ORPHIC FRAGMENT 53 - OTTO KERN

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


SUMMARY: Fragment 53 briefly mentions Vavóh (Βαβώ) as appearing in the Orphica.


53. (216) Μιχαὴλ Ψελλός ap. Leon. Allat. De Graecor. hodie quorundam opinat. ad Paull. Zacchiam Colon. Agrippin. 1645, 140 (Sathas Μεσαιωνικὴ βιβλ. V 571):

ὁ μέν τοι Βαβουτζικάριος ἐξ Ἑλληνικῆς φλυαρίας παρεισεφθάρη 1 τῷ βίῳ· ἔνεστι γάρ που τοῖς Ὀρφικοῖς ἔπεσι Βαβώ τις ὀνομαζομένη δαίμων νυκτερινὴ, ἐπιμήκης τὸ σχῆμα καὶ σκιώδης τὴν ὕπαρξιν. ἱστορεῖ δὲ καὶ Πορφύριος ὁ φιλόσοφος περὶ τούτων. (sc. ἐν ταῖς ἀγυρτικαῖς βίβλοις v. Leon. Allat. 1.1. 117; desuat ap. J. Bidez La vie de Porphyrie 1913, 65 ss. in laterculo scriptorum Porphyrianorum).

“In truth the existance of the Vavoutzikários was inspired from Hellenic nonsense; for it exists somewhere in the Orphic sayings, Vavóh (Βαβώ) who is called a nocturnal daimôn, with longish form and shady existence, and for who the philosopher Porphýrios inquired all about.” (trans. by the author)

ἔθνος δὲ οὗτος <λέγει> 2 βόρειόν τε καὶ βάρβαρον πολλοῖς τοιούτοις ἐπ<ιτε>τυχηκέναι 3 νυκτερινοῖς φάσμασιν, ἃ δή φασι νυκτὸς μὲν ἐπικαίειν, ἡμέρας δὲ ἐντυγχάνειν τοῖς ἐπικαυθεῖσι λεπτοῖς τισι καὶ ἀμαυροῖς σώμασι νήμασιν ἀραχνίοις προσεοικόσιν.

“But this northern and barbarous tribe says that many apparitions such as this accomplish (their work) by night, whereas indeed this expression of the night lights up a place, but by day they fall in with the burning thin one and their dark bodies (become) threads so as to resemble spider webs.” (trans. by the author)

1. προσεφθάρη Lob.     2. λέγει add. Kern; ἔθνος δὲ οὗτοι βόρειόν τε Sathas.     3. ἐπ<ιτε>τυχηκέναι  vel ἐ<ντε>τυχηκέναι Kern.

     Orphic. coll. Kern.

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; Gr. 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; Gr. κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. 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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