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

SUMMARY: The mirror, Diónysos, and his lamentations.

209. Ἐννεάδες Πλωτίνου IV 3 (II 24, 14 Volkm.; Guthrie 4.3.12):

ἀνθρώπων δὲ ψυχαὶ εἴδωλα αὐτῶν ἰδοῦσαι οἷον Διονύσου ἐν κατόπτρωι ἐκεῖ ἐγένοντο ἄνωθεν ὁρμηθεῖσαι, οὐκ ἀποτμηθεῖσαι οὐδ᾽ αὗται τῆς ἑαυτῶν ἀρχῆς τε καὶ νοῦ.

“Human souls rush down here below because they have gazed at their images (in matter) as in the mirror of Bacchus. Nevertheless, they are not separated from their principle, Intelligence. Their intelligence does not descend along with them, so that even if by their feet they touch the earth, their head rises above the sky.” (trans. Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, 1918)

σχόλιον Ὀλυμπιοδώρου επὶ Φαίδωνος Πλάτωνος B ρκή p. 111, 14 Norv.:

ὅτι τὰ ὅμοια μυθεύεται καὶ ἐν τῶι παραδείγματι. ὁ γὰρ Διόνυσος, ὅτε τὸ εἴδωλον ἐνέθηκε τῶι ἐσόπτρωι, τούτωι ἐφέσπετο, καὶ οὕτως εἰς τὸ πᾶν ἐμερίσθη. ὁ δε Απόλλων συναγείρει τε αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνάγει καθαρτικός ὢν θεὸς καὶ τοῦ Διονύσου σωτὴρ ὡς ἀληθῶς, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο Διονυσοδότης (v. Pausan. I 31, 4 de sacris Phlyensibus O. Jessen RE2 V 1007) ἀνυμνεῖται (v. fr. 211).

“The story is told with similar things also seen in the pattern (of the soul). Diónysos, when he had placed his image in the mirror, pursued it, and in this way was scattered everywhere, but Apóllôn (Ἀπόλλων) gathers the parts and leads him up, for he being a purifying God and truly the savior of Diónysos, is thus proclaimed the bestower of Diónysos. (trans. by the author)

σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 23 d. e (I 142, 24 Diehl):

ὅτι δὲ τῶν αἰσθητῶν δημιουργός ἀλλ' οὐ τῶν ψυχικῶν ἢ τῶν νοερῶν ἔργων, καὶ τοῦτο οἱ αὐτοὶ (sc. θεολόγοι) δηλοῦσιν· ἡ γὰρ τοῦ ἐσόπτρου κατασκευὴ καὶ ἡ χαλκεία (fr. 180) καὶ ἡ χωλεία καὶ πάντα τὰ τοιαῦτα σύμβολατῆς περὶ τὸ αἰσθητὸν αὐτοῦ ποιήσεώς ἐστι. καὶ μὺν καὶ ὅτι πάντων τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἐστι ποιητής, ἐκ τῶν αὐτῶν φανερόν, οἵ φασιν αὐτὸν ἄνωθεν ἀπὸ τοῦ Ὀλύμπου φέρεσθαι μέχρι γῆς, καὶ οἳ τὰς ὑποδοχὰς |143 Diehlπάσας τῶν ἐγκοσμίων θεῶν Ἡφαιστοτεύκτους ποιοῦσιν.

“But that he is the fabricator of sensible, and not psychical, or intellectual works, is also manifested by them (ed. the theologists). For the formation of a mirror, the exercise of the brazier’s art, lameness, and every thing of this kind, are symbols of his productive energy about a sensible nature. Moreover, that he is the maker of all sensibles, is evident from the same theologists, who say that he was hurled from Olympus as far as to the earth, and who make all the receptacles of the mundane Gods, to have been elaborated by Vulcan (Ἥφαιστος).” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 33 b (II 80, 19 Diehl):

πάλαι δὲ καὶ τοῖς θεολόγοις τὸ ἔσοπτρον ἐπιτηδειότητος παρείληπται σύμβολον πρὸς τὴν νοερὰν ἀποπλήρωσιν τοῦ παντός. διὸ καὶ τὸν Ἥφαιστον ἔσοπτρόν φασι ποιῆσαι τῶι Διονύσῶι, εἰς ὃ ἐμβλέψας ὁ θεὸς καὶ εἴδωλον ἑαυτοῦ θεασάμενος προῆλθεν εἰς ὅλην τὴν μεριστὴν δημιουργίαν.

“Formerly also by theologists, a mirror was assumed as a symbol of aptitude, to the intellectual completion of the universe. Hence they say, Vulcan (Ἥφαιστος) made a mirror for Dionysius (Διόνυσος), or Bacchus, into which the God looking, and beholding the image of himself, proceeded into the whole partible fabrication of things.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 29 a. b (I 336, 29 Diehl):

καθάπερ οὖν Ὀρφεὺς εἴδωλα πλάττει τοῦ Διονύσου τὰ τὴν γένεσιν ἐπιτροπεύοντα καὶ τὸ εἶδος |337 Diehl ὅλον ὑποδεξάμενα τοῦ παραδείγματος, οὕτως καὶ ὁ φιλόσοφος (sc. Πλάτων) εἰκόνα τὸν κόσμον τοῦ νοητοῦ προσεῖπεν, ὡς ἐοικότα τῶι σφετέρωι παραδείγματι.

“Just as certainly, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) conceives images of Diónysos governing the origin and entire form, setting the pattern. In this way also, the philosopher (Πλάτων) addresses the kózmic image of the intellectual order, thus being like its own paradigm.” (trans. by the author)

σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Πολιτείας Πλάτωνος I 94, 5 Kr.:

ὥσπερ δὴ καὶ Ὀρφεὺς τοῖς Διονυσιακοῖς εἰδώλοις τὰς συνθέσεις καὶ τὰς διαιρέσεις καὶ τοὺς θρήνους προσῆψεν ἀπὸ τῶν προνοουμένων ἅπαντα ταῦτα ἐκείνοις ἀναθείς.

“Likewise also, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) linked the Dionysian images to those things which are combined and those things which are divided, and with sorrow, thus attributing all these as arising from foresight.” (trans. by the author)

Cf. θρήνους σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Πολιτείας Πλάτωνος I 125, 20 Kr.:

ἐπεὶ καὶ Κόρης καὶ Δήμητρος καὶ αὐτῆς τῆς μεγίστης θεᾶς (an Νυκτὸς) ὶερούς τινας ἐν ἀπορρήτοις θρήνους αἱ τελεταὶ παραδεδώκασιν. ἔσοπτρος (mirror) iam in libello rituali fr. 31 vs. 30 v. etiam fr. 34. Cf. etiam δίοπτραι Kroll De Or. Chald. 23.

“The stories of Kórî (Κόρη) and Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ), and of the greatest divine Goddess herself, in respect to their secrets...the rites have handed down to us their lamentations.” (the mirror ἔσοπτρος present in ritual) (trans. by the author)

Διονυσιακὰ Νόννου VI 169 (v. fr. 210 p. 231):

οὐδὲ Διὸς θρόνον εἶχεν ἐπὶ χρόνον· ἀλλά ἑ γύψωι

κερδαλέηι χρισθέντες ἐπίκλοπα κύκλα προσώπου

δαίμονος ἀστόργοιο χόλωι βαρυμήνιος Ἥρης

Ταρταρίηι Τιτῆνες ἐδηλήσαντο μαχαίρηι

ἀντιτύπωι νόθον εἶδος ὀπιπεύοντα κατόπτρωι

“But he did not hold the throne of Zefs (Ζεύς) for long, for with their round faces cleverly smeared with gypsum, at the instigation of wrathful bitter Íra (Ἥρα), acting in anger, the Tartarian Titans maimed him with a large knife, while he gazed at his cross-bred form reflected in the mirror.” (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.

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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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