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Plutarch’s Moralia

1 κόσμος, ὀνομάζεται δὲ τῷ γνωριμωτάτῳ τῶν ὀνομάτων. κρυπτόμενοι δὲ τοὺς πολλοὺς οἱ σοφώτεροι τὴν μὲν εἰς πῦρ μεταβολὴν Ἀπόλλωνά τε τῇ μονώσει Φοῖβόν τε τῷ καθαρῷ καὶ ἀμιάντῳ 389καλοῦσι. τῆς δ᾿ εἰς πνεύματα καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ γῆν καὶ ἄστρα καὶ φυτῶν ζῴων τε γενέσεις τροπῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ διακοσμήσεως τὸ μὲν πάθημα καὶ τὴν μεταβολὴν διασπασμόν τινα καὶ διαμελισμὸν αἰνίττονται· Διόνυσον δὲ καὶ Ζαγρέα καὶ Νυκτέλιον καὶ Ἰσοδαίτην αὐτὸν ὀνομάζουσι, καὶ φθοράς τινας καὶ ἀφανισμοὺς2 εἶτα δ᾿3 ἀναβιώσεις4 καὶ παλιγγενεσίας, οἰκεῖα ταῖς εἰρημέναις μεταβολαῖς αἰνίγματα καὶ μυθεύματα περαίνουσι· καὶ ᾄδουσι τῷ μὲν διθυραμβικὰ μέλη παθῶν μεστὰ καὶ μεταβολῆς πλάνην τινὰ καὶ διαφόρησιν ἐχούσης· B

‘μιξοβόαν,’ γὰρ Αἰσχύλος φησί, ‘πρέπει διθύραμβον ὁμαρτεῖν σύγκωμον5 Διονύσῳ.’

τῷ δὲ παιᾶνα, τεταγμένην καὶ σώφρονα μοῦσαν.

“Ἀγήρων τε τοῦτον ἀεὶ καὶ νέον ἐκεῖνον δὲ πολυειδῆ καὶ πολύμορφον ἐν γραφαῖς καὶ πλάσμασι δημιουργοῦσι· καὶ ὅλως τῷ μὲν ὁμαλότητα6 καὶ τάξιν καὶ σπουδὴν ἄκρατον, τῷ δὲ μεμειγμένην

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The Ε at Delphi

universe does to-day; but he is called by the best known of his names.a The more enlightened, however, concealing from the masses the transformation into fire, call him Apollo because of his solitary state,b and Phoebus because of his purity and stainlessness.c And as for his turning into winds and water, earth and stars, and into the generations of plants and animals, and his adoption of such guises, they speak in a deceptive way of what he undergoes in his transformation as a tearing apart, as it were, and a dismemberment. They give him the names of Dionysus, Zagreus, Nyctelius, and Isodaetes; they construct destructions and disappearances, followed by returns to life and regenerations—riddles and fabulous tales quite in keeping with the aforesaid transformations. To this god they also sing the dithyrambic strains laden with emotion and with a transformation that includes a certain wandering and dispersion. Aeschylus,d in fact, says

Fitting it is that the dithyramb With its fitful notes should attend Dionysus in revel rout.

But to Apollo they sing the paean, music regulated and chaste.

“Apollo the artists represent in paintings and sculpture as ever ageless and young, but Dionysus they depict in many guises and forms; and they attribute to Apollo in general a uniformity, orderliness, and unadulterated seriousness, but to Dionysus a certain

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-moralia_e_delphi.1936