ORPHIC FRAGMENT 142 - OTTO KERN

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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

SUMMARY: During the Age of Krónos (Κρόνος) men were immortal with a youthful countenance.

142. (245) Περὶ τῆς κατὰ Πλάτωνα θεολογίας Πρόκλου V 10:

τῶν δὲ θεολόγων τὸ ἀγήρων τῆι τάξει ταύτηι (sc. τῆι Κρονίαι) προσήκειν λεγόντων, ὡς οἵ τε βάρβαροί φασι, καὶ ὁ τῶν Ἑλλήνων θεωλόγος Ὀρφεύς. ---καὶ γὰρ οὗτος ἀεὶ μελαίνας τὰς τοῦ Κρονίου προσώπου τρίχας μυστικώς λέγει, καὶ μηδαμῶς γίγνεσθαι πολιὰς (v. fr. 130) --- θαυμάζω τὸν τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἔνθεον νοῦν τὰ αὐτὰ περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ τούτου τοῖς κατ' (καθ' Port.) ἴχνος αὐτοῦ πορευομένοις ἐκφαίνοντα. ἐν γὰρ τῆι Κρονίαι περιόδωι τὸ γῆρας ἀφιέναι φησὶ τὰς ψυχάς, ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ νέον ἀνακάμπτειν, καὶ τὸ πολιὸν μὲν ἀφαιρεῖν, τὰς δὲ τρίχας μελαίνας ἴσχειν. τῶν γὰρ πρεσβυτέρων (φησὶν sc. Plat. Polit. 270 d. e) αἱ λευκαὶ τρίχες ἐμελαίνοντο. τῶν δὲ γενειώντων αἱ παρειαὶ λειαινόμεναι, εὶς τὴν παρελθοῦσαν ὥραν καθίσταντο. ταῦτα μὲν ὁ Ἐλεάτης ξένος. ὁ δέ γε Ὀρφεὺς τὰ τούτοις ὅμοια ρερὶ τοῦ τεοῦ (sc. Κρόνου) διατάττεται·

— — — — — ὑπὸ Ζηνὶ Κρονίωνι
ἀθάνατον αἰῶνα καμεῖν, καθαροῖο γενείου
— — — διερὰς χαίτας εὐώδεας, οὐδὲ
— — ἠπεδανοῖο μιγήμεναι ἄνθεϊ λευκῶι·
— — — — — ἀλλ' ἐριθηλέα λάχνην.

Unde restituendum esse videtur:

                         -ᴗᴗ-ᴗᴗ-ᴗ ὑπὸ Ζηνὶ Κρονίωνι
ἀθάνατον <τ'> αἰῶνα λαχεῖν καθαροῖο γενείου
<καὶ> διερὰς χαίτας εὐώδεας, οὐδὲ <τι πάμπαν>
<γήραος> ἠπεδανοῖο μιγήμεναι ἄνθεϊ λευκῶι·
ἀλλ<ὰ ρερὶ κροτάφοισιν ἔχειν> ἐριθηλέα λάχνην. 

“Since however, theologists assert that an exception from old age pertains to this order, as the Barbarians say, and Orpheus the theologist of the Greeks, (for he mystically says that the hairs of the face of Saturn (Κρόνος) are always black, and never become hoary) I admire the divinely inspired intellect of Plato which unfolds the same things concerning this God those who proceed in his steps. For he says that souls in the Saturnian period abandon old age, but return to youth, and remove from themselves hoariness, but have black hair. For he says that the white hairs of the more elderly become black; but the cheeks of those that have beards being rendered smooth, they are restored to the past season [of youth.] These things indeed are asserted by the Elean guest; similar to which are the assertions of Orpheus concerning this God:

“ ‘—————under Saturnian Jove (apparently meaning Κρόνος)
Men liv'd immortal; moist and fragrant hair
From the pure chin then sprouted, nor was mix'd
With the white flower that marks infirm old age;
But in its stead, a florid down appeared.’ ”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816)


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).


PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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