1000 Songs/Oxyrhynchus hymn fragment
Oxyrhynchus hymn fragment
Although the author of this particular papyrus fragment is unknown, it was likely written by someone who was in Oxyrhynchus at the same time as authors of the other Oxyrhynchus papyrus fragments, such as Alcaeus.
The original language of this hymn is Greek. The brackets denote reconstructed areas of the text.
Spoken: [Σε Πάτερ κόσμων, Πάτερ αἰώνων, μέλπωμεν] ὁμοῦ, πᾶσαι τε Θεοῦ λόγιμοι δο[ῦλο]ι. Ὅσα κ[όσμος ἔχει πρὸς ἐπουρανίων ἁγίων σελάων.]
Sung: [Πρ]υτανήω σιγάτω, μηδ' ἄστρα φαεσφόρα λ[αμπέ]
Spoken: σθων, [ἀπ]ολει[όντων] ῥ[ιπαὶ πνοιῶν, πηγαὶ]
Sung: ποταμῶν ῥοθίων πᾶσαι. Υμνούντων δ' ἡμῶν [Π]ατέρα χ' Υἱὸν χ' Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, πᾶσαι δυνάμεις ἐπιφωνούντων· Ἀμήν, Ἀμήν. Κράτος, αἶνος [ἀεὶ καὶ δόξα Θεοὶ δωτῆρι μόνῳ πάντων] ἀγαθῶν· Ἀμήν, Ἀμήν."
A literal translation from Greek to English would read:
.. Let it be silent
Let the Luminous stars not shine,
Let the winds (?) and all the noisy rivers die down;
And as we hymn the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Let all the powers add "Amen Amen"
Empire, praise always, and glory to God,
The sole giver of good things, Amen Amen
Let the world be silent
Let not the stars shine their lights
Calm the winds, silence the rivers
Let all praise the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit
Let all sing together Amen, Amen.
Let kings bow, and God receive the glory!
The sole giver of good things, Amen Amen.
The original tune is in a Gregorian chant-like style, with all in unison.
The music is recorded in an archaic fashion above the lines of text on the Papyrus. This article appears to be in hypolydian mode with a final on the second scale degree, although in a more practical sense, one could argue that it truly functions in mixolydian, going outside of that range by just one note.
There are few arrangements of the song. Many sing the original with the chant transposed up an octave so it can be sung by men and women in comfortable ranges.
This hymn was found with many other fragments of Papyrus in the ancient town of Oxyrhynchus. The document found in 1918 and published four years later.
Oxyrhynchus was a town down the river from Cairo where the current site of el-Bahnasa lies. The town is named after a fish that is believed to have eaten the penis of Osiris, the god of the dead.