ORPHIC FRAGMENT 107 - OTTO KERN

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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 reign of the Six Kings.

107. (85) De deorum regnis hi loci extant: 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’ (fr. 108)

φησὶν ἡ ποίησις, μεθ’ ὃν Νὺξ

‘σκῆπτρον ἔχους’

ἐν χερσὶν ἀριπρεπὲς Ἠρικεπαίου (fr. 102) μεθ’ ἣν Οὑρανός,

‘ὃς πρώτος βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ μητέρα Νύκτα (fr. 111) ---,’

οὗτοι δὴ διὰ τὸ τοὺς ἄρχοντας μεταβάλλειν τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον ὕστερον ποιοῦσιν.

“Having said what the theologians expressly proclaim, that the good and best is the final (gradation) of the truths of nature, (such knowledge) bears resemblance to the (perceptions) concerning the good and best, thus the ancient poets say. But this is conveyed secretly in (the teaching of) Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), for (this 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 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 universe. 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),'

“as declared in a poem; with Nyx

‘bearing the scepter’

“in her hand of brilliant Irikæpaios; and then next Ouranós,

‘the first of the Gods to reign after Nyx,’

this through changing the position of the rulers, and making the good and the best last.”

(trans. by the author)

Alexandrum potissimum sequitur Syrian. in Aristot. Metaphys. N p. 1091 b 4 (182, 9 Kr.):

οὐδὲ ταῦτα <κατὰ add. Lob.> 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’ (fr. 108)

μεθ’ ὃν ἡ Νύξ

‘σκῆπτρον ἔχουσ’ ἐν χερσὶν <ἀριπρεπὲς> Ἠρικεπαίου’ (fr. 102)

μεθ' ἣν ὁ Οὐρανός

‘ὃς πρῶτος βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ μητέρα Νύκτά’ (fr. 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.

“But this is not quite the truth, and one asks about it from the theologians. For indeed, they say that Nyx and Ouranós were ruling and before these the great father himself:

‘At that time seizing the kózmos and having apportioned it to Gods and mortals, first reigned famous Îrikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος).’

“along with Nyx:

‘possessing in her hands the sceptre of Îrikæpaios.’

“along with Ouranós:

‘first of the Gods to reign after mother Nyx.’

“But Kháos (Χάος) reigned over nature. And Zefs, destined to be the fifth king, unerringly calling Nyx towards himself, who gave him oracles:

‘You were born to be the fifth king of the deathless Gods’

“where the very first beginning is, certainly, by itself one and good; after that, the second mightier ones rule...Aithír (Αἰθὴρ) indeed and Kháos * * * (thus) following (the teachings of) Pythagóras (Πυθαγόρας). And so also (there is) the very first, the hidden race of Gods. As for these, the first to bring the light of the universe is the father and king, through his being called Phánîs (Φάνης). Certainly, neither the best of the philosophers are far off from the theologians, nor are the theologians (wrong) when they discourse on the second mightier and better able of primary deities, yet truth is one alongside of the 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 προεστηκόταςΦάνητα 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 < 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 βασιλεῖςἄνωθεν 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 τῆιδημιουργικῆι 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 μετὰτὴν 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 Ζεὺςὁμοίως 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 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)

Cf. 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 τριὰςτῶν 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 this generation and the first triad above the king are thus arranged. The second king is Nyx, the first of the intelligible and simultaneously intellectual triad of the three. The third king is Ouranós (Οὐρανός), the second triad, of the intelligible and simultaneously the intellectual of the triads. The fourth is Aithír (Αἰθήρ), the third triad of them. The fifth is Zefs (Ζεύς). (trans. by the author)

et 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 νόαςκαὶ 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, even as it is in motion and standing still, is Ouranós (Οὐρανός), and the one which is moving only is Krónos (Κρόνος). Therefore, these intellectual triads and Dîmiourgi are assumed (by Ἀμέλιος) and from Plátôn (Τίμαιος Πλάτωνος 40 e) (to be the) triads of the kings and the triads from Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) --- Phánîs (Φάνης) and Ouranós and Krónos --- and most of all from (the knowledge) 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 τότεγίνεσθαι 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 τοὺςδιαφόρους 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 παράδειγμαἡ 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 καὶφυσικὰς 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 come into being by turns in the lawful order of the world, but (the sensible) does not appear only at one particular time, and at another time the intelligible, for they (both) always exist. Indeed, 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 (the teaching of) Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), the four kingdoms do not at some times exist, and then not so at other (times), but they are present always. Orphéfs speaks in riddles 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 make our beginning from the highest point, on which account we call him Ouranós from ‘seeing him high up.’ Or the soul can live in purification, the paradigm being the Kronian reign, and thus we call him Krónos, as though he is ‘boyish,’ but, in fact, it is through his ‘seeing himself’ (that we call him this). This is also why he is said to swallow the offspring of his house, so as to turn into 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 natural 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 tearing completely at its genesis. Diónysos (is the) monad of the Titánæs. And it is said that he is torn apart into the genesis. We hear of its causes. . . . . . . but the plot (against Diónysos) comes from Íra (Ἥρα), for the reason that she is the overseer of this action and the deity of his progress.”

(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 τῶνὑπερκοσμίων 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 θεοῖςνοητόν· ἡ δὲ πάντων ἀρχὴ καὶ τοὺς νοητοὺς καὶ πάντα τοῦ ἀπ᾽ αὐτῆς θείου πληροῖ φωτός.

“We want to consider, accordingly, these four: Phánis (Φάνης), the very one who is beyond the noetic Gods, but whose origin is not considered as one of the noetic Gods --- for the origins of the (three?) Nights thus having drawn up in order the beginning (of all) --- Zefs (Ζεύς), who is the king of the supermundane, but himself beyond that of noetic Gods; the Sun, who is the king of the sensible. Zefs, whose light shines back to the noetic by means of the supermundane; Phánis, whose light shines back to the noetic by means of the noetic Gods. But the origin of all the noetic (Gods?) and all that of the Gods is filled full of light.” (trans. by the author)


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