Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.30.4
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus
4 Ὀρφεῖ δὲ τῶι Θραικὶ πεποίηται μὲν παρεστῶσα αὐτῶι Τελετή, πεποίηται δὲ περὶ αὐτὸν λίθου τε καὶ χαλκοῦ θηρία ἀκούοντα ἄιδοντος. πολλὰ μὲν δὴ καὶ ἄλλα πιστεύουσιν οὐκ ὄντα Ἕλληνες καὶ δὴ καὶ Ὀρφέα Καλλιόπης τε εἶναι Μούσης καὶ οὐ τῆς Πιέρου καί οἱ τὰ θηρία ἰέναι πρὸς τὸ μέλος ψυχαγωγούμενα, ἐλθεῖν δὲ καὶ ἐς τὸν Ἅιδην ζῶντα αὐτὸν παρὰ τῶν κάτω θεῶν τὴν γυναῖκα αἰτοῦντα. ὁ δὲ Ὀρφεὺς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖν ὑπερεβάλετο ἐπῶν κόσμωι τοὺς πρὸ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ μέγα ἦλθεν ἰσχύος οἷα πιστευόμενος εὑρηκέναι τελετὰς θεῶν καὶ ἔργων ἀνοσίων καθαρμοὺς νόσων τε ἰάματα καὶ <ἀπο>τροπὰς <ἀπο>τροπὰς Herwerden μηνιμάτων θείων.
5 τὰς δὲ γυναῖκάς φασι τῶν Θραικῶν ἐπιβουλεύειν μὲν αὐτῶι θάνατον, ὅτι σφῶν τοὺς ἄνδρας ἀκολουθεῖν ἔπεισεν αὐτῶι πλανωμένωι, φόβωι δὲ τῶν ἀνδρῶν οὐ τολμᾶν· ὡς δὲ ἐνεφορήσαντο οἴνου, ἐξεργάζονται τὸ τόλμημα, καὶ τοῖς ἀνδράσιν ἀπὸ τούτου κατέστη μεθυσκομένους ἐς τὰς μάχας χωρεῖν. εἰσὶ δὲ οἵ φασι κεραυνωθέντι ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ συμβῆναι τὴν τελευτὴν Ὀρφεῖ· κεραυνωθῆναι δὲ αὐτὸν τῶν λόγων ἕνεκα ὧν ἐδίδασκεν ἐν τοῖς μυστηρίοις οὐ πρότερον ἀκηκοότας ἀνθρώπους.
6 ἄλλοις δὲ [προ]εἰρημένον [προ]ειρημένον Siebelis ἐστὶν ὡς προαποθανούσης οἱ τῆς γυναικὸς ἐπὶ τὸ Ἄορνον δι’ αὐτὴν τὸ ἐν τῆι Θεσπρωτίδι ἀφίκετο· εἶναι γὰρ πάλαι νεκυομαντεῖον αὐτόθι· νομίζοντα δέ οἱ ἕπεσθαι τῆς Εὐρυδίκης τὴν ψυχὴν καὶ ἁμαρτόντα ὡς ἐπεστράφη, αὐτόχειρα αὐτὸν ὑπὸ λύπης αὑτοῦ γενέσθαι. λέγουσι δὲ οἱ Θρᾶικες, ὅσαι τῶν ἀηδόνων ἔχουσι νεοσσιὰς ἐπὶ τῶι τάφωι τοῦ Ὀρφέως, ταύτας ἥδιον καὶ μεῖζόν τι ἄιδειν.
7 Μακεδόνων δὲ οἱ χώραν τὴν ὑπὸ τὸ ὄρος τὴν Πιερίαν ἔχοντες καὶ πόλιν Δῖον, φασὶν ὑπὸ τῶν γυναικῶν γενέσθαι τὴν τελευτὴν ἐνταῦθα τῶι Ὀρφεῖ· ἰόντι δὲ ἐκ Δίου τὴν ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος καὶ στάδια προεληλυθότι εἴκοσι κίων τέ ἐστιν ἐν δεξιᾶι καὶ ἐπίθημα ἐπὶ τῶι κίονι ὑδρία λίθου, ἔχει δὲ τὰ ὀστᾶ τοῦ Ὀρφέως ἡ ὑδρία, καθὰ οἱ ἐπιχώριοι λέγουσι.
8 ῥεῖ δὲ καὶ ποταμὸς Ἑλικών· ἄχρι σταδίων ἑβδομήκοντα πέντε προελθόντι τὸ ῥεῦμα ἀφανίζεται τὸ ἀπὸ τούτου κατὰ τῆς γῆς· διαλιπὸν δὲ μάλιστα δύο καὶ εἴκοσι στάδια ἄνεισι τὸ ὕδωρ αὖθις, καὶ ὄνομα Βαφύρας ἀντὶ Ἑλικῶνος λαβὼν κάτεισιν ἐς θάλασσαν ναυσίπορος. τοῦτον οἱ Διασταὶ τὸν ποταμὸν ἐπιρρεῖν διὰ παντὸς τῆι γῆι τὰ ἐξ ἀρχῆς φασι· τὰς γυναῖκας δὲ αἳ τὸν Ὀρφέα ἀπέκτειναν ἐναπονίψασθαί οἱ θελῆσαι τὸ αἷμα, καταδῦναί τε ἐπὶ τούτωι τὸν ποταμὸν ἐς τὴν γῆν, ἵνα δὴ μὴ τοῦ φόνου καθάρσια τὸ ὕδωρ παράσχηται.
9 ἤκουσα δὲ καὶ ἄλλον ἐν Λαρίσηι λόγον, ὡς ἐν τῶι Ὀλύμπωι πόλις οἰκοῖτο Λίβηθρα, ἧι ἐπὶ Μακεδονίας τέτραπται τὸ ὄρος, καὶ εἶναι οὐ πόρρω τῆς πόλεως τὸ τοῦ Ὀρφέως μνῆμα· ἀφικέσθαι δὲ τοῖς Λιβηθρίοις παρὰ τοῦ Διονύσου μάντευμα ἐκ Θράικης, ἐπειδὰν ἴδηι τὰ ὀστᾶ τοῦ Ὀρφέως ἥλιος, τηνικαῦτα ὑπὸ συὸς ἀπολεῖσθαι Λιβηθρίοις τὴν πόλιν. οἱ μὲν δι’ δι’ Sylburg: δὴ M οὐ πολλῆς φροντίδος ἐποιοῦντο τὸν χρησμόν, οὐδὲ ἄλλο τι θηρίον οὕτω μέγα καὶ ἄλκιμον ἔσεσθαι νομίζοντες ὡς ἑλεῖν σφισι τὴν πόλιν, συῒ δὲ συῒ δὲ Kuhn: οὐδὲ M θρασύτητος μετεῖναι μᾶλλον ἢ ἰσχύος.
10 ἐπεὶ δὲ ἐδόκει τῶι θεῶι, συνέβαινέ σφισι τοιάδε. ποιμὴν περὶ μεσοῦσαν μάλιστα τὴν ἡμέραν ἐπικλίνων αὑτὸν πρὸς τοῦ Ὀρφέως τὸν τάφον, ὁ μὲν ἐκάθευδεν ὁ ποιμήν, ἐπήιει δέ οἱ καὶ καθεύδοντι ἔπη τε ἄιδειν τῶν Ὀρφέως καὶ μέγα καὶ ἡδὺ φωνεῖν. οἱ οὖν ἐγγύτατα νέμοντες ἢ καὶ ἀροῦντες ἕκαστοι τὰ ἔργα ἀπολείποντες ἠθροίζοντο ἐπὶ τοῦ ποιμένος τὴν ἐν τῶι ὕπνωι ὠιδήν· καί ποτε ὠθοῦντες ἀλλήλους καὶ ἐρίζοντες ὅστις ἐγγύτατα ἔσται τῶι ποιμένι ἀνατρέπουσι τὸν κίονα, καὶ κατεάγη τε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ πεσοῦσα ἡ θήκη καὶ εἶδεν ἥλιος ὅ τι ἦν ὅ τι ἦν Porson: εἰς τὴν m τῶν ὀστῶν τοῦ Ὀρφέως λοιπόν.
11 αὐτίκα δὲ ἐν τῆι ἐπερχομένηι νυκτὶ ὅ τε θεὸς κατέχει πολὺ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ ὁ ποταμὸς ὁ Σῦς – τῶν δὲ περὶ τὸν Ὄλυμπον χειμάρρων καὶ ὁ Σῦς ἐστι – τότε οὖν οὗτος ὁ ποταμὸς κατέβαλε μὲν τὰ τείχη Λιβηθρίοις, θεῶν <δὲ> <δὲ> Musurus ἱερὰ καὶ οἴκους ἀνέτρεψεν ἀνθρώπων, ἀπέπνιξε δὲ τούς τε ἀνθρώπους καὶ τὰ ἐν τῆι πόλει ζῶια ὁμοίως [τὰ] [τὰ] Hitzig πάντα. ἀπολομένων ἀπολομένων Bekker: ἀπολλυμένων M δὲ ἤδη Λιβηθρίων, οὕτως οἱ ἐν Δίωι Μακεδόνες κατά γε τὸν λόγον τοῦ Λαρισαίου ξένου ἐς τὴν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ὀστᾶ κομίζουσι τοῦ Ὀρφέως.
12 ὅστις δὲ περὶ ποιήσεως ἐπολυπραγμόνησεν ἤδη, τοὺς Ὀρφέως ὕμνους οἶδεν ὄντας ἕκαστόν τε αὐτῶν ἐπὶ βραχύτατον καὶ τὸ σύμπαν οὐκ ἐς ἀριθμὸν πολὺν πεποιημένους· Λυκομίδαι δὲ ἴσασί τε καὶ ἐπάιδουσι τοῖς δρωμένοις. κόσμωι μὲν δὴ τῶν ἐπῶν δευτερεῖα φέροιντο ἂν μετά <γε> <γε> m Ὁμήρου <τε> <τε> m τοὺς ὕμνους, τιμῆς δὲ ἐκ τοῦ θείου καὶ ἐς πλέον ἐκείνων ἔχουσι.
4 Beside Orpheus the Thracian stands a statue of Telete and around him are beasts of stone and bronze listening to his singing. The Greeks believe many other things that are not true and, in particular, that Orpheus was the son of the Muse Calliope and not of the daughter of Pierus and that beasts, being enchanted, were drawn to his song, and even that he went to Hades alive to ask for his wife from the gods below. But Orpheus seems to me to have surpassed those who preceded him in the sweetness of his verses and to have acquired considerable power because he was believed to have discovered the mysteries of the gods, purifications from unholy deeds, cures from sicknesses, and ways of averting the anger of the gods.
5 They say that the wives of the Thracians plotted his death, because he had persuaded their husbands to follow him in his wanderings. But they did not dare to do anything, because they were afraid of their husbands. But when they had drunk a lot of wine, they did the deed, and as a result of this the men had the custom of going drunk into battle. There are some who say that Orpheus met his end after being struck by lightning by the god and that he was struck by lightning by the god because of the discourses which he taught in the mysteries to men who had not heard them before.
6 But by others it is said that, when his wife died before him, he went to Aornum in Thesprotia on her account. For there was an ancient oracle of the dead there. And thinking that the soul of Eurydice was following him, and being deprived of her when he turned around, he committed suicide because of his grief. The Thracians say that the nightingales who have their nests on the tomb of Orpheus sing more sweetly and loudly.
7 The Macedonians who live in the region below Mount Pieria and in the city of Dium, say that Orpheus met his end there at the hands of women. But if one goes out of Dium and advances along the road towards the mountain for about twenty stades, there is a pillar on the right and a monument on top of the pillar—a stone urn—and the urn holds the bones of Orpheus, so the inhabitants say.
8 The river Helicon also flows here. If one walks seventy five stades one reaches a point at which its course disappears beneath the earth. Remaining invisible for twenty two stades or so, the water resurfaces again and, taking the name Baphyra instead of Helicon, flows down to the sea as a navigable river. The people of Dium say that this river originally flowed above ground for the entirety of its course, but the women who killed Orpheus wished to wash off the blood in it and at this the river plunged into the earth, so as not to provide its waters for purifying the murder.
9 I also heard another story in Larisa that on Mount Olympus there is a city called Libethra, where the mountain faces towards Macedonia, and that the tomb of Orpheus is not far from the city. But an oracle came to the Libethrans from Dionysus in Thrace that whenever the sun saw the bones of Orpheus, the Libethrans’ city would be destroyed by a boar. They did not take much notice of the oracle, since they did not think that any other beast would be big and strong enough to destroy their city, and that a boar had more courage than strength.
10 But when the god thought the time right, the following things happened to them. A shepherd fell asleep around midday while leaning against the tomb of Orpheus, and it happened that while he was sleeping he sang verses of Orpheus in a loud and sweet voice. Those who were grazing their flocks or ploughing very nearby each left their tasks and gathered to hear the song of the sleeping shepherd. And pushing one another and quarrelling about who would be nearest to the shepherd they overturned the pillar and the urn fell down from it and was broken, and the sun saw whatever was left of the bones of Orpheus.
11 Immediately, on the following night, the god sent a tremendous rainfall from the heavens and the river Sus, which is one of those torrential rivers around Mount Olympus, then threw down the walls of Libethra and overturned the sanctuaries of the gods and the dwellings of men, and drowned the men and all the animals in the city alike. After Libethra had been destroyed, the Macedonians in Dium, according to the story of my guest friend from Larisa, took the bones of Orpheus to their city.
12 Whoever has inquired closely into poetry knows that each of the hymns of Orpheus is very short and that, in total, the number composed is not very great. The Lycomids know them and sing them in their rituals. In poetic quality they could be considered second to the hymns of Homer but in honour from the gods they surpass even them.