Orphica

Orpheus was born in Pieria, in Pimplia, at the feet of Olympus Mountain and he was called Thrax because from this point of Olympus until Hellespontos, this region had the name Thrace. He was the first one to write Cosmogony, Theogony and mysteries, and the first one who introduced the worship of the Goddess Εκάτη in Aigina Island.

Orphism was a complete religion and an old secret initiation which was brought in by Orpheus and preserved thereafter until it was finally taught in Eleusinian mysteries. His writings were lost but the teachings were passed along to Pythagoreans and Platonic philosophers who also were initiated in the orphic mysteries and saved the present texts.

The surviving texts known as “Orphic Texts” are dated in 11.835 b.C. and are consisted of four books:

  • a) Argonautika
  • b) Hymns
  • c) Lithika
  • d) Unpublished work (texts that found in other ancient writers texts).

The dating was calculated and published by Constantinos S. Chassapis in his doctoral thesis with title “Greek Astronomy in the 2nd millennium B.C. according to Orphic hymns” in 1967. He was an Astronomer who was working in National Technical University of Athens and in National Observatory of Athens. He co-operated with the Observatory of Zurich, Constantinople and Harvard. He is a writer of many significant books and studies contributing substantially to the scientific society.

Constantinos Chassapis, according to the events that are described in the hymns, calculated when these events astronomically took place. He resulted in two dates:

  • a) 1.366 B.C.
  • b) 11.835 B.C.

According to my opinion the first date should be disapproved because Orpheus himself took part in the Argonaut Campaign which is much older than the Trojan War which is dated in 1.450 B.C. All his arguments are presented in his doctoral thesis proved with Mathematics.

According to the Orphic Cosmogony and Theogony at the beginning it was Chaos and then Time took shape and born Ether from whom Phanes was born from a cosmic egg. Phanes is defined as the universal knowledge and he finally is the God Dionysos who is identified with other Gods such as Helios and Eros. After this event the stories of the other Gods follow. Each God is described in more than one hymn.

Information that we draw from these texts are also scientific emphasizing in the science of Astronomy. There are plenty of phenomena analyzed such as star classification, laws of arc’s motion of the celestial sphere, shooting stars, planets, fixed stars, characteristics of sun and phenomena bound to it, sun’s daily and annual motion, the heliocentric system, the ecliptic, sun’s eclipses, the hours of the year, the harmony and duration of the seasons, the rotating earthly sphere, the earth belts, the light of the moon, its movement and its interactions with the earth, the names of the constellations, the zodiacal zone, the eternal universe and its size, the quality of time, the shape of the sky, the circumpolar stars, the shape and physical condition of the sun etc.

Inside the hymns it is clear the monotheistic aspect of this religion recognizing the one and triune God. Orphism constitutes a monotheistic system with polytheistic extensions and focuses in the pure persecution of bios.

The Hymns and Matrixes

The Orphic Hymns are invocations of gods in which a God is being invoked while praised. Parallel there are described the God’s characteristics, competences, qualities, intents, powers, likes, dislikes, relationships with other Gods and their aspects. In the end of the hymn the God is asked to come (alone or with other Gods) in peace and help the invoker to improve his character or bless him or take away any bad influences. In almost every hymn there is a suggested incense to burn while invoking this specific God.

The hymns are 88 with 1113 lines in total and they consist a puzzle of words and lines which if it is completed, the Cosmogony and Theogony will be revealed. The aspects, intents, powers and qualities of each God are not described in only one hymn but to a lot at the same time revealing their interaction with other Gods and their true spectrum of their power and qualities. That information are hidden among the words and lines and a very careful study of these hymns may enlighten how a God works, how he could be approached and what he waits from his followers providing them with details about God’s nature.

The Methodology

The Goddess that has been studied is the Goddess Εκάτη. The first hymn that the “orphic hymns” start is the “hymn to Εκάτη”, after the “wish to Mousaius” with which actually all Gods are invoked. Having as data her qualities, aspects, powers, characteristics and her relationships with other Gods from ancient myths, poems and hymns an attempt has been made to be understood or proved her nature, qualities and relationships with other Gods by trying to find her known epithets from PGM and the Orphic Hymn to Εκάτη inside the 88 orphic hymns. Matrixes has been set up so in each one of the 88 orphic hymns can be seen what are the common epithets or phrases of Goddess Εκάτη and the God who is referred in the hymn. Not all hymns are included because no common characteristic or epithets were found.

Tables

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