ORPHIC FRAGMENT 140 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: This fragment discusses the three ages of humans, according to Orpheus.

140. σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Πολιτείας Πλάτωνος II 74, 26 Kr.:

ὁ μὲν θεολόγος Ὀρφεύς τρία γένη παραδέδωκεν ἀνθρώπων· πρώτιστον τὸ χρυσούν, ὅπερ ὑποστῆσαι τὸν Φάνητά φησιν· δεύτερον τὸ ἀργυροῦν, οὗ φησιν ἄρχαι τὸν μέγιστον Κρόνον· τρίτον τὸ Τιτανικόν, ὅ φησιν ἐκ τῶν Τιτανικών μελῶν τὸν Δία συστήσασθαι (cf. σχόλιον Ὀλυμπιοδώρου επὶ Φαίδωνος Πλάτωνος 68 c p. 48, 25 Norv.)· συννοήσας ὡς | 75 Kroll ἐν τρισὶν ὅροις τούτοις πᾶν εἶδος περιέχεται τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ζωῆς. ἢ γὰρ νοερόν ἐστιν καὶ θεῖον, αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἀκροτάτοις τῶν ὄντων ἐνιδρυμένον, ἢ πρὸς ἑαυτὸ ἐπέστραπται καὶ νοεῖ ἑαυτὸ καὶ ἀγαπᾶι τὴν τοιαύτην ζωήν, ἢ πρὸς τὰ χείρονα βλέπει καὶ μετ' ἐκείνων ἐθέλει ζῆν ἀλόγων ὄντων. τριττῆς οὖν οὔσης τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ζωῆς τὸ μὲν πρώτιστον ἀπὸ τοῦ Φάνητός ἐστιν, ὃς πᾶν τὸ νοοῦν συνάπτει τοῖς νοητοῖς, τὸ δὲ δεύτερον ἀπὸ τοῦ Κρόνου τοῦ πρώτου, φησὶν ὁ μῦθος, ἀγκυλομήτου (v. fr. 131) καὶ πάντα πρὸς ἑαυτὰ ποιοῦντος ἐπιστέφειν, τὸ δὲ τρίτον ἀπὸ Διὸς τοῦ τῶν δευτέρων προνοεῖν καὶ διακοσμεῖν τὰ χείρονα διδάσκοντος· τοῦτο γὰρ ἴδιον δημιουργίας.

“The theologian Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) taught that there are three generations of men: the very first a golden age, which, he says, Phánîs (Φάνης) was the very one to create; the second is silver, where he says that the sovereignty was with mighty Krónos (Κρόνος); the third is the Titanic age, he says, which Zefs (Ζεύς) composed from the limbs of the Titans; thus he understood that the entire form of human existence is encompassed within these three limits. For either it is intellectual and divine, having established these as the highest of beings, or turned round toward itself and perceives itself and embraces its own life, or it sees inferior things and is desiring to live among them without truth. Indeed, of the threefold (generations) of human life, the very first is from Phánîs (Φάνης), who binds together all thinking to the intelligibles; and the second (generation) is from Krónos, the first who, as the myth says, “of crooked counsel,” made everything encircle towards itself; and the third (generation) is from Zefs, who explains how to provide for the beings of the second kind, and how to manage the inferior, for this is his own (province) in the activity of creation [1].”

(trans. by the author)

NOTES:

[1] as the Δημιουργός.


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.

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