Elixir of life
The elixir of life known as elixir of immortality and sometimes equated with the philosopher's stone, is a potion that grants the drinker eternal life and/or eternal youth. This elixir was said to cure all diseases. Alchemists in various ages and cultures sought the means of formulating the elixir. In ancient China, many emperors sought the fabled elixir with varying results. In the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang sent Taoist alchemist Xu Fu with 500 young men and 500 young women to the eastern seas to find the elixir, but he never came back; when Shi Huang Di visited, he brought 3000 young girls and boys, but none of them returned. The ancient Chinese believed that ingesting long-lasting precious substances such as jade, cinnabar or hematite would confer some of that longevity on the person who consumed them. Gold was considered potent, as it was a non-tarnishing precious metal; the most famous Chinese alchemical book, the Danjing yaojue attributed to Sun Simiao, a famous medical specialist respectfully called "King of Medicine" by generations, discusses in detail the creation of elixirs for immortality as well as those for curing certain diseases and the fabrication of precious stones.
Many of these substances, far from contributing to longevity, were toxic and resulted in Chinese alchemical elixir poisoning. The Jiajing Emperor in the Ming Dynasty died from ingesting a lethal dosage of mercury in the supposed "Elixir of Life" conjured by alchemists. Amrita, the elixir of life has been described in the Hindu scriptures. Anybody who consumes a tiniest portion of Amrit has been described to gain immortality. Legend has it that at early times when the inception of the world had just taken place, evil demons had gained strength; this was seen as a threat to the gods. So these gods went to seek advice and help from the three primary gods according to the Hindus: Vishnu and Shiva, they suggested that Amrit could only be gained from the samudra manthan for the ocean in its depths hid mysterious and secret objects. Vishnu agreed to take the form of a turtle; this mountain was used as a churning pole. With the help of a Vasuki the churning process began at the surface. From one side the gods pulled the serpent, which had coiled itself around the mountain, the demons pulled it from the other side.
As the churning process required immense strength, hence the demons were persuaded to do the job—they agreed in return for a portion of Amrit. With their combined efforts, Amrit emerged from the ocean depths. All the gods were offered the drink but the gods managed to trick the demons who did not get the holy drink; the oldest Indian writings, the Vedas, contain the same hints of alchemy that are found in evidence from ancient China, namely vague references to a connection between gold and long life. Mercury, so vital to alchemy everywhere, is first mentioned in the 4th to 3rd century BC Arthashastra, about the same time it is encountered in China and in the West. Evidence of the idea of transmuting base metals to gold appears in 2nd to 5th century AD Buddhist texts, about the same time as in the West, it is possible that the alchemy of medicine and immortality came to China from India, or vice versa. But the elixir of immortality was of little importance in India; the Indian elixirs were mineral remedies for specific diseases or, at the most, to promote long life.
In European alchemical tradition, the Elixir of Life is related to the creation of the philosopher's stone. According to legend, certain alchemists have gained a reputation as creators of the elixir; these include St. Germain. In the eight-century Man'yōshū,'waters of rejuvenation' are said to be in the possession of the moon god Tsukuyomi. Similarities have been noted with a folktale from the Ryukyu Islands, in which the moon god decides to give man the water of life, serpents the water of death. However, the person entrusted with carrying the pails down to Earth gets tired and takes a break, a serpent bathes in the water of life, rendering it unusable; this is said to be why serpents can rejuvenate themselves each year by shedding their skin while men are doomed to die. The Elixir has had hundreds of names, among them Amrit Ras or Amrita, Aab-i-Hayat, Maha Ras, Aab-Haiwan, Dancing Water, Chasma-i-Kausar, Mansarover or the Pool of Nectar, Philosopher's stone, Soma Ras; the word elixir was not used until the 7th century A.
D. and derives from the Arabic name for miracle substances, "al iksir". Some view it as a metaphor for the spirit of God. "But whoever drinks the water. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The Scots and the Irish adopted the name for their "liquid gold": the Gae
Ancient Greek religion
Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs and mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared similarities. Most ancient Greeks recognized the twelve major Olympian gods and goddesses:, although philosophies such as Stoicism and some forms of Platonism used language that seems to assume a single transcendent deity; the worship of these deities, several others, was found across the Greek world, though they have different epithets that distinguished aspects of the deity, reflect the absorption of other local deities into the pan-Hellenic scheme. The religious practices of the Greeks extended beyond mainland Greece, to the islands and coasts of Ionia in Asia Minor, to Magna Graecia, to scattered Greek colonies in the Western Mediterranean, such as Massalia. Early Italian religions such as the Etruscan were influenced by Greek religion in forming much of the ancient Roman religion.
While there were few concepts universal to all the Greek peoples, there were common beliefs shared by many. Ancient Greek theology was polytheistic, based on the assumption that there were many gods and goddesses, as well as a range of lesser supernatural beings of various types. There was a hierarchy of deities, with Zeus, the king of the gods, having a level of control over all the others, although he was not almighty; some deities had dominion over certain aspects of nature. For instance, Zeus was the sky-god, sending thunder and lightning, Poseidon ruled over the sea and earthquakes, Hades projected his remarkable power throughout the realms of death and the Underworld, Helios controlled the sun. Other deities ruled over abstract concepts. All significant deities were visualized as "human" in form, although able to transform themselves into animals or natural phenomena. While being immortal, the gods were not all-good or all-powerful, they had to obey fate, known to Greek mythology as the Moirai, which overrode any of their divine powers or wills.
For instance, in mythology, it was Odysseus' fate to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, the gods could only lengthen his journey and make it harder for him, but they could not stop him. The gods had human vices, they would interact with humans, sometimes spawning children with them. At times certain gods would be opposed to others, they would try to outdo each other. In the Iliad, Aphrodite and Apollo support the Trojan side in the Trojan War, while Hera and Poseidon support the Greeks; some gods were associated with a certain city. Athena was associated with the city of Athens, Apollo with Delphi and Delos, Zeus with Olympia and Aphrodite with Corinth, but other gods were worshipped in these cities. Other deities were associated with nations outside of Greece. Identity of names was not a guarantee of a similar cultus. Though the worship of the major deities spread from one locality to another, though most larger cities boasted temples to several major gods, the identification of different gods with different places remained strong to the end.
The Greeks believed in an underworld. One of the most widespread areas of this underworld was ruled over by Hades, a brother of Zeus, was known as Hades. Other well known realms are Tartarus, a place of torment for the damned, Elysium, a place of pleasures for the virtuous. In the early Mycenean religion all the dead went to Hades, but the rise of mystery cults in the Archaic age led to the development of places such as Tartarus and Elysium. A few Greeks, like Achilles, Amphiaraus Ganymede, Melicertes, Peleus, a great number of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, were considered to have been physically immortalized and brought to live forever in either Elysium, the Islands of the Blessed, the ocean, or beneath the ground; such beliefs are found in the most ancient such as Homer and Hesiod. This belief remained strong into the Christian era. For most people at the moment of death there was, however, no hope of anything but continued existence as a disembodied soul; some Greeks, such as the philosophers Pythagoras and Plato embraced the idea of reincarnation, though this was only accepted by a few.
Epicurus taught that the soul was atoms which dissolved at death, so there was no existence after death. Greek religion had an extensive mythology, it consisted of stories of the gods and how they interacted with humans. Myths revolved around heroes and their actions, such as Heracles and his twelve labors and his voyage home and the quest for the Golden Fleece and Theseus and the Minotaur. Many species existed in Greek mythology. Chief among these were the gods and humans, though the Titans frequently appeared in Greek myths. Lesser species included the half-man-half-horse centaurs, the nature based nymphs and the half man, half goat satyrs; some creatures in Greek mythology were monstrous, such as the one-eyed giant Cyclop
Ginseng is the root of plants in the genus Panax, such as Korean ginseng, South China ginseng, American ginseng characterized by the presence of ginsenosides and gintonin. Although ginseng has been used in traditional medicine over centuries, modern clinical research is inconclusive about its medical effectiveness. There is no substantial evidence that ginseng is effective for treating any medical condition, its use has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a prescription drug. Although ginseng is sold as a dietary supplement, inconsistent manufacturing practices for supplements have led to analyses showing that ginseng products may be contaminated with toxic metals or unrelated filler compounds, its excessive use may have adverse effects or untoward interactions with prescription drugs; the English word "ginseng" comes from the Hokkien Chinese jîn-sim. The first character 人 means "person" and the second character 蔘 means "plant root"; the botanical genus name Panax, meaning "all-healing" in Greek, shares the same origin as "panacea" and was applied to this genus because Carl Linnaeus was aware of its wide use in Chinese medicine as a muscle relaxant.
One of the first written texts covering the use of ginseng as a medicinal herb was the Shen-Nung Pharmacopoeia, written in China in 196 AD. In his Compendium of Materia Medica herbal of 1596, Li Shizhen described ginseng as a "superior tonic". However, the herb was not used as a "cure-all" medicine, but more as a tonic for patients with chronic illnesses and those who were convalescing. Control over ginseng fields in China and Korea became an issue in the 16th century. Ginseng plants belong only to the genus Panax. Cultivated species include Korean ginseng, South China ginseng, American ginseng. Ginseng is found in cooler climates—Korean ginseng native to Korean Peninsula, Northeast China, Russian Far East, American ginseng native to Canada and the United States—although some species grow in warm regions—South China ginseng native to Southwest China and Vietnam. Vietnamese ginseng is the southernmost ginseng known. Wild ginseng grows in mountains and is hand-picked by wild ginseng gatherers known as simmani.
Wild ginseng grows and is harvested from wherever it is found. It is rare and increasingly endangered due to high demand for the product in recent years, leading to the harvest of wild plants faster than the growth which can take years to reach maturity. Wild ginseng can be processed to be white ginseng. Cultivated ginseng is less expensive compared to available wild ginseng. Wild cultivated ginseng is allowed to grow like wild ginseng. Ginseng seed does not germinate until the second spring following the harvest of berries in the fall, they must first be subjected to a long period of storage in a moist medium with a warm/cold treatment, a process known as stratification. Korean ginseng is available commercially as fresh and white ginsengs. Fresh ginseng called "green ginseng", is non-dried raw product, its use is limited by availability. White ginseng dried ginseng. White ginseng is fresh ginseng, dried without being heated, it dried to reduce the water content to 12 % or less. White ginseng air-dried in the sun may contain less of the therapeutic constituents.
Enzymes contained in the root may break down these constituents in the process of drying. Drying in the sun bleaches the root to a yellowish-white color. Red ginseng dried ginseng, which has reddish color. Red ginseng is less vulnerable to decay than white ginseng, it is ginseng, peeled, heated through steaming at standard boiling temperatures of 100 °C, dried or sun-dried. It is marinated in an herbal brew which results in the root becoming brittle. Commercial ginseng is sold with China as the largest consumer. In 2013, global sales of ginseng exceeded $2 billion. In the early 21st century, 99% of the world's 80,000 tons of ginseng was produced in just four countries: China, South Korea and the United States. All ginseng produced in South Korea is Korean ginseng, while ginseng produced in China includes P. ginseng and South China ginseng. Ginseng produced in Canada and the United States is American ginseng. Ginseng may be included in energy drinks or herbal teas in small amounts or sold as a dietary supplement.
The root is most available in dried form, either whole or sliced. Ginseng leaf, although not as prized, is sometimes used. In Korean cuisine, ginseng is used in various banchan and guk, as well as tea and alcoholic beverages. Ginseng-infused tea and liquor, known as insamcha and insamju ("ginseng liq
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
Mithraism known as the Mithraic mysteries, was a mystery religion centered on the god Mithras, practiced in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to the 4th century CE. The religion was inspired by Iranian worship of the god Mithra, though the Greek Mithras was linked to a new and distinctive imagery, the level of continuity between Persian and Greco-Roman practice is debated; the mysteries were popular among the Roman military. Worshippers of Mithras had a complex system of seven grades of initiation and communal ritual meals. Initiates called themselves syndexioi, those "united by the handshake", they met in underground temples, now called mithraea, which survive in large numbers. The cult appears to have had its centre in Rome, was popular throughout the western half of the empire, as far south as Roman Africa and Numidia, as far north as Roman Britain, to a lesser extent in Roman Syria in the east. Mithraism is viewed as a rival of early Christianity. In the 4th century, Mithraists faced persecution from Roman Christians and the religion was subsequently suppressed and eliminated in the empire by the end of the century.
Numerous archaeological finds, including meeting places and artifacts, have contributed to modern knowledge about Mithraism throughout the Roman Empire. The iconic scenes of Mithras show him being born from a rock, slaughtering a bull, sharing a banquet with the god Sol. About 420 sites have yielded materials related to the cult. Among the items found are about 1000 inscriptions, 700 examples of the bull-killing scene, about 400 other monuments, it has been estimated. No written narratives or theology from the religion survive. Interpretation of the physical evidence remains problematic and contested; the term "Mithraism" is a modern convention. Writers of the Roman era referred to it by phrases such as "Mithraic mysteries", "mysteries of Mithras" or "mysteries of the Persians". Modern sources sometimes refer to the Greco-Roman religion as "Roman Mithraism" or "Western Mithraism" to distinguish it from Persian worship of Mithra; the name Mithras is a form of Mithra, the name of an Old Persian god – a relationship understood by Mithraic scholars since the days of Franz Cumont.
An early example of the Greek form of the name is in a 4th-century BCE work by Xenophon, the Cyropaedia, a biography of the Persian king Cyrus the Great. The exact form of a Latin or classical Greek word varies due to the grammatical process of declension. There is archaeological evidence that in Latin worshippers wrote the nominative form of the god's name as "Mithras". However, in Porphyry's Greek text De Abstinentia, there is a reference to the now-lost histories of the Mithraic mysteries by Euboulus and Pallas, the wording of which suggests that these authors treated the name "Mithra" as an indeclinable foreign word. Related deity-names in other languages include Sanskrit Mitra, the name of a god praised in the Rig Veda. In Sanskrit, "mitra" means "friend" or "friendship"; the form mi-it-ra-, found in an inscribed peace treaty between the Hittites and the kingdom of Mitanni, from about 1400 BCE. Iranian "Mithra" and Sanskrit "Mitra" are believed to come from an Indo-Iranian word mitra meaning contract / agreement / covenant.
Modern historians have different conceptions about. John R. Hinnells has written of Mitra / Mithra / Mithras as a single deity worshipped in several different religions. On the other hand, David Ulansey considers the bull-slaying Mithras to be a new god who began to be worshipped in the 1st century BCE, to whom an old name was applied. Mary Boyce, a researcher of ancient Iranian religions, writes that though Roman Empire Mithraism seems to have had less Iranian content than historians used to think, nonetheless "as the name Mithras alone shows, this content was of some importance". Much about the cult of Mithras is only known from sculptures. There have been many attempts to interpret this material. Mithras-worship in the Roman Empire was characterized by images of the god slaughtering a bull. Other images of Mithras are found in the Roman temples, for instance Mithras banqueting with Sol, depictions of the birth of Mithras from a rock, but the image of bull-slaying is always in the central niche.
Textual sources for a reconstruction of the theology behind this iconography are rare. The practice of depicting the god slaying a bull seems to be specific to Roman Mithraism. According to David Ulansey, this is "perhaps the most important example" of evident difference between Iranian and Roman traditions: "... There is no evidence that the Iranian god Mithra had anything to do with killing a bull." In every mithraeum the centrepiece was a representation of Mithras killing a sacred bull, an act called the tauroctony. The image may be a relief, or free-standing, side details may be present or omitted; the centre-piece is Mithras clothed in Anatolian costume and wearing a Phrygian cap. As he does so, he looks over his shoulder towards the figure of Sol. A dog and a snake reach up towards the blood. A scorpion seizes the bull's genitals. A raven is sitting on the bull. Three ears of wheat are seen coming out from the bull's tail, sometimes from the wound; the bull was white. The god is sitting on the bull in an unnatural way with his right leg co
Linnaean taxonomy can mean either of two related concepts: the particular form of biological classification set up by Carl Linnaeus, as set forth in his Systema Naturae and subsequent works. In the taxonomy of Linnaeus there are three kingdoms, divided into classes, they, in turn, into orders and species, with an additional rank lower than species. A term for rank-based classification of organisms, in general; that is, taxonomy in the traditional sense of the word: rank-based scientific classification. This term is used as opposed to cladistic systematics, which groups organisms into clades, it is attributed to Linnaeus, although he neither invented the concept of ranked classification nor gave it its present form. In fact, it does not have an exact present form, as "Linnaean taxonomy" as such does not exist: it is a collective term for what are several separate fields, which use similar approaches. Linnaean name has two meanings: depending on the context, it may either refer to a formal name given by Linnaeus, such as Giraffa camelopardalis Linnaeus, 1758, or a formal name in the accepted nomenclature.
In his Imperium Naturae, Linnaeus established three kingdoms, namely Regnum Animale, Regnum Vegetabile and Regnum Lapideum. This approach, the Animal and Mineral Kingdoms, survives today in the popular mind, notably in the form of the parlour game question: "Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?". The work of Linnaeus had a huge impact on science. Two of his works, the first edition of the Species Plantarum for plants and the tenth edition of the Systema Naturae, are accepted as part of the starting points of nomenclature. However, the impact he had on science was not because of the value of his taxonomy, his classes and orders of plants, according to his Systema Sexuale, were never intended to represent natural groups but only for use in identification. They were used for that purpose well into the nineteenth century. Within each class were several orders; the Linnaean classes for plants, in the Sexual System, were: Classis 1. Monandria: flowers with 1 stamen Classis 2. Diandria: flowers with 2 stamens Classis 3.
Triandria: flowers with 3 stamens Classis 4. Tetrandria: flowers with 4 stamens Classis 5. Pentandria: flowers with 5 stamens Classis 6. Hexandria: flowers with 6 stamens Hexandria monogynia pp. 285–352 Hexandria polygynia pp. 342–343 Classis 7. Heptandria: flowers with 7 stamens Classis 8. Octandria: flowers with 8 stamens Classis 9. Enneandria: flowers with 9 stamens Classis 10. Decandria: flowers with 10 stamens Classis 11. Dodecandria: flowers with 12 stamens Classis 12. Icosandria: flowers with 20 stamens, perigynous Classis 13. Polyandria: flowers with many stamens, inserted on the receptacle Classis 14. Didynamia: flowers with 4 stamens, 2 long and 2 short Classis 15. Tetradynamia: flowers with 6 stamens, 4 long and 2 short Classis 16. Monadelphia. Diadelphia. Polyadelphia. Syngenesia. Gynandria. Monoecia: monoecious plants Classis 22. Dioecia: dioecious plants Classis 23. Polygamia: polygamodioecious plants Classis 24. Cryptogamia: the "flowerless" plants, including ferns, fungi and bryophytesThe classes based on the number of stamens were subdivided by the number of pistils, e.g. Hexandria monogynia with six stamens and one pistil.
Index to genera p. 1201 Only in the Animal Kingdom is the higher taxonomy of Linnaeus still more or less recognizable and some of these names are still in use, but not quite for the same groups. He divided the Animal Kingdom into six classes, in the tenth edition, of 1758, these were: Classis 1. Mammalia Classis 2. Aves Classis 3. Amphibia Classis 4. Pisces Classis 5. Insecta Classis 6. Vermes His taxonomy of minerals has long since dropped from use. In the tenth edition, 1758, of the Systema Naturae, the Linnaean classes were: Classis 1. Petræ Classis 2. Mineræ Classis 3. Fossilia Classis 4. Vitamentra This rank-based method of classifying living organisms was popularized by Linnaeus, although it has changed since his time; the greatest innovation of Linnaeus, still the most important aspect of this system, is the general use of binomial nomenclature, the combination of a genus name and a second term, which together uniquely identify each species of organism within a kingdom. For example, the human species is uniquely identified within the animal kingdom by the name Homo sapiens.
No other species of animal can have this same binomen. Prior to Linnaean taxonomy, animals were classified according to their mode of movement. Linnaeus's use of binomial nomenclature was anticipated by the theory of definition used in Scholasticism. Scholastic logicians and philosophers of nature defined the species man, for example, as Animal rationalis, where animal was considered a genus and rationalis the characteristic distinguishing man from all other animals. Treating animal as the immediate genus of the species man, etc. is of little p
Orphism is the name given to a set of religious beliefs and practices originating in the ancient Greek and Hellenistic world, as well as from the Thracians, associated with literature ascribed to the mythical poet Orpheus, who descended into the Greek underworld and returned. Orphics revered Persephone and Dionysus or Bacchus. Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus. Poetry containing distinctly Orphic beliefs has been traced back to the 6th century BC or at least 5th century BC, graffiti of the 5th century BC refers to "Orphics". Classical sources, such as Plato, refer to "Orpheus-initiators", associated rites, although how far "Orphic" literature in general related to these rites is not certain; as in the Eleusinian mysteries, initiation into Orphic mysteries promised advantages in the afterlife. The Orphic theogonies are genealogical works similar to the Theogony of Hesiod, but the details are different; the theogonies are symbolically similar to Near Eastern models. The main story has it that Dionysus is the son of Persephone.
Dionysus is tricked with a mirror and children's toys by the Titans, who murder and consume him. Athena tells Zeus of the crime, who in turn hurls a thunderbolt on the Titans; the resulting soot, from which sinful mankind is born, contains the bodies of the Titans and Dionysus. The soul of man is therefore divine. Thus, it was declared. There are two Orphic stories of the rebirth of Dionysus: in one it is the heart of Dionysus, implanted into the thigh of Zeus. Many of these details differ from accounts in the classical authors. Firmicus Maternus, a Christian author, gives a different account with the book On the Error of Profane Religions, he says that Jupiter was a king of Crete—a concept of Euhemerus—and Dionysos was his son. Dionysos was murdered, cannibalized. Only his heart was salvaged by Athena. A statue of gypsum was made to look like Dionysos, the heart placed within; the Orphic theogonies include: The "Protogonos Theogony", composed c. 500 BC, known through the commentary in the Derveni papyrus and references in classical authors.
The "Eudemian Theogony", composed in the 5th century BC. It is the product of a syncretic Bacchic-Kouretic cult; the "Rhapsodic Theogony", composed in the Hellenistic age, incorporating earlier works. It is known through summaries in neo-Platonist authors. Orphic Hymns. 87 hexametric poems of a shorter length composed in the late Hellenistic or early Roman Imperial age. Surviving written fragments show a number of beliefs about the afterlife similar to those in the "Orphic" mythology about Dionysus' death and resurrection. Bone tablets found in Olbia carry short and enigmatic inscriptions like: "Life. Death. Life. Truth. Dio. Orphics." The function of these bone tablets is unknown. Gold-leaf tablets found in graves from Thurii, Hipponium and Crete give instructions to the dead. Although these thin tablets are highly fragmentary, collectively they present a shared scenario of the passage into the afterlife; when the deceased arrives in the underworld, he is expected to confront obstacles. He must take care not of the pool of Mnemosyne.
He is provided with formulaic expressions with which to present himself to the guardians of the afterlife. I am a son of starry sky. I am dying. Other gold leaves offer instructions for addressing the rulers of the underworld: Now you have died and now you have come into being, O thrice happy one, on this same day. Tell Persephone that the Bacchic One himself released you. Orphic views and practices have parallels to elements of Pythagoreanism. There is, too little evidence to determine the extent to which one movement may have influenced the other. In the fifteenth century, the Neoplatonic Greek scholar Constantine Lascaris considered a Pythagorean Orpheus; the book The works of Aristotle mentioned Aristotle says the poet Orpheus never existed. Bertrand Russell noted; the intoxication that they sought was that of "enthusiasm," of union with the god. They believed themselves, in this way; this mystical element entered into Greek philosophy with Pythagoras, a reformer of Orphism as Orpheus was a reformer of the religion of Dionysus.
From Pythagoras Orphic elements entered into the philosophy of Plato, from Plato into most philosophy, in any degree religious. Bertrand Russell pointed out about Socrates He is not an orthodox Orphic.