73. Δαίμονος, θυμίαμα λίβανον.
To Daimonos, Divine Power
Divine medium: libanon (frankincense)
Δαίμονα κικλήσκω μεγάλαν ἡγήτορα φρικτόν,
Daimona I call, mighty, shudder-invoking commander,
μειλίχιον Δία, παγγενέτην, βιοδώτορα θνητῶν,
Gentle Dia, parent of all, bestower of mortal life,
Ζῆνα μέγαν, πολύπλαγκτον, ἀλάστορα, παμβασιλῆα,
Mighty Zena, wide roaming and avenging Queen of all,
πλουτοδότην, ὁπόταν γε βρυάζων οἶκον ἐσέλθηι,
Giving wealth in situations when Ge’s house swells under Selene divine,
ἔμπαλι δὲ τρύχοντα βίον θνητῶν πολυμόχθων·
Renewing the exhaustion of mortal life’s many hardships.
ἐν σοὶ γὰρ λύπης τε χαρᾶς κληῖδες ὀχοῦνται.
In thou, both distress and the key to grace are found.
τοιγάρ τοι, μάκαρ, ἁγνέ, πολύστονα κήδε’ ἐλάσσας,
Therefore, blessed pure one, let many mournful cries release,
ὅσσα βιοφθορίην πέμπει κατὰ γαῖαν ἅπασαν,
Foretell life’s destruction, send from pure Gaia all things
ἔνδοξον βιοτῆς γλυκερὸν τέλος ἐσθλὸν ὀπάζοις.
Honorable, life-sustaining, sweet, complete, and good.
The gender of this deity is ambiguous. On the one hand, it is titled Daimonos (Δαίμονος), a noun with a masculine ending that means God, Goddess, or, more generally, divine power. But in the body of the hymn the deity is called by titles with feminine word-endings: Daimona (Δαίμονα), eegeetora (ἡγήτορα), Dia (Δία), biodotora (βιοδώτορα), Zena (Ζῆνα), and Queen (βασιλῆα).
Both Taylor and Athanassakis translate this hymn as though it is addressed to Zeus (Ζεύς), the God of lightning storms and the spark of fire/spark of life, ignoring the feminine word-endings. Their interpretation is supported in part by the Lexicon, which translates dia (Δία) as feminine of Dios (δῖος), but also as the “accusative of Zeus,” and Zena (Ζῆνα) as another name for Zeus.
There is some reason to believe this hymn may be associated with a female counterpart to Zeus who can bestow or extinguish the “spark of life.” On one hand, “Ge’s house swells (γε βρυάζων οἶκον)” may be a euphemism for pregnancy. On the other hand, biophthorieen (βιοφθορίην) means life (βιο) + destroying (φθορίην). The Lexicon defines phthorios (φθοριος) as, “destructive: esp. of means to produce abortion.”
Plouto (Πλούτων) is the immortal God of the afterlife and wealth.
Ge (Γῆς) and Gaia (Γαῖα) are names for the immortal Goddess of generative earth.
Selene (Σελήνη, Σελάνα) is the immortal Goddess of the moon, associated with plant growth and pregnancy.
Daimonos (Δαίμονος) means “divine power,” literally: “directing (Δ) + arising (α) + divine-power (ί) + medium (μ) + ονος.”