To the Kouretes II
Divine connection: libanon (frankincense)
Translated by Catherine Proppe, December 4, 2015
Χαλκόκροτοι Κουρῆτες, Ἀρήια τεύχε' ἔχοντες,
Bronze-striking Kouretes, with Ares’ armour charged,
οὐράνιοι χθόνιοί τε καὶ εἰνάλιοι, πολύολβοι,
Alone among the heavens, among the land, among the seas’ bountiful blessings,
ζωιογόνοι πνοιαί, κόσμου σωτῆρες ἀγαυοί,
Sole life-bearing breath of the cosmos, exalted saviors,
οἵτε Σαμοθράικην, ἱερὴν χθόνα, ναιετάοντες
On Samothrace’s holy ground prevailing
κινδύνους θνητῶν ἀπερύκετε ποντοπλανήτων·
Setting in motion mortal circumnavigating ocean-wanderers
ὑμεῖς καὶ τελετὴν πρῶτοι μερόπεσσιν ἔθεσθε,
And their return, first in their share of fate as foretold.
ἀθάνατοι Κουρῆτες, Ἀρήια τεύχε' ἔχοντες·
Immortal Kouretes, equipped with Ares’ armaments,
νωμᾶτ' Ὠκεανόν, νωμᾶθ' ἅλα δένδρεά θ' αὕτως·
Ocean navigators, sole guiding power over the seas many branches
ἐρχόμενοι γαῖαν κοναβίζετε ποσσὶν ἐλαφροῖς,
Setting out from Gaia with a ringing clashing din, marching nimbly
μαρμαίροντες ὅπλοις· πτήσσουσι δὲ θῆρες ἅπαντες
With flashing, gleaming armaments, alarming wild beasts to rise and flee,
ὁρμώντων, θόρυβος δὲ βοή τ' εἰς οὐρανὸν ἵκει
Setting in motion the roaring Bull of Heaven’s approach,
εἱλιγμοῖς τε ποδῶν κονίη νεφέλας ἀφικάνει
Circling marching dust clouds extend
ἐρχομένων· τότε δή ῥα καὶ ἄνθεα πάντα τέθηλε.
The commencement, then, at this point, flows and all flowers sprout and bloom.
δαίμονες ἀθάνατοι, τροφέες καὶ αὖτ' ὀλετῆρες,
Immortal spirits, nurturers and destroyers,
ἡνίκ' ἂν ὁρμαίνητε χολούμενοι ἀνθρώποισιν
When arising, inciting powerful human wrath,
ὀλλύντες βίοτον καὶ κτήματα ἠδὲ καὶ αὐτοὺς
Bringing an end to life and property and solely
πιμπλάντες, στοναχεῖ δὲ μέγας πόντος βαθυδίνης,
Filling with great sighs the deep swirling sea,
δένδρη δ' ὑψικάρην' ἐκ ῥιζῶν ἐς χθόνα πίπτει,
Soaring forests fall to the root of the earth
ἠχὼ δ' οὐρανία κελαδεῖ ῥοιζήμασι φύλλων.
The heavens echo the refrain of rustling whistling leaves.
Κουρῆτες Κορύβαντες, ἀνάκτορες εὐδύνατοί τε
Kouretes, Korybantes, kindly dynastic rulers
ἐν Σαμοθράικηι ἄνακτες, ὁμοῦ <δὲ> Διόσκοροι αὐτοί,
In Samothrace ruling together with the Dioskuroi
πνοιαὶ ἀέναοι, ψυχοτρόφοι, ἀεροειδεῖς,
Eternal winds, soul-nurturing, air-formed,
οἵτε καὶ οὐράνιοι δίδυμοι κλήιζεσθ' ἐν Ὀλύμπωι,
Fated and heavenly twins celebrated on Olympos,
εὔπνοοι, εὔδιοι, σωτήριοι ἠδὲ προσηνεῖς,
Fair winds, fair weather saviors, and the mild
ὡροτρόφοι, φερέκαρποι ἐπιπνείοιτε ἄνακτες.
Season nurturing, fruit-bearing, breathe upon, revive.
 The Kouretes are immortal Gods attributed with the invention of metal-working and associated with armed dances accompanied by the clanging of metal armaments and instruments.
The Kouretes are said to have made great clattering noise to conceal the cries of the infant Zeus to protect Zeus, the immortal God of lightning/spark of life, from his father’s (Kronos, God of time’s) intent to destroy his children. They are also said to have nurtured Zeus in his infancy.
Since this hymn suggests an association with winds, rain, Zeus, and sailing, an implication could be that the Kouretes are Gods of thunder and windstorms.
The name “Kourete (Κουρήτων)” can be translated as “child (Κουρή) + extending (τ) + price paid (ων)” and may metaphorically be related to the travail of parturition and the maturation of children to adulthood.
 Ares is the immortal God of the horrific aspects of war. The Kouretes are credited with the invention of metal-working and are depicted as armed warrior dancers.
 The Bull of Heaven is the constellation Taurus. Taurus appears near the time of the vernal equinox, the start of the rainy and sailing seasons.
 Sailing season also means dangerous seas and warring expeditions.
 The Dioskoroi (also known as the Twins or the constellation Gemini) are believed to come to the aid of sailors in peril by having a quieting influence on the sea and are said to cause the phenomenon called “St. Elmo’s Fire.”
Diodorus of Sicly says of the Dioskoroi: “[During the voyage of the Argonauts:] But there came on a great storm and the chieftains had given up hope of being saved, when Orpheus, they say, who was the only one on ship-board who had ever been initiated in the Mysteries of the deities of Samothrace [the Kabeiroi], offered to these deities the prayers for their salvation. And immediately the wind died down and two stars fell over the heads of the Dioscori, and the whole company was amazed at the marvel which had taken place and concluded that they had been rescued from their perils by an act of providence of the [G]ods. For this reason, the story of this reversal of fortune for the Argonauts has been handed down to succeeding generations, and sailors when caught in storms always direct their prayers to the deities of Samothrace and attribute the appearance of the two stars to the epiphany of the Dioscori." (Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 4.43.1 (trans. Oldfather))
Homeric Hymn 33 (trans. Evelyn-White) calls the Dioscuri, “children who are delivers of men on earth and of swift-going ships when stormy gales rage over the ruthless sea. Then the shipmen call upon the sons of great Zeus with vows of white lambs, going to the forepart of the prow; but the strong wind and the waves of the sea lay the ship under water, until suddenly these two are seen darting through the air on tawny wings. Forthwith they allay the blasts of the cruel winds and still the waves upon the surface of the white sea: fair signs are they and deliverance from toil. And when the shipmen see them they are glad and have rest from their pain and labour.” http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:abo:tlg,0013,033
 The Horai are the immortal Goddesses of the seasons, of the natural time for something to occur.