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By Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Plato, Aristophanes, and the creators of the "Orphic" gold capsules hire the normal story of a trip to the world of the lifeless to redefine, in the mythic narrative, the bounds in their societies. instead of being the relics of a pale ritual culture or the goods of Orphic impression, those myths can purely exhibit their meanings via this precise research of the categorical ways that each one writer uses the culture.

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Extra info for Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes, and the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets

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The first task on these tablets is for the deceased to find her way in the underworld to the correct spring where the guardians wait. The solution provided by the tablets is to persist until reaching the second spring, with the result that the deceased obtains a drink from the water of Memory. The obstacles, solutions, and results described in the gold tablets all derive from traditional elements of the underworld 18 Riedweg 1998 makes a similar classification, but Pugliese Caratelli 1993 and 2001, Colli 1977, Kern 1922, Janko 1984, and Bernab´e and Jim´enez 2001 all use different sets of sigla.

Cp. Franz 1836; Goettling 1843. Dieterich 1891, 1893; Rohde 1925 (German 1st ed. vol. , 1st ed. in 1903), p. 667ff. 8 One of the primary problems facing scholar’s investigating the tablets is the lack of any contemporary literary evidence for the phenomenon. No author contemporary with the gold tablets seems to mention them, even though they range in date from the fifth century BCE to the third century CE. Clearly, these tablets are evidence for a religious tradition that had a long life but was outside of the mainstream, either marginal or so secret that no mention could be made of it.

The wondertale arose on the basis of precapitalist modes of production and social life, and we must discover exactly which ones. . The wondertale must be compared with the historical realities of the past, and its roots should be sought there. . ” (Propp 1984, pp. ) 6:44 P1: KNP-JYD/KFO-JLP 0521834341c01 P2: KOD CB671-Edmonds-v2 June 15, 2004 Introduction 19 to Propp. 51 All these explanations, however, of the journey to the underworld 46 Meuli 1935; Eliade 1964; Dodds 1951. Burkert traces the origin of the pattern even further back, to ritualized animal behavior patterns.

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