ORPHIC FRAGMENT 220 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) taught the reigns of four kings: Ouranós, Krónos, Zefs (Ζεὺς), and Diónysos. After the Titans tore apart Diónysos, they were thunderblasted by Zefs, and from the vapor rising up, soot came down, and from this, man was created. The bodies of men are a part of Diónysos, because the soot consists not only of the bodies of the Titans, but also of Diónysos, for the Titans had tasted his flesh.

220. (85) σχόλιον Ὀλυμπιοδώρου επὶ Φαίδωνος Πλάτωνος 61 c p. 2, 21 Norv. 

παρὰ τῶι Ὀρφεῖ τέσσαρες βασιλεῖαι παραδίδονται· πρώτη μὲν ἡ τοῦ Οὐρανοῦ, ἣν ὁ Κρόνος διεδέξατο ἐκτεμὼν τὰ αἰδοῖα τοῦ πατρός· μετὰ δὲ τὸν Κρόνον ὁ Ζεὺς ἐβασίλευσεν καταταρταρώσας τὸν πατέρα· εἶτα τὸν Δία διεδέξατο ὁ Διόνυσος, ὅν φασι κατ’ ἐπιβουλὴν τῆς Ἥρας τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν Τιτᾶνας σπαράττειν καὶ τῶν σαρκῶν αὐτοῦ ἀπογεύεσθαι. καὶ τούτους ὀργισθεὶς ὁ Ζεὺς ἐκεραύνωσε, καὶ ἐκ τῆς αἰθάλης τῶν ἀτμῶν τῶν ἀναδοθέντων ἐξ αὐτῶν ὕλης γενομένης γενέσθαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους. οὐ δεῖ οὖν ἐξάγειν ἡμᾶς ἑαυτούς, οὐχ ὅτι, ὡς δοκεῖ λέγειν ἡ λέξις, διότι ἔν τινι δεσμῶι ἐσμεν τῶι σώ|3 Norv.ματι, τοῦτο γὰρ δῆλόν ἐστι, καὶ οὐκ ἂν τοῦτο ἀπόρρητον ἔλεγεν, ἀλλ' ὅτι οὐ δεῖ ἐξάγειν ἡμᾶς ἑαυτοὺς ὡς τοῦ σώματος ἡμῶν Διονυσιακοῦ ὄντος· μέρος γὰρ αὐτοῦ ἐσμεν, εἴ γε ἐκ τῆς αἰθάλης τῶν Τιτάνων συγκείμεθα γευσαμένων τῶν σαρκῶν τούτου. 

“From (the teachings of) Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) four kingly reigns are transmitted. The first is the reign of Ouranós; Krónos receives this kingdom by cutting off the generative organs of his father. Following Krónos, Zefs (Ζεὺς) becomes king after hurling down his father to Tártaros. Next, receiving the kingdom from Zefs, Diónysos, they say, by means of a plot of Íra (Ἥρα), was tore apart by the Titans, who also tasted his flesh. And, Zefs, thus angered, struck them with thunderbolts, and from out of the soot of the vapors rising up was produced the mud from which men are born. Therefore, it is absolutely not allowed to commit suicide. This is not, as the dialogue seems to say, because the body is bondage, for that is obvious, and he (Σωκράτης) would not have spoken of it as esoteric teaching, but, rather, we are not permitted to commit suicide because our body is from Diónysos; we are a part of him, certainly, that is to say, composed from the soot of the Titans who had tasted of his flesh.” (trans. by the author)

Cf. supra frr. 209 ss. ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 37 Τιτάνων vs. 1:

Τιτῆνες, Γαίης τε καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀγλαὰ τέκνα,
ἡμετέρων πρόγονοι πατέρων, γαίης ὑπένερθεν
οἴκοις Ταρταρίοισι μυχῶι χθονὸς ἐνναίοντες,
ἀρχαὶ καὶ πηγαὶ πάντων θνητῶν πολυμόχθων
εἰναλίων, πτηνῶν τε καὶ οἳ χθόνα ναιετάουσιν·
ἐξ ὑμέων γὰρ πᾶσα πέλει γενεὰ κατὰ κόσμον.
ὑμᾶς κικλήσκω μῆνιν χαλεπὴν ἀποπέμπειν,
εἴ τις ἀπὸ χθονίων προγόνων οἴκοις ἐπελάσθη.


O Mighty Titans, who from heav'n and earth
Derive your noble and illustrious birth,
Our fathers sires, in Tartarus profound
Who dwell, deep merg'd beneath the solid ground:
Fountains and principles, from whom began
Th' afflicted, miserable, race of man:
Who not alone in earth's retreats abide,
But in the ocean and the air reside;
Since ev'ry species from your nature flows,
Which all prolific, nothing barren knows:
Avert your rage, if from th' infernal seats
One of your tribe should visit our retreats.
(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.

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