ORPHIC FRAGMENT 199 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: Ípta (Ἵπτα) is the soul of the universe, or the head of the soul; she dwells on Mount Tmólos (Τμῶλος) with Savázios (Σαβάζιος = Ζεύς). 

199. (207) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 34b (II 105, 28 Diehl):

ὁ δέ γε ἡμέτερος καθηγεμὼν (sc. Iamblichus) προσφυέστερον τοῖς τοῦ Πλάτωνος ῥήμασιν ἐποιεῖτο τὴν ἐξήγησιν· τῆς γὰρ τοῦ παντὸς ψυχῆς ἐχούσης μέν τι καὶ ὑπερκόσμιον καὶ ἐξηιρημένον τοῦ παντὸς, καθὸ συνῆπται πρὸς τὸν νοῦν, ὃ δὴ κεφαλὴν αὐτῆς ὅ τε Πλάτων ἐν τῷ Φαίδρωι (248a) | 106 Diehl καὶ ὁ Ὀρφεὺς ἐν τοῖς περὶ τῆς Ἵπτας (PQ] Ἵππας vulgo) λόγοις (v. p. 141) προσωνόμασεν. 

“Our preceptor (Iamblichus) however, interprets the middle in a way more accommodated to the words of Plato. For since the soul of the universe has indeed that which is supermundane, and exempt from the universe, according to which it is conjoined to intellect, which Plato in the Phaedrus and Orpheus in what he says about Hippa, denominate the head of the soul; . . . (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820) 

σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 30 b (I 407, 22 Diehl):

δὲ Ὀρφεὺς τρόπον ἕτερον· ἀλλ' εἴ με δεῖ τοὐμὸν εἰπεῖν, διὰ τούτων καὶ τοῦ θεολόγου διάνοια γίγνεται καταφανής. μὲν γὰρ Ἵπτα τοῦ παντὸς οὖςα ψυχὴ καὶ οὕτω κεκλημένη παρὰ τῶι θεολόγωι τάχα μὲν ὅτι καὶ ἐν ἀκμαιοτάταις κινήσεσιν αἱ νοήσεις αὐτῆς οὐσίωνται, τάχα δὲ καὶ διὰ τὴν ὀξυτάτην τοῦ παντὸς φοράν, ἧς ἐστιν αἰτία, λίκνον ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς θεμένη (cf. in Tim. 35b [II 198, 9 Diehl] ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς φέρουσαν τὸν θεόν et II 222, 20 τὴν ἑαυτῆς κεφαλὴν ἐνιδρύσασα) καὶ δράκοντι αὐτὸ περιστέψασα τὸν κραδιαῖον ὑποδέχεται Διόνυσον· τῶι γὰρ ἑαυ | 408 Diehl τῆς θειοτάτωι γίγνεται τῆς νοερᾶς οὐσίας ὑποδοχὴ καὶ δέχεται τὸν ἐγκόσμιον νοῦν. δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ μηροῦ τοῦ Διὸς πρόεισιν εἰς αὐτήν -- ἦν γὰρ ἐκεῖ συνηνωμένος -- καὶ προελθὼν καὶ μεθεκτὸς αὐτῆς γεγονὼς ἐπὶ τὸ νοητὸν αὐτὴν ἀνάγει καὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πηγήν· ἐπείγεται γὰρ πρὸς τὴν μητέρα τῶν θεῶν καὶ τὴν Ἴδην (cf. fr. 105), ἀφ᾽ ἧς πᾶσα τῶν ψυχῶν σειρά. διὸ καὶ συλλαμβάνειν Ἵππα λέγεται τίκτοντι τῶι Διί· ὡς γὰρ εἴρηται πρότερον (30b), νοῦν ἄνευ ψυχῆς ἀδύνατον παραγενέσθαι τωι, τοῦτο δὲ ὅμοιον τῶι παρ᾽ Ὀρφεῖ· 

γλυκερὸν δὲ τέκος Διὸς ἐξεκαλεῖτο,

τοῦτο δὲ ἦν ὁ κοσμικὸς νοῦς Δΐιος ὤν, κατὰ τὸν ἐν τῶι Διὶ μείναντα προελθών.

"(Nor does Plato speak after this manner,) and Orpheus after another; but if it be requisite to give my opinion, the conceptions of the theologist become manifest through what is here said. For Hippa (Ἵπτα) who is the soul of the universe, and is thus called by the theologists, perhaps, because her intellectual conceptions are essentialized in the most vigorous motions, or perhaps on account of the most rapid lation of the universe, of which she is the cause, ­- placing a testaceous vessel on her head, and encircling the fig leaves that bind her temples, with a dragon, receives Dionysius [or Bacchus]. For with the most divine part of herself, she becomes the receptacle of an intellectual essence, and receives the mundane intellect, which proceeds into her from the thigh of Jupiter (Ζεύς). For there it was united with Jupiter, but proceeding from thence and becoming participable by her, it elevates her to the intelligible, and to the fountain of her nature. For she hastens to the Mother of the Gods, and to Mount Ida, from which all the series of souls is derived. Hence also, Hippa is said to have received Dionysus when he was brought forth from Jupiter. For as Plato before observed, it is impossible for intellect to accede to anything without soul. But this is similar to what is asserted by Orpheus; by whom also Dionysus is called: 

'the sweet offspring of Jupiter.'

"This however, is the mundane intellect, which proceeds into light conformably to the intellect, which proceeds into light conformably to the intellect that abides in Jupiter.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Orphic Hymn 48 Σαβαζίου (Quandt De Baccho ab Alexandri aetate in Asia minore culto. Diss. Hal. XXI 1912, 257)· 

κλῦθι, πάτερ, Κρόνου υἱέ, Σαβάζιε, κύδιμε δαῖμον,
ὃς Βάκχον Διόνυσον, ἐρίβρομον, εἰραφιώτην
μηρῶι ἐγκατέραψας, ὅπως τετελεσμένος ἔλθηι
Τμῶλον ἐς ἠγάθεον παρά θ' Ἵπταν καλλιπάρηιον.
ἀλλά, μάκαρ, Φρυγίης μεδέων, βασιλεύτατε πάντων,
εὐμενέων ἐπαρωγὸς ἐπέλθοις μυστιπόλοισιν.


“Hear me, illustrious father, dæmon fam'd.
Great Saturn's offspring, and Sabasius nam'd;
Inserting Bacchus, bearer of the vine,
And founding God, within thy thigh divine,
That when mature, the Dionysian God
Might burst the bands of his conceal'd abode,
And come to sacred Tmolus, his delight,
Where Ippa dwells, all beautiful and bright.
Come blessed Phrygian God, the king of all,
And aid thy Mystics, when on thee they call.”
(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1792)

Orphic Hymn 49 Ἵπτας (Quandt 258): 

Ἵπταν κικλήσκω, Βάκχου τροφόν, εὐάδα κούρην,
μυστιπόλον τελεταῖσιν ἀγαλλομένην Σάβου ἁγνοῦ,
νυκτερίοις τε χοροῖσιν ἐριβρεμέταο Ἰάκχου.
κλῦθί μευ εὐχομένου, χθονία μήτηρ, βασίλεια,
εἴτε σύ γ' ἐν Φρυγίηι κατέχεις Ἴδης ὄρος ἁγνὸν,
ἢ Τμῶλος τέρπει σε, καλὸν Λυδοῖσι θόασμα·
ἔρχεο πρὸς τελετὰς ἱερῶι γήθουσα προσώπωι.


“Great nurse of Bacchus, to my pray'r incline,
For holy Sabus' secret rites are thine,
The mystic rites of Bacchus' nightly choirs,
Compos'd of sacred, loud-resounding fires:
Hear me, terrestrial mother, mighty queen,
Whether on Phrygia's holy mountain seen,
Or if to dwell in Tmolus thee delights,
With holy aspect come, and bless these rites.”
(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1792)


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: 

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