Hymns to Attis


1 Introduction

These pagan hymns are preserved, ironically, by the Christian writer Pseudo-Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 5.9.8–9 (ed. Litwa). He cites them together with a Christological interpretation given to the hymns by a writer of the Naassene community (a short-lived Christian sect), in order to attack Naassene doctrine.

2 First Hymn

Whether you are Kronos’ offspring, or that of Zeus, o blessed one!,
Or of Rhea, be greeted, o great one! At the sound
Of whose name Rhea casts down her eyes, o Attis!
The Assyrians call you thrice-beloved Adonis,
All of Egypt, Osiris,
Hellenic wisdom, the horn of Men upon heaven,
The Samothracians, august Adamas (‘unconquered one’),
The Haemonians (‘Thessalians’), Corybas,
And the Phrygians, sometimes Papas,
At other times, Corpse; God; Unfruitful One;
Goatherd; Ear of Grain Cut While Still Green;
He Whom the Fruitful Almond Bore;
The Man Who Plays the Pipe!

3 Second Hymn

I shall hymn Rhea’s Attis,
Not with the chiming of bells
Or the bellowing of the flute
Of the Idaean Curetes mingled with it;
Rather, I shall mix lyre-playing
With my Phoebeian Muse. Euhoe!
Euhan! (You are) as Pan, as Baccheus,
As a shepherd of the white stars!

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