officiants; cf. Bernabé 2006.
[ back ] 71. Bernabé 2006.
[ back ] 72. Plu. Apophth. Lacon. p. 224D (OF 653), Thphr. Char. 16.11 (OF 654), Phld. De poem. P. Hercul. 1074 fr. 30 (181.1ff. Janko = OF 655), cf. also Hippocr. Morb. sacr. 18.6 (90 Grensemann = OF 657), Pl. Resp. 364b (OF 573 I) and 364e (OF 573 I), Str. 7 fr. 10a Radt (OF 659), about Orpheus himself described like an Orpheotelest (cf. Liv. 39.8.3, and Bernabé 2002a).
[ back ] 73. μυηθέντες Plu. Apophth. Lacon. p. 224D; τελετάς Pl. Resp. 364b, Str. 7 fr. 10a Radt; τελεσθησόμενος Thphr. Char. 16.11.
[ back ] 74. θυσίαις and θυεπολοῦσιν Pl. Resp. 364b.
[ back ] 75. εὐδαιμονοῦσι Plu. Apophth. Lacon. p. 224D; τελευτήσουσι Pl. Resp. 364b.
[ back ] 76. I understand that liberation from δαίμονες ἐμποδὼν that are ψ[υχαὶ τιμω]ροί allows the initiate to be free from punishment in the netherworld.
[ back ] 77. μὴ θύσαντας δὲ δεινὰ περιμένει Pl. Resp. 364b.
[ back ] 78. ἐπωιδαῖς Pl. Resp. 364b.
[ back ] 79. μαντικῆς Str. 7 fr. 10a Radt; μάντεις Pl. Resp. 364b.
[ back ] 80. βίβλων Ὀρφέως Pl. Resp. 364b.
[ back ] 81. λύσεις τε καὶ καθαρμοὶ ἀδικημάτων διὰ θυσιῶν Pl. Resp. 364b.
[ back ] 82. Probably it is not a coincidence that Theophrastus (Char. 16.11) refers to the Orpheotelests just after talking about ἐνύπνια. Cf. Tsantsanoglou, who rightly argues that the professional referred to consults the oracles—he is a μάντις—interprets dreams (ὀνειροκρίτης), and might even be a τερατοσκόπος as well (1997, 98f.). In Leg. 933d, Plato jointly quotes the μάντις and the τερατοσκόπος when he most likely refers to these Greek professionals (Bernabé 2011, 222).
[ back ] 83. Edmonds 2008, 31f. Cf. also Burkert 1962.
[ back ] 84. Edmonds 2008, 35. On the contrary, KPT’s argumentation (53) is based on a false dilemma: ‘the term μάγος is used pejoratively … unless it refers to a member of the priestly Persian caste’.
[ back ] 85. Martín Hernández 2005.
[ back ] 86. Bernabé 2007b.
[ back ] 87. Casadesús 2010.
[ back ] 88. SVF II 1213, eademque efficit in avibus divina mens, ut tum huc tum illuc volent alites tum in hac tum in illa parte se occultent, tum a dextra tum a sinistra parte canant oscines, etc.
[ back ] 89. Instead of offering analogous or symbolic interpretations of the ritual, Betegh believes the passage is intended to have the sense ‘to give each of the angry souls its share’ (Cf. Betegh 2004, 84).
[ back ] 90. Laks and Most (1997, 11) translate it as ‘to change’, but they add in note 7 “or ‘keep away’”. Tsantsanoglou (1997, 98) takes it as ‘change (or drive away?)’ Janko (2002, 13), as ‘to dislodge’ while Betegh (2004, 15) prints ‘remove’ and Jourdan (2003, 6) opts for ‘change de voie’, attempting to maintain both meanings ‘déplacement’ and ‘transformation’.
[ back ] 91. Bernabé 2008b.
[ back ] 92. Henrichs 1984, 257.
[ back ] 93. On daimones cf. § 9.5.
[ back ] 94. Cf. Jourdan’s (2003) interpretation of ὡ̣σ̣περεὶ and my criticisms in Bernabé 2007b.
[ back ] 95. Rohde 9 1901, 229ff., 1925, 269ff., cf. Henrichs 1984, Tsantsanoglou 1997, 99-100.
[ back ] 96. Tsantsanoglou 1997, 100. Betegh 2004, 86 considers the Erinyes to be ‘principally positive agents’.
[ back ] 97. Johnston 1999, 274.
[ back ] 98. Cf. Betegh 2004, 88.
[ back ] 99. Hes. Op. 121ff.
[ back ] 100. Aët. 1.7.11 (Thales 11 A 23 D.-K.) Θαλῆς … τὸ δὲ πᾶν ἔμψυχον ἅμα καὶ δαιμόνων πλῆρες, D. L. 9.7 (Heraclit 22 A 1 D.-K.) ἐδόκει δὲ αὐτῶι … πάντα ψυχῶν εἶναι καὶ δαιμόνων πλήρη.
[ back ] 101. Heraclit. fr. 73 Marc. (22 B 63 D.-K.).
[ back ] 102. Macías Otero 2007 and 2010.
[ back ] 103. E. fr. 912 Kannich; Macías Otero proposes some different readings: σοὶ τῶι πάντων μεδέοντι χλόην / πέλανόν τε φέρω, Ζεὺς εἴτ᾽ Ἀίδης / ὀνομαζόμενος στέργεις· σὺ δέ μοι / θυσίαν ἄπυρον παγκαρπείας / δέξαι πλήρη προχυταῖαν. / *** / σὺ γὰρ ἔν τε θεοῖς τοῖς οὐρανίδαις / σκῆπτρον τὸ Διὸς μεταχειρίζεις / χθονίων θ᾽ Ἅιδηι μετέχεις ἀρχῆς. / πέμψον μὲν φῶς ψυχὰς ἐνέρων / τοῖς βουλομένοις ἄθλους προμαθεῖν / πόθεν ἔβλαστον, τίς ῥίζα κακῶν, / τίνα δεῖ μακάρων ἐκθυσαμένους / εὑρεῖν μόχθων ἀνάπαυλαν.
[ back ] 104. D. L. 8.32 (FGrHist 273 F 93 = 58 B 1a D.-K.) τὸν δ᾽ Ἑρμῆν ταμίαν εἶναι τῶν ψυχῶν … καὶ ἄγεσθαι μὲν τὰς καθαρὰς ἐπὶ τὸν ὕψιστον, τὰς δ᾽ ἀκαθάρτους μήτ᾽ ἐκείναις πελάζειν μήτ᾽ ἀλλήλαις, δεῖσθαι δ᾽ ἐν ἀρρήκτοις δεσμοῖς ὑπ᾽ Ἐρινύων. εἶναί τε πάντα τὸν ἀέρα ψυχῶν ἔμπλεων· καὶ ταύτας δαίμονάς τε καὶ ἥρωας ὀνομάζεσθαι· καὶ ὑπὸ τούτων πέμπεσθαι ἀνθρώποις τούς τ᾽ ὀνείρους καὶ τὰ σημεῖα νόσους τε, … εἴς τε τούτους γίνεσθαι τούς τε καθαρμοὺς καὶ ἀποτροπιασμοὺς μαντικήν τε πᾶσαν καὶ κληδόνας καὶ τὰ ὅμοια.
[ back ] 105. Chrysippos in Plu. Aet. Rom. Gr. 277A (deest in St. V. Fr.), Plu. Def. or. 417Α (cf. 417B, Fac. orb. lun. 944C.).
[ back ] 106. Plu. Def. or. 418B, whose last words (ὡς ἀλήστων τινῶν καὶ παλαιῶν μιασμάτων μνήμαις ἐπεξιόντας) can be easily applied to the Titanic crime.
[ back ] 107. Pl. Smp. 202e, Resp. 392a, cf. 427b.
[ back ] 108. Hippobotus ap. D. L. 6.102.
[ back ] 109. Gold Tablet from Thurii (4th cent. BC), OF 489-490, ‘I come from among the pure, pure, queen of the subterranean beings, /Eucles, Eubouleus, and the other gods and daimones‘, cf. Bernabé-Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008, 100-105.
[ back ] 110. Tsantsanoglou 1997, 99.
[ back ] 111. Martín Hernández 2005.
[ back ] 112. Betegh 2004, 88-89.
[ back ] 113. Martín Hernández 2010, 267.
[ back ] 114. Cf. Plu. Def. or. 418B παλαιῶν μιασμάτων μνήμαις ἐπεξιόντας quoted in note 143.
[ back ] 115. Bernabé-Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008, 105-114.
[ back ] 116. P.Gurôb (in an Orphic τελετή) δῶρον δέξ]ατ᾽ ἐμὸν ποινὰς πατ[έρων ἀθεμίστων, 1 (OF 578 col. I 4, with bibliography).
[ back ] 117. Pi. fr. 133 Maehl. (OF 443) οἷσι δὲ Φερσεφόνα ποινὰν παλαιοῦ πένθεος /δέξεται which refers to a moment in which a mortal has paid for the original wrongdoings of his ancestors, the Titans; cf. Bernabé 1999 and in Pi. Ol. 2.57f. (OF 445) ὅτι θανόντων μὲν ἐνθάδ᾽ αὐτίκ᾽ ἀπάλαμνοι φρένες /ποινὰς ἔτεισαν (also in an Orphic context), cf. Santamaría 2005.
[ back ] 118. Plat. Crat. 400c ὡς δίκην διδούσης τῆς ψυχῆς ὧν δὴ ἕνεκα δίδωσιν (OF 430 I), cf. Bernabé 2011, 115ff.
[ back ] 119. Gold leaf from Pherai (IV BC) OF 493 εἴσιθ‹ι› ἱερὸν λειμῶνα. ἄποινος γὰρ ὁ μύστης. Cf. Bernabé-Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008, 157-158.
[ back ] 120. Cf. Bernabé 2002b, Martín Hernández 2010, 268.
[ back ] 121. Betegh 2004, 89.
[ back ] 122. Betegh 2004, 90.
[ back ] 123. Cf. Johnston 1999, 138.
[ back ] 124. Nevertheless, as Casadesús per litteras points out, Erinyes have a similar function of maintaining the cosmic order already in Il. 19.418, when they stayed the speech (Ἐρινύες ἔσχεθον αὐδήν) of the Achilles’ horses. Cf. Edwards 1991 ad loc. with discussion and further bibliography.
[ back ] 125. Cf. Bernabé 2011.