ORPHIC FRAGMENT 164 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: The involvement of Night (Νύξ) in assisting Zefs (Ζεύς) in the fabrication of the universe.

164. (117) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος B prooem. (I 206, 26 Diehl):

πρὶν δὲ ἅψηται (sc. Socrates) τῦς ὅλυς πραγματείας, ἐπὶ θεῶν παρακλήσεις καὶ εὐχὰς τρέπεται, μιμούμενος καὶ ταύτηι τὸν τοῦ παντὸς ποιητήν, ὃς πρὸ τῦς ὅλης δημιουργίας εἴς τε τὸ χρηστήριον εισιέναι λέγεται της Νυκτός, κακείθεν πληρούσθαι τῶν θείων νοήσεων καὶ τάς τῆς δημιουργίας αρχὰς υποδέχεσθαι καὶ τὰς ἀπορίας ἁπάσας, εἰ θέμις εἰπείν, δια | 207 Diehl λύειν καὶ δὴ καὶ τὸν πατέρα παρακαλεῖν εἰς τὴν τῦς δημιουργίας σύλληψιν. πρὸς μὲν γὰρ τὴν Νύκτα τῶι θεολόγωι πεποίηται λέγων· 

μαῖα, θεῶν ὑπάτη, Νὺξ ἄμβροτε, πῶς, τάδε φράζε,
πῶς χρή μ' ἀθανάτων ἀρχὴν κρατερόφρονα θέσθαι; 

καὶ ἀκούει παρ' αὐτῆς fr. 165 vs. 2 --- vs. 3 οὐρανόν. Vs. 1 etiam in Tim. 40 e (III 179, 10 Diehl).

“Timæus (as told by Socrates) however, prior to entering on the whole discussion, converts himself to the invocations of, and prayers to the Gods, imitating in this the maker of the universe, who prior to the whole fabrication of things, is said to have approached to the oracle of Night, to have been there filled with divine intellectual conceptions, to have received the principles of fabrication, and there to dissolve, if it be lawful so to speak, all his doubts. To Night also, who calls on the father, [Jupiter Ζεύς] to engage in the fabrication of the universe, Jupiter is represented by the theologist as saying, 

“ ‘Maia, supreme of all the powers divine,
Immortal Night! how with unconquer’d mind
Must I the source of the immortals fix?

“And receives this answer from her,” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Cf. ibidem 41 c (III 228, 12 Diehl): 

ὥσπερ γὰρ Ὀρφεύς  τὴν νοερὰν οὐσίαν ἐνθεὶς τῶι Διὶ <τὴν> δημιουργικὴν ἀπετέλεσεν κτλ. et Νυκτὸς χρησμούς fr. 107 p. 171, frr. 165. 168 p. 202

     Lob. I 517.

“For as Orpheus placing an intellectual essence in Jupiter, renders it demiurgic...” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820) (by means of the oracle of Night)



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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