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Priapus

Post  WynnDark on Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:11 am

I understand that Priapus is more often found in Roman sources and that he's generally not considered a major god, but due to some personal connections and the reading of thrown knucklebones I'm doing my best to dig up more information about this particuler Theoi. For the most part I've not found much more than what good old theoi[dot]com has on its pages, though the few snipits of information make me think there is more to this Theoi than is commonly known.

Priapus is a guardian figure, specifically he stands the watch over gardens and given his iconic attribute of a grotesquely large phallus I don't think saying he has charge over the growth of said gardens is too farfetched. He also is associated with the protection of honey bees and flocks, no doubt again in a guardian and fructifying capacity. His primary place of worship (that we know of) was Lampsakos on the Hellespont, a city involved heavily with the minting of electrum coins (random trivia). Priapus also acted as a teacher to Ares, teaching him first how to dance and then how to make war, a lesson that modern man could stand to remember, live and love so that you know what you are fighting for but then that's my opinion only.

Alas the only tales really involving Priapus that come down to us, that I've found, are basically discussing the reason why he had donkeys as a sacrificial animal, either because a donkey interrupted him attempting to rape a nymph (or Hestia in some versions of the tale) or because said donkey dared to claim his phallus was larger and thus went by the way of Marsyas after challenging Apollon. As an aside these tales make me think that the donkey is actually his holy animal, since generally the animals sacrificed to a Theoi were their sacred ones, despite the tone of the tales suggesting he hated donkeys.

As I’ve maundered about quite a bit with this I’ll leave you all with a request for aid, should you know of any information or thoughts pertaining to Priapus please feel free to share.

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Re: Priapus

Post  Erodius on Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:37 am

In Orphism, the name 'Priepos/Priapos' occurs as one of the names of the Creator God/Demiurge, however, the name only appears once. This is probably the result of the name's having been adopted from the minor daimon Priapos, who was associated with generation and fertility, and conceived perhaps to be a numinal force of the Creator.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Priapus

Post  WynnDark on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:27 pm

Yes, I've read that fragment and find it most interesting, granted it is entirely possible that it is just an adoption, I find the idea that the two are somehow linked quite interesting. There is a commentary from Diodorus Siculus that suggested the Egyptians worshipped Priapus as the missing phallus of Osiris, which got me to thinking about the parentage of Priapus some time ago. I favor the view that he is the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite and while some myth says that Hera cursed the pregnancy that caused Priapus to be ugly and deformed, I think he'd of been the way he is whether Hera intervened or not...I see Hera's role there as possibly being that of the hero-maker and we've simply lost any further tales associated with Priapus related to that. Anyway, I find the thought of Aphrodite being Priapus' mother interesting because of the birth of Aphrodite from Uranus's castration, considering Priapus' immense phallus.

I also find references to his other major icon (other than the Phrygian cap), the sickle, interesting since only once that I recall was it said to be made of wicker while in other places the material is not named. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was mentioned to be a stone sickle somewhere though, which would tie in all the more to his parentage.

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Re: Priapus

Post  Erodius on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:56 pm

That would be consistent with our teaching as well — that Demiourgos consists of the intertwined Peras and Apeiria, who at the terrestrial microcosm are called Bakkhos and Second Aphrodite. When joined, they generate Demiourgos, whom a verse of the Rhapsodiai, as I mentioned, gives the name Priepos (among others).

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Priapus

Post  Callisto on Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:35 pm

Have you already found:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] by Richard Payne Knight
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] translated by Leonard C. Smithers and Sir Richard Burton

They're available at sacred texts.com (click on the above links).

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Re: Priapus

Post  J_Agathokles on Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:46 pm

WynnDark, I just want to point out that Theoi is the plural form. Since you speak about only one God, the singular Theos is the correct grammatical number to use ;-)


Last edited by J_Agathokles on Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:05 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Priapus

Post  WynnDark on Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:02 am

I stand corrected Agathokles, thank you, I'd have kept on making that mistake otherwise. Thank you for the text links Callisto, I haven't waded through all of Knight's work but so far haven't found much that actually references Priapus, though he seems to come at the subject using other religions and folk practice to try and get at what Priapus worship may have been like or about, the age of the document shows in its bias.

I did, however, somehow miss that they had the Priapeia, bawdy poems to Priapus often written as though Priapus himself were speaking and some very creatively grotesque "get out of my garden patch" signs they make.


Last edited by J_Agathokles on Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : "have", not "of")

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