RPHIC FRAGMENT 167

OTTO KERN

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


SUMMARY: These fragments say that Zeus swallowed Phanes, thereby using his power, and then all things that existed were drawn into his belly.

167. (120. 121) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος I 29a (I 324, 14 Diehl):

ταῦτα δὲ καὶ ὁ Ὀρφεύς ἐνδεικνύμενος καταπίνεσθαι τὸν νοητὸν θεὸν ἔφατο παρὰ τοῦ δημιουργοῦ τῶν ὅλων· καὶ ὁ μὲν Πλάτων βλέπειν εἰς τὸ παράδειγμα τὸν δημιουργὸν ὑπέθετο, τὴν νόησιν διὰ τῆς ὁράσεως ἐνδεικνύμενος, ὁ δὲ θεολόγος καὶ οἷον ἐπιπηδᾶν αὐτὸν τῶι νοητῶι καὶ καταπίνειν, ὡς ὁ μῦθος ἔφησεν· ἔστι γὰρ, εἰ χρὴ διαρρήδην τὰ τοῦ καθηγεμόνος λέγειν, ὁ παρὰ τῶι Ὀρφεῖ πρωτόγονος θεὸς κατὰ τὸ πέρας τῶν νοητῶν ἱδρυμένος παρὰ τῶι Πλάτωνι τὸ αὐτοζῶιον· διὸ καὶ αἰώνιόν ἐστι καὶ τῶν νοουμένων κάλλιστον, καὶ τοῦτ' ἐστιν ἐν νοητοῖς, ὅπερ ὁ Ζεὺς ἐν νοεροῖς· πέρας γὰρ ἑκάτερος τῶνδε τῶν τάξεων, καὶ ὃ μὲν τῶν παραδειγματικῶν αἰτίων τὸ πρώτιστον, ὃ δὲ, τῶν δημιουργικῶν τὸ μοναδικώτατον· διὸ καὶ ἑνοῦται πρὸς ἐκεῖνον ὁ Ζεὺς διὰ μέσης τῆς Νυκτὸς καὶ πληρωθεὶς ἐκεῖθεν, γίγνεται κόσμος νοητὸς ὡς ἐν νοεροῖς.

a ὣς τότε πρωτογόνειο χαδὼν μένος Ἠρικεπαίου

|325 Diehl τῶν πάντων δέμας εἶχεν ἑῆι ἐνὶ γαστέρι κοίληι,

μεῖξε δ' ἑοῖς μελέεσσι θεοῦ δύναμίν τε καὶ ἀλκήν,

τοὔνεκα σὺν τῶι πάντα Διὸς πάλιν ἐντὸς ἐτύχθη.

“Orpheus also indicating these things says, that the intelligible God [Phanes] was absorbed by the Demiurgus of wholes. And Plato asserts that the Demiurgus looks to the paradigm, indicating through sight intellectual perception. According to the theologist, however, the Demiurgus leaps as it were to the intelligible God, and as the fable says, absorbs him. For if it be requisite clearly to unfold the doctrine of our preceptor, the God who is called Protogonus by Orpheus, and who is established at the end of intelligibles, is animal itself, with Plato. Hence it is eternal, and the most beautiful of intelligibles, and is in intelligibles that which Jupiter (Ζεύς) is in intellectuals. Each however is the boundary of these orders. And the former indeed, is the first of paradigmatic causes; but the latter is the most monadic of demiurgic causes. Hence Jupiter is united to the paradigm through Night as the medium, and being filled from thence, becomes an intelligible world, as in intellectuals.

a ‘Then of Protogonus (Ἠρικεπαῖος) the mighty strength

|325 Diehl Was seen; for in his belly he contain’d

The whole of things, and mingled where ‘twas fit,

The force and powerful vigour of the God.

Hence, with the universe great Jove (Ζεύς) contains, &c’ ”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Alternate translation:

a “Thus then taking hold of the power of first-born Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος)

He carried the form of all things in the hollow of his own belly,

He mingled his own limbs with the power and strength of the God,

for that reason with him all things within Zefs were made new."

(trans. by the author)

Verse 4 v. also b verse 1, offering all those which follow (below, b) in the Orphic quotation.

Zoëga Abhdlg. 262; Herm. VIII vs. 3; Lobeck I 519; Rohde Psyche II6 114 n. 1; Holwerda 320; Kroll Philolog. LIII 1894, 561.


σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28c (I 312, 26 Diehl):

ὁ μὲν οὖν Πλάτων τοιοῦτον ὑποστησάμενος δημιουργὸν ἄρρητον αὐτὸν καὶ ἀκατονόμαστον εἴασεν, ὡς ἐν τἀγαθοῦ ποίραι (Φίληβος Πλάτωνος 54 c) προτεταγμένον | 313 Diehl τῶν ὅλων· ἔστι γὰρ ἐν πάσηι τάξει θεῶν τὸ ἀναλογοῦν τῶι ἑνί. τοιοῦτον γοῦν ἡ ἐν ἑκάστωι κόσμωι μονάς. ὁ δέ γε Ὀρφεύς καὶ ὄνομα αὐτῶι προσήνεγκεν, ἅτε ἐκεῖθεν κινούμενος, ὧι καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Πλάτων ἠκολούθησεν ἐν ἄλλοις· ὁ γοῦν παῥ αὐτῶι Ζεύς, ὁ πρὸ τῶν τριῶν Κρονιδῶν, οὗτός ἐστι τῶν ὅλων δημιουργός. μετὰ γοῦν τὴν κατάποσιν τοῦ Φάνητος αἱ ἰδέαι τῶν πάντων ἐν αὐτῶι πεφήνασιν, ὥς φησιν ὁ θεολόγος·

τοὔνεκα σὺν τῶι πάντα Διὸς πάλιν ἐντὸς ἐτύχθη,

(= a vs. 4)

b αἰθέρος εὐρείης ἠδ' οὐρανοῦ άγλαὸν ὕψος,

πόντου τ' ἀτρυγέτου γαίης τ' ἐρικυδέος ἕδρη,

Ὠκεανός τε μέγας καὶ νείατα Τάρταρα γαίης

καὶ ποταμοὶ καὶ πόντος ἀπείριτος ἄλλα τε πάντα

πάντες τ' ἀθάνατοι μάκαρες θεοί ἠδὲ θέαιναι,

ὅσσα τ' ἔην γεγαῶτα καὶ ὕστερον ὁππός' ἔμελλεν,

(v. fragment 169)

ἐνγένετο, Ζηνὸς δ' ἐνὶ γαστέρι σύρρα πεφύκει.

“Plato, therefore, admitting a Demiurgus of this kind, suffers him to be ineffable and without a name, as having an arrangement prior to wholes in the portion of The Good (Φίληβος Πλάτωνος 54 c). For in every order of the Gods, there is that which is analogous to The One. Such therefore is the monad in each world. But Orpheus gives a name to the Demiurgus, in consequence of being moved [i.e. inspired] from thence; whom Plato himself likewise elsewhere follows. For the Jupiter (Ζεύς) with him, who is prior to the three sons of Saturn, is the Demiurgus of wholes. After the absorption therefore of Phanes, the ideas of all things shone forth in him, as the theologist says:

‘Hence with the universe great Jove contains, (= a vs. 4)

b Extended æther, heav’n’s exalted plains;

The barren restless deep, and earth renown’d,

Ocean immense, and Tartarus profound;

Fountains and rivers, and the boundless main,

With all that nature’s ample realms contain;

And Gods and Goddesses of each degree;

All that is past, and all that e’er shall be,

Occultly, and in fair connection lies, (v. fragment 169)

In Jove’s (Ζεύς’) wide belly, ruler of the skies.’ ”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Alternate translation:

b ‘The luminous summit of immense aithír and heaven,

The seat of the barren sea and illustrious earth,

Great Ocean and deep Tártaros (Τάρταρος) beneath the earth,

And rivers and the limitless sea and all other,

All the deathless happy Gods and Goddesses,

All that existed and all that will come to be, (v. fragment 169)

All come about and bestrewn in the belly of Zefs (Ζεὺς).’ ”

(trans. by the author)


Compare to I 314, 22 ss. Diehl and in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Παρμενίδου Πλάτωνος

130 b p. 799, 27 Cous.:

ὁ μὲν γὰρ Ὀρφεύς μετὰ τὴν κατάποσιν τοῦ Φάνητος ἐν τῶι Διὶ τὰ πάντα γεγονέναι φησίν, ἐπειδὴ πρώ- | 800 Cous τως μὲν καὶ ἡνωμένως ἐν ἐκείνῶι, δευτέρως δὲ καὶ διακεκριμένως ἐν τῶι δημιουργῶι τὰ πάντων ἀνεφάνη τῶν ἐγκοσμίων αἴτια· ἐκεἶ γὰρ ὁ ἥλιος καὶ ἡ σελήνη καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς αὐτὸς καὶ τὰ στοιχεῖα καὶ ὁ Ἔρως ὁ ἑνοποιὸς καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς ἓν γεγονότα Ζηνὸς δ' ἐνὶ γαστἐρι σύρρα* πεφύκει

“In fact, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) says that after the swallowing of Phánîs (Φάνης), all things were born (new) in Zefs (Ζεύς), inasmuch as first and in unity, the causes of all of the mundane things were brought to light in him, and second and separately in the Dîmiourgós (Δημιουργός); for there the sun, the moon, the sky itself, the elements, unifying Ǽrôs (Ἔρως), and all things he had produced, simply become one in the belly of Zefs.”

(trans. by the author)

*translator’s note: The word σύρρα (an inflection of ῥαίνω), “I will sprinkle,” makes no sense in this sentence; it has been translated “to be scattered,” but the word is in the first person. I have chosen not to translate it, assuming that some scribe copied the word incorrectly.

And in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c (I 308, 2 Diehl), where the same verse is quoted.

See also σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 34 a (II 93, 18 Diehl):

αἱ γὰρ παρὰ τοῖς θεολόγοις καταπόσεις περιοχαί τινές εἰσιξ, ἀλλ’ αἱ μὲν προγονικαὶ τὰ νοητὰ περιλαμβάνουσι νοερῶς, αἱ δὲ τῶν παίδων τὰ νοερὰ νοητῶς,

For the absorptions which are celebrated by theologists, are certain comprehensions. But the absorptions by grandfathers comprehend intellectuals intelligibly, and those by sons, intelligibles intellectually.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

σχόλιον Ἑρμείου επὶ Φαίδρου Πλάτωνος 247 c p. 148, 10 Couvr.:

πρὸς δὴ τοῦτο εἴρηται, ὅτι δεῖ ἄχρι τινὸς εἶναι τὴν συναφήν. διὰ τί δὲ ἄχρι τούτου; ὅτι δὴ οὐδὲ οἱ ὑπὸ τὸν Δία θεοὶ λέγονται ἑνοῦσθαι τῶι Φάνητι, ἀλλὰ µόνος ὁ Ζεύς καὶ αὐτὸς διὰ µέσης τῆς Νυκτός. Vs. 6 v. also fragment 169 p. 208.

“In addition to this it is said, that up to some point there is union. But why up to this point? Because that not even the Gods under Zefs (Ζεύς) are said to unite with Phánîs (Φάνης), but only Zefs, and him in the middle of Night.”

(trans. by the author)

Herm. VI vs. 2-8; Lobeck I 520 n. III; Holwerda 320.


Ad verse 5 compare Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 109:

ποταμοὶ καὶ πόντος ἀπείριτος (compare Ὀδύσσεια Ὁμήρου 10.195)

“the rivers and the boundless sea”

and Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 878:

κατὰ γαῖαν ἀπείριτον

“on the boundless earth.”


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