48. Σαβαζίου, θυμίαμα ἀρώματα.
To Sabazios, God of Displacement
Divine medium: aromatics
Κλῦθι, πάτερ, Κρόνου υἱέ, Σαβάζιε, κύδιμε δαῖμον,
I call father Kronos’ offspring, Sabazios, glorious deity,
ὃς Βάκχον Διόνυσον, ἐρίβρομον, εἰραφιώτην,
Bacchian Dionysian, blasted forth, then with a needle
μηρῶι ἐγκατέραψας, ὅπως τετελεσμένος ἔλθηι
Thigh-insewn in order to fulfill your coming forth.
Τμῶλον ἐς ἠγάθεον παρὰ Ἵππαν καλλιπάρηιον.
Tmolian divine leader of the rites of fair Ipta,
ἀλλά, μάκαρ, Φρυγίης μεδέων, βασιλεύτατε πάντων,
Blessed Phrygian power, whose rule extends over all,
εὐμενέων ἐπαρωγὸς ἐπέλθοις μυστιπόλοισιν.
Graciously confer your aid for those who come to the mystic city.
Sabazios (Σαβάζιος) is a Phrygian God, also known as Zagreus (Ζαγρεύς). Zagreus means “very (Ζα) + old (γρεύς).”
Sabazios-Zagreus is associated with Dionysos and the Orphics.
The Orphics believe that the immortal soul exists before and after death; that the body is actually a tomb for the soul and the release (λύσις) of the soul from the cycle of birth and death is possible through a system of purifications (κᾰθαρμόι). Sabazios is the God whose rites help effect this release of the soul.
The name Sabazios (Σαβάζιε) is similar to sabazo (σαβάζω), “to shatter, shake violently.”
Sabazios’ association with Dionysos may derive from the bacchic cry sabazein and the designation of places dedicated to Dionysos–Bacchos as saboi.
In this hymn, Sabazios is said to be the son of Rhea-Kybele by Kronos. In others traditions he a son of Persephone by Zeus in the form of a snake. Serpents, which were sacred to Sabazios, acted a prominent part at the Sabazia and in the processions.
Nonnos says that Zagreus is the son of Persephone by Zeus in the form of a serpent:
“By this marriage with the heavenly dragon, the womb of Persephone swelled with living fruit, and she bore Zagreus the horned baby, who by himself climbed upon the heavenly throne of Zeus and brandished lightning in his little hand, and newly born, lifted and carried thunderbolts in his tender fingers."
Diodorus says that Sabazios was a child of Persephone by Zeus and that his rites are celebrated in secret at night. He says Sabazios is represented with horns because he was the first to yoke oxen for plowing:
“ … there was born of Zeus and Persephonê a Dionysus who is called by some Sabazius and whose birth and sacrifices and honours are celebrated at night and in secret, because of the disgrace resulting from the intercourse of the sexes. They state also that he excelled in sagacity and was the fist to attempt the yoking of oxen and by their aid to effect the sowing of the seed, this being the reason why they also represent him as wearing a horn.”
Several sources say that Sabazios was torn into seven pieces by the Titans. Similarly, Hyginus says that Zeus placed Zagreus on his heavenly throne, but the child was attacked and dismembered by the Titans. His heart was given to Semele in a drink and he was reborn as Dionysos.
The uproarious rites of Sabazios are closely tied to the rites of Rhea-Kybele, the Phrygian Mother of the Goddesses and Gods.
William Smith emphasizes the important role that Phrygian religion had in influencing ancient Greek religion:
“The religious ideas of the Phrygians are of great interest and importance, and appear to have exercised a greater influence upon the mythology of the Greeks than is commonly supposed, for many a mysterious tradition or legend current among the Greeks must be traced to Phrygia, and can be explained only by a reference to that country. Truly Phrygian divinities were Cybele (Rhea), and Sabazius, the Phrygian name for Dionysus.”
In Euripides Bacchae 66-67 Dionysos tells his followers to play their pipes and drums to honor him and Rhea, the Great Mother of the Goddesses and Gods.
Strabo in Geography 10.3.13 and Euripides in Bacchae (55-72) speak to the close relationship between the rites of Dionysos and the rites of Rhea-Kybele, celebrated with tambourines, flutes, shouts, and dances.
Mount Tmolos, south of Sardis and just west of ancient Philadelphia (in modern Turkey), was the location of an important ancient temple of Kybele.
Ipta (Ἵπτα) is the immortal Phrygian Goddess associated with the Mother Goddess Rhea-Kybele. According to Orphic tradition, she fostered Dionysos when he was born from the thigh of Zeus.
After imbibing the heart of Sabazios-Zagreus in a drink, Semele became pregnant. Dionysos was expelled from the womb of his mortal mother when she was consumed by the lightning of Zeus. Zeus then sewed the fetal Dionysos into his thigh to complete gestation.
Semelos (Σέμελος) is Laconian for kochlias (κοχλίας), which means anything that twists spirally, such as a screw or snail shell or vine tendril. This suggests that Semele may be a metaphor for the grapevine.
Meer- (μηρ-), in addition to meaning “thigh” also means "twine/cord." The reference to Zeus’ thigh in the legend of Dionysos may refer to the practice of tying grape vines to upright supports.
Zeus is the God of lightning. When lightning strikes a row of grape vines, re-growth will begin at the base of the vine. This is a type of “natural” pruning. Pruning grape vines results in a better yield.
 Greek Philosophy. Part I, Thales to Plato by John Burnet, London, Macmillan anc Co., 1914 p. 31 https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b000925979;view=1up;seq=47
 Drawn from the Scholia to Aristophanes, Birds 87, Suda online s.v. Sabazios, trans. Alex Gottesman
 Clemens Alex. Protrept. p. 6; Theophrast. Char. 16.
 Nonnos, Dionysiaca 5. 562 - 6. 168 (trans. Rouse).
 Diodorus of Sicily, 4.4.1, trans. Oldfather
 Joan. Lydus, De Mens. p. 82; Orph. Fragm. viii. 46, p. 469, ed. Herm., Hymn. 47; Cic. de Nat. Deor. iii. 23.
 Hyginus, Fabulae 167.
 Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854)
William Smith, LLD, Ed., “Phrygia”:
 Herodotus 5.100-101.
p. 22 What is Killing my Vines? Plant Failure in New Vineyards, Bill Cline, Plant Pathology Department North Carolina State University Horticultural Crops Research Station Castle Hayne, NC