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Headword: Ἄβαρις
Adler number: alpha,18
Translated headword: Abaris, Avars
Vetting Status: high
Scythian, son of Seuthes. He wrote the so-called Scythinian Oracles[1] and Marriage of the river Hebros and Purifications and a Theogony in prose and Arrival of Apollo among the Hyperboreans in meter. He came from Scythia to Greece.
The legendary arrow belongs to him, the one he flew on from Greece to Hyperborean Scythia. It was given to him by Apollo.[2]
Gregory the Theologian mentioned this man in his Epitaphios for Basil the Great.[3]
They say[4] that once, when there was a plague throughout the entire inhabited world, Apollo told the Greeks and barbarians who had come to consult his oracle that the Athenian people should make prayers on behalf of all of them. So, many peoples sent ambassadors to them, and Abaris, they say, came as ambassador of the Hyperboreans in the third Olympiad.[5]
[Note] that the Bulgarians thoroughly destroyed the Avars[6] by force.
[Note] that these Avars drove out the Sabinorians, when they themselves had been expelled by peoples living near the shore of the Ocean, who left their own land when a mist formed in the flood of the Ocean and a crowd of griffins appeared; the story was that they would not stop until they had devoured the race of men. So the people driven away by these monsters invaded their neighbors. As the invaders were stronger, the others submitted and left, just as the Saragurians, when they were driven out, went to the Akatziri Huns.[7]
The declension is Abaris, Abaridos [genitive singular], Abaridas [accusative plural], and with apocope Abaris [nominative plural].
See about these things under 'Bulgarians'.[8]
Greek Original:
Ἄβαρις: Σκύθης, Σεύθου υἱός. συνεγράψατο δὲ χρησμοὺς τοὺς καλουμένους Σκυθινοὺς καὶ Γάμον Ἕβρου τοῦ ποταμοῦ καὶ Καθαρμοὺς καὶ Θεογονίαν καταλογάδην καὶ Ἀπόλλωνος ἄφιξιν εἰς Ὑπερβορέους ἐμμέτρως. ἧκε δὲ ἐκ Σκυθῶν εἰς Ἑλλάδα. τούτου ὁ μυθολογούμενος ὀϊστὸς, τοῦ πετομένου ἀπὸ τῆς Ἑλλάδος μέχρι τῶν Ὑπερβορέων Σκυθῶν: ἐδόθη δὲ αὐτῷ παρὰ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος. τούτου καὶ Γρηγόριος ὁ Θεολόγος ἐν τῷ εἰς τὸν μέγαν Βασίλειον Ἐπιταφίῳ μνήμην πεποίηται. φασὶ δὲ ὅτι λοιμοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην γεγονότος ἀνεῖλεν ὁ Ἀπόλλων μαντευομένοις Ἕλλησι καὶ βαρβάροις τὸν Ἀθηναίων δῆμον ὑπὲρ πάντων εὐχὰς ποιήσασθαι. πρεσβευομένων δὲ πολλῶν ἐθνῶν πρὸς αὐτοὺς, καὶ Ἄβαριν ἐξ Ὑπερβορέων πρεσβευτὴν ἀφικέσθαι λέγουσι κατὰ τὴν γ# Ὀλυμπιάδα. ὅτι τοὺς Ἀβάρις οἱ Βούλγαροι κατὰ κράτος ἄρδην ἠφάνισαν. ὅτι οἱ Ἀβάρις οὗτοι ἐξήλασαν Σαβίνωρας, μετανάσται γενόμενοι ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν οἰκούντων μὲν τὴν παρωκεανῖτιν ἀκτήν, τὴν δὲ χώραν ἀπολιπόντων διὰ τὸ ἐξ ἀναχύσεως τοῦ Ὠκεανοῦ ὁμιχλῶδες γινόμενον, καὶ γρυπῶν δὲ πλῆθος ἀναφανέν: ὅπερ ἦν λόγος μὴ πρότερον παύσασθαι πρὶν ἢ βορὰν ποιῆσαι τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος. διὸ δὴ ὑπὸ τῶνδε ἐλαυνόμενοι τῶν δεινῶν τοῖς πλησιοχώροις ἐνέβαλλον: καὶ τῶν ἐπιόντων δυνατωτέρων ὄντων οἱ τὴν ἔφοδον ὑφιστάμενοι μετανίσταντο, ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ Σαράγουροι ἐλαθέντες πρὸς τοῖς Ἀκατίροις Οὔννοις ἐγένοντο. κλίνεται δὲ Ἄβαρις, Ἀβάριδος, τοὺς Ἀβάριδας, καὶ κατὰ ἀποκοπὴν Ἀβάρις. ζήτει περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ Βούλγαροι.
See generally A.H. Griffiths in OCD(4) p.1: "legendary devotee of Apollo from the far north, a shamanistic missionary and saviour-figure like Aristeas [alpha 3900]". Adler credits this part of the entry to the Epitome Onomatologi Hesychii Milesii.
[1] Or in one manuscript, 'Skythian'.
[2] Perhaps from a scholion on the passage about to be cited (so Adler). Cf. Herodotos 4.36.1 (web address 1).
[3] Gregory of Nazianzus PG 36.524b.
[4] This material is from Harpokration s.v. Ἄβαρις
[5] 768-765 BCE. Harpokration (see preceding note) cites Hippostratos (FGrH 568 F4) to this effect, but adds that there were later alternatives: the twenty-first Olympiad (696-693) or "the time of Croesus, king of Lydia" (so Pindar, fr.270 Snell-Maehler), i.e. c.560-546.
[6] The word used for the Avars here, Ἀβάρις , is a homograph for the name of the Hyperborean wise man Abaris, so this separate section on the Avars is included in this entry. There is no indication that the lexicographer sees any connection between the two topics.
[7] Priscus fr.30 FHG (4.104), still 30 Bornmann. The final part reappears at alpha 820 and sigma 111.
[8] beta 423.
RE Abaris (1) I.16-17
Macartney, C.A. "On the Greek Sources for the History of the Turks in the Sixth Century." BSOAS 11 (1944): 266-275
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; Christianity; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; history; mythology; philosophy; poetry; religion; rhetoric
Translated by: Anne Mahoney on 21 August 1998@17:03:41.
Vetted by:
William Hutton (Modified translation and notes, added keywords, set status.) on 19 January 2001@14:57:43.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and bibliography; cosmetics) on 9 February 2001@05:20:43.
David Whitehead (added note) on 14 February 2001@06:09:48.
Mihai Olteanu (The only thracian item concerning Abaris is his father's name. Everything else pledes for his sythian ('hyperborean') origin. This is why I suppose we deal here with a copist mistake, and I propose the emendation: ́Αβαρις: Σκύθης, *Σκύθου υἱός (for Σκύθης as mythological character, see for example Herodotos 4,10).) on 22 January 2002@21:55:20.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 23 January 2002@03:11:25.
David Whitehead (augmented n.6 and added a keyword) on 5 October 2004@03:21:13.
William Hutton (augmented notes, added link and keywords, set status) on 24 August 2007@11:05:00.
Jennifer Benedict (cosmeticule) on 25 March 2008@00:16:43.
David Whitehead (another note; cosmetics) on 28 March 2014@06:23:27.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 29 July 2014@12:06:21.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 31 January 2015@09:22:24.


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