Instructions for the Netherworld

The Orphic Gold Tablets

Series:

Orphic gold tables are key documents for the knowledge of rites and beliefs of Orphics, an atypical group that configured a highly original creed and that influenced powerfully over other Greek writers and thinkers. The recent discovery of some tablets has forced a noteworthy modification of some points of view and a review ofthe different hypothesis proposed about them. The book presents a complete edition of the texts, their translation and some fundamental keys for their interpretation, in an attempt at updating our current knowledge on Orphic ideas about the soul and the Afterlife stated in those texts. The work is improved with an appendix of iconographic annotations in which some plastic representations in drawings are reproduced related to the universe of tablets, selected and commented on by Ricardo Olmos.

E-Book

EUR €169.00USD $211.00

Biographical Note

Alberto Bernabé, Ph. D. (1973) in Classical Philology, University Complutense, Madrid, is Professor of Ancient Greek at the same University. He has published extensively on Orphic Texts including the edition of the Orphic Testimonies and Fragments in the Bibliotheca Teubneriana (2004-2005).
Ana Isabel Jiménez San Cristóbal, Ph. D. (2002) in Classical Philology, University Complutense, Madrid, is Assistant Professor of Ancient Greek at the same University. She has published extensively on Orphic Texts including her Ph. D. and published Rituales órficos (Universidad Complutense, 2002).

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION
0.1. The gold tablets
0.2. External aspects of the tablets
0.3. The texts: a brief approximation of their contents
0.4. Sketch of a typology of the tablets. Our grouping
0.5. Editions

I. ARRIVAL IN THE SUBTERRANEAN WORLD (The Tablets from Hipponion, Entella, Petelia and Pharsalus and the Reduced Versions, L 1-6)
TRANSLATION OF TABLETS L 1-6
COMMENTARIES
1.1. A textual problem
1.2. Mnemosyne
1.3. Crossing over to the other world
1.4. The cypress of the underworld
1.5. The thirst of the dead and the two fountains
1.6. The soul faced by the guardians
1.7. Continuing journey
1.8. The sacred way
1.9. Mystai and bacchoi
1.10. The Orphic model and the Platonic model
1.11. Instructions for use?
1.12. Short versions: the Cretan tablets
1.13. The relation between the long and the shorter tablets
1.14. Gender hesitations

II. A RITUAL FOR THE DEAD: THE TABLETS FROM PELINNA (L 7AB)
TRANSLATION OF TABLETS 7AB FROM PELINNA
COMMENTARIES
2.1. Structure of the text
2.2. A death that is life
2.3. The soul liberated by Dionysus
2.4. The formulas of the animal fallen in the milk
2.5. Wine
2.6. The rites completed

III. BEST WISHES FOR ACCOMPANYING THE SOUL TO THE OTHER WORLD: A TABLET FROM THURII (L. 8)
TRANSLATION OF TABLET 8 FROM THURII
COMMENTARIES
3.1. The difficult reading of verse 2
3.2. The formula of salutation
3.3. The great experience

IV. BEFORE PERSEPHONE: MORE TABLETS FROM THURII (L 9-10AB)
TRANSLATION OF TABLETS 9 AND 10AB FROM THURII
COMMENTARIES
4.1. The introductory formula
4.2. The reference to punishment
4.3. Fate and the lightning of Zeus
4.4. Two variants at the end: a) the supplication to Persephone
4.5. b) The second variant: the cycle, the crown, and the lap of the goddess

V. A TABLET IN IMPERIAL ROME (L 11)
TRANSLATION OF TABLET 11 FROM ROME
COMMENTARIES
5.1. Change of person in the sacred formula
5.2. The deceased woman called by name

VI. A «WORD SEARCH PUZZLE» FOR DECEIVING NON-INITIATES: THE «GREAT» TABLET FROM THURII (L 12)
TRANSLATION OF TABLET 12 FROM THURII
COMMENTARIES
6.1. A disconcerting discovery
6.2. A new reading proposal
6.3. Sacred formulas among meaningless letters. Some parallels
6.4. Reconstruction of the religious background

VII. PASSWORDS TO ACCEDE TO THE MEADOW OF THE BLESSED AND A PRAYER TO PERSEPHONE: THE TABLETS FROM PHERAI (L 13 AND 13A)
TRANSLATION OF THE TABLETS FROM PHERAI (L 13 AND 13A)
COMMENTARIES
7.1. The passwords
7.2. The names used as passwords
7.3. The effects of the passwords

VIII. OTHER TABLETS (L 14-16)
TRANSLATION OF TABLETS L 14-16
COMMENTARIES
8.1. Greetings to Plato and Persephone: tablets from Milopotamus (L 15), Rethymno (L 14), and Heraclea (L 15a)
8.2. Identifications of the mystai; tablets from Pella and other places
8.3. The tablet from Manisa and other documents that cannot be attributed to the Orphics

IX. THE SOUL'S FINAL DESTINY. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
9.1. Recapitulation. Mentions of the soul's destiny
9.2. Previous conditions
9.3. The scenario of the happy life
9.4. Characteristics of the afterlife

X. THE CENTRAL QUESTION: ARE THE GOLD LEAVES ORPHIC?
10.1. Discussions of the religious atmosphere of the tablets
10.2. Argument from authorship
10.3. The Geography of the tablets
10.4. Belonging to a mysteric ambiance
10.5. Purity and justice
10.6. The gods in the tablets and in other Orphic texts
10.7. Iconography
10.8. Colophon

XI. PARALLELS TO THE TABLETS IN OTHER CULTURES
11.1. Introduction
11.2. The Egyptian «Book of the Dead»
11.3. A Hittite parallel: the «Great voyage of the soul».
11.4. Indian parallels
11.5. Parallels in the Iranian world
11.6. «Tablets» in the Italian environment
11.7. A tablet in Gallia
11.8. The 'Punic' tablets
11.9. Echoes in modern time

XII. LITERARY QUESTIONS: CHARACTERISTICS, MODELS AND ARCHETYPES
12.1. Problems of a literary nature
12.2. Functional texts
12.3. The possible model of the tablets
12.4. The tablets' relation to ritual
12. 5 Various uses of the tablets
12.6. The relation of use and forms of appearance or with thematic motifs

APPENDIX I. EDITION OF THE TABLETS
APPENDIX II. ICONOGRAPHICAL NOTES ON THE ORPHIC TABLETS
Selection of illustrations and commentaries by Ricardo Olmos, CSIC; Drawings by Sara Olmos
Index locorum

Readership

All those interested in Ancient Greek Religion, Ancient Literature and Philosophy as well as classical philologists, and scholars of History of Religions.

Information

Collection Information