ORPHIC FRAGMENT 222 - OTTO KERN

ORPHIC FRAGMENT 222 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: After death, those who lead holy lives will be rewarded, while the unjust are led to Tártaros. The text also states that Orphic wisdom, including the teaching on rebirth, has been transferred altogether to the Platonic teaching.

222. (154) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Πολιτείας Πλάτωνος II 340, 11 Kr.:

ἐπεὶ καὶ τὰ ἄλλα παρ’ Ὀρφέως (sc. ὁ Πλάτων) ἐμυθολόγησεν λαβών οἷον ὅτι ἐν τῶι Ἀχέροντι καθαίρονται καὶ τυγχάνουσιν εὐμοιρίας τινός·

οἳ μέν κ' εὐαγέωσιν ὑπ' αὐγὰς ἠελίοιο,

αὖτις ἀποφθίμενοι μαλακώτερον οἶτον ἔχουσιν

ἐν καλῶι λειμῶνι βαθύρροον ἀμφ' Ἀχέροντα

καὶ ὅτι κολάζονται ἐν τῶι Ταρτάρωι·

οἱ δ’ ἄδικα ῥέξαντες ὑπ' αὐγὰς ἠελίοιο

ὑβρισταὶ κατάγονται ὑπὸ πλάκα Κωκυτοῖο

Τάρταρον ἐς κρυόεντα.

διὰ γὰρ τούτων σαφώς τὰς Πλατωνικὰς διατάξεις περὶ τῶν ὑπὸ γῆς λήξεων φαίνεται παραλαβών, ὥσπερ καὶ τὰς περὶ τῶν μετεμψυχώσεων. εἰ δὲ ταῦτα ἑπόμενος Ὀρφεῖ διατάττει Πλάτων, ἆρ’ οὐ γελοῖόν ἐστιν --- ἀφίημι γάρ θεμιτὸν λέγειν --- τὸν τῶν τοιούτων ἡγεμόνα δογμάτων, οἷς ἡ Πλάτωνος φιλοσοφία διαφέρει τῶν ἄλλων ἁπασῶν, εἰς ἄλογα ζῶια κατάγειν καὶ κύκνου ψυχὴν ποιεῖν (X 620 a test. nr. 139); οὗ καὶ τὴν περὶ τῶν θείων ὑφήγησιν αὐτὸς ἐν Τιμαίωι (40 e) πιστὴν εἶναί φησιν καίπερ ἄνευ τε εἰκότων λόγων καὶ ἀποδείξεων λεγο|341 Kr.μένην, ὡς δι’ ἐνθεασμὸν εἰδότος μάλιστα τὰ τῶν θεῶν πατέρων ὄντων, εἴ τις ἔστιν τῆς θεογονίας τοῖς Ἕλλησιν πατήρ, ἣν αὐτὸς παραδοῦναι προθέμενος ἐπὶ τοὺς παραδόντας πρώτους ἀνάγει τὴν περὶ αὐτῆς ἀλήθειαν.

“Since, also, all the others (myths) beside from the Orphica tell stories of opportunity, such that in Akhǽrôn (Ἀχέρων), they who have been purified also meet with good fortune:

‘Whereas those who live in holiness beneath the light of the sun,

hereafter, when they die, have a more gentle fate

in a beautiful pasture beside deep-flowing Akhǽrôn.’

“and that (the others) are punished in Tártaros:

‘But those who are unjust beneath the light of the sun,

the contemptuous, are led down below the expanse of Kôkytós (Κωκυτός)

to frozen Tártaros.’

“But through the unerring Platonic testimonies, he reveals what we receive concerning the allotments in the underworld (afterlife), and even things concerning rebirth. But we are following the Orphic arrangement of Plátôn, not something ludicrous---for I speak of divinely-inspired laws---from such an authority of judgement. It transfers the Platonic philosophy from the other (the Orphic) altogether. Do we descend into brute animals and produce the soul of a swan? [1] Yet we do not even have enough guidance concerning the Gods in the Tímaios (Τίμαιος)[2], although what is said is trustworthy, without providing either likely stories or bringing forward proof. Therefore, through being exceedingly inspired, our fathers knew of the Gods. If indeed this is the origin of the theogony to the Greeks, setting out to hand this knowledge down awakens the first transmission concerning truth.” (trans. by the author)

NOTES:

[1] (ἆπὸ τοῦ μύθου Ἠρός) “Most curious, he said, was the spectacle---sad and laughable and strange; for the choice of the souls was in most cases based on their experience of a previous life. There he saw the soul which had once been Orpheus choosing the life of a swan out of enmity to the race of women, hating to be born of a woman because they had been his murderers...” (Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος 10.620 a, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

[2] “To know or tell the origin of the other divinities is beyond us, and we must accept the traditions of the men of old time who affirm themselves to be the offspring of the Gods---that is what they say---and they must surely have known their own ancestors. How can we doubt the word of the children of the Gods? Although they give no probable or certain proofs, still, as they declare that they are speaking of what took place in their own family, we must conform to custom and believe them. In this manner, then, according to them, the genealogy of these Gods is to be received and set forth. Oceanus and Tethys were the children of Earth and Heaven, and from these sprang Phorcys and Cronos and Rhea, and all that generation.” (Τίμαιος Πλάτωνος 40 e, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

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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