Fr. 90

      Ἔνθ', Ἄβδηρ', οὗ νῦν .[. . .]λ̣εω φαρμακὸν ἀγινεῖ 

Fr. 90 Harder (= 90 Pf., = 192 Mass.) P.Mil.Vogl. I 18 col. II 29 sq.
Trismegistos 59371

The Abderites had a custom of fêting a slave, leading him around the walls of the city as a way of purifying it, then throwing stones to drive him out of their territoy as a scapegoat. Human sacrifice also forms the theme for the next aition. It is possible that Abderus was a character in this aition; if so, it was he to whom Heracles entrusted Diomedes’ Bistonian horses. The horses killed him, and Heracles founded a cult in his honor.



Deubner, Ludwig. 1934. ‘Der Pharmakos von Abdera.’ Studi italiani di filologia classica, n. s., vol. 11:185-92.

Fr. 90

Ἄβδηρα, -ων, τά: Abdera, a city in Thrace on the northern coast of the Aegean Sea

φαρμακός -οῦ, ὁ: one sacrificed, scapegoat

ἀγινέω: lead, bring, carry

Fr. 90a Harder (= Diegesis II 29-40 1, 97 Pf.) P.Mil.Vogl. I 18 col. II 29-40 [image], Trismegistos 59371

       Ἔνθ', Ἄβδηρ', οὗ νῦν .[. . .]λεω φαρμακὸν

       ἀγινεῖ      Ἀβδήροις ὠνητὸς ἄνθρω-

       πος καθάρσιον τῆς πόλεως, ἐπὶ πλίν-

       θου ἑστὼς φαιᾶς, θοίνης ἀπολαύων

5    δαψιλοῦς, ἐπειδὰν διάπλεως γένηται,

       προάγεται ἐπὶ τὰς Προυρίδας καλου-

       μένας πύλας• εἶτ' ἔξω τοῦ τείχους

       περίεισι κύκλῳ περικαθαίρων

       αὐτῷ τὴν πόλιν, καὶ τότε ὑπὸ

10   τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ τῶν ἄλλων λι-

       θοβολεῖται, ἕως ἐξελασθῇ τῶν



"There, Abdera, where now. . .leads the

scapegoat."    In Abdera a slave is used as

a cleansing sacrifice for the city. Having

stood on a grey plinth and enjoyed

an abundant meal, when he is completely full,5

he is led forward to the gates called

Prurian. Then, outside the walls, he goes

around in a circle purifying the town on all sides.

And then the king and the others

throw stones at him, until he is driven from their



Fr. 90 

There, Abdera, where...leads the scapegoat

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Suggested Citation

Susan Stephens, Callimachus: Aetia. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-947822-07-8.https://dcc.dickinson.edu/callimachus-aetia/book-4/abdera