ORPHIC FRAGMENT 68 - OTTO KERN

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


SUMMARY: Fragment 68 states that Orpheus calls Khrónos (Time, Χρόνος) the first cause of all things.

68. (50) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος 396 b. c p. 59, 14 Pasqu.:

ὅτι τὸν Κρόνον διὰ τὸ ἀμέριστον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἑνιαῖον καὶ πατρικὸν καὶ ἀγαθουργὸν ἐν τοῖς νοεροῖς εἰς ταὐτόν τινες ἄγουσι τῇ μιᾷ τῶν πάντων αἰτίᾳ, οὐ καλῶς λέγοντες· ἀναλογεῖ γὰρ αὐτῇ μόνον, ὡς καὶ Ὀρφεὺς τὴν πρώτην πάντων αἰτίαν Χρόνον καλεῖ ὁμωνύμως σχεδὸν τῷ Κρόνῳ, αἱ δὲ θεοπαράδοτοι φῆμαι (Kroll De or. Chald. 16 s.) τὴν θεότητα ταύτην τῷ ἅπαξ χαρακτηρίζουσιν λέγουσαι ἅπαξ ἐπέκεινα· τὸ γὰρ ἅπαξ τῷ ἑνὶ συγγενές.

“On account of his indivisible, unitary, patrilineal, and propitious affiliation to the noetic, some declare Krónos (Κρόνος) to be identical to the one responsible for all things, but this is not rightly said; for he is only analogous (to the one responsible for all things), so Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) calls the first cause of all Khrónos (Time, Χρόνος), having almost the same name as Krónos (Κρόνος); yet the utterances delivered by the Gods characterize this divinity 'once' when saying ‘once beyond;’ for this 'once' is of the same family as the ‘One.’ ” (trans. by the author)

Cf. 396 c p. 66, 28 Pasqu.:

ὅτι μὲν Ὀρφεὺς πολὺ τῆς τῶν μύθων ἐξουσίας ἀπολέλαυκεν, καὶ πάντα τὰ πρὸ τοῦ Οὐρανοῦ μέχρι | 67 Pasqu. τῆς πρωτίστης αἰτίας ὀνόμασιν ἐδήλωσεν, καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ ἄρρητον καὶ τῶν νοητῶν ἑνάδων ἐκβεβηκὸς Χρόνον προσείρηκεν, εἴθ' ὅτι πάσης γενέσεως αἴτιον προϋπάρχον, εἴτε [ὅτι del. Pasqu.; εἴθ' ὅτι codd.] τὰ ὄντως ὄντα γινόμενα παραδιδούς (παραδίδωσι Kroll, qui ὅτι servat),  ἵνα τὴν τάξιν ἐνδείξηται αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν τῶν ὁλικωτέρων πρὸς τὰ μερικώτερα ὑπεροχήν, ἵνα ταὐτὸν τὸ κατὰ χρόνον τῷ κατ' αἰτίαν, ὥσπερ γένεσις τῇ τεταγμένῃ προόδῳ,

“Indeed, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) enjoyed great benefit from license accorded to the myths, and has disclosed the names of all those (deities) coming before Ouranós extending even so far as to the first cause. And of the Ἄρρητος (unspoken) itself, and of the intelligible henads advancing forward, (these two) he calls Khrónos (Time). Either that (Time is) the causal beginning of all generation, or he (Ὀρφεὺς) is presenting the actually existing things as being generated, this in order to point out their arrangement and the preeminence of the universal (deities, as distinct) from the particular, in order that the succession of time is identical to causal succession, even as this genesis is likened with ordered procession.” (trans. by the author)

in Parmenid. 141 a VII p. 1224, 33 Cous.2; in Tim. 28 b (I 280, 22 Diehl), 30 a (I 385, 20 Diehl); Theolog. Plat. I 28 p. 68, 2:

τοῖς μὲν γὰρ Ὀρφικοῖς καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τὸ πρώτιστον αἴτιον Χρόνος πρσείρηται; 

“For whereas the Orphica and the divine ones render the very first cause to be Khrónos (Time).” (trans. by the author)

Syrian. in Aristotel. Metaphys. B 4 p. 1000 a 19 p. 1000 a 19 (43, 23 Kr.)

Χρόνον δὲ καὶ Ὀρφεὺς τὸ πρῶτον ἐκάλει.

“But Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) calls Khrónos (Time) the first.” (trans. by the author)



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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