ORPHIC FRAGMENT 3 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: This fragment consists of several quotations from the Platonic dialogues which discuss rites, whether dubious or legitimate, for the expiation of past misdeeds.

3. Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος II 364 e: 

βίβλων δὲ ὅμαδον παρέχονται (sc. ἀγύρται καὶ μάντεις) Μουσαίου καὶ Ὀρφέως, Σελήνης τε καὶ Μουσῶν ἐκγόνων, ὥς φασι, καθ᾽ ἃς θυηπολοῦσιν, πείθοντες οὐ μόνον ἰδιώτας ἀλλὰ καὶ πόλεις, ὡς ἄρα λύσεις τε καὶ καθαρμοὶ ἀδικημάτων διὰ θυσιῶν καὶ παιδιᾶς ἡδονῶν εἰσι μὲν ἔτι ζῶσιν, εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ τελευτήσασιν, ἃς δὴ τελετὰς καλοῦσιν, αἳ τῶν ἐκεῖ κακῶν ἀπολύουσιν ἡμᾶς, μὴ θύσαντας δὲ δεινὰ περιμένει.

And they produce a host of books written by Musaeus and Orpheus, who were children of the Moon and the Muses --that is what they say --according to which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

Lobeck I 643; Diels II3 168 n. 5; Zeller I6 123, 2; Schuster 7. 14; Gruppe Suppl. 713. 720; Susemihl Ind. XVII; Maaβ Orph. 76; Rohde N. Heidelb. Jahrb. VI 1895, 3 = Kl. Schr. II 295; Tannery Rev. de philol. XXV 1901, 317. 


Qui contraponit Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος II 364 b. c:

ἀγύρται δὲ καὶ μάντεις ἐπὶ πλουσίων θύρας ἰόντες πείθουσιν ὡς ἔστι παρὰ σφίσι δύναμις ἐκ θεῶν ποριζομένη θυσίαις τε καὶ ἐπωιδαῖς, εἴτε τι ἀδίκημά του γέγονεν αὐτοῦ προγόνων, ἀκεῖσθαι μεθ᾽ ἡδονῶν τε καὶ ἑορτῶν, ἐάν τέ τινα ἐχθρὸν πημῆναι ἐθέληι, μετὰ σμικρῶν δαπανῶν ὁμοίως δίκαιον ἀδίκωι βλάψει (ADM] βλάψη F, βλάψειν scr. Mon., βλάψαι Muretus) ἐπαγωγαῖς τισιν καὶ καταδέσμοις, τοὺς θεούς, ὥς φασιν, πείθοντές σφισιν ὑπηρετεῖν. 

“And mendicant prophets go to rich men’s doors and persuade them that they have a power committed to them by the Gods of making an atonement for a man’s own or his ancestor’s sins by sacrifices or charms, with rejoicings and feasts; and they promise to harm an enemy, whether just or unjust, at a small cost; with magic arts and incantations binding heaven, as they say, to execute their will.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892) 

 

et Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος II 366 a. b: 

‘ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἐν Ἅιδου δίκην δώσομεν ὧν ἂν ἐνθάδε ἀδικήσωμεν, ἢ αὐτοὶ ἢ παῖδες (ἢ παῖδες suppl. Baiter v. fr. 4) παίδων’. ἀλλ', ὦ φίλε, φήσει λογιζόμενος, αἱ τελεταὶ αὖ μέγα δύνανται καὶ οἱ λύσιοι θεοί (v. Διόνυσος Λυσεύς σχόλιον Ὀλυμπιοδώρου επὶ Φαίδωνος Πλάτωνος 87, 13 Norv. s. ΙΕΡΟΙ ΛΟΓΟΙ), ὡς αἱ μέγισται πόλεις λέγουσι καὶ οἱ θεῶν παῖδες ποιηταὶ καὶ προφῆται τῶν θεῶν γενόμενοι, οἳ (del. Madv.) ταῦτ' οὕτως ἔχειν μηνύουσι. 

“ ‘But there is a world below in which either we or our posterity will suffer for our unjust deeds.’ Yes, my friend, will be the reflection, but there are mysteries and atoning deities, and these have great power. That is what mighty cities declare; and the children of the Gods, who were their poets and prophets, bear a like testimony.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

  

Φαῖδρος Πλάτωνος 244 d: 

ἀλλὰ μὴν νόσων γε καὶ πόνων τῶν μεγίστων, ἃ δὴ παλαιῶν ἐκ μηνιμάτων ποθὲν ἔν τισι τῶν γενῶν ἡ (BT] γενῶν ἦν Herm.) μανία ἐγγενομένη καὶ προφητεύσασα, οἷς ἔδει ἀπαλλαγὴν ηὕρετο, καταφυγοῦσα πρὸς θεῶν εὐχάς τε καὶ λατρείας, ὅθεν δὴ καθαρμῶν τε καὶ τελετῶν τυχοῦσα ἐξάντη ἐποίησε τὸν [ἑαυτῆς del. Burn.] ἔχοντα (αὐτὴν ἔχοντα Aristid.) πρός τε τὸν παρόντα καὶ τὸν ἔπειτα χρόνον, λύσιν τῶι ὀρθῶς μανέντι τε καὶ κατασχομένωι τῶν παρόντων κακῶν εὑρομένη. 

“Again, where plagues and mightiest woes have bred in certain families, owing to some ancient blood-guiltiness, there madness has entered with holy prayers and rites, and by inspired utterances found a way of deliverance for those who are in need; and he who has part in this gift, and is truly possessed and duly out of his mind, is by the use of purifications and mysteries made whole and exempt from evil, future as well as present, and has a release from the calamity which was afflicting him.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

  

v. σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 22 d (I 118, 30 Diehl); Lobeck I 639: 

εἰ δὲ δὴ καθαρμοί τινές εἰσι καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὅλοις, εἰσὶ δήπου καὶ τῶν καθαρμῶν προστάται τούτων πρὸ τῶν μερικῶν καθαρτῆρες εἰς τὰ ὅλα δρῶντες, καὶ δὴ καὶ τελεταὶ θεῖαι τελούντων ἄλλων, καὶ οὐδέ ποτε ταῦτα ἀπολείπει τὸ πᾶν. ὃ δὴ καὶ ὁ ἱερεὺς εἰδὼς τὰς δι᾽ ὕδατος καὶ πυρὸς φθορὰς ὀνόματι κέκληκεν ἱερατικῷ καθαρμούς, ἀλλ' οὐ φθοράς, ὡς ἂν εἶπε φυσιολογῶν μόνον. 

“But if there are certain purifications in wholes, there are also powers that preside over these purifications, operating as purifiers on wholes (cf. Φαῖδρος Πλάτωνος 244 d-e; and Lobeck, Aglaophemus, 639) prior to partial natures. There are likewise divine mysteries, some powers initiating, and others being initiated; nor will these ever desert the universe. The (Egyptian) priest likewise knowing this to be the case, calls the destructions through water and fire by a sacerdotal (priestly) name, purifications, but not corruptions, as he would have done if he alone physiologized.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820) 

Ad θυηπολοῦσιν (“to sacrifice”) v. infra s. ΘΥΗΠΟΛΙΚΟΝ (Suid. test. nr. 223 d) et de librorum Orphicorum fama quarto saeculo volgata Alexin in Lino test. nr. 220.


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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