ORPHIC FRAGMENT 70 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: Fragment 70 states that Time begot an egg in the Aithír.

70. (53) ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμασκίου 55 (I 111, 17 Rue):

καὶ γὰρ Ὀρφεύς·

ἔπειτα δ' ἔτευξε μέγας Χρόνος 1 Αἰθέρι δίωι ὠεὸν ἀργύφεον. 

And as for Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς): 

“Thereupon mighty Khrónos (Time) wrought a silvery egg in the heavenly Aithír.” (trans. the author)

| 112 Rue. τὸ γὰρ ἕτευξε δηλοῖ τι τεχνητόν, ἀλλ' οὐ γέννημα· τὸ δὲ τεχνητόν, ἀλλ' οὐ γέννημα,2 πάμμικτόν ἐστιν ἐκ δυεῖν τοὐλάχιστον, ὕλης καὶ εἴδους. ἢ τῶν τούτοις ἀναλογούντων. 

“for this “wrought” reveals that it is a product of craft, not the offspring of another; but of the artificial, not that which is born, is mixed from two at the least, earth and form, or that which is analogous to these.” (trans. by the author)

1. Κρόνος M; corr. Zoëga et Lob.     2. ἄλλου γέννημα Eἄλλου γέννα M. 

ὠεὸν ( ἐὸν codd.) ἀργύφεον Orphei laudat etiam Simplic. in Aristot. Phys. 1 3 p. 187 a 1 (I 147, 1 Diels); v. Procl. in Tim. I 30 c. d (1 428, 8 Diehl) 

ταὐτὸν τό τε Πλάτωνος ὂν καὶ τὸ Ὀρφικὸν ὠιόν. 

“the being of Plato will be the same (ed. identical) with the Orphic egg.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820) 

Achill. Isag. in Arati Phaen. 4 p. 33, 17 Maaβ (Diels II3 172 n. 12 v. de fonte [an Posidonius?] R. Reeh De Varrone et Suetonio quaestion. Ausonianae Diss. Hal. 1916, 40)

τὴν δὲ τάξιν, ἣν δεδώκαμεν τῷ σφαιρώματι, οἱ Ὀρφικοὶ λέγουσι παραπλησίαν εἶναι τῇ ἐν (Maaβ] τὴν ἐν V; om. M) τοῖς ὠιοῖς· ὃν γὰρ ἔχει λόγον τὸ λέπυρον ἐν τῷ ὠιῶι, τοῦτον [ἔχειν add. M] ἐν τῷ παντὶ οὐρανός (τὸν οὐρανὸν VM: em. Maaβ), καὶ ὡς ἐξήρτηται (ἐξερύηται V) τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κυκλοτερῶς (om. V) αἰθήρ, οὕτω τοῦ λεπύρου ὑμήν, ibidem 6 p. 37, 8 σχῆμα δὲ κόσμου οἳ μὲν κωνοειδές [εἶπον add. M], οἳ δὲ σφαιροειδές, οἳ δὲ ᾠοειδές, ἧς δόξης ἔχονται οἱ τὰ Ὀρφικὰ μυστήρια τελοῦντες. σαφηνείας δὲ ἕνεκα πιθανῆς παρελήφθη τοῦ ᾠοῦ ἡ (om. V) εἰκών. 

Zoëga Abhdlgn. 229; Lob. I 474; Kern De Theogen. 10; Gruppe Suppl. 726 n.; Holwerda 304.



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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