ORPHIC FRAGMENT 136 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: This fragment states the opinion of Orpheus concerning the role of Krónos.

136. (103) σχολιαστής επὶ Θεογονίας Ἡσιόδου 209 (Gaisford II 491):

(Τιτάνες) παρὰ τὸ τετάσθαι καὶ ἐξαπλωθῆναι. ἢ ὅτι - ὡς λέγει οὗτος (sc. Ἡσίοδος) ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τοῦ Ὀρφέως τοῦτο λαβὼν τοῦτο - ὅτι πάλιν τιμωρῆσαι μέλλει ὁ Κρόνος τοὺς θεούς, καὶ λαβεῖν τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ· ἤγουν πάλιν ἐπικρατῆσαι μέλλει τὸ σκότος ἐκεῖνο τὸ ἀρχαιότατον τοὺς ζωιδιακοὺς κύκλους, τοὺς ἔχοντας τοὺς ἀστέρας.

“(The Titans are named) from having stretched themselves (τετάσθαι) and unfolded (ἐξαπλωθῆναι). Wherefore, he (Ἡσίοδος) says this, having received it from the opinion of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), that Krónos, in turn, is destined to have avenged the Gods, and to have seized the kingdom (for) himself. That is to say, that darkness, from the beginning, is destined to have ruled at the origin by the zodiacal cycles, those (cycles now) possessing the stars.”

(trans. by the author)

Lobeck II 793


Ad τὸ σκότος ἐκεῖνο τὸ ἀρχαιότατον

“The darkness, there, is from the beginning.”

(trans. by the author)

cf. Plin Epist. VI 20 p. 162, 22 Kuk.:

multi ad deos manus tollere, plures nusquam iam deos ullos aeternamque illam et novissimam noctem mundo interpretabantur.

From a letter to the Emperor Tacitus describing a natural catastrophe: “Many were lifting up their hands to the Gods, but more were declaring that now there were no more Gods, and that this night would last for ever, and the end of all the world.” (trans. J. B. Firth, 1900)


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.

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).

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: HellenicGods.org 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

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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