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The Orphic Poems by M. L. West Review by: R. Janko Classical Philology, Vol. 81, No. 2 (Apr., 1986), pp.

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The Orphic Poems. By M. L. WEST. Oxford: The Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. Pp. xii + 275 + 6 pls.; 2 figs. in text. $59.00. This book stands in a long tradition. Through the nineteenth century, scholars collected fragments of the poems of "Orpheus," culminating in 0. Kern's great sylloge, Orphicorum Fragmenta (Berlin, 1922); and attempts were made to sort out the different theogonic poems that evidently existed, and to supply the chronological structure necessary to any literary field. The difficulty of the enterprise proved such that the whole endeavor has fallen into disrepute, a disrepute compounded by the question of how the Orphic poems were used, that is, their relation to "Orphic" religious practices. Yet this disrepute is ill deserved, especially if the latter question is left to one side. By 1890 the main outlines of the problem were clearly discerned by 0. Gruppe: it is the extent of our evidence that has changed, principally with the appearance (I shall not say publication) of the Derveni papyrus. Gruppe postulated that the stories told in the Neoplatonists' Rhapsodic Theogony are in their essentials not necessarily later than Plato, and possibly earlier; he compared a series of Oriental cosmogonies, which present numerous and disconcerting parallels, and concluded that Phanes' birth from an egg, and his swallowing by Zeus, originated in the archaic period. In his Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, West strengthened and refined the hypothesis of a period of contact with Eastern ideas, delimiting it to about 550-480, and supplying convincing historical reasons why this should have been so. Its context proves that the poem in PDerveni must go back to at least 500 B.C.; it can thus be located within this period of Oriental influence. The find was bound to renew interest in the relationship between the several "Orphic" theogonies: they are "Orphic," W. determines, solely because they were ascribed to Orpheus. It is indeed prudent to set aside the hypothesis of Orphic sects and their practices at the start of a literary investigation; in this W. follows I. M. Linforth, who opposed W. K. C. Guthrie's view that there were people called Orphics whose beliefs could be reconstructed, by denying that there were any such people"Orphism"is but a "hubbub of books." Linforth's denial was needed, to dissolve a mass of dubious hypotheses; yet, as W. shows in chapter 1, there certainly were people who called themselves Orphics in the fifth century, since we now have their bone plaques from Olbia. Religious texts are created for a purpose, and by people; they may later be subjected to other interpretations; but, if the early Orphic theogonies did indeed contain teachings about the origin of man as well as the fate of the soul (as W. argues), the door is left open for Guthrie's sect, and even for M. Detienne's, among others. W. begins by reminding us of Orpheus himself, a shamanistic figure in origin. He then hacks at the tangled undergrowth of Orphic literature a thicket of
Permission to reprint a review in this section may be obtained only from the author. 154

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poems by Pythagoreans, Neopythagoreans, Jews anxious to prove the priority of Moses and Abraham, Egyptians, and even poems ascribed to Orpheus by accident. We learn something especially interesting about the early Orpheus from the Pythagorean company he keeps. Chapter 2 reviews poems ascribed to related characters-Musaeus, Epimenides, Olen, Pamphos, Abaris, and Linus, whose fragments are usefully collected in an appendix. W. next proceeds to the central topic in all "Orphic" researches, the "theogonies" so-called, although their most significant and controversial portions are actually the anthropogonies and soteriologies that they present. We begin from a summary reconstruction of the Neoplatonists' text, the Hieroi Logoi, best known as the Rhapsodic Theogony. W. rightly assumes that this was Orpheus par excellence in the Empire; it was a compendious edition of earlier Orphic theogonies, which it presumably drove out of circulation. It follows that it can be used to supplement the gaps in our evidence about the earlier material: thus it is that W. proposes to construct a stemma of Orphic theogonies. So far so good. The difficulty of putting together several somewhat similar jigsaw puzzles, with little guidance as to which puzzle each piece comes from and none as to how many puzzles there are, has deterred lesser men from the attempt; but, with the help of PDerveni, it is certainly worth making. A treatment of the papyrus follows, even though a proper edition has yet to appear.' Its "preposterous commentator" is identified as an initiate and allegorist, in physics Anaxagorean, in theology sub-Heraclitean, who does violence to the text before him on every possible occasion, and well merits the particular contempt reserved by Plato for the whole breed of Orpheotelestae. Fortunately Orpheus-and Orpheus it is: cf. col. 14. 2-continues to sing, despite this sparagmos and the further indignities suffered by the papyrus. What his poem says is extraordinarily important: Zeus swallows Protogonos, regenerates the cosmos, and wishes to seduce his mother Rhea (col. 22). This corresponds to but a small part of the Rhapsodic Theogony, portions of sections D-E in W.'s epitome (pp. 72-73). The Derveni theogony is reconstructed with a sure hand: the poem began with Zeus' accession and consultation of the oracle of Night; then, after a brief mention of the antecedent rulers, Zeus swallows Protogonos, and with him the whole universe, and recreates it himself. That the poem did not begin at the very beginning is an inevitable conclusion; that W. is right to suppose from the text in columns 5 and 9 that a line has been lost by homoeomeson seems a priori farfetched, but something was certainly wrong with the text here. Some less drastic explanation may yet be found.2 W. produces overwhelming arguments that the ati6oiov ingested by Zeus at column 9. 4 is not a phallus, as the allegorist believed,3 but Protogonos himself: cf. col. 13. 3 rIpw-roy6vou fPau?o)q acioiou, plus the syntax of Mi0oiov KC[T]ct7T1Vv, oq
I W. uses a numeration higher by one column than that now current: thus his col. 2 is col. I of the text in ZPE47 (1982), following p. 300, which I use here. 2. Cf. J. S. Rusten, "Interim Notes on the Papyrus from Derveni," HSCP 89 (1985): 121-40, esp. 124-27. 3. Followed, in an over-zealous hunt for Hittite motifs, by W. Burkert, and now in G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven, and M. Schofield, The Presocratic Philosophers2 (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 32-33. 1 find this phallus very hard to swallow.

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ai'Opa

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ip6OTO, to which we can add later parallels with Phanes"KOOpE Protogonos at OF 60 (Damascius) cKOp(cKEt 'o D6vrp; OF 85 (id.) TP?TOS
..

?400pE.

tp6yovov

T6v ?KOOp6VTa npOTp6yovov 06v; OF 129 (Proclus) KaTaniVEI T6v awtoUTT6v (vITa . . . o ZE6 (cf. OF 58 [Athenagoras] OE6vovTCt

... KCLTcLEOlvat 6iT60 T0o At6q). This reconstruction stands; the 1Tp(0T6yovov story of Zeus' swallowing of Phanes-Protogonos existed by the late fifth century, and on any reasonable view must go back to the sixth.4 The episodes before the swallowing can be reconstructed in outline and plausibly made to agree with the Rhapsodies; those after it are lost, and were evidently the subject of another roll of commentary. It is a great misfortune that the papyrus breaks off where it does, since Orphic myths most controversial for their alleged relation to the "Orphic way of life" may have followed. Two of Zeus' offspring in the Rhapsodies, Kore and Dionysus, have a special role as saviors of mankind: did their stories occur in the lost continuation? W. gives convincing reasons for thinking they did. The extant text is only about forty lines long in his exempli gratia reconstruction (pp. 114-15); the creation and regurgitation of the world are told only in a summary fashion. The poem's main content must have been other than cosmogonical narrative, although W. does not stress this; all we see of it is its proem. It is legitimate to question whether we should call it a theogony at all; I shall suggest an alternative title below. In the Rhapsodies, Kore is Zeus' daughter by Rhea-Demeter, and she in turn bears Dionysus to Zeus; the infant god is torn apart and cooked by the Titans, who are thunderbolted after dinner by Zeus; the soot from their bodies gives rise to mankind, and Dionysus is reconstituted from his heart, which Athena had saved. Kore must have been important in the Derveni poem, as the daughter of Rhea-Demeter (pp. 92-98). But we know several versions of the tale, including the Orphic adaptation and paraphrase of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter in PBerol. 44 (this is certainly an independent version, not the Homeric Hymn quoted from memory, as W. thinks, p. 24). W. argues (p. 96) that, since the "Eudemian theogony" probably included the dance of the Kouretes at Zeus' birth, it is likely that the repetition of this motif at Dionysus' entered the Rhapsodies from the same source; whereas the serpentine matings also found there must by elimination have come from the Protogonos theogony, that is, from the source of the Derveni poem. Yet the allegorist discusses the Eumenides in columns 1-3, who are Kore's children in the nonserpentine version of her story (as usual, W. has an answer to this objection, p. 98). Before we proceed to the story of Dionysus, I must address W.'s reconstruction of the Eudemian theogony, that known as Orpheus' to Plato and Aristotle. Our knowledge of this rests on diverse foundations (chap. 4), chief among which is W.'s assumption that those elements shared by the Rhapsodies and Apollodorus' Bibliotheca derive thence, via a Cyclic theogony composed around 200 B.C. to fill out the Epic Cycle. The detection of parallels between Apollodorus and the Rhapsodies is a major new contribution, especially since the narrative is so similar to Hesiod's that they are easy to miss. The hypothesis of a Cyclic theogony composed so late is extremely startling, however. If it was ascribed to
4. Col. II. 13, MiTtv KC[ ca. 14 ](pp cactcqii6Ca Ttpi[v], not only supports the equation Phanes= Metis (p. 88), but is also a folk-etymology for pruTtftTlq in the previous line, as from PiTtq and TiW.

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Orpheus, as W. argues, this will certainly explain why we have no fragments of it; and the inclusion of Eumelus' Titanomachy in the Cycle suggests that it contained no titanomachy of its own. Yet this theogonic tradition has many parallels with that of the Iliad, especially in Book 14, where Ocean and Tethys are the primal parents; Dione is mother of Aphrodite (5. 378); Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus draw lots at 15. 187-95; and Ocean stands apart when the gods do battle in 20. 7 (cf. his neutrality in the Prometheus Bound, and his refusal to help castrate Uranus in this tradition). This must reflect his original status as Uranus' father. But the major divergence between Apollodorus and the Eudemian theogony is that the latter keeps Ocean and Tethys as a separate generation, but Apollodorus makes them Titans. W. easily shows that this must be secondary; but need this rearrangement be derived from the Eudemian theogony, rather than from a common source? In fact, by Occam's razor, W.'s "stemma" is better, since the Rhapsodies agree with Apollodorus, not with Eudemus. The date of the Eudemian theogony depends on whether, as W. makes probable, it narrated the nursing of Zeus in Crete by Adrastea and Ida on Amalthaea's milk, a motif first attested in the late fifth century in Euripides and ps.-Epimenides (if indeed that is his date: cf. p. 50). W. argues in chapter 5 that the Titans' slaying of Dionysus and his rebirth was the sequel to this, and did not occur in the Protogonos theogony. There can be no question that this bizarre tale could correspond to a ritual, as PGur6b 1, of the third century, demonstrates (OF 31). W. suggests that it originated in such a context: Dionysus was cut up, boiled, and then roasted so as to blend the shaman's mock-boiling at his initiation (a pointer to regeneration) with the roasting of an animal sacrifice which was substituted for the initiand in the ritual (thus assimilating initiand to victim). Ps.-Aristotle Problemata 3. 43 suggests that roasting boiled meat may have been taboo because of what was told in the -UkET1f,i.e., this story. But W.'s explanation of it conflicts notably with that of Detienne. W. cites Detienne in a couple of footnotes, without comment; but his explanation is less arbitrary than W.'s and should not be disregarded just because it is fashionable. For Detienne the schema of le bouilli r6ti is no random borrowing from sacrificial practice, but a parody of it, in which standard procedure is reversed, and the horror of the whole business is revealed; this myth is an aition for a way of life, that of the Orphics, which eschewed bloodshed entirely (cf. Eur. Hipp. 952-53, Ar. Frogs 1032, P1. Laws 782C). At the opposite pole is Dionysiac 64bo(payia:both are protests against the orthodox observance of Hesiod and the polis; and in this, "Orphism" adopts the same stance as Pythagoreanism. The problem for this "reformist Orphism" has always been not the diversity of Orphic texts and traditions, within which there is plenty of room for it, but the lack of early evidence for the myth, a problem which cannot simply be evaded by reiterating the value of synchronic approaches.6 W. now obligingly gives the myth a context
5. In Dionysus mis a mort (Paris, 1977), pp. 163-206 (trans. J. Lloyd [Cambridge, 1979]); cf. also R. L. Gordon, ed., Myth, Religion and Society (Cambridge, 1981), pp. 215-28. 6. For an attempt to see the myth as underlying Pindar frag. 133, cf. H. J. Rose, "The Ancient Grief: A Study of Pindar, Fr. 133 (Bergk)," in Greek Poetry and Life: Essays Presented to Gilbert Murray (Oxford, 1936), pp. 78-96; contrast W., p. 110, n. 82. Otherwise the earliest evidence may be Xenocrates frag. 20 Heinze. Cf. further L. J. Alderink, Creation and Salvation in Early Orphism (Chico, Calif., 1981), pp. 69, 80-85.

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as early as the late fifth century. So we shall not see this view of "Orphism" disappear as yet! How was man to be redeemed? W. believes that the solutions offered by his two early Orphic theogonies were divergent. For the Protogonos theogony he postulates an eschatology of judgment in the other world and a cycle of reincarnation, from which Dionysus can somehow deliver the initiate; whereas the Eudemian theogony had a ritual of rebirth as an initiate, modeled on Dionysus' regeneration. Poems with such content might better be called hieroi logoi or teletai, not theogonies (cf. OF 34 [Clement]); as we saw, something like this was probably the primary content of PDerveni. The existence of at least two divergent eschatologies is supported by the "Orphic"gold leaves, which W. excludes from his purview as not assignable to Orpheus with certainty: series A Zuntz refers to escape from the cycle (of rebirth, or simply of life?), whereas series B stresses the divine nature of the soul of the initiated bacchant, as qualifying him or her for admission to heroic status after death. Series A largely corresponds to the reconstructed Protogonos theogony, with its parallels in Pindar and Empedocles (but with Eleusinian elements in the mentions of Eubouleus and Persephone). For a suggestion as to how series B might reflect man's descent from the Titans, see CQ 34 (1984): 95-96. It is clear from Euripides Hippolytus 952-55 that both booklearning and vegetarianism were expected of "Orphics"at Athens. Both texts and observances undoubtedly differed among the several groups, but there is no reason why they should not have had features in common. As to why we know so little of their beliefs until so late, the cause is not far to seek: the texts, and any rites that accompanied them, were a mystery, to be alluded to only among the tUVEToi. The theme of the punishment of perjured gods (i.e., initiates who broke their oath) is to the fore both in Empedocles and at the start of PDerveni. The relation of these texts to ritual remains unsolved, but important. In chapter 6 W. identifies the "Hieronyman" theogony as a Stoicizing version of the Protogonos theogony, because the origins of the world in water and mud, and the equation of primal parent Chronos with Heracles, are best explained as Stoic elaborations. This is convincing, especially since W. can point to a number of other verses in the Rhapsodies where Stoic influence and Hellenistic diction are visible. In chapter 7 a plausible case is made for linking the compilation of the Rhapsodies with the Pergamene theory of the recension of the Homeric poems under Pisistratus. However, W.'s ascription (p. 251) of this theory to Athenodorus Cordylion rests on an unsound foundation. A marginal note in MS Par. gr. 2677 (saec. xvi) on the "Anonymus Crameri II," a learned excerptor of
Tzetzes, reads aOqvo8c6pcw IE'iKk1V KOp6UkicWv. The archetype reads 'Ovo~LCKis a corruption as Cramer saw,'E7ntK6yKUkoq Kcti 'EETtKO7K6k(p: piTup'AOqvaicth of C7-tKO5 K6KkOq. The Parisinus is proposing an emendation, just as he does below, where he puts ''aciq EU'Pouki6rqin the margin for Tzetzes' E5Kkci611q

(Prol. Com. tIc 60 Koster): both names, drawn from Diogenes Laertius, are worthless. All this has been proved beyond doubt by W. J. W. Koster.7 The rhapsodic narrative reflects some necessary harmonization, and its compiler
7. Scholia in Aristophanem, vol. 1, fasc. IA: Prolegomena de Comoedia (Groningen, 1975), pp. xxixxxxvi. This excellent work replaces Kaibel, and deserves to be far better known.

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(apparently one Theognetus of Thessaly) added some material from extraneous poems. We can best discern W.'s ideas about the origins of the fragments in Kern from his index, which shows how much of Kern is in need of revision and rearrangement. W. concludes with a retrospect of the "long and anfractuous road" we have traveled. His metaphor is, as ever, apt; the argument is complex, unavoidably compressed in places to avoid repetition, usually hypothetical to varying degrees of plausibility, and difficult to take in at one view. This is far from being the author's fault; the tale is well set out and told with verve and many choice phrases (although more cross-references and fuller indexes might have been useful). If the book is difficult, it is the thorny and fractured landscape that is the problem, through which W. has beaten one of the few practicable paths. In following his trail I have tested all manner of other combinations of the evidence, to see if he has climbed cliffs when level ground lay below; but always I found myself on a trickier path than his. This literary history of Orphic poetry represents a pioneering achievement, and is unlikely to be bettered until new textual evidence comes to light. R. Janko Columbia University

Three Archaic Poets: Archilochus, Alcaeus, Sappho. By ANNE PIPPIN BURNETT. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983. Pp. viii + 320. $25.00. This book contains some of the most sensitive and shrewd analysis that I have read of these early poets, as well as comments that seemed to me more obscure than the poems they were meant to elucidate. Archilochus, Alcaeus, and Sappho each get about one hundred pages, and the section on Sappho struck me as the strongest. According to Burnett, Sappho's was one of several rival girls' groups on Lesbos, over which she presided as instructor, initiator, and (informal) priestess. The curriculum was "music and deportment": how to dress, how to walk, how to sing, and-most important how to love. "Sappho taught [her pupils] that their present experiences of love, enhanced by song and volatilised by memory, would let them recognise beauty later on, in all of its various forms" (p. 225). Under her tutelage they were to learn how to experience a desire which might affect their imaginations as well as arouse their senses; a pleasure which was both physical and immediate but which also might open the eyes of their souls to a beauty which was incorporeal and permanent; in short, the ideal of Platonic love (Symp. 2 10-1 1). A successful initiate, who remained faithful to the group, could expect aesthetic and spiritual nurture from her hetairistriai, whereas premature and voluntary separation from them brought spiritual death, like that of the girl gone to Sardis in fragment 96 Voigt, now devoured by desire for the still-faithful-to-Sappho Atthis. Sections 2 and 3 of this part present detailed analyses of the six longest poetic fragments. Especially good are the discussions of fragment 1 V., the so-called "Hymn to Aphrodite" (pp. 243-59) and 94 V., "Honestly, I want to die. . ." (pp. 290-300). Less successful, in my opinion, are the dissections of 31 V.,

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