Book 1, Theta: Dionysiac amulets

1 Introduction

2 Chapter Theta (θ) of the Cyranides


Plant: thyrsis. Bird: thyr. Stone: thyrsite, similar to coral. Marine fish: tuna (thynnos).

Thyrsis is an herb which is Dionysiac; it is shrubby and good for all purposes.
Thyr is a bird similar to the sea eagle (hierax pelagios), efficacious and divine (entheon).
Thyrsite (‘thyrsos-stone’) is a stone similar to coral.
Tuna is a marine fish, edible like the palamis (‘little tunny’), but big; it is also well-known.

‹another herb›

Bakkera is an herb of Dionysus. This little thyrsos is pressed into wine (lēnobateitai)1 by the Bacchae and Maenads. It is a plant of Earth grown for the merriment of humanity.

‹procedures with wine›

Now, I shall speak about certain powers which are abundant in wine—all the things that have arisen for mortals to press into wine (lēnobateisthai) along with the liquid.2 Afterwards I shall go through it again in prose.3 One should know: it belongs to Earth.

‹a procedure for making wine more powerful and for favor›

Now if one grinds up 1 handful of this plant, and 1 ounce of the stone, and says the Dionysiac name, and throws the matter into a single jar of wine, from which everyone drinks just one cup, those who have drunk will all relax like they are drunk and grateful, and say that “you have made us happy, sir”.

‹a procedure for favor even without drinking the wine›

If you throw the right eye of a tuna into wine and say the name of Dionysus and that the banqueting friends should become relaxed even without drinking, but will be grateful because they are cheerful.

‹a procedure for hostility through wine›

And if you cut off the wing of the bird thyr with a sword made entirely of iron, and throw it into a jar of wine while speaking the Dionysiac name over it, and say “lord (kyrie), make the banqueters become bloodthirsty and thrash each other”, and it will happen thus.

‹an amulet›

Into the thyrsite stone, engrave the bird thyr and Dionysus holding the bird, and (put) the root of the plant under the stone, and carry it enclosed. And you will not get drunk, and have favor from all.4 You will also be free of danger and unbeatable in court cases.

‹the dionysiac name›

And the Dionysiac name is this: “Eui Euie Bakkheuiue Euiē Oiōo Aeēiē!” And the truth of the name is “Ēoeu” or “Oōb”. This is what Harpocration writes.

But Cyranus has the following: “Euia Baikheu Euileu Dionyse!”

1 I am uncertain of the meaning of this verb here.
2 This is perhaps a somewhat contrived reading of this difficult sentence, based on the context as much as the wording.
3 The text as we have it is already in prose.
4 Or “appear graceful to all”.