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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.
SUMMARY: Fragment 107 consists of several quotations mostly dealing with the reigns of the Six Kings.
107. (85) On the dominions of the Gods, these realms are prominent: σχόλιον Ἀλεξάνδρου του Ἀφροδισιεύς επί τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά Ἀριστοτέλους. N 1091 b 4 (821, 5 Hayd.):
εἰπὼν ὅτι τινὲς τῶν νῦν θεολόγων διαρρήδην ἀνακηρύττουσιν, ὅτι τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον ὕστερόν ἐστι τῆς τῶν ὄντων φύσεως, ἐπιφέρει ὅτι παραπλησίως τούτοις περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ καὶ ἀρίστου λέγουσι καὶ οἱ ἀρχαῖοι ποιηταί. αἰνίττεται δὲ τὸν Ὀρφέα· καὶ οὗτος γάρ φησιν ὅτι τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον ὕστερόν ἐστι τῶν ἄλλων. ἐπεὶ γὰρ τὸ βασιλεῦον καὶ κρατοῦν τῆς τῶν ἁπάντων φύσεώς ἐστι τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον, ὁ δὲ Ζεὺς βασιλεύει καὶ κρατεῖ, ὁ Ζεὺς ἄρ’ ἐστὶ τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον. καὶ ἐπεὶ πρῶτον μὲν κατ’ Ὀρφέα τὸ Χάος γέγονεν, εἶθ’ ὁ Ὠκεανός, τρίτον Νύξ, τέταρτον ὁ Οὐρανός, εἶτ’ ἀθανάτων βασιλεὺς θεῶν ὁ Ζεύς, δῆλον ὅτι καὶ οὗτος τὸν Δία, ταὐτὸν δ’ εἰπεῖν τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον, ὕστερον νομίζει καὶ τοῦ Χάους καὶ τοῦ Ὠκεανοῦ καὶ τῆς Νυκτὸς καὶ τοῦ Οὐρανοῦ, ἤτοι τοῦ κόσμου. ἀλλ’ οὗτοι μέν, φησίν, οἱ ποιηταὶ διὰ τὸ μεταβάλλειν καὶ ἄλλοτε ἄλλους ποιεῖν τοὺς ἄρχοντας τῶν ὄντων --- πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ
‘Βασίλευσε περίκλυτος Ἠρικεπαῖος’ (fragment 108)
φησὶν ἡ ποίησις, μεθ’ ὃν Νὺξ
ἐν χερσὶν ἀριπρεπὲς Ἠρικεπαίου (fragment 102) μεθ’ ἣν Οὑρανός,
‘ὃς πρώτος βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ μητέρα Νύκτα (fragment 111) ---,’
οὗτοι δὴ διὰ τὸ τοὺς ἄρχοντας μεταβάλλειν τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον ὕστερον ποιοῦσιν.
“Having said what the theologians of this present time expressly proclaim, that the good and best are the final (gradation) of the truths of nature, he further comments that this bears resemblance to the (perceptions) concerning the good and best, as the ancient poets say. He alludes to Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), for (the Orphic teaching) even asserts that the good and best is the last of all the others. For since dominion and power over all nature is the good and the best, and that Zefs (Ζεύς) rules and commands, therefore Zefs is the good and the best. And seeing in (the teachings of) Orphéfs, that first indeed Kháos (Χάος) came into being, next Okæanós (Ὠκεανός), third Night (Νύξ), fourth Ouranós, and Zefs the king of deathless Gods; and this manifest being who is Zefs, is identical to the good and the best, as customarily follows Kháos and Okæanós and Night and Ouranós ... truly the order of the world. But of this indeed, he declares, the poets change their positions and elsewhere make other beings first --- for first indeed is
‘the reign of glorious Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος),' (fragment 108)
“as declared in a poem; with Nyx
‘bearing the scepter’
“in her hand of brilliant Irikæpaios (fragment 102); and then next Ouranós,
‘the first of the Gods to reign after Nyx,’ (fragment 111)
this through changing the position of the rulers, and making the good and the best last.”
(trans. by the author)
Alǽxandros (Αλέξανδρος) particularly follows σχόλιον Συριανοῦ τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά τοῦ Ἀριστοτέλους N p. 1091 b 4 (182, 9 Kr.):
οὐδὲ ταῦτα <κατὰ add. Lobeck> τὸ ἀληθὲς ἱστόρηται περὶ τῶν θεολόγων· ἐκεῖνοι γὰρ Νύκτα μὲν καὶ Οὐρανόν φασι βασιλεύειν καὶ πρὸ τούτων τὸν μέγιστον αὐτῶν πατέρα·
‘τὸν τόθ’ ἑλὼν διένειμε θεοῖς θνητοῖσί τε κόσμον, οὗ πρῶτος βασίλευσε περικλυτὸς Ἠρικεπαῖος’ (fragment 108)
μεθ’ ὃν ἡ Νύξ
‘σκῆπτρον ἔχουσ’ ἐν χερσὶν <ἀριπρεπὲς> Ἠρικεπαίου’ (fragment 102)
μεθ' ἣν ὁ Οὐρανός
‘ὃς πρῶτος βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ μητέρα Νύκτά’ (fragment 111).
τὸ δὲ Χάος ὑπὲρ τὴν τοῦ βασιλεύοντός ἐστι σχέσιν· τὸν δὲ Δία οὐ πρῶτον ἀλλὰ πέμπτον βασιλέα σαφῶς ὀνομάζουσιν οἱ πρὸς αὐτὸν παρὰ τῆς Νυκτὸς δοθέντες χρησμοί·
‘ἀθανάτων βασιλῆα θεῶν πέμπτον σε γενέσθαί’,
ή πρωτίστη οὖν ἀρχὴ καὶ παρ’ αὐτοῖς ἓν καὶ τἀγαθόν, μεθ’ ἣν ἡ δυὰς ἡ κρείττων τοῦ βασιλεύειν, Αἰθὴρ μὲν καὶ Χάος * * * κατὰ τὸν Πυθαγόραν· εἶτα τὰ πρώτιστα καὶ κρύφια τῶν θεῶν γένη· ἐφ’ οἷς ὁ πρῶτος ἀναφανεὶς τῶν ὅλων πατὴρ καὶ βασιλεύς, ὃν διὰ τοῦτο Φάνητα προσεῖπον. οὔτ’ οὖν οἱ ἄριστοι τῶν φιλοσόφων ἀφίστανται τῶν θεολόγων οὔθ’ οἱ θεολόγοι τὰ δεύτερα δυνατώτερα καὶ ἀμείνω τῶν ἀρχηγικωτέρων φασὶν εἶναι, ἀλλὰ μία ἡ παρὰ πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς ἀλήθεια.
“It can be observed that this is not true about the theologians. For indeed, they say that Nyx and Ouranós (Οὐρανός) were ruling and before these their great father:
‘At that time seizing the world and having apportioned it to Gods and mortals, first reigned famous Îrikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος).’
“along with Nyx:
‘holding in her hands the famous (or “bright” ἀριπρεπὲς) sceptre of Îrikæpaios.’
“along with Ouranós:
‘first of the Gods to reign after mother Nyx.’
“But Kháos (Χάος) is earlier than (or “above” ὑπὲρ) the nature (σχέσιν) of he who reigns. The oracular responses of Nyx offered to Zefs clearly call him, not the first but the fifth king:
‘You were born to be the fifth king of the deathless Gods’
“where the very first principle is, certainly, by itself one and good; after that, the dyad, the mightier of those who rule, Aithír (Αἰθὴρ) indeed and Kháos * * * following Pythagóras (Πυθαγόρας). Next the very first and hidden races of Gods. As for these, the first who caused light of the universe is the father and king, through his having been called Phánîs (Φάνης). Certainly, neither the best of the philosophers distance themselves from the theologians, nor do the theologians say that the latter were stronger and better than the original ones, yet truth is one among all.
(trans. by the author)
σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος prooem. E (III 168, 15 Diehl):
τίνες οὖν αἱ Ὀρφικαὶ παραδόσεις, ἐπειδήπερ εἰς ταύτας ἀναφέρειν οἰόμεθα χρῆναι τὴν τοῦ Τιμαίου περὶ θεῶν διδασκαλίαν; θεῶν βασιλέας παραδέδωκεν Ὀρφεὺς κατὰ τὸν τέλειον ἀριθμὸν τῶν ὅλων προεστηκότας Φάνητα Νύκτα Οὐρανὸν Κρόνον Δία Διόνυσον· πρῶτος γὰρ ὁ Φάνης κατασκευάζει τὸ σκῆπτρον· καὶ πρῶτος βασίλευσε (βασιλεὺς codd.) περικλυτὸς Ἠρικεπαῖος (fr. 108)· δευτέρα δὲ ἡ Νύξ, δεξαμένη παρὰ τοῦ πατρός, τρίτος δὲ <ὁ add. Diehl> Οὐρανὸς παρὰ τῆς Νυκτός, καὶ τέταρτος ὁ Κρόνος, βιασάμενος, ὥς φασι, τὸν πατέρα, καὶ πέμπτος ὁ Ζεύς, κρατήσας τοῦ πατρός, καὶ μετὰ τοῦτον ἕκτος ὁ Διόνυσος. οὗτοι δὴ πάντες οἱ βασιλεῖς ἄνωθεν ἀπὸ τῶν νοητῶν καὶ νοερῶν ἀρξάμενοι θεῶν χωροῦσι διὰ τῶν μέσων τάξεων καὶ ἐς τὸν κόσμον, ἵνα καὶ τὰ τῆιδε κοσμήσωσι· Φάνης γὰρ οὐ μόνον ἐστὶν ἐν τοῖς νοητοῖς, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τοῖς νοεροῖς, ἐν |169 Diehl τῆι δημιουργικῆι τάξει καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὑπερκοσμίοις καὶ τοῖς ἐγκοσμίοις, καὶ Νὺξ καὶ Οὐρανὸς ὁμοίως· αἱ γὰρ ἰδιότητες αὐτῶν διὰ πάντων χωροῦσι τῶν μέσων. αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ μέγιστος Κρόνος οὐχὶ καὶ πρὸ τοῦ Διὸς τέτακται καὶ μετὰ τὴν Δΐιον βασιλείαν, μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων Τιτάνων τὴν Διονυσιακὴν μερίζων δημιουργίαν, καὶ ἄλλος μὲν ἐν τῶι οὐρανῶι, ἄλλος δὲ ἐν τοῖς ὑπὸ σελήνην, καὶ ἐν μὲν τῆι ἀπλανεῖ ἄλλος, ἐν δὲ ταῖς πλανωμέναις ἄλλος, καὶ Ζεὺς ὁμοίως καὶ Διόνυσος; ταῦτα μὲν οὖν καὶ διαρρήδην εἴρηται τοῖς παλαιοῖς.
“What then are the Orphic traditions, since we are of opinion that the doctrine of Timæus about the Gods should be referred to these? They are as follow: Orpheus delivered the kingdoms of the Gods who preside over wholes, according to a perfect number, viz. Phanes (Φάνης), Night (Νύξ), Heaven (Οὐρανός), Saturn (Κρόνος), Jupiter (Ζεύς), Bacchus (Διόνυσος). For Phanes is the first that bears a sceptre, and the first king is the celebrated Ericapæus (Ἠρικεπαῖος). But the second is Night, who receives the sceptre from her father [Phanes]. The third is Heaven, who receives it from Night. The fourth is Saturn, who, as they say offered violence to his father. The fifth is Jupiter, who subdued his father. And after him, the sixth is Bacchus. All these kings therefore, beginning supernally (ed. celestially) from the intelligible and intellectual Gods, proceed through the middle orders, and into the world, that they may adorn mundane affairs. For Phanes is not only in intelligibles, but also in intellectuals, in the demiurgic, and in the supermundane order; and in a similar manner, Heaven and Night. For the peculiarities of them proceed through all the middle orders. And with respect to the mighty Saturn, is he not arranged prior to Jupiter, and does he not after the Jovian kingdom, divide the Bacchic fabrication in conjunction with the other Titans? And this indeed, he effects in one way in the heavens, and in another in the sublunary region; in one way in the inerratic sphere, and in another among the planets. And in a similar manner Jupiter and Bacchus. These things are therefore clearly asserted by the ancients.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)
Compare σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c = I 314, 28 (I 474 Diehl):
πρῶτος βασιλεὺς ὁ Φάνης· ὁ γὰρ αἰὼν καὶ ἡ πρώτη τριὰς ὑπὲρ τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως εἰσὶ τάξιν. δεύτερος βασιλεὺς ἡ Νύξ, ἡ πρώτη τῶν νοητῶν ἅμα καὶ νοερῶν τριάδων τριάς. τρίτος βασιλεὺς ὁ Οὐρανός, ἡ δευτέρα τριὰς τῶν αὐτῶν, <τῶν> νοητῶν ἅμα καὶ νοερῶν τριάδων. τέταρτος ὁ Αἰθήρ, ἡ τρίτη τῶν αὐτῶν τριάς. πέμπτος ὁ Ζεύς.
“The first king is Phánîs (Φάνης): for time (“eternity” or “eon” αἰὼν) and the first triad are above the hierarchy of the king. The second king is Nyx, the first triad of the intelligible and simultaneously intellectual triads. The third king is Ouranós (Οὐρανός), the second triad of the same, of the intelligible and simultaneously the intellectual triads. The fourth is Aithír (Αἰθήρ), the third triad of the same. The fifth is Zefs (Ζεύς).
(trans. by the author)
and σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος 396 b. c p. 59, 11 Pasqu.:
καὶ ἔστιν ὁ μὲν πρῶτος Φάνης, ὁ δὲ δεύτερος, ὁ καὶ κινούμενος καὶ ἑστηκώς, Οὐρανός, ὁ δὲ μόνον κινούμενος Κρόνος. (cf. in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c [I 306, 10 Diehl]) τούτους οὖν τοὺς τρεῖς νόας καὶ δημιουργοὺς ὑποτίθεται (sc. Ἀμέλιος) καὶ τοὺς παρὰ Πλάτωνι (Tim. 40 e) τρεῖς βασιλέας καὶ τοὺς παρ’ Ὀρφεῖ τρεῖς, Φάνητα καὶ Οὐρανὸν καὶ Κρόνον, καὶ ὁ μάλιστα παρ’ αὐτῶι δημιουργὸς ὁ Φάνης ἐστίν.
“And the first is Phánîs (Φάνης), but the second, which is in motion and standing still, is Ouranós (Οὐρανός), and the one who is moving only is Krónos (Κρόνος) (compare in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c [I 306, 10 Diehl]). Therefore, these three intellects and Dîmiourgi are placed as a foundation (by Ἀμέλιος), and with Plátôn (Τίμαιος Πλάτωνος 40 e) the three kings, and with Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) the three --- Phánîs (Φάνης), Ouranós and Krónos --- and most of all with him that the Dîmiourgós is Phánîs.”
(trans. by the author)
σχόλιον Ὀλυμπιοδώρου επὶ Φαίδωνος Πλάτωνος 61 c p. 3, 9 Norv.:
ὥσπερ ὁ Ἐμπεδοκλῆς ἔλεγε τὸν νοητὸν καὶ τὸν αἰσθητὸν παρὰ μέρος γίνεσθαι κόσμους, οὐχ ὅτι ποτὲ μὲν οὗτος γίνεται, ποτὲ δὲ ὁ νοητός, ἀεὶ γὰρ εἰσίν, ἀλλ’ ὅτι ἡ ἡμετέρα ψυχὴ ποτὲ μὲν κατὰ νοητὸν ζῆι καὶ λέγεται τότε γίνεσθαι ὁ νοητὸς κόσμος, ποτὲ δὲ κατὰ αἰσθητὸν καὶ λέγεται ὁ αἰσθητὸς γίνεσθαι κόσμος, οὕτως καὶ παρὰ τῶι Ὀρφεῖ αἱ τέσσαρες βασιλεῖαι αὗται οὐ ποτὲ μὲν εἰσί, ποτὲ δὲ οὔ, ἀλλ’ ἀεὶ μὲν εἰσί, αἰνίττονται δὲ τοὺς διαφόρους βαθμοὺς τῶν ἀρετῶν, καθ’ ἃς ἡ ἡμετέρα ψυχὴ <ἐνεργεῖ> σύμβολα ἔχουσα πασῶν τῶν ἀρετῶν τῶν τε θεωρητικῶν καὶ καθαρτικῶν καὶ πολιτικῶν καὶ ἠθικῶν. ἢ γὰρ κατὰ τὰς θεωρητικὰς ἐνεργεῖ, ὡν παράδειγμα ἡ τοῦ Οὐρανοῦ βασιλεία, ἵνα ἄνωθεν ἀρξώμεθα· διὸ καὶ Οὐρανὸς εἴρηται παρὰ τὸ τὰ ἄνω ὁρᾶν. ἢ καθαρτικῶς ζῆι, ἧς παράδειγμα ἡ Κρονία βασιλεία, διὸ καὶ Κρόνος εἴρηται, οἷον κορόνους τις ὢν διὰ τὸ ἑαυτὸν ὁρᾶν· διὸ καὶ καταπίνειν τὰ οἰκεῖα γεννήματα λέγεται, ὡς αὐτὸς πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ἐπιστρέφων. ἢ κατὰ τὰς πολιτικάς, ὧν σύμβολον ἡ τοῦ Διὸς βασιλεία, διὸ καὶ δημιουργὸς ὁ Ζεύς, ὡς περὶ τὰ δεύτερα ἐνεργῶν. ἢ κατὰ τὰς ἠθικὰς καὶ φυσικὰς ἀρετάς, ὧν σύμβολον |4 Norv. ἡ τοῦ Διονύσου βασιλεία, διὸ καὶ σπαράττεται, διότι οὐκ ἀντακολουθοῦσιν ἀλλήλαις αἱ ἀρεταί, καὶ τὰς σάρκας μασῶνται οἱ Τιτᾶνες, τῆς μασήσεως δηλούσης τὸν πολὺν μερισμόν, διότι τὥν τῆιδε ἔφορός ἐστιν, ἔνθα ὁ πολὺς μερισμὸς διὰ τὸ ἐμὸν καὶ τὸ σόν, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν Τιτάνων σπαράττεται, τοῦ τὶ μερικὸν δηλοῦντος· σπαρἀττεται δὲ τὸ καθόλου εἶδος ἐν τῆι γενέσει· μονὰς δὲ Τιτάνων ὁ Διόνυσος. λέγεται δὲ σπαράττεσθαι ὑπὸ τῆς γενέσεως, τῶν αἰτίων ταύτης ἀκουόντων. . . . . . . κατ' ἐπιβουλὴν δὲ τῆς Ἥρας, διότι κινήσεως ἔφορος ἡ θεὸς καὶ προόδου v. etiam antea 2, 21 Norv.
“As it were, Æmpædoklís (Ἐμπεδοκλῆς) said that the intelligible and sensible become worlds by turns, not because (the sensible) appears only at one particular time, and at another time the intelligible ... in fact, they (both) always exist ...but rather, our soul at times abides in the intelligible, and it is said then, that the intelligible world comes about; at other times (our soul tends) toward the sensible, and then, they say, the sensible begins in the world. In this way, even from Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), the four reigns do not at some times exist, and then not so at other (times), but they are present always. Orphéfs speaks in riddles (mystically) of the different degrees of virtues, that our soul can take to action practicing all the virtues: contemplation, purifications, civic and ethical virtue. The soul may put into practice contemplation, (for which) the reign of Ouranós (Οὐρανός) serves as the paradigm, that is, if we begin from the highest point, on which account we call him Ouranós from ‘seeing things on high.’ Or the soul can live in purification, the paradigm being the Kronian reign, and thus we call him Krónos, because of being κορόνους through seeing himself. This is also why he is said to swallow his own children, because he turns toward himself. Or the soul can follow civic virtue, the mark of the reign of Zefs (Ζεύς), wherefore Zefs is the Dîmiourgós (Δημιουργὸς), thus concerning his operation on second natures. Or the soul can follow the ethical and physical virtues, the mark of the reign of Diónysos, wherefore, also, (this God) is torn asunder. Because these virtues do not presuppose one another, and the Titánæs (Τιτᾶνες) chew his flesh, the chewing represents great division, for the very reason that he (Diónysos) is the guardian of this world, whereupon great division continues throughout, from mine and yours, and the tearing from the Titánæs. The thing makes the parts manifest, but the form is torn completely in genesis; and Diónysos (is the) monad of the Titánæs. And it is said that he is torn apart by his genesis, as those responsible hear of this. ... And the plot (against Diónysos) comes from Íra (Ἥρα), for the reason that she is the patron Goddess of motion and procession.” verse even earlier than 2, 21 Norv.
(trans. by the author)
σχόλιον Ἑρμείου επὶ Φαίδρου Πλάτωνος 247 c p. 152, 15 Couvr.:
νοήσωμεν τοίνυν τέσσαρα ταῦτα· τὸ ἓν τὴν πρώτην ἀρχήν· τὸν Φάνητα ὅπερ ἐστὶ πέρας τῶν νοητῶν θεῶν, ἀρχὴ δὲ τῶν νοερῶν θεῶν ἐξηιρημένη --- ἁἱ γὰρ Νύκτες ἀρχαὶ αἷς ὡς συντεταγμένη ἡ ἀρχή ---· τὸν Δία ὃς τῶν ὑπερκοσμίων ἐστὶ βασιλεὺς, πέρας δὲ τῶν ἰδίως νοερῶν θεῶν· τὸν ἥλιον ὃς βασιλεύς ἐστι τοῦ αἰσθητοῦ . . . πάλιν ὁ Ζεὺς φῶς ἐλλάμπει τοῖς ὑπερκοσμίοις νοερόν· πάλιν ὁ Φάνης φῶς ἐπιλάμπει τοῖς νοεροῖς θεοῖς νοητόν· ἡ δὲ πάντων ἀρχὴ καὶ τοὺς νοητοὺς καὶ πάντα τοῦ ἀπ᾽ αὐτῆς θείου πληροῖ φωτός.
“We want to consider, accordingly, these four: the one and first principle; Phánis (Φάνης), who is the very limit of the intelligible Gods, and the principle set aside of the intelligible Gods --- in fact the Nights are principles wherein the principle is organized --- Zefs (Ζεύς), who is the king of the supramundane, and the limit of the appropriate intellectual Gods; the Sun, who is the king of the sensible ... again Zefs shines intelligible light to the supramundane; again Phánis shines intelligible light to the intellectual Gods. And the principle of all fills the intelligible (Gods) and all things with divine light from itself.”
(trans. by the author)
Lobeck I 576; Schoemann Opusc. academ. II 11 n. 14; Kern De Theogon. 46; Gruppe Suppl. 693; Susemihl Ind. XIX n. 137; Maaβ Orpheus 97 n. 124.
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.