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

SUMMARY: This fragment includes as the main quotation, the great Orphic hymn to Zeus, wherein it is stated that he is the mind of the world, and created everything therein, and contains the world within himself. Additionally, there are many other related quotations.

168. (123. 43) Περὶ ἀγαλμάτων Πορφυρίου as found in Εὑαγγελικὴ προπαρασκευὴ Εὐσεβίου en. III 9, p. 100a – 105d (I 121, 12 Dind.) Orphic verses also found in Ἐκλογαὶ φυσικαὶ καὶ ἠθικαί Ἰωάννου Στοβαῖου I 23 (I 29, 10 Wachsm.). Vs. 17-20 also in Εὑαγγελικὴ προπαρασκευὴ Εὐσεβίου 1. 1. III 11 (I 130, 28 Dind.); the endo of verse 20. Also in I 129, 29 Dind.; vs. 31, 32 l.l. XIII 13 (II 216, 1 Dind.) verse also fragment 169:

ὅρα δὲ τὴν τῶν Ἑλλήνων σοφίαν οὑτωσὶ διασκοπούμενος. τὸν γὰρ Δία τὸν νοῦν τοῦ κόσμου ὑπολαμβάνοντες, ὃς τὰ ἐν αὐτῶι ἐδημιούργησεν ἔχων τὸν κόσμον, ἐν μὲν ταῖς θεολογίαις ταύτηι περὶ αὐτοῦ παραδεδώκασιν οἱ τὰ Ὀρφέως εἰπόντες·

Ζεὺς πρῶτος γένετο, Ζεὺς ὕστατος ἀργιϰέραυνος·

Ζεὺς ϰεφαλή, Ζεὺς μέσσα· Διὸς δ’ ἐϰ πάντα τέτυϰται.

Ζεὺς ἄρσην γένετο, Ζεὺς ἄμβροτος ἔπλετο νύμφη·

Ζεὺς πυθμὴν γαίης τε ϰαὶ οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος·

Ζεὺς βασιλεύς, Ζεὺς αὐτὸς ἁπάντων ἀρχιγένεθλος· 5

ἓν ϰράτος, εἷς δαίμων γένετο, μέγας ἀρχὸς ἁπάμτων,

ἓν δὲ δέμας βασίλειον, ἐν ὧι τάδε πάντα ϰυϰλεῖται,

πῦρ ϰαὶ ὕδωρ ϰαὶ γαῖα ϰαὶ αἰθήρ, νύξ τε ϰαὶ ἦμαρ,

ϰαὶ Μῆτις, πρῶτος γενέτωρ ϰαὶ Ἔρως πολυτερπής·

πάντα γὰρ ἐν ζηνὸς μεγάλωι τάδε σώματι ϰεῖται· 10

τοῦ δή τοι ϰεφαλὴ μὲν ἰδεῖν ϰαὶ ϰαλὰ πρόσωπα

οὐρανὸς αἰγλήεις, ὃν χρύσεαι ἀμφὶς ἔθειραι

ἄστρων μαρμαρέων περιϰαλλέες ἠερέθονται,

ταύρεα δ' ἀμφοτέρωθε δύο χρύσεια ϰέρατα,

ἀντολίη τε δύσις τε, θεῶν ὁδοὶ οὐρανιώνων, 15

ὄμματα δ' ἠέλιός τε ϰαὶ ἀντιόωσα σελήνη·

νοῦς δέ ἀψευδὴς βασιλήϊος ἄφθιτος αἰθήρ,

ὧι δή πάντα ϰλύει ϰαὶ φράζεται· οὐδέ τίς ἐστιν

αὐδὴ οὔδ' ἐνοπὴ οὐδὲ ϰτύπος οὐδὲ μὲν ὄσσα,

ἣ λήθει Διὸς οὖας ὑπερμενέος Κρονίωνος. 20

ὧδε μὲν ἀθανάτην ϰεφαλὴν ἔχει ἠδὲ νόημα·

σῶμα δέ οἱ περιφεγγές, ἀπείριτον, ἀστυφέλιϰτον,

ἄτρομον, ὀβριμόγυιον, ὑπερμενές ὧδε τέτυϰται·

ὦμοι μὲν καὶ στέρνα ϰαὶ εὐρέα νῶτα θεοῖο

ἀὴρ εὐρυβίης, πτέρυγες δέ οἱ ἐξεφύοντο, 25

τῆις ἐπὶ πάντα ποτᾶθ', ἱερὴ δέ οἱ ἔπλετο νηδύς

γαῖά τε παμμήτωρ ὀρέων τ' αἰπεινὰ ϰάρηνα·

μέσση δὲ ζώνη βαρυηχέος οἶδμα θαλάσσης

ϰαὶ πόντου· πυμάτη δὲ βάσις, χθονὸς ἔνδοθι ῥίζαι,

Τάρταρά τ' εὐρώεντα ϰαὶ ἔσχατα πείρατα γαίης. 30

πάντα δ' ἀποϰρύψας αὖθις φάος ἐς πολυγηθὲς

μέλλεν ἀπό ϰραδίης προφέρειν πάλι, θέσϰελα ῥέζων.

“Now look at the wisdom of the Greeks, and examine it as follows. The authors of the Orphic hymns supposed Zeus to be the mind of the world, and that he created all things therein, containing the world in himself. Therefore in their theological systems they have handed down their opinions concerning him thus:

“ ‘Zeus was the first, Zeus last, the lightning's lord,

Zeus head, Zeus centre, all things are from Zeus.

Zeus born a male, Zeus virgin undefiled;

Zeus the firm base of earth and starry heaven;

Zeus sovereign, Zeus alone first cause of all:

One power divine, great ruler of the world,

One kingly form, encircling all things here,

Fire, water, earth, and ether, night and day;

Wisdom, first parent, and delightful Love:

For in Zeus' mighty body these all lie.

His head and beauteous face the radiant heaven

Reveals and round him float in shining waves

The golden tresses of the twinkling stars.

On either side bulls' horns of gold are seen,

Sunrise and sunset, footpaths of the gods.

His eyes the Sun, the Moon's responsive light;

His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth,

Hears and considers all; nor any speech,

Nor cry, nor noise, nor ominous voice escapes

The ear of Zeus, great Kronos' mightier son:

Such his immortal head, and such his thought.

His radiant body, boundless, undisturbed

In strength of mighty limbs was formed thus:

The god's broad-spreading shoulders, breast and back

Air's wide expanse displays; on either side

Grow wings, wherewith throughout all space he flies.

Earth the all-mother, with her lofty hills,

His sacred belly forms; the swelling flood

Of hoarse resounding Ocean girds his waist.

His feet the deeply rooted ground upholds,

And dismal Tartarus, and earth's utmost bounds.

All things he hides, then from his heart again

In godlike action brings to gladsome light.’ ”

(translated by Edwin Hamilton Gifford, 1903)

Another translation:

The Great Orphic Hymn to Zefs

(trans. by the author with help from Theodore B.)

Zefs is the first and the last, the lord of lightning. 1

Zefs is the head and center, for all things are from Zefs.

Zefs is born male; immortal Zefs comes forth a nýmphi (νύμφη/female).

Zefs is the foundation of earth and starry heaven.

Zefs is sovereign of all for he is the first cause of all things. 5

In one divine power, emerging one divinity, the commander of the world.

One regal body in which everything revolves:

Fire and Water and Earth and Aithír, and both Night and Day,

and Mítis (Μήτις), the first-begotten one and lovely Ǽrohs (Ἔρως).

For these are all in the mighty body of Zefs. 10

Behold his head and handsome countenance,

the radiant sky. Around his golden hair

are the gleaming stars twinkling beautifully.

And there are great golden bull’s horns on either side of his head,

the rising and setting (sun), the heavenly pathway of the Gods. 15

His eyes are Ílios (Helios), reflected in the Moon.

His mind is kingly truth itself, the immortal Aithír,

hearing and considering all: nothing which is,

no word nor cry nor noise nor voice,

escapes the ear of the mightiest son of Krónos. 20

Thus indeed his immortal head and mind,

now then his radiant body, boundless, undisturbed.

His fearless, strong limbs, exceedingly mighty are formed thus:

the shoulders and chest and broad back of the God,

formed of the air all surrounding. He generates wings 25

whereupon he flies everywhere. His divine belly is

Earth, the mother of all, with her imposing hills and mountain peaks.

The belt about his middle is a wave of the deep-voiced sea

and ocean! His feet, the foundation of earth,

are dank Tártaros and earth's furthermost limit! 30

Hiding all things yet causing them to newly emerge into delightful light,

he brings them forth again from his heart, acting in divine wonderment!.

Verses 1-8, with the omission of verse 3, in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c (I 313, 17 Diehl) in which he cites after the material found in fragment167 b:

τῶν δὲ ἰδεῶν πλήρης ὢν διὰ τούτων ἐν ἑαυτῶι τὰ ὅλα περιείληφεν, ὡς καὶ τοῦτο ἐνδεικνύμενος ὁ θεολόγος ἐπήγαγε· Ζεὺς --- ἦμαρ. τὰ τοίνυν ὅλα περιέχων ὁ Ζεὺς καὶ πάντα μοναδικῶς καὶ | 314 Diehl νοερῶς κατὰ τούτους τοὺς χρησμοὺς τῦς Νυκτὸς (fragment 164) ὑφίστησι πάντα τὰ ἐγκόσμια, θεούς τε καὶ τὰς μοίρας τοῦ παντός.

“Jupiter (Ζεὺς) however, being full of ideas, through these comprehends in himself wholes: which the theologist also indicating adds....Jupiter therefore, comprehending in himself wholes, produces in conjunction with Night (fragment 164) all things monadically and intellectually, according to her oracles, and likewise all mundane natures, Gods, and the parts of the universe.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

This is followed by the material in fragment 165.

Verse 6 in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 31 a (I 451, 15 Diehl) and 34 b (II 112, 12 Diehl).

The same idea he conveys in verse 9 in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 24 d(I 169, 17 Diehl):

ἦν γὰρ ὁ δημιουργὸς καὶ Μῆτις πρῶτος γενέτωρ καὶ Ἔρως πολυτερπής, καὶ ὡς μὲν Μῆτις τίκτει τὴν Ἀθηνᾶν, ὡς δὲ Ἔρως ἀπογεννᾶι τὴν ἐρωτικὴν σειράν,

“For the Demiurgus is ‘Metis the first generator and much-pleasing Love.’ And as Metis, indeed, he brings forth Minerva (Ἀθηνᾶ); but as Love (Ἔρως), he generates the amatory series.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Again, the same idea in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 32 c (II 54, 24 Diehl):

ἔχει δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς (sc. ὁ δημιουργὸς) ἐν ἑαυτῶι τὴν τοῦ Ἔρωτος αἰτίαν· ἔστι γὰρ καὶ Μῆτις . . . πολντερπης. εἰκότως ἄρα φιλίας ἐστὶν αἴτιος τοῖς δημιουργήμασι καὶ ὁμολογίας. καὶ ἴσως πρὸς τούτο ἀποβλέπων καὶ ὁ Φερεκύδης

“The Demiurgus however, likewise possesses in himself the cause of Love (Ἔρως). For he is ‘Metis the first generator, and much-pleasing Love.’ Hence he is very properly the cause of friendship and concord to his fabrications. And perhaps looking to this Pherecydes said, that Jupiter (Ζεὺς) when he was about to fabricate, was changed into Love.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

(Diels II 203, 8 fr. 3):

ἔλεγεν εἰς Ἔρωτα μεταβεβλῆσθαι τὸν Δία μέλλοντα δημιουργεῖν

“He (Ὀρφεύς?) was saying that he (Ζεὺς) changed into Ǽrôs (Ἔρως) when destined for generation”

(trans. by the author)

(v. also fragment 170), in Alcibiad. I 103 a p. 376, 19 Cous. (compare Lobeck I 529).

Vs. 10 in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c (I 307, 30 Diehl):

πάντα γὰρ ἐν Ζηνὸς μεγάλου τάδε σώματι κεῖται

“For all lies in the body of great Zefs (Ζεὺς)”

The beginning of verse 11 τοῦ δή τοι κεφαλὴ μέν, “his head,” and the beginning of verse 12 οὐρανὸς αἰγλήεις “the radiant sky,” and verse 16, all are quoted in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 24 c (I 161, 24 Diehl).

Verses 17 νοῦς --- vs. 20 οὖας: The following words immediately preface these verses from the hymn (17-20) in parenthesis below σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 33 c (II 82, 13 Diehl):

οὐδὲ τῶν παρ’ Ἐλλησιν οὖν σοφών ἀγνοούντων τὰς θείας αισθήσεις οὐδὲ ἐπ' αυτοῦ τοῦ δημιουργοῦ παραιτουμένων λέγειν,

“Nor were the wise men among the Greeks ignorant that there are divine senses, nor did they refuse to assert of the Demiurgus himself,

(17 ‘The undecaying royal ether forms

His intellect from falsehood free; by which

He all things indicates and knows; nor voice,

20 Nor sound, nor rumor can Jove’s ears elude.’ ”)

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Verses 22-25 up to εὐρυβίης, omitting verse 23 in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 32 b (II 45, 7 Diehl).

Verses 28 μέσση --- 29 ῥίζαι with the omission of the words “καὶ πόντου” in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 32 b (II 45, 10 Diehl).

Verses 29 πυμάτη --- 30 γαίης in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 36 b (II 231, 27 Diehl).

Verses 31. 32 almost the same in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c (I 325, 9 Diehl).

And in the preface (prooemium) to book B (I 207, 20 Diehl):

ἀπὸ κραδίης προφέρεινπάλι θέσκελα ἔργα

“He from his [sacred] heart may godlike works again produce.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

Look at this hymn from the Ἱερῶν λόγων (ed. since this is not a hymn, perhaps a commentary on the hymn) in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 28 c (I 310, 7 Diehl):

ἔστι τοίνυν ὁ δημιουργὸς ὁ εἷς κατ' αὐτὸν ὁ τὸ πέρας τῶν νοερῶν θεῶν ἀφορίζων θεὸς καὶ πληρούμενος μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν νοητῶν μονάδων καὶ τῶν τῆς ζωῆς πηγῶν, προϊέμενος δὲ ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ τὴν ὅλην δημιουργίαν καὶ προστησάμενος μερικωτέρους τῶν όλων πατέρας, αὐτὸς δὲ ἀκίνητος ἐν τῦι κορυφῆι τοῦ Ὀλύμπου διαιωνίως ἱδρυμένος καὶ διττῶν κόσμων βασιλεύων ὑπερουρανίων τε (τε Kroll; δὲ codd.) καὶ οὐρανίων, ἀρχὴν δὲ καὶ μέσα και τέλη τών ὅλων περιέχων,

“The one Demiurgus, therefore, according to him (Συριανός), subsists at the extremity of the intellectual divine monads, and the fountains of life. But he emits from himself the total fabrication, and presides over the more partial father of wholes. Being, however, himself immoveable, he is eternally established on the summit of Olympus, and rules over the twofold worlds, the supercelestial and the celestial, comprehending also the beginning, middles and ends of wholes.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

And at σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος I 317, 17.

And σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος I 318, 20 Diehl:

εἰ δὲ ταῦτα ὁμοφώνος λέγεται τῶι τε Τιμαίωι καὶ τοῖς λογίοις, πηγαῖός ἐστιν οὗτος δημιουργός, φαῖεν ἂν οἱ ἐκ τῆς θεοπαραδότου θεολογίας ὁρμώμενοι, κατὰ τὰς ἰδέας καὶ αὐτὸς δημιουργῶν τὸν ὅλον κόσμον καὶ ὡς ἕνα καὶ ὡς πολὺ (ὡς πολὺν fort. recte Kroll) καὶ ὡς καθ' ὅλα διηιρημένον καὶ ὡς κατὰ μέρη, καὶ εἷς ὑπό τε Πλάτωνος καὶ Ὀρφέως καὶ τῶν λογίων ποιητὴς καὶ πατὴρ ὑμνεῖται τοῦ παντός, πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, γεννῶν μὲν τὰ πλήθη τῶν θεῶν, ψυχὰς δὲ πέμπων εἰς γενέσεις ἀνδρῶν, ὡς καὶ τοῦτό φησιν | 319 Diehl ὁ Τίμαιος.

“If however these things are asserted conformably both to Timæus and the Oracles, those who are incited by the divinely delivered theology [of the Chaldeans] will say that this Demiurgus is fontal; that he fabricates the whole world conformably to ideas, considered as one, and as many, and as divided both into wholes and parts, and that he is celebrated as the maker and father of the universe, and as the father of Gods and men by Plato, Orpheus, and the Oracles; generating indeed, the multitude of Gods, but sending souls to the generations of men, as Timæus himself also says.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

The same in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Παρμενίδου Πλάτωνος 130 b p. 799, 27 Cous.:

ὁ μὲν γὰρ Ὀρφεύς μετὰ τὴν κατάποσιν τοῦ Φάνητος ἐν τῶι Διὶ τα πάντα γεγονέναι φησίν· ἐπειδὴ πρώ- |800 Cous. τως μὲν καὶ ἡνωμένως ἐν ἐκείνωι, δευτέρως δὲ καὶ διακεκριμένως ἐν τῶι δημιουργῶι τὰ πάντων ἀνεφάνη τῶν ἐγκοσμίων αἴτια· εκεῖ γὰρ ὁ ἥλιος, καὶ ἡ σελήνη καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς αὐτός καὶ τὰ στοιχεῖα καὶ ὁ Ἔρως ὁ ἑνοποιὸς καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς ἓν γεγονότα, Ζηνὸς δ’ ἐνὶ γαστέρι σύρρα πεφύκει (fragment 167 b vs. 7)· καὶ οὐκ ἠρκέσθη τούτοις μόνον, ἀλλα’ καὶ τὴν τάξιν τῶν εἰδῶν τῶν δημιουργικῶν παραδίδωσι, δι’ ἣν καὶ τὰ αἰσθητὰ τοιαύτην ἔλαχε τάξιν καὶ διακόσμησιν

“For, in fact, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) says that all things came about after the swallowing of Phánîs (Φάνης) into Zefs (Ζεύς); since first also in unity into him, and then second separately the causes of all mundane things were made known; in fact, there the sun, the moon, the sky itself, the elements, unifying Ǽrôs, and (Ἔρως) all things becoming simply one, put forth into the belly of Zefs (fragment 167 b vs. 7); and he is not satisfied only with this, but also delivers the arrangement of the dîmiourgic forms, through which also the perceptible things such as this obtained an arrangement and regulation.”

(trans. by the author)

And Περὶ τῆς κατὰ Πλάτωνα θεολογίας Πρόκλου VI 8 p. 363, 23 citato vs. 1:

καὶ μοι δοκεῖ καὶ ὁ Πλάτων εἰς ἅπασαν τὴν Ἑλληνκὴν θεολογίαν ἀποβλέπων καὶ διαφερόντως <εἰς> τὴν Ὀρφικὴν μυσταγωγίαν, ἀνειπεῖν, ὡς ἄρα ὁ παλαιὸς λόγος (τὸν θεόν φησιν ἀρχὴν καὶ μέσα καὶ τελευτὴν τῶν ὄντων ἁπάντων ἔχειν, εὐθείᾳ τὰ ὅλα περαίνοντα, κατὰ φύσιν περιπορευόμενον, καὶ Δίκην ἔχειν ὀπαδόν, δίἧς καὶ τὸ ἀφιστάμενον πᾶν τῆς πατρονομικῆς ἐπιστασίας τοῦ Διὸς ἐπιστρέφει πρὸς αὐτὴν καὶ τυγχάνει τοῦ προσήκοντος αὐτῷ τέλους.) (compare fragment 21)

“And it appears to me that Plato looking to all the Grecian theology, and particularly to the Orphic-mystic discipline says, that God, according to the ancient assertion, (possesses the beginning, middle, and end of all things, bounding the whole of things in a direct path, and proceeding circularly according to nature, and that he has Justice for his attendant, through which every thing that departs from the providential empire of Jupiter (Ζεύς) is converted to it, and obtains an appropriate end.”) (compare fragment 21)

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816)

The same in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 41 a (III 209, 3 Diehl):

ποιητὴς δὲ καὶ πατὴρ ὁ Ζεύς, ὃς καὶ νῦν λέγεται δημιουργὸς ὑφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ πατήρ τε ἔργων, φαῖεν ἂν οἱ Ὀρφικοί. ποιητὴς δὲ μόνως ὁ τῆς μεριστῆς ἐστι δημιουργίας αἴτιος, ὡς ἂν οἱ αὐτοὶ φαῖεν. τῶι μὲν οὖν πατρὶ μόνως ὑπόκειται τὰ νοητὰ πάντα, <τὰ νοερὰ πάντα om. QD>, τὰ ὑπερκόσμια, τὰ ἐγκόσμια· τῶι δὲ πατρὶ καὶ ποιητῆι τὰ νοερὰ πάντα, τὰ ὑπερκόσμια, τὰ ἐγκόσμια· τῶι δὲ ποιητῆι καὶ πατρὶ νοερῶι ὄντι τὰ ὑπερκόσμια, τὰ ἐγκόσμια· τῶι δὲ ποιητῆι μόνως τὰ ἐγκόσμια. καὶ ταῦτα πάντα ἡμᾶς ἡ Ὀρφέως ἐδίδαξεν ὑφήγησις· καθ᾽ ἑκάστην γὰρ ἰδιότητα τῶν τεττάρων πλῆθος όποτέτακται θεών. τίνα δὲ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ δημιουργοῦ καὶ πατρός; ἦ δῆλον ὅτι τά τε σώματα πάντα καὶ ἡ τῶν ζώιων σύστασις καὶ ὁ τῶν ψυχῶν τῶν μεθεκτῶν ἀριθμός. ταῦτα οὖν πάντα ἄλυτά ἐστι διὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός· τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ αὐτοῖς ἐνδέδωκε δύναμιν τῆς ἀτρέπτου διαμονῆς, συνεκτικὸν αὐτῶν καὶ φρουρητικὸν ὑπάρχον ἐξηιρημένως. οἱ δὲ νόες οἱ ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἄνωθεν ἐπιβεβηκότες οὐκ ἂν λέγοιντο ἔργα τοῦ πατρός· οὐδὲ γὰρ γένεσιν ἔσχον, ἀλλ᾽ ἀγενήτως ἐξεφάνησαν, οἷον ἐντὸς ἀδύτων τεχθέντες καὶ οὐ προελθόντες ἐξ αὐτὥν· ἐκείνων γὰρ οὐδὲ παραδείρματά ἐστιν, αλλά των μέσων τε καὶ τῶν τελευταίων· ψυχὴ γὰρ πρώτη τών εἰκόνων, τὰ δὲ ὅλα, οίον τὰ ζῶια καὶ έμψυχα χαὶ ἔννοα χαὶ γενητὰ καὶ <ἀγένητα add. Kroll> ἐκ τῶν νοητῶν ὑπέστη παραδειγμάτων, ὧν καὶ τὸ αὐτοζῶιον ἦν περιληπτικόν.

“But maker and father is Jupiter (Ζεύς), who is now called by himself the Demiurgus, but whom the Orphic writers would call the father of works. And maker alone, is the cause of partible fabrication, as the same writers would say. To father alone therefore, all intelligible, intellectual, supermundane, and mundane natures are in subjection. To father and maker, all intellectual, supermundane, and mundane natures are subordinate. To maker and father who is an intellectual deity, supermundane and mundane natures are subservient. But to maker alone, mundane natures alone are in subjection. And all these particulars we learn from the narration of Orpheus; for according to each peculiarity of the four there is a subject multitude of Gods. But what are the works of the Demiurgus and father? Is it not evident, that they are all bodies, the composition of animals, and the number of participated souls. All these therefore, are indissoluble, through the will of the father. For this imparts to them the power of immutable permanency, and connects and guards them with exempt transcendency. The intellects however, which supernally ascend into souls, cannot be said to be the works of the father. For they had not a generation, but were unfolded into light in an unbegotten manner; being as it were fashioned within, and not proceeding out of the adyta (ἄδυτον, the innermost sanctuary of a temple). For neither are there paradigms of intellect, but of middle natures, and such as are last. For soul is the first of images; but wholes, such as animals, animated natures, such as participate of intellect, and such as are generated, derive their subsistence from the intelligible paradigms, of which animal itself is comprehensive.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

The same in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος 395 a (48, 22 Pasqu.) [καὶ del. Pasqu., ἤδη Croenert]:

ἀναφαίνεται πᾶν τὸ δημιουργικὸν τῶν θεῶν γένος ἀπὸ πάντων μὲν τῶν προειρημένων ἀρχικῶν αἰτίων καὶ βασιλικῶν, προσεχῶς δ᾽ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς τῶν Τιτανικῶν διακόσμων ἡγεμόνος καὶ πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων | 49 Pasqu. δημιουργῶν ὁ Ζεύς, τὸ ἑνιαῖον κράτος τῆς ὅλης δημιουργικῆς σειρᾶς κληρωσάμενος καὶ τά τε ἀφανῆ πάντα καὶ τὰ ἐμφανῆ παράγων καὶ ὑφιστάς, νοερὸς μὲν αὐτὸς ὑπάρχων κατὰ τὴν τάξιν, τὰ δ᾽ εἴδη τῶν ὄντων καὶ τὰ γένη προάγων εἰς τὴν τῶν αἰσθητῶν διακόσμησιν, καὶ τῶν μὲν ὑπὲρ ἑαυτὸν θεῶν πεπληρωμένος, τοῖς δ᾽ ἐγκοσμίοις πᾶσιν ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ τὴν εἰς τὸ εἶναι πρόοδον παρέχων. διὸ δὴ καὶ Ὀρφεὺς δημιουργοῦντα μὲν αὐτὸν τὴν οὐρανίαν πᾶσαν γενεὰν παραδίδωσιν καὶ ἥλιον ποιοῦντα καὶ σελήνην καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἀστρῶιους θεούς, δημιουργοῦντα δὲ τὰ ὑπὸ σελήνην στοιχεῖα καὶ διακρίνοντα τοῖς εἴδεσιν ἀτάκτως ἔχοντα πρότερον, σειρὰς δ᾽ ὑφιστάντα θεῶν περὶ ὅλον τὸν κόσμον εἰς αὐτὸν ἀνηρτημένας καὶ διαθεσμοθετοῦντα πᾶσι τοῖς ἐγκοσμίοις θεοῖς τὰς κατ᾽ ἀξίαν διανομὰς τῆς ἐν τῶι παντὶ προνοίας. καὶ Ὅμηρος δ᾽ ἑπόμενος Ὀρφεῖ πατέρα μὲν αὐτὸν ἀνυμνεῖ κοινῆι θεῶν τε καὶ ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἡγεμόνα καὶ βασιλέα καὶ ὕπατον κρειόντων . . .

“Prior however to other fabricators (δημιουργοί) it unfolds Jupiter (Ζεύς), who is allotted the unical strength of the whole demiurgic series, and who produces and give subsistence to all unapparent and apparent natures. And he is indeed intellectual according to the order in which he ranks, but he produces the species and genera of beings into the order of sensibles. He is likewise filled with the Gods above himself, but imparts from himself a progression into being to all mundane natures. Hence Orpheus represents him fabricating every celestial race, making the sun and moon and the other starry Gods, together with the sublunary elements, and diversifying the latter with forms which before had a disordered subsistence. He likewise represents him presiding over the Gods who are distributed about the whole world, and who are suspended from him; and in the character of a legislator assigning distributions of providence in the universe according to desert to all the mundane Gods. Homer too, following Orpheus celebrates him as the common father of Gods and men, as leader and king, and as the supreme of rulers.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816)

Compare σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 35 a (II 145, 4 Diehl):

ἔτι δέ, ἵνα καὶ ταῦτα συναίδοντα ταῖς Ὀρφικαῖς παραδόσεσι λέγωμεν· οὐ γὰρ πάσης τάξεως νοητῆς ἢ νοερᾶς καὶ ἐκεῖνος κατηγορεῖ τὸ ἀμέριστον, ἀλλ᾽ εἶναί τινα καὶ τοῦδε τοῦ ὀνόματος κρείττω, καθάπερ ἄλλων ονομάτων ἄλλα· καὶ γὰρ τὸ βασιλεὺς καὶ τὸ πατὴρ οὐ πάσαις εφαρμόζει τάξεσι.

“Farther still, in order that these things may accord with the Orphic doctrines, we must say, that Orpheus does not predicate the impartible of every intelligible, or intellectual order, but that according to him there is something superior to this appellation, just as other natures are more excellent than other names. For he does not adapt the appellations of king and father to all the [divine] orders.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

You must compare Simplíkios (Σιμπλίκιος) to these passages of Próklos in σχόλιον Σιμπλικίου επὶ περὶ οὐρανοῦ Ἀριστοτέλους I 3 p. 270 a 12 (93, 11 Heiberg):

διὰ τοῦτο τὰς θεογονίας ἡμῖν οἱ θεῖοι ἄνδρες παραδεδώκασι θεῶν μὲν πλῆθος τὸ ἐν τῶι ἑνὶ μένον καί, ὡς ἂν εἴποι τις, κατὰ πολλαπλασιασμὸν ἐκείνου προιόν, γένεσιν δὲ ὑμνοῦντες αὐτοῦ, καθ' ὅσον ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὑφέστηκεν, ὥσπερ καὶ ἀριθμῶν γένεσιν τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς μονάδος θεωροῦμεν προποδισμόν (Lobeck I 467)

“Through this, divine men have transmitted theogonies, a multitude of Gods abiding in the One, and thus, as is said, advancing through the multiplication of that, and celebrating their coming into being, as they had begun thus from the one, and like the origin of numbers, we perceive their moving forward from the monad.” (Lobeck I 467);

(trans. by the author)

Ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν εἰς τὸν Πλάτωνος Παρμενίδην Δαμασκίου 311 (II 177, 10 Rue.) which mentions –

verse 1 (Ζεὺς πρῶτος γένετο, Ζεὺς ὕστατος ἀργιϰέραυνος·),

verse 3 (Ζεὺς ἄρσην γένετο, Ζεὺς ἄμβροτος ἔπλετο νύμφη·),

verse 4 joined with...

verse 16,

and verse 6 and goes on:

καὶ τάδε περὶ ἄλλου οὐδενὸς ἀπεφήνατο τῶν θεῶν ὁ θεολόγος , κατὰ δὲ αὖ τὴν θεοπαράδοτον σοφίαν, τῆς µὲν διπλόης αὐτοῦ σύµβολον τῆς τε πρὸς τὰ αὐτὰ ἕκαστα καὶ τῆς πρὸς τὰ ἄλλα τῶι νῶι μὲν κατέχειν τὰ νοητά, αἴσθησιν δ ̓ ἐπάγειν κόσμοις.

“And the theologian made known these about no other of the Gods, and once more through divine wisdom, a symbol of his twofold (understanding) both towards each thing itself and towards the others, to restrain the intelligibles with reason, and to introduce sensation to the worlds.”

(trans. by the author)

Compare the material given by the Neoplatonists to the explanation of the hymn given by Porphýrios himself as quoted by Efsǽvios (Εὐσέβιος):

Ζεὺς οὖν ὁ πᾶς κόσμος, ζῷον ἐκ ζῴων καὶ θεὸς ἐκ θεῶν· Ζεὺς δὲ, καθὸ νοῦς, ἀφ᾿ οὗ προφέρει πάντα καὶ δημιουργεῖ τοῖς νοήμασι.

Τῶν δὴ θεολόγων τὰ δὴ περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦτον ἐξηγησαμένων τὸν τρόπον, εἰκόνα μὲν τοιαύτην δημιουργεῖν, οἵαν ὁ λόγος ἐμήνυσεν, οὔθ᾿ οἷόν τε ἦν οὔτ᾿, εἴ τις ἐπενόησε, τὸ ζωτικὸν καὶ νοερὸν καὶ προνοητικὸν διὰ τῆς σφαίρας ἐδείκνυεν.

ἀνθρωπόμορφον δὲ τοῦ Διὸς τὸ δείκηλον πεποιήκασιν, ὅτι νοῦς ἦν καθ᾿ ὃν ἐδημιούργει καὶ λόγοις σπερματικοῖς ἀπετέλει τὰ πάντα· κάθηται δὲ, τὸ ἑδραῖον τῆς δυνάμεως αἰνιττόμενος· γυμνὰ δὲ ἔχει τὰ ἄνω, ὅτι φανερὸς ἐν τοῖς νοεροῖς καὶ τοῖς οὐρανίοις τοῦ κόσμου μέρεςίν ἐστι· σκέπεται δὲ αὐτῷ τὰ πρόσθια, ὅτι ἀφανὴς τοῖς κάτω Κεκρυμμένοις· ἔχει δὲ τῇ μὲν λαιᾷ τὸ σκῆπτρον, καθ᾿ ὃ μάλιστα τῶν τοῦ σώματος μερῶν τὸ ἡγεμονικώτατόν τε καὶ νοερώτατον ὑποικουρεῖ σπλλάγχνον, ἡ καρδία· βασιλεὺς γὰρ τοῦ κόσμου ὁ δημιουργικὸς νοῦς· προτείνει δὲ τῇ δεξιᾷ ἢ ἀετὸν, ὅτι κρατεῖ τῶν ἀεροπόρων θεῶν, ὡς τῶν μεταρσίων ὀρνέων ὁ ἀετὸς, ἢ νίκην, ὅτι νενίκηκεν αὐτὸς πάντα.

“Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, and God of Gods; but Zeus, that is, inasmuch as he is the mind from which he brings forth all things, and by his thoughts creates them.

When the theologians had explained the nature of God in this manner, to make an image such as their description indicated was neither possible, nor, if any one thought of it, could he show the look of life, and intelligence, and forethought by the figure of a sphere.

“But they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because mind was that according to which he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion; and he is seated, as indicating the steadfastness of his power: and his upper parts are bare, because he is manifested in the intellectual and the heavenly parts of the world; but his feet are clothed, because he is invisible in the things that lie hidden below. And he holds his sceptre in his left hand, because most close to that side of the body dwells the heart, the most commanding and intelligent organ: for the creative mind is the sovereign of the world. And in his right hand he holds forth either an eagle, because he is master of the Gods who traverse the air, as the eagle is master of the birds that fly aloft----or a victory, because he is himself victorious over all things.”

(trans. E. H. Gifford, 1903)

Herm. VI vs. 9 p. 457; Lobeck I 521. 523 ss. 530; G. F. Schoemann Opusc. acad. II 19; Schuster 35 ss.; Jac. Freudenthal Ueber die Theologie des Xenophanes Breslau 1886, 29. 48; Kern De Theogon. 35; Th. Gomperz Griech. Denker I3 75; F. Duemmler Arch. Gesch. Philos. VII 1894, 147 = Kl. Schr. II 155; Gruppe Suppl. 705; Holwerda 326; Maaβ Orpheus 276 n. 64 (ad vs. 15); Zeller Zeitschr. wiss. Theol. XLII 1899, 238 = Kl. Schr. II 157 (cf. p. 235=II 154); Boll Aus der Offenbarung Johannis Στοιχεῖα I 43 (ad vs. 14 ss.).

The Hymn to Zefs used by Plátôn and by pseudo-Aristotle in Περὶ κόσμου (De mundo) (fragment 21 and 21 a) applied to both wider and more recent (circulation), similar to that found in fragment 169. The first of these verses was much celebrated, and cited frequently. Those found in fragment 21 could easily be augmented.

Compare, in addition to those gathered from Neoplatonists, Ἠθικὰ Πλουτάρχου· 29.436 d Περὶ τῶν ἐκλελοιπότων χρηστηρίων - De defectu oraculorum (Kern numbers it differently: 48 p. 436 d):

οἱ μὲν σφόδρα παλαιοὶ θεολόγοι καὶ ποιηταὶ τῆι κρείττονι τὸν νοῦν προσέχειν εἵλοντο, τοῦτο δὴ τὸ κοινὸν ἐπιφθεγγόμενοι πᾶσι πράγμασι·

Ζεὺς ἀρχή, Ζεὺς μέσσα, Διὸς δ᾽ ἐκ πάντα πέλονται

“...the chiefest and most ancient poets and divines have stuck only to the first and most excellent of these, having on all occasions these known words in their mouths,

‘Jove (Ζεὺς), the beginning, middle, source of all’ ” (v. fragment 21 a n. 6)

(trans. William F. Goodwin, 1874)

Ἀχιλλεὺς Τάτιος· Eἰσαγωγὴ εἰς τὰ Ἀράτoυ φαινόμενα 81, 29 Maaβ:

διὸ καὶ ὁ Θεόκριτος (XVII 1) ‘ἐκ Διὸς ἀρχώμε<σ>θα’ φησὶ ‘καὶ ἐς Δία λήγετε Μοῦσαι’, ὁ δὲ Ὀρφεύς πάντα καιρὸν ἀνατίθησι Διὶ λέγων· ‘Ζεὺς ἀρχή, Ζεὺς μέσ<σ>α, Διὸς δ' ἐκ πάντα τέτυκται’. ὅθεν ἀκολούθως καὶ τῶι ἔθει τῶι παλαιῶι καὶ τῆι ὑποκειμένηι ὑποθέσει ἀπὸ Διὸς πεποίηται τὴν ἀρχήν.

“And wherefore Thæókritos (Θεόκριτος) says (XVII 1), ‘From Zefs (Ζεὺς) we begin, and in Zefs you end in Songs (or in the Muses),’ and Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) ascribes to Zefs every due measure, saying: ‘Zefs the beginning, Zefs the middle, and from Zefs all things are made.’ Whence, in conformity with both ancient custom and underlying purpose, he made the first from Zefs.”

(trans. by the author)

Σχόλια εἰς Λυκόφρονα τοῦ Τζέτζου p. 3, 29 Scheer (Lobeck I 356):

γράφει δὲ ὁ Ὀρφεύς χωρὶς τῶν ἀστρολογικῶν καὶ ἐπωιδικῶν καὶ μαγικῶν καὶ τῶν ἑτέρων καὶ ὕμνους εἰς Δία καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς οὕτως (vs. 1. 2) Ζεὺς πρῶτος γένετο, Ζεὺς ὕστατος ἀργικέραυνος, Ζεὺς κεφαλή, Ζεὺς μέσα, Διὸς δ’ ἐκ πάντα τέτυκται.

“And apart from astrological, enchantments, magical songs*, and others, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), writes hymns to Zefs (Ζεύς) and the rest (of the Gods) in this way: ‘Zefs came first, Zefs of the bright lightning last, Zefs the head, Zefs the middle, and from Zefs all things are made.’ ”

(trans. by the author)

*Translator’s note: Tzetzes was from the 12th century, squarely in the Christian world, and in this world Orpheus is twisted into a magician involved with astrology and spells.

From the Christian storehouses, Prof. Kern furnishes an imitation (of Plato? Orpheus?) that Synesius (Συνέσιος, Christian Bishop of Ptolemais in ancient Libya, 373-414 C. E.) makes of Hymn II 63:

σὺ πατήρ, σὺ δ' ἐσσὶ μάτηρ· σὺ δὲ ἄρρην, σὺ δὲ θῆλυς· σὺ δὲ φωνά, σὺ δὲ σιγά, φύσεως φύσις γονῶσα, σὺ δ' άναξ, αἰῶνος αἰών, τὸ μὲν, εἰ θέμις βοᾶσαι. μέγα χαῖρε, ῥίζα κόσμου, μέγα χαῖρε, κέντρον ὄντων, μονὰς ἀμβρότων ἀριθμῶν προανουσίων ἀνάκτων

“You father, and you are mother; and you male, you female; and you sound, and you silence, nature generating nature, and you lord, eon of eon, it is lawful to cry it out. Great hail, root of the world, great hail, mast of the all, monad of immortal numbers and unfolded lords.”

(trans. by the author)

and III 180:

ἓν καὶ πάντα, ἓν δι’ ἁπάντων ἕν τε πρὸ πάντων σπέρμα τὸ πάντων, ῥίζα καὶ ὄρπαξ, φύσις ἐν νοεροῖς θῆλυ καὶ ἄρρεν

“One and all, one through all, and one ahead of all, seed of all, root and sapling, nature in intellects, female and male.”

(trans. by the author)

(Norden Agnostos Theos 229 v. also fragment 30; Geffcken Ausgang des griech.-roem. Heidentums 317 n. 216)

And Περὶ Τριάδος τοῦ Διδύμου Τυφλοῦ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας II 5 p. 140 (Migne 39, 494):

ὡς καὶ παρὰ τοῖς ἔξω λέγεται· εἷς θεὸς αὐτοπάτωρ, ἐξ οὗ τάδε πάντα γένοντο

“So also, in agreement with these outside (the church), it is said: “One uncreated God, from whom all these came into being.”

(trans. by the author)

And from the same text, Περὶ Τριάδος τοῦ Διδύμου Τυφλοῦ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας III 2 p. 322 (Migne 39, 788) (sc. οἱ Ἕλληνες·):

εἷς θεός ἐστιν ἄναξ πανυπέρτατος, αὐτὸς ἁπάντων καὶ γενέτης πάμπρωτος ἔφυ καὶ ῥίζα καὶ ἀρχή

“One is God the highest lord, he the very first generator of all things, the root and the beginning.”

(trans. by the author)

And a little after the last text Περὶ Τριάδος τοῦ Διδύμου Τυφλοῦ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας III 2 p. 323 (Migne 789):

αὐτὸς πάντα φέρει θεὸς ἄμβροτος, αὐτὸς ἑαυτοῦ καὶ γενέτης καὶ ῥίζα πέλει καὶ τέρμα καὶ υἱός

“He bears along all, deathless God, he from himself also, the generator, the root, the limit, and son.”

(trans. by the author)

et c. 21 p. 402 (Migne 913):

πάντα θεοῦ μεγάλοιο νόου ὑπὸ νεύµατι κεῖται ἀρχὴ πηγή τε ζωῆς καὶ ὑπείροχον εὖχος καὶ κράτος ἠδὲ βίη καὶ ἰσχύος ἄφθιτος ἀλκὴ καὶ δύναµις κρατερὴ καὶ ἀμφιέλικτος ἀνάγκη (Lobeck I 444).

“All things (come about) by a nod of the mighty God; he establishes in himself the origin and source of life, and the eminent offering, power, might, imperishable prowess of strength, stout ability, and circling necessity.”

(trans. by the author)

To these we add (compare to Συνέσιος above) Τις ὁ σωζόμενος πλούσιος Κλήμεντος τοῦ Ἀλεξανδρέως 37, 2 (III 184, 1 Staeh.):

καὶ τὸ μὲν ἄρρητον αὐτοῦ πατήρ, τὸ δὲ εἰς ἡμᾶς συμπαθὲς γέγονε μήτηρ

“And while the unspeakable part of Him is Father, the part that has sympathy with us is Mother*.”

(G. W. Butterworth, 1919)

*Butterworth has a note here with his translation of the Συνέσιος fragment above: “This thought of the Motherhood of God has a parallel in Synesius (Bishop of Ptolemais in Libya early in the fifth century), Hymn II. 63-4:

‘Thou art Father, thou art Mother,

Thou art male, and thou art female.’ ”

And Eusebius: De Laude Constantini I p. 198, 33 Heikel:

ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν ὁρωμένοις τε καὶ ἀφανέσιν ἐπιπορευόμενος τοῦ θεοῦ λόγος (v. Plat. Leg. IV 716 a fr. 21).

“The divine word (λόγος) runs through upon all and through all and in all that is seen and unseen.”

(trans. by the author)

These verses of Plato (editor: not likely so) having a flavor of Orphic poetry, translated from Greek into Latin by Tiberianus which, due to some codices after M. Haupt, were published by A. Riese in Latin Anthology. II 46 p. 490; I furnish, apart from verses 7. 8 (these two not included below), most particularly verses 21-25:

21 tu genus omne deum, tu rerum causa vigorque,

tu natura omnis, deus innumerabilis unus,

tu sexu plenus toto, tibi nascitur olim

hic deus, hic mundus, domus hic hominumque deumque,

25 lucens, augustae stellatus flore iuventae.

21 “You every race of Gods, you are the cause and vigor of things,

you all nature, countless yet one God,

you are complete with the whole sex, from you once born

this God, this world, this dwelling of men and Gods,

25 shining forth, glittering with the flower of majestic youth.”

(trans. by the author)

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic 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).

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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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