ORPHIC FRAGMENT 18 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: In this quotation, Plátôn (Πλάτων), speaking through the “Stanger,” says that Parmænídîs (Παρμενίδης) and others have talked carelessly when telling stories of the Gods and the nature of reality. 

18. Σοφιστὴς Πλάτωνος 242 c. d: 

(Ξένος· εὐκόλως μοι δοκεῖ Παρμενίδης ἡμῖν διειλέχθαι καὶ πᾶς ὅστις πώποτε ἐπὶ κρίσιν ὥρμησε τοῦ τὰ ὄντα διορίσασθαι πόσα τε καὶ ποῖά ἐστιν. 

Θεαίτητος· πῇ;) 

Ξένος· μῦθόν τινα ἕκαστος φαίνεταί μοι διηγεῖσθαι παισὶν ὡς οὖσιν ἡμῖν, ὁ μὲν ὡς τρία τὰ ὄντα, πολεμεῖ δὲ ἀλλήλοις ἐνίοτε αὐτῶν ἄττα πηι, τοτὲ δὲ καὶ φίλα γιγνόμενα γάμους τε καὶ τόκους καὶ τροφὰς τῶν ἐκγόνων παρέχεται· δύο δὲ ἕτερος εἰπών, ὑγρὸν καὶ ξηρὸν ἢ θερμὸν καὶ ψυχρόν, συνοικίζει τε αὐτὰ καὶ ἐκδίδωσι· τὸ δὲ παρ᾽ ἡμῖν Ἐλεατικὸν ἔθνος, ἀπὸ Ξενοφάνους τε καὶ ἔτι πρόσθεν ἀρξάμενον, ὡς ἑνὸς ὄντος τῶν πάντων καλουμένων οὕτω διεξέρχεται τοῖς μύθοις. Ἰάδες δὲ καὶ Σικελαί τινες ὕστερον Μοῦσαι συνενόησαν ὅτι συμπλέκειν ἀσφαλέστατον ἀμφότερα καὶ λέγειν ὡς τὸ ὂν πολλά τε καὶ ἕν ἐστιν, ἔχθραι δὲ καὶ φιλίαι συνέχεται. 

(Stranger: It seems to me that Parmenides and all who ever undertook a critical definition of the number and nature of realities have talked to us rather carelessly. 

Theaetetus: How so?) 

Stranger: “Every one of them seems to tell us a story, as if we were children. One says there are three principles, that some of them are sometimes waging a sort of war with each other, and sometimes become friends and marry and have children and bring them up; and another says there are two, wet and dry or hot and cold, which he settles together and unites in marriage. And the Eleatic sect in our region, beginning with Xenophanes and even earlier, have their story that all things, as they are called, are really one. Then some Ionian and later some Sicilian Muses reflected that it was safest to combine the two tales and to say that being is many and one, and is (or are) held together by enmity and friendship.”

(trans. Harold N. Fowler, 1921)


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.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek               

 

Transliteration of Ancient Greek               

 

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