ORPHIC FRAGMENT 17 - OTTO KERN

ORPHIC FRAGMENT 17 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: In this fragment, Sôkrátîs (Σωκράτης) questions blind religious beliefs in the story of Zefs (Ζεύς) binding Krónos (Κρόνος), and Krónos punishing Ouranós (Οὐρανός).

17. Εὐθύφρων Πλάτωνος 5 e:

Εὐθύφρων· αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἱ ἄνθρωποι τυγχάνουσι νομίζοντες τὸν Δία τῶν θεῶν ἄριστον καὶ δικαιότατον, καὶ τοῦτον ὁμολογοῦσι τὸν αὑτοῦ πατέρα δῆσαι, ὅτι τοὺς ὑεῖς κατέπινεν οὐκ ἐν δίκηι, (6 a) κἀκεῖνόν γε αὖ τὸν αὑτοῦπατέρα ἐκτεμεῖν δι᾽ ἕτερα τοιαῦτα . . .

Σωκράτης· . . . (6 b) . . . ἀλλά μοι εἰπὲ πρὸς Φιλίου, σὺ ὡς ἀληθῶς ἡγῆι ταῦτα οὕτως γεγονέναι; . . .

Εὐθύφρων· καὶ ἔτι γε τούτων θαυμασιώτερα, ὦ Σώκρατες, ἃ οἱ πολλοὶ οὐκ ἴσασιν.

Efthýphrôn: “For do not men regard Zeus as the best and most righteous of the Gods? --- and yet they admit that he bound his father (Cronos) because he wickedly devoured his sons, and that he too had punished his own father (Uranus) for a similar reason, in a nameless manner. . .

Sôkrátîs: . . . “Tell me, for the love of Zeus, whether you really believe that they are true.” . . .

Efthýphrôn: “Yes, Socrates; and things more wonderful still, of which the world is in ignorance.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

Quae ultima verba (‘sed etiam alia atrociora, quae ignota plerisque Socrates ipse, si audiverit, vehementer sit admiraturus’) ad Saturni exsectionem, Zagrei interfectionem aliorumque deorum facinora in carminibus Orphicis nec usquam alibi tradita spectare.

Lobeck I 602 professus est. Eodem spectat Ἰσοκράτους XI Βούσιρις (IX Drev.) 38:

τοιούτους δὲ λόγους περὶ αὐτῶν τῶν θεῶν (sc. poetae) εἰρήκασιν, οἵους οὐδεὶς ἂν περὶ τῶν ἐχθρῶν εἰπεῖν τολμήσειεν· οὐ γὰρ μόνον κλοπὰς καὶ μοιχείας καὶ παρ᾽ ἀνθρώποις θητείας αὐτοῖς ὠνείδισαν, ἀλλὰ καὶ παίδων βρώσεις καὶ πατέρων ἐκτομὰς καὶ μητέρων δεσμοὺς καὶ πολλὰς ἄλλας ἀνομίας κατ᾽ αὐτῶν ἐλογοποίησαν. (cf. Xenophan. Diels I3 59 fr. 11). (39) ὑπὲρ ὧν τὴν μὲν ἀξίαν δίκην οὐκ ἔδοσαν, οὐ μὴν ἀτιμώρητοί γε διέφυγον, ἀλλ᾽ οἱ μὲν αὐτῶν ἀλῆται καὶ τῶν καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἐνδεεῖς κατέστησαν, οἱ δ᾽ ἐτυφλώθησαν, ἄλλος δὲ φεύγων τὴν πατρίδα καὶ τοῖς οἰκειοτάτοις πολεμῶν ἅπαντα τὸν χρόνον διετέλεσεν, Ὀρφεὺς δ᾽ ὁ μάλιστα τούτων τῶν λόγων ἁψάμενος, διασπασθεὶς τὸν βίον ἐτελεύτησεν v. supra p. 33.

“But the poets have reported accounts such as these, about the Gods themselves, such that not one of them would have the courage to tell such stories even about their own enemies. For not only crimes have they blamed on the Gods, such as thefts and adulteries and servitude by men, but they fabricated tales of the eating of (their own) children, and castration of their sires, the shackling of mothers, and much other lawless conduct. Concerning these things, they indeed did not receive due penalty for the judgment warranted, yet, they did not avert (penalty either,) and (this outcome) rendered so every day (of their lives). Some became blind; another fleeing his fatherland and living his whole life fighting with his family. And Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς), who very much took part in these stories, finished his life torn apart (by the Maenads).” (trans. by the author)

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.

The logo to the left 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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Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

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Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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