ORPHIC FRAGMENT 122 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: This group of fragments concerns the meaning of “hurling down to Tártaros” (Τáρταρος).

122. (205) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 25 c. d (I 188, 24 Diehl):

ὅτι δὲ καὶ ταῦτα θαυμαστὴν ἔνδειξιν ἔχει τῆς τοῦ παντὸς διακοσμήσεως, πιστούμεν ἀναμνήσαντες ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς τῶν παρὰ τῶι Ὀρφεῖ λεγομένων πρὸς τῶι πέρατι τῆς δημιουργίας καταταρταρώσεων· | 189 Diehl καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος τὴν τῶν Ὀλυμπίων θεῶν καὶ τὴν Τιτανικὴν παραδοὺς δημιουργικὴν ἀντίθεσιν (cf. in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 24 e p. 174, 12 Diehl) ἀποπερατοῖ τὴν ὅλην διακόσμησιν ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων τοῦ παντός, μεταδιδοὺς καὶ ἐκείνοις τῆς τῶν θεῶν ἀχράντου προνοίας. ταῦτ’ οὖν καὶ ὁ Πλάτων εἰδὼς ἐν εἰκόσι τὰ ὅλα παραδιδοὺς διατείνει καὶ κατάγει καὶ ὑπὸ τὸ ἀφανὲς τὰ διττὰ ταῦτα γένη καὶ διὰ τῆς ἀφανίσεως ταύτης μιμείται τὴν Ὀρφικὴν καταταρτάρωσιν.

“That these particulars however, have reference to the admirable and orderly distribution of the universe, we shall be convinced by recollecting what is said by Orpheus about the hurling into Tartarus, near the end of the fabrication of things. For he delivering the demiurgic opposition between the Olympian and Titanic Gods, terminates the whole orderly distribution in the extremities of the universe, and imparts to these also the undefiled providence of the Gods. Plato, therefore, knowing this, and delivering to us wholes in images, extends and leads into the invisible, these twofold genera, and through this disappearing, imitates the Orphic precipitation into Tartarus.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)


Cf. eundem in Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος I 93, 22 Kr.:

πάντως γάρ που (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου Ξ 203 et Β 781) τὸν πρὸς Δία πόλεμον ἐν τούτοις αἰνίσσεται τὸν Τιτανικὸν καὶ τὰς καλουμένας καταταρταρώσεις παρὰ τοῖς Ὀρφικοῖς.

For of all these things [1] he alludes to the war of Zefs (Ζεύς) and the Titans and what is called “hurling down to Tartaros” by the Orphics.” (trans. by the author)

[1] Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 14.203:

ὅτε τε Κρόνον εὐρύοπα Ζεὺς

γαίης νέρθε καθεῖσε καὶ ἀτρυγέτοιο θαλάσσης

“...when Zeus imprisoned great Cronus in the depths that are under earth and sea.”

(trans. Samuel Butler, 1898)

Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 2.781:

γαῖα δ᾽ ὑπεστενάχιζε Διὶ ὣς τερπικεραύνῳ

χωομένῳ ὅτε τ᾽ ἀμφὶ Τυφωέϊ γαῖαν ἱμάσσῃ

εἰν Ἀρίμοις, ὅθι φασὶ Τυφωέος ἔμμεναι εὐνάς

“...and the earth groaned beneath them when the lord of thunder is angry and lashes the land about Typhoeus among the Arimi, where they say Typhoeus lies.”

(trans. Samuel Butler, 1898)

Ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν εἰς τὸν Πλάτωνος Παρμενίδην Δαμασκίου 205 (II 88, 11 Rue.):

μετὰ τῆς πρεπούσης διακρίσεως, οἵαν καὶ Ὀρφεὺς παραδίδωσιν, τῶν τε νυχίων ἁπάντων γενῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν οὐρανῶι δεδεμένων Οὐρανιδῶν et 400 (II 254, 11. 25 Rue.).

Before this quotation, Damáskios considers that we might be so bold as to conceive of the procession of triads (as previously discussed in the book) as the Gods themselves have demonstrated in the case of the Teletarchs (Τελετάρχαι), or, alternately, to think of each triad as a world in itself...

“...along with a fitting determination, and such as Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) transmitted, and of all the nocturnal races and of the Ouranídai (Οὐρανίδαι) in the sky.” (trans. by the author)


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.

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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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