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The importance of the Orphic fragments

The vast bulk of the mythology of the Mysteries, originally contained in various writings, including an epic theogony, has been lost or likely destroyed in antiquity. Fortunately, many ancient authors quoted from these texts, thus preserving some of the most important content. These fragments were collected by the philologist Otto Kern and published in 1922 in his book Orphicorum Fragmenta. To anyone other than scholars, this work is completely inaccessible, because its contents are in the original languages, ancient Greek and Latin. There is no existing translation of the book, except for a relatively small collection of fragments which can be accessed online; this same collection is found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W. K. C. Guthrie. There are also some lengthy passages in English, mostly found in translations of the early Church Fathers. Also, some fragments can be found in translations of commentaries by various Neoplatonic philosophers, mostly Próklos (Πρόκλος).

Why are these fragments important? The Mysteries are the heart, the deepest meaning of the ancient Greek religion known as Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Ἑλληνισμός). Without the Mysteries, there is no explanation of what the religion is actually about. These fragments reveal the story-line from which a theology can be derived. In other words, without the knowledge contained in these fragments, there is inadequate information to properly understand ancient Greek religion. While there survive texts by theologians, mostly the Platonic philosophers, which address particular aspects of the religion, the Orphic fragments are the meat behind those words. The entire texts from which they came, was known and available in antiquity, but now only the fragments remain; they are what remains of the core, the nucleus of the theogony of the Mysteries.

The aspiration of this project is to make English translations available of as many of the fragments as possible, for whoever has interest, but also to place the Greek and Latin online for those who have need of it. While the entire Orphicorum Fragmenta is available, you cannot copy/paste anything from it as it is online as a photocopy, not actual text. The hope is that this effort will make the job of scholars easier. Many of the ancient texts have not appeared online before and the task of typing it all out letter by letter, diacriticals and all, is very laborious. So our wish is to bestow a present to those who study and love the old religion.

It must be understood that these fragments are embedded in all kinds of texts, but it is the fragment itself that is the most important. The material surrounding the fragment is only commentary by the author who quoted the fragment.  A huge mistake is to assume that the surrounding commentary is actually Orphic thought. This has been the case particularly with Neoplatonic material. Because of such assumptions, there are many books which talk about Neoplatonic ideas as though they are identical to the Orphic ideas. In some instances, this may actually be the case, but the reader must assess each quotation using one's own intelligence. In particular, the commentary found in Christian writings must be particularly scrutinized, since most Christian writers were opposed the ancient religion.

The 'fragments' are sometimes literally that...fragments, phrases or sentences quoted verbatim, i.e. quoted exactly, word for word, from some ancient text. But sometimes an author will not quote verbatim, but will summarize, saying something like, "Orpheus says that..." These factors must be kept in perspective when evaluating the various fragments.

Orphicorum Fragmenta: This is a download of all the fragments as collected by Professor Otto Kern. They are not translated but found in their original languages. This download consists of 415 pages of a photographed book; it may take some time to appear in your browser and it is not practical to navigate the file online, better to just download it

Kern Orphicorum fragmenta

The following are pages of individual fragments from the Orphicorum fragmenta with English translation. This is an ongoing project with the intention of eventually making available translations of all the fragments.


1. Fragmenta veteriora (frr. 1-46)

Orphic Fragment 1This fragment consists of a tiny kosmogonía in which Night laid an egg from which Ǽrôs (Ἔρως) sprang forth. He mated with Kháos (Χάος). Then, from their union, Ouranós (Οὐρανὸς), Okæanós (Ὠκεανός), Yi (Γῆ), and all the race of Gods was born.

Orphic Fragment 2 - This tiny quotation is kozmogonic in nature, speaking of Prôtogónos, Aithír (Αἰθήρ),
Ǽrôs (Ἔρως), and Nyx, but it is so fragmentary that it is difficult to discern its meaning.

Orphic Fragment 3
This fragment consists of several quotations from the Platonic dialogues which discuss rites, whether dubious or legitimate, for the expiation of past misdeeds.

Orphic Fragment 4
This fragment from Plátôn (Πλάτων) states that the just are rewarded and the unjust are punished, this according to Mousaios.

Orphic Fragment 5
This fragment states that many people claim to be religious people, but few actually are.

Orphic Fragment 6
This fragment asserts that there is an ancient doctrine which states that the souls of men, after death, return, and are born again from the dead.

Orphic Fragment 7
There is a secret doctrine that man is in a prison and does not have license to open its door and escape.

Orphic Fragment 8
The soul is imprisoned in the body until the penalty is paid for sin.

Orphic Fragment 9
In this fragment, Plátôn (Πλάτων), through the character of the Athenian Stranger, describes a type of freedom, in which disobedience to rulers, parents, elders, laws, and to Gods, results in a life of endless evils, which he compares to the rebellion of the Titans in mythology.

Orphic Fragment 10
There are sacred teachings from long ago which say that the soul is immortal, and, when free from its body, will be judged for its conduct and punished.

Orphic Fragment 11
This fragment consists of a tiny phrase referring to a state in which some men are ripe for true pleasure, or who have attained this joy.

Orphic Fragment 12
This fragment consists of two quotations from which we can glean that the songs of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) were sweet and that he (καὶ Μαρσύας) invented music.

Orphic Fragment 13
This fragment makes use of the famous Orphic admonishment to close doors upon the ears of the profane before the Mysteries are spoken.

Orphic Fragment 14 - This fragment consists of several Orphic quotations about the “sixth age.”

Orphic Fragment 15
Okæanós (Ὠκεανὸς), who, when he married his sister Tîthýs (Τηθὺς), was the first to marry.

Orphic Fragment 16
According to Plátôn (Πλάτων), we must simply accept the genealogy of the first Gods (Ὠκεανός καὶ Τηθὺς, Γῆς καὶ Οὐρανὸς, Φόρκυς, Κρόνος καὶ Ῥέα, Ζεὺς καὶ Ἥρα), believing that they, in the accounts of them, were speaking of what took place in their own families.

Orphic Fragment 17
In this fragment, Sôkrátîs (Σωκράτης) questions blind religious beliefs in the story of Zefs (Ζεύς) binding Krónos (Κρόνος), and Krónos punishing Ouranós (Οὐρανός).

Orphic Fragment 18
In this quotation, Plátôn (Πλάτων), speaking through the “Stranger,” says that Parmænídîs (Παρμενίδης) and others have talked carelessly when telling stories of the Gods and the nature of reality.

Orphic Fragment 19
This quotation from Plátôn (Πλάτων) is a description of the role of religion in training girls and boys for future participation in the necessities of war, with mention of imitation of the Kourítæs (Κουρήτες) and the Dióskouri (Διόσκουροι) in the choruses of the ancient peoples.

Orphic Fragment 20
According to Plátôn (Πλάτων), there is an inescapable law (Ἀδράστεια), that a soul which attains a glimpse of truth following a God, such a soul is preserved from harm, and always so, if always thus attaining. But when a soul is not capable of attaining to truth, there are degrees of rebirth dependent upon its understanding.

Orphic Fragment 21Zefs (Ζεὺς) is the beginning, the middle, and the source of all things.

Orphic Fragment 22This fragment states that the followers of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) suppose that each star (ἀστήρ) makes a world.

Orphic Fragment 23This fragment consists of several quotations related to Justice (Δίκη).

Orphic Fragment 24This fragment consists of two quotations from Aritotǽlîs (Ἀριστοτέλης): The first states that the (Orphic) theologians assert that the world is generated from Nyx; the second quotation states that the poets say that Zefs (Ζεύς) reigns and rules, despite the fact that Nyx, Ouranós (Οὐρανὸς), Kháos (Χάος), and Ôkæanós (Ὠκεανός) precede him in time.

Orphic Fragment 25This fragment states that ancient writers (Orphic?) made Ôkæanós (Ὠκεανός) and Tîthýs (Τηθὺς) the parents of creation, and the oath of the Gods sworn by the river Styx (Στύξ).

Orphic Fragment 26This fragment states that animals come into being in a manner resembling (ὅμοιος) the knitting of a net.

Orphic Fragment 27In this fragment, Aristotǽlîs (Ἀριστοτέλης) summarizes the view of Orphic poetry, that the soul is carried on the winds, and that it enters (the body) through respiration.

Orphic Fragment 28This fragment consists of several quotations offering the ideas of Évdîmos (Εὔδημος) concerning the origin of the universe.

Orphic Fragment 29This fragment consists of several quotations with various ideas about the beginning of the universe, as seen from the Argonaftiká (Ἀργοναυτικὰ), both the Orphic and that of Apollónios Ródios (Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος), and ideas of Æmbædoklís (Ἐμπεδοκλῆς), and the Latin poet Vergilius.

Orphic Fragment 30 - This fragment states the Zefs (Ζεύς) is the aithír (αἰθήρ), and both father and son; Rǽa (Ῥέα) is both the mother of Zefs and daughter.

Orphic Fragment 31This fragment consists of what is likely a liturgical text from a papyrus manuscript (Gurôb Papyrus) dated at the beginning of the third century BCE which includes a listing of most of the Toys of Diónysos.

Orphic Fragment 32This fragment consists of the contents of several famous “gold tablets,” prayers or poems found in the graves of what is assumed to be Orphic practitioners.

Orphic Fragment 33 - The use of symbolism in Orphic texts.

Orphic Fragment 34The Toys of Diónysos (Διόνυσος) from three sources.

Orphic Fragment 35 - The sacrifice of Diónysos (Διόνυσος) by the Titans including the involvement of Athîná (Ἀθηνᾶ) as having retrieved his heart.

Orphic Fragment 36The three births of Diónysos: from Sæmǽlî (Σεμέλη; "out of the mother"), from the thigh of Zefs, and from Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη; "torn asunder by the Titans").

Orphic Fragment 37According to the Orphic theogony, Time (Χρόνος) produced Ǽrôs (Ἔρως) and all the souls, differing from Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου.

Orphic Fragment 38The importance of the Mousai (Μοῦσαι).

Orphic Fragment 39This fragment states that the inventor of dance is Æratóh (Ἐρατώ), according to Orphic tradition.

Orphic Fragment 40This fragment talks about the curative effects of being struck by thunder.

Orphic Fragment 41This fragment states that, according to the Orphics, Ækátî (Ἑκάτη) is born from Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ).

Orphic Fragment 42In this fragment, Kallímakhos (of Alexandria) says that Ækátî (Ἑκάτη) is the daughter of Zefs (Ζεὺς) and Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ).

Orphic Fragment 43In this fragment, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) is said to claim that Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη), in the famous myth, was seized from the districts around Okæanós (Ὠκεανός).

Orphic Fragment 44This fragment states that catmint was once a great tree bearing fruit (but Dîmítîr [Δημήτηρ] made it barren).

Orphic Fragment 45This fragment states that Sinópî (Σινώπη) was born from Árîs (Ἄρης) and Aiyina (Αἴγινα), this according to the Orphics.

Orphic Fragment 46In this fragment, it is said that Ækávî (Ἑκάβη) is addressed by her own children as “pig,” but the rest address her as the lady of the house, this according to the Orphics.

2. Carmina de raptu et reditu Proserpinae (frr. 47-53)

 - These beginning fragments, for the most part, speak of the search by Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ) for her daughter Pærsæphónî (Φερσεφόνης).

I. Carmen Siculum servatum in lamella aurea

II. Κάθοδος <τῆς Κόρης?> 1 (The Descent of Kórî - frr. 48-49)

Orphic Fragment 47This consists of a fragmentary hymn to various deities, but mostly to Zefs (Ζεύς), reconstructed from a golden tablet.

Orphic Fragment 48The agricultural role of Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ).

Orphic Fragment 49This fragment comes from an ancient papyrus (Berlin Papyrus Berolinensis [13044 V]) which tells the story of the abduction of Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη).

III. [Κάθοδος τῆς Κόρης 2] (frr. 50-53)

Orphic Fragment 50The abduction of Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη).

Orphic Fragment 51Knowledge of the sowing of seed was given to the sons of Dysávlîs (Δυσαύλης) as a reward for their having given to Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ) information about her daughter.

Orphic Fragment 52Fragment 52 consists of several quotations related to Vavvóh (Βαυβώ) lifting her robes and exposing her private parts to the Goddess Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ) to make her laugh, the first fragment stating that the infant Íäkkhos (Ἴακχος) was under her robes.

Orphic Fragment 53 - Vavóh (Βαβώ) as appearing in the Orphica.

3. Hieronymi et Hellanici theogonia (frr. 54-59)

Orphic Fragment 54A summary of a theogony by Iæróhnymos Ródios (Hieronymus of Rhodes, Ιερώνυμος Ῥόδιος) or perhaps Ællánikos (Hellanicus, Ἑλλάνικος) as outlined by Damáskios (Damascius, Δαμάσκιος) in his work on first principles (ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν). It is in this summary clearly stated the primal nature of Earth and Water.

Orphic Fragment 55 - Fragment 55 is the beginning of an exposition by Apíôn (the grammarian?) in which he discusses the primordial state of the universe. Also, for comparison is a passage on the same subject from Tyrannius Rufinus’ translation of Recognitiones (pseudo-Clement).

Orphic Fragment 56 - The conclusion of Apíôn's exposition on the origin of the universe. There is a second quotation, this of pseudo-Clement, a brief theogony of the Greeks. 

Orphic Fragment 57Orpheus invented the names of the Gods and that their origin is Water, which formed Mud, the two together producing a dragon which had several heads, one with the face of a God named Îraklís (Ἡρακλῆς) and Time (Χρόνος). This God generated an egg which split in two; the top became Sky (Οὐρανός), the bottom Earth (Γῆ). Sky and Earth gave birth to the Fates (Μοῖραι) and the 100-handers (Ἑκατόγχειρες), the later of which Sky hurled into Tártaros (Τάρταρος) causing Earth to generate the Titans (Τιτᾶνες).

Orphic Fragment 58The Gods were created and owe their nature to Water. That Phánîs (Φάνης) was the First-Born (Πρωτογόνος), produced from the Egg, and had the shape of a dragon, and that Zefs swallowed him. That Îraklís (Ἡρακλῆς) had the form of a dragon. It discusses the rise of the Six Kings (mostly following Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου), but then alluding to the union of Zefs (Ζεὺς) with Rǽa (Ῥέα), who became a she-dragon to escape him, and Zefs, also becoming a dragon, uniting with her producing Pæsæphónî (Περσεφόνη). Zefs, again in the form of a dragon, united with Pæsæphónî producing Diónysos (Διόνυσος).

Orphic Fragment 59Zefs (Ζεὺς) begat children by Rǽa (Ῥέα), by his daughter Kórî (Κόρη), and that he took his own sister (Ἥρα) as his wife.

4. Ἱεροὶ λόγοι ἐν ῥαψωιδίαις κδ' (frr. 60-235)

Orphic Fragment 60A Neoplatonic explanation of first principles derived from Ιερός Λόγος σε 24 Ραψωδίες. These first principles being Time (Χρόνος), followed by aithír (αἰθήρ) and kháos (χάος). Next there is a discussion of the Egg from which Phánîs (Φάνης) leaps forth; Phánîs (Φάνης), Írikapaios (Ἠρικαπαῖος), and Mítis (Μῆτις) united as a triad, implying that the Ραψωδίες give these as names of the same God (Φάνης).

Orphic Fragment 61Orpheus calls Phánîs (Φάνης) "son of the God," and that Diónysos (Διόνυσος) is addressed as Phánîs and "son of God."

Orphic Fragment 62Orpheus claimed that he did not invent his stories, but, rather, that he learned these things by petitioning the Titan Phívos (Φοῖβος, i.e. Apóllôn).

Orphic Fragment 63The Giants were born from Earth (Γῆ) and the blood of Ouranós (Οὐρανός), this from the 8th book of Ιερός Λόγος σε 24 Ραψωδίες by Orpheus.

Orphic Fragment 64Orpheus conceived of many Gods in the interval between Time (Χρόνος) and Phánîs (Φάνης).

Orphic Fragment 65Orpheus outlined the following sequence: the Incomprehensible One, Time (Χρόνος), Aithír (Αἰθήρ), and Kháos (Χάος). Under the Aithír is everything, this everything is the possession of and is concealed by Nyx (Νύξ). Earth was in this darkness, but the light of the Incomprehensible One broke through the Aithír and illuminated everything. This Incomprehensible One is 3-fold: Mítis (Μῆτις, Counselor), Phánîs (Φάνης, Light), and Írikapaios (Ἠρικαπαῖος, Giver-of-Life). These three are one power of one God, who is the source of all creation.

Orphic Fragment 66Time gave birth to Aithír causing a vast chasm to open.

Orphic Fragment 67Three brief phrases, all having in common the word ὁμίχλην "mist."

Orphic Fragment 68Orpheus calls Khrónos (Time, Χρόνος) the first cause of all things.

Orphic Fragment 69It can be gleaned from the Orphic stories that the world is a God.

Orphic Fragment 70Time begot an egg in the Aithír.

Orphic Fragment 71(The egg from which Phánîs [Φάνης] emerged) moved in an untiring circle.

Orphic Fragment 72 At the birth of Phánîs (Φάνης), the chasm and the Aithír (Αἰθήρ) were torn apart.

Orphic Fragment 73Phánîs (Φάνης), the son of Aithír (Αἰθήρ), is identical with Prôtogónos (Πρωτογόνος), and Phaǽthôn (Φαέθων).

Orphic Fragment 74 - (Phánîs [Φάνης] is called) the beautiful son of Aithír [Αἰθήρ] and pretty [ἁβρὸς] Ǽrôs [Ἔρως].

Orphic Fragment 75 - Phánîs (Φάνης) was the first visible thing in the Aithír (Αἰθήρ).

Orphic Fragment 76Phánîs (Φάνης) has four eyes which look everywhere.

Orphic Fragment 77 - The Dionysian deity (Φάνης) is a tetrad with four eyes and four horns.

Orphic Fragment 78(Phánîs [Φάνης] has) golden wings, which flutter this way and that.

Orphic Fragment 79 - Phánîs (Φάνης) has the heads of animals: a ram, a bull, a serpent, and a lion.

Orphic Fragment 80 - In the Orphic verses, there is Phánîs (Φάνης) and Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος). Irikæpaios swallowed all the Gods, but it was different than when Krónos swallowed his sons.

Orphic Fragment 81 - The fragment states that Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος) is both female and father (male).

Orphic Fragment 82 - In the heart of Phánîs (Φάνης) is sightless (ἀνόμματος) Ǽrôs (Ἔρως).

Orphic Fragment 83Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) calls Ǽrôs (Ἔρως) both a great daimôn and Mítis (Μῆτις).

Orphic Fragment 85Mítis (Μῆτις) is identified with Phánîs (Φάνης).

Orphic Fragment 86 - Phánîs (Φάνης), who could be seen by Nyx alone, has gleaming skin, the splendor of which could be observed by the other Gods.

Orphic Fragment 87This is the Orphic hymn to Protogónos in which he is called egg-born, Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος), Phánîs (Φάνης), Príapos (Πρίαπος), Antávyî (Ἀνταύγη), and various other epithets.

Orphic Fragment 88Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) says that God made the heavens and earth.

Orphic Fragment 89 - Phánis (Φάνης) is the Father of the Gods, for whom he has built an imperishable home.

Orphic Fragment 91 - Discussion of the moon.

Orphic Fragment 94(Phánîs [Φάνης]) gave men a place apart from the Gods which had a moderate temperature.

Orphic Fragment 95The works of nature are glorious and boundless.

Orphic Fragment 96 - The Sun rules over all and that Phánîs (Φάνης) is the creator (δηµιουργὸς).

Orphic Fragment 97In the cave (of Nyx) the Father (Phánîs) made (all things).

Orphic Fragment 98 - This group of fragments states that the first generation of mothers advance from only a father, and that Phánîs (Φάνης) couples with Nyx.

Orphic Fragment 99 - This fragment states that there are three Nights (Νύκτες): justice (δικαιοσύνη), moderation (σωφροσύνη), and knowledge (ἐπιστήμη).

Orphic Fragment 101Nyx receives the scepter from Phánîs.

Orphic Fragment 103Phánîs (Φάνης) gave Night (Νύξ) oracular ability.

Orphic Fragment 104 - This fragment states that while the theogony of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) begins with Phánîs (Φάνης) and Night (Νύξ), Plátôn (Πλάτων) begins with Ouranós (Οὐρανός) and Yî (Γῦ).

Orphic Fragment 105This consists of two fragments stating that beautiful Ídî (Ἴδη) is the sister of Adrásteia, and that Adrásteia holds in her hands a tambourine.

Orphic Fragment 106 - This fragment states that Night (Νὺξ) is the nurse of the Gods.

Orphic Fragment 107 - Fragment 107 consists of several quotations mostly dealing with the reign of the Six Kings.

Orphic Fragment 108 - Îrikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος) reigned before Nyx. Such reigns or allotments are taught by Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς). In the Orphic teaching, Phánîs (Φάνης) ruled before Nyx, which would equate him with Îrikæpaios.

Orphic Fragment 109This set of fragments discusses the earlier generations of Gods. The first two of the generation of Ouranós and Yaia (Γαῖα, Γῆ). The third how Phánîs (Φάνης) makes all things visible with his light. The fourth fragment discusses the functions of primordial deities such as Ôkæanós (Ὠκεανός) and Tîthýs (Τηθύς), but also the functions of the Kings and their consorts. The fifth fragment syncretizes similar Egyptian mythology of generation.

Orphic Fragment 111Ouranós (Οὐρανός) reigned next after Nyx. 

Orphic Fragment 112 - This is a discussion of marriage between Gods.

Orphic Fragment 114 -  Yî (Γῆ), unknown to Ouranós (Οὐρανός), gave birth to the Seven Pairs of Titánæs (Τιτᾶνες).

Orphic Fragment 117This fragment includes a discussion of certain sea-Gods, and it also establishes that Krónos (Κρόνος) is higher in rank than Okæanós (Ὠκεανός), as, similarly, Rǽa (Ῥέα) is above Tîthýs (Τηθύς).

Orphic Fragment 121Ouranós (Οὐρανὸς) hurls them deep into the earth.

Orphic Fragment 127The birth of Pándîmos Aphrodítî (Πάνδημος Ἀφροδίτη) from the foam produced when the members of Ouranós (Οὐρανὸς) were cast into the sea.

Orphic Fragment 128Plátôn (Πλάτων), in agreement with the Orphic theogonies, calls Krónos (Κρόνος) the father of Zefs (Ζεὺς), and Ouranós (Οὐρανός) the father of Krónos.

Orphic Fragment 129 - Krónos (Κρόνος), out of them all (the Titans?), was nurtured by Nyx.

Orphic Fragment 132There are two quotations, both of which mention the bosoms of Rǽa (Ῥέα) and her role in creation. The second quotation states that Íra (Hera, Ἥρα) is equal in rank with Zefs (Ζεύς).

Orphic Fragment 134The importance of Rǽa (Ῥέα).

Orphic Fragment 135Ôkæanós (Ὠκεανὸς) decides against helping his brothers in their plot to castrate their father Ouranós (Οὐρανός).

Orphic Fragment 139Krónos (Κρόνος) first ruled men on earth and then from he, sprang forth Zefs (Ζεύς). 

Orphic Fragment 140The three ages according to Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς).

Orphic Fragment 142 During the Age of Krónos (Κρόνος) men were immortal with a youthful countenance.

Orphic Fragment 144 - Themis (Θέμις) remained a virgin until Rǽa (Ῥέα) begot a child with Krónos (Κρόνος).

Orphic Fragment 145 - When Rǽa (Ῥέα) gave birth to Zefs (Ζεὺς), she became Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ).

Orphic Fragment 147Rǽa (Ῥέα) deceived Krónos (Κρόνος) with a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth.

Orphic Fragment 148Kronos, having eaten the cunning food, fell asleep and snored loudly.

Orphic Fragment 149That Krónos (Κρόνος) had fallen asleep (in the oaken woods?).

Orphic Fragment 150Rǽa (Ῥέα) by herself generated the Kourítæs (Κουρῆτες).

Orphic Fragment 151This fragment consists of several quotations about the Kourîtæs (Κούρητες), including one which shows their relationship to Athîná (Ἀθηνᾶ).

Orphic Fragment 152 - Adrásteia (Ἀμάλθεια) received copper drumsticks and a goat-skin drum.

Orphic Fragment 153This fragment consists of a string of what are described as violations by Gods, using a literal translation of the mythology. It must be stated that even seeing these stories in such a way, it appears that the author does not know his mythology, i.e. the story of Apóllôn (Ἀπόλλων) violating Ártæmis (Ἄρτεμις).

Orphic Fragment 154Nyx tells Zefs (Ζεύς) that when Krónos (Κρόνος) is drunk with honey in the oaken woods, to bind him.

Orphic Fragment 155This fragment consists of four quotations describing the glorious qualities of Krónos (Κρόνος)

Orphic Fragment 156Zefs (Ζεὺς) is exhorted to bring purification from Krítî (Κρήτη).

Orphic Fragment 157These quotations state that Zefs (Ζεύς) possesses a scepter consisting of “four and twenty measures.” 

Orphic Fragment 158This fragment consists of several quotations stating that Justice (Δίκη) sits firmly at the side of Zefs (Ζεύς).

Orphic Fragment 159Justice is produced by Law and Piety.

Orphic Fragment 162The Demiourgós (Δημιουργός) was reared by Adrásteia (Ἀδράστεια), but having intercourse with Necessity (Ἀνάγκη), gives birth to Destiny (Εἱμαρμένη).

Orphic Fragment 163 Discussion of the marriage of Gods and the equality of Íra (Ἥρα) and Zefs (Ζεὺς).

Orphic Fragment 164The involvement of Night (Νύξ) in assisting Zefs (Ζεύς) in the fabrication of the universe.

Orphic Fragment 165All things...the earth, the heavens, the sea, the stars...embraced in the aithír (αἰθήρ) of Zefs (Ζεύς).

Orphic Fragment 166Nyx (Νύξ) advises Zefs (Ζεύς) to surround everything with a strong bond, fitting a golden chain from the aithír (αἰθήρ)

Orphic Fragment 167In the belly of Zefs (Ζεύς) were all things.

Orphic Fragment 168This fragment includes the great Orphic hymn to Zefs (Ζεὺς), wherein it is stated that he is the mind of the world, and created everything therein, and contains the world within himself. There are also many other fragments, all about glorious Zefs.

Orphic Fragment 170Both Diónysos (Διόνυσος) and Zefs (Ζεὺς) antecedently existed.

Orphic Fragment 171The first causes being Ôkæanós (Ὠκεανός) and Tîthýs (Τηθύς) and Phánîs (Φάνης), and that Krónos (Κρόνος) devoured his children.

Orphic Fragment 172Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), in a certain respect, considers the sun to be the same as Apóllôn (Ἀπόλλων).

Orphic Fragment 174(That Athîná [Ἀθηνᾶ] was born from the head of Zefs [Ζεὺς]) with shining arms like a brass flower.

Orphic Fragment 175Athîná (Ἀθηνᾶ) is called by the name Virtue, both in the Orphic and Chaldean theologies.

Orphic Fragment 176That Athîná (Ἀθηνᾶ) will accomplish great works.

Orphic Fragment 177Athîná (Ἀθηνᾶ) is the realization of the will of Zefs (Ζεύς).

Orphic Fragment 178This fragment consists of three quotations, primarily about Athîná (Ἀθηνᾶ) and her weaving.

Orphic Fragment 179The Kýklôpæs (Κύκλωπες) gave to Zefs (Ζεὺς) thunder, and they made him the thunderbolt, and they taught Íphaistos (Ἥφαιστος) and Athiná (Ἀθηνᾶ) all the crafts.

Orphic Fragment 180Several fragments concerning the relationship of Íphaistos (Ἥφαιστος) and brass, and how he a kozmic artificer who is involved in the creation of the heavens.

Orphic Fragment 181The Kháritæs (Χάριτες, the Charities or Graces): Íphaistos (Ἥφαιστος) is joined with Aglaïa (Ἀγλαΐα); Tháleia (Θάλεια) causes the lives of the stars to flourish; Efphrosýnî (Εὐφροσύνη) grants to all of them energy. The Órai (Ὧραι, the Seasons), Evnomía (Εὐνομία) preserves the stars in their proper order; Díkî (Δίκη) has governance over the planetary region; Eirínî (Εἰρήνη) has dominion over the sublunary region.

Orphic Fragment 182Together with Aphrodítî (Ἀφροδίτη), Íphaistos (Ἥφαιστος) forged everything. Together with Agläía (Ἀγλαΐα), Íphaistos fathered Éfkleia (Εὔκλεια), Efthînía (Ευθηνία), Efphímî (Εὐφήμη), and Philophrosýnî (Φιλοφροσύνη), who beautified the material world.

Orphic Fragment 183Zefs (Ζεύς) was full of desire for Dióhnî (Διώνη), and his seed flew into the sea. From his seed, foam arose, which, in the Spring, gave birth to Pándîmos Aphrodítî (Πάνδημος Ἀφροδίτη).

Orphic Fragment 184The Dîmiourgós (Δημιουργός) is Mítis (Μῆτις) and Ǽrôs (Ἔρως).

Orphic Fragment 185Athîná, according to Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), is the leader of the Kourítæs (Κουρῆτες). 

Orphic Fragment 186Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) states that even the very first of the Kourîtæs (Κούρητες) were devoted to the division of Athîná (Ἀθηνᾶ).

Orphic Fragment 187Ártæmis (Ἄρτεμις), while herself not fettered with marriage, frees women from all the difficulties of childbirth.

Orphic Fragment 188That Ártæmis (Ἄρτεμις) is sometimes called Ækátî (Ἑκάτη) and sometimes Kórî (Κόρη)

Orphic Fragment 189Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ), with her attendants, laid out amvrosía (ἀμβροσία), nectar, and honey (for the feast).

Orphic Fragment 190That Kórî (Κόρη) is only-begotten.

Orphic Fragment 191The Korývandæs (Κορύβαντες) guard Kórî (Κόρη) on all sides.

Orphic Fragment 192Kórî (Κόρη) is represented by Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) as weaving type of web, and while weaving was a Nymph (virginal).

Orphic Fragment 193Working the (kozmic?) loom is an endless labor of embroidery.

Orphic Fragment 194Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ) says to Kórî (Κόρη) that with Apóllôn (Ἀπόλλων) she will bring forth splendid children with faces of burning fire.

Orphic Fragment 195The ravishing of Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη).

Orphic Fragment 197Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη) bears nine bright-eye, flower-producing children.

Orphic Fragment 198(Próklos [Πρόκλος] is expounding the view of Plátôn [Πλάτων], which, he says, is in the manner of Orphéfs [Ὀρφεύς]; there is, however, considerable text before our quotation, therefore, making it difficult to tell if all of these views are in agreement with Orphéfs.) The text discusses the relationship between Kórî and the following three deities: Zefs (Ζεύς), Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ), and Ploutôn (Πλούτων).

Orphic Fragment 199Ípta (Ἵπτα) is the soul of the universe, or the head of the soul; she dwells on Mount Tmólos (Τμῶλος) with Savázios (Σαβάζιος = Ζεύς).

Orphic Fragment 200The names of Sælínî (Σελήνη, the Moon)... Ploutônî (Πλουτώνη), Efphrosýne (Εὐφροσύνη), and the one which Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) gives to Ártæmis (Ἄρτεμις): Vendís (Βενδῖς).

Orphic Fragment 201Áttis and Ádônis.

Orphic Fragment 202Theologists refer to two types of health, one to Asklîpiós (Ἀσκληπιός), being out of the ordinary course of nature, and the other prior to this God which is produced from Persuasion (Πειθώ) and Ǽrôs (Ἔρως).

Orphic Fragment 204Fortune (Τύχη) is spoken of by Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς); Fortune is identified as Ártæmis, Sælínî (Σελήνη) as Ækátî (Ἑκάτη).

Orphic Fragment 205Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) calls Diónysos (Διόνυσος) a younger (νέος) God.

Orphic Fragment 206A brief Orphic quote: “As a man grows a shoot of olive...”

Orphic Fragment 207Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) calls both Zefs (Ζεύς) and Diónysos (Διόνυσος) young (νέος) Gods.

Orphic Fragment 208Zefs (Ζεύς) makes Diónysos (Διόνυσος) the King of the Gods.

Orphic Fragment 209The mirror, Diónysos, and his lamentations.

Orphic Fragment 210Many fragments concerning the dismemberment of Diónysos by the Titans.

Orphic Fragment 211The role of Apóllôn (Ἀπόλλων) after the dismembering of Diónysos (Διόνυσος).

Orphic Fragment 212This fragment says that there is a partnership between Diónysos and Apóllôn (Ἀπόλλων).

Orphic Fragment 213 - This consists of two quotations from Latin texts. The first fragment claims that Diónysos was torn apart by the Giants, and that this is what Orphéfs said. The second fragment states that the disciples of Orphéfs call Diónysos the soul of the world.

Orphic Fragment 214The Titánæs (Τιτάνες) struck down Diónysos, but Zefs (Ζεὺς) raised him up again.

Orphic Fragment 215After the dismemberment of Diónysos, the (Orphic) theologists say that Átlas was established in the western regions, holding up the heavens.

Orphic Fragment 216This consists of several quotations giving Diónysos the name Wine, including the famous one in which Zefs (Ζεύς) commands that the limbs of Wine be brought to him.

Orphic Fragment 217Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) knew of the mixing vessel (κρατήρ) of Diónysos.

Orphic Fragment 218All things were formed by Zefs (Ζεὺς), but completed by Vákkhos (Βάκχος).

Orphic Fragment 219Water (Ὕδωρ) is the Vǽdy (βέδυ) of the Nymphs.

Orphic Fragment 220Orphéfs (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.

Orphic Fragment 221This fragment states that in the Phaidôn (Φαίδων), Plátôn (Πλάτων) reveals secrets of the Mysteries, of the mythology, which is symbolic language, of Diónysos and the Titánæs (Τιτάνες), and other cryptic things.

Orphic Fragment 222After death, those who lead holy lives will be rewarded while the unjust are led to Tártaros. The text also states that Orphic wisdom, including the teaching on rebirth, has been transferred altogether to the Platonic teaching.

Orphic Fragment 223The souls of the beasts fly about in the lower air after death (awaiting rebirth), while the souls of man are taken to Aidîs (Ἅιδης) by Ærmís (Ἑρµῆς).

Orphic Fragment 224These fragments talk of reincarnation: fathers and sons change into mothers and daughters; the soul of man was once a horse, a cow, a bird, a cow, and a snake.

Orphic Fragment 225This fragment is just a tiny phrase talking about the longevity of an unnamed animal.

Orphic Fragment 226The relationship between earth, water, and soul.

Orphic Fragment 227The fragment is difficult to interpret, but seems to be saying that all the souls have multiple fates as they revolve about in the race (δρόμος) of lives.

Orphic Fragment 228The soul of man is from Zefs (Ζεύς) and is immortal, but the bodies are subject to death.

Orphic Fragment 229This fragment proclaims the possibility of the end of the circle of rebirths and freedom from misery.

Orphic Fragment 230Zefs (Ζεὺς) has ordained the end of the circle of births and relief from misery to the souls of humans.

Orphic Fragment 231The teachings of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) are more efficient, even than those of Plátôn (Πλάτων), for the purification of human souls.

Orphic Fragment 232Men will make great offerings seeking freedom, for Diónysos has great power and is willing to free us from suffering and madness.

Orphic Fragment 233This quotation is a summary of the teachings of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) as understood by the Christian chronicler Iôánnîs Malálas (Ἰωάννης Μαλάλας, 491-578 CE).

Orphic Fragment 234This fragment, taken out of context, criticizes bad women.

Orphic Fragment 235This fragment states that many people may parade around as though they are with Diónysos, but very few of them are truly intoxicated with him. There is another quotation from Ἱστορίαι Ἡροδότου saying that the Orphic rites are actually Egyptian and Pythagorean, and that those initiated in such Mysteries are not to be buried in wool.

5. Βακχικά (frr. 236-244)

Orphic Fragment 236 - In this fragment, the Sun, whirling through the heavens, is equated with Zefs-Diónysos (Ζεὺς Διόνυσος), and is called the father of everything.

Orphic Fragment 237 - In this fragment, Diónysos is said to be called Phánîs (Φάνης), Evvouléfs (Εὐβουλεύς), Antavyís (Ἀνταυγής), and by many other names. In a second fragment, Diónysos is identified with the Sun.

Orphic Fragment 238This fragment is a poetic instruction manual as to how to deck out the statue of Diónysos like the Sun.


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.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek          


Transliteration of Ancient Greek          


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DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of by the external sources from which they were obtained.

Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

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