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

SUMMARY: This testimony consists of two quotations, the first by Apollonius of Tyana and the second by Apuleius, both of whom, as they themselves say, are being falsely accused, like Orpheus, of practicing magic.


Apollonios of Tyana epist. XVI p. 113 Herch.:

μάγους οἴει δεῖν ὀνομάζειν τοὺς ἀπὸ Πυθαγόρου φιλοσόφους, ὧδέ που καὶ τοὺς ἀπὸ Ὀρφέως. ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ δεῖνος οἶμαι δεῖν ὀνομάζεσθαι μάγους, εἰ μέλλουσιν εἶναι θεῖοί τε καὶ δίκαιοι.

“You think one ought to call “magicians” the philosophers from Pythagóras, just as you likewise also see those from Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς). But I, then, think one ought to call those from anyone magicians, if they should be both holy and just.”

(trans. by the author)

Apulei Platonici pro Se de Magia (Apologia) 27 p. 31, 21 Helm:

qui providentiam mundi curiosius vestigant et impensius deos celebrant, eos vero vulgo magos nominent, quasi facere etiam sciant quae sciant fieri, ut olim fuere Epimenides et Orpheus et Pythagoras et Ostanes, ac dein similiter suspectata Empedocli catharmoe, Socrati daemonion, Platonis τὸ ἀγαθόν (Herman Diels II3 129 n. 12). gratulor igitur mihi, cum et ego tot ac tantis viris adnumeror.

Apuleius on being accused of practicing magic:

“Others call those magicians who bestow unusual care on the investigation of the workings of providence and unusual devotion on their worship of the Gods, as though, forsooth, they knew how to perform everything that they know actually to be performed. So Epimenides, Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Ostanes were regarded as magicians, while a similar suspicion attached to the ‘purifications’ of Empedocles, the ‘demon’ of Socrates and ‘the good’ of Plato. I congratulate myself therefore on being admitted to such distinguished company.”

(trans. H. E. Butler, 1909)

Aurelii Augustini de civitate dei contra paganos XVIII 14 (nr. 20):

Per idem temporis interuallum extiterunt poetae, qui etiam theologi dicerentur, quoniam de diis carmina faciebant, sed talibus diis, qui licet magni homines, tamen homines fuerunt aut mundi huius, quem uerus deus fecit, elementa sunt aut in principatibus et potestatibus pro uoluntate Creatoris et suis meritis ordinati, et si quid de uno uero deo inter multa dana et falsa cecinerint, colendo cum illo alios, qui dii non sunt, eisque exhibendo famulatum, qui uni tantum debetur deo, non ei utique rite seruierunt nec a fabuloso deorum suorum dedecore etiam ipsi se abstinere potuerunt — Orpheus, Musaeus, Linus. Verum isti theologi deos coluerunt, non pro diis culti sunt; quamuis Orpheum nescio quo modo infernis sacris uel potius sacrilegiis praeficere soleat ciuitas impiorum.

The Christian Church-father Augustine of Hippo boldly attacks Orpheus and teachers of our religion:

“During the same period of time arose the poets, who were also called theologues, because they made hymns about the gods; yet about such gods as, although great men, were yet but men, or the elements of this world which the true god made, or creatures who were ordained as principalities and powers according to the will of the Creator and their own merit. And if, among much that was vain and false, they sang anything of the one true god, yet, by worshipping him along with others who are not gods, and showing them the service that is due to him alone, they did not serve him at all rightly; and even such poets as Orpheus, Musæus, and Linus, were unable to abstain from dishonoring their gods by fables. But yet these theologues worshipped the gods, and were not worshipped as gods, although the city of the ungodly is wont, I know not how, to set Orpheus over the sacred, or rather sacrilegious, rites of hell.”

(trans. Marcus Dods, 1887)

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic 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.

This logo 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).

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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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