ORPHIC FRAGMENT 144 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: According to this quotation, Themis is at the creation of the universe from its inception and is the cause of the demiurgic laws. She remained a virgin until Rhea begot a child with Krónos, after which she produces the Horae with Zeus.

144. (105. 129) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 30 a (I 396, 29 Diehl):

ἡ Θέμις εἰκότως ἐν ἀρχαῖς παραλαμβάνεται τῆς δημιουργίας· αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ τῶν δημιουργικῶν θεσμῶν αἰτία, | 397 Diehl καὶ ἀπὸ ταύτης ἀδιαλύτως ἡ τάξις συνέστη τοῦ παντός. διὸ καὶ μένει μὲν παρθένος πρὸ τῆς τοῦ δημιουργοῦ προόδου κατὰ τοὺς χρησμοὺς τῆς Νυκτός·

ἔστ' ἂν ῾Ρείη παῖδα τέκηι Κρόνωι ἐν φιλότητι

συμπαράγει δὲ τῶι Διὶ τὴν τριάδα τῶν Ὡρῶν ( [1])·

ταῖς ἐπιτέτραπται μέγας οὐρανὸς Οὔλυμπός τε,

ἠμὲν ἀνακλῖναι πυκινὸν νέφος ἠδ᾽ ἐπιθεῖναι. (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 5.748 [2])

“Themis is very properly assumed in the beginning of the fabrication of the universe. For she is the cause of the demiurgic sacred laws, and from her the order of the universe is indissolubly connected. Hence also she remains a virgin, prior to the progression of the Demiurgus, according to the Oracles of Night.

‘Until Rhea begot a child to Kronos in affection.’ [3]

(trans. by the author, this sentence only)

“But she produces, in conjunction with Jupiter, the triad of the Seasons, to whom

“ ‘Olympus and great Heav’n are giv’n in charge,

And a dense cloud to open, or to close.’ ” (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 5.748 [2])

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)


Herm. p. 503 n. 1; Lobeck I 539; Holwerda 290.


Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 453·

Ῥείη δὲ δμηθεῖσα Κρόνῳ τέκε φαίδιμα τέκνα.

“But Rhea was subject in love to Cronos and bore splendid children.” (trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White,1914.)

NOTES:

[1] ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 43:

(Orphic Hymn) 43. Ὡρῶν, θυμίαμα, ἀρώματα.

Ὧραι, θυγατέρες Θέμιδος καὶ Ζηνὸς ἄνακτος,

Εὐνομίη τε Δίκη τε, καὶ Εἰρήνη πολύολβε,

εἰαριναί, λειμωνιάδες, πολυάνθεμοι, ἁγναί,

παντόχροοι, πολύοδμοι ἐν ἀνθεμοειδέσι πνοιαῖς,

Ὧραι ἀειθαλέες, περικυκλάδες, ἡδυπρόσωποι·

πέπλους ἑννύμεναι δροσεροὺς ἀνθέων πολυθρέπτων,

* * Περσεφόνης συμπαίκτορες, εὖτέ ἑ Μοῖραι

καὶ Χάριτες κυκλίοισι χοροῖς πρὸς φῶς ἀνάγωσιν.

Ζηνὶ χαριζόμεναι καὶ μητέρι καρποδοτείρῃ·

ἔλθετ’ ἐπ’ εὐφήμους τελετὰς ὁσίας νεομύστοις,

εὐκάρπους καιρῶν γενέσεις ἐπάγουσαι ἀμεμφῶς.

(Orphic Hymn) 43. Óhrai [Hôrae, The Seasons,Ὧραι]

The Fumigation from Aromatics.

Daughters of Jove and Themis, seasons bright,

Justice, and blessed Peace, and lawful Right,

Vernal and grassy, vivid, holy pow'rs,

Whose balmy breath exhales in lovely flow'rs

All-colour'd seasons, rich increase your care,

Circling, for ever flourishing and fair:

Invested with a veil of shining dew,

A flow'ry veil delightful to the view:

Attending Proserpine, when back from night,

The Fates and Graces lead her up to light;

When in a band-harmonious they advance,

And joyful round her, form the solemn dance:

With Ceres triumphing, and Jove divine;

Propitious come, and on our incense shine;

Give earth a blameless store of fruits to bear,

And make a novel Mystic's life your care.

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1792)

[2] Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 5.748:

Ἥρη δὲ μάστιγι θοῶς ἐπεμαίετ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἵππους:

αὐτόμαται δὲ πύλαι μύκον οὐρανοῦ ἃς ἔχον Ὧραι,

τῇς ἐπιτέτραπται μέγας οὐρανὸς Οὔλυμπός τε

ἠμὲν ἀνακλῖναι πυκινὸν νέφος ἠδ᾽ ἐπιθεῖναι.

“Hera lashed the horses on,

and the gates of heaven bellowed as they flew open of their own accord – gates over which the Hours preside,

in whose hands are Heaven and Olympus,

either to open the dense cloud that hides them, or to close it.”

(trans. Samuel Butler, 1898)

[3] This sentence is absent from Taylor.


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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