Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation (run by Philip A. Harland)

Orphic Bone Tablets (V BCE) Olbia - Scythia and Moesia

Olbia (Scythia and Moesia, Danube and Black Sea areas — Pleiades map), V BCE
IOlbiaD 94 = M.L. West, "The Orphics of Olbia," ZPE 45 (1982) 17–29 = SEG 28:659–661 = PHI 184168 = AGRW ID# 15649
Copenhagen Inventory info: 1328


Three tiny bone tablets with graffiti scratched on them. Discovered at one of the sanctuaries at Olbia. One of the tablets refers either to “Orphic matters” or to “Orphics” as a group of people (Ὀρφικοί). See the comments on GRA 92.

(Tablet A) Life, Death, Life, Truth. Dionysos. Orphic (matters) (or: Orphics; Orphikoi)

(Tablet B) Peace, War, ǀ Truth, Falsehood, Dionysos.

(Tablet C) Dionysos, Z. Truth, Body, Soul.

Translation by: Harland

(Tablet A)

βίος θάνατος βίος Ζ(?) ǀ ἀλήθεια ǀ Ζα(γρεύς?) Ζ(?) ǀ Διό(νυσος) (Διο(νύσῳ) ?) Ὀρφικοί.

(Tablet B)

εἰρήνη πόλεμος ǀ ἀλήθεια ψεῦδος ǀ Διόν(υσος) (Διον(ύσῳ) ?) ǀ Α

(Tablet C)

Διό(νυσος) (Διο(νύσῳ) ?) ǀ ἀλήθεια ǀ σῶμα ψυχή ǀ Α

Item added: October 12, 2014
Item modified: October 1, 2020
ID number: 15649
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