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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.
SUMMARY: In this fragment, Aristotle summarizes the view of Orphic poetry, that the soul is carried on the winds, and that it enters (the body) through respiration. In addition, there statements from various commentators elaborating on this idea.
27. (241) Περὶ Ψυχῆς Ἀριστοτέλους Α 5, 410 b 19:
φαίνεται γὰρ εἶναί τινα μόνιμα τῶν ζώιων κατὰ τόπον. καίτοι δοκεῖ γε ταύτην μόνην τῶν κινήσεων κινεῖν ἡ ψυχὴ τὸ ζῶιον· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ὅσοι τὸν νοῦν καὶ τὸ αἰσθητικὸν ἐκ τῶν στοιχείων ποιοῦσιν· φαίνεται γὰρ τά τε φυτὰ ζῆν οὐ μετέχοντα φορᾶς οὐδ’ αἰσθήσεως, καὶ τῶν ζώιων πολλὰ διάνοιαν οὐκ ἔχειν. εἰ δέ τις καὶ ταῦτα παραχωρήσειε καὶ θείη τὸν νοῦν μέρος τι τῆς ψυχῆς, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὸ αἰσθητικόν, οὐδ’ ἂν οὕτω λέγοιεν καθόλου περὶ πάσης ψυχῆς οὐδὲ περὶ ὅλης οὐδεμιᾶς (οὐδὲ μιᾶς E, οὐδὲ περὶ μιᾶς Simplic.). τοῦτο δὲ πέπονθε καὶ ὁ ἐν τοῖς Ὀρφικοῖς ἔπεσι καλουμένοις λόγος· φησὶ γὰρ τὴν ψυχὴν ἐκ τοῦ ὅλου εἰσιέναι ἀναπνεόντων. φερομένην ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνέμων.
“For not all sentient beings can cause motion; some animals are seen to be stationary in one place. And yet it is at all events a received view that this, namely, change of place, is the one form of motion which the soul imparts to the animal. Similarly with those who derive intelligence and the faculty of sense from the elements. For plants are found to live without any share in locomotion or sensation, and many animals to be destitute of thought. If we waive this point and assume intellect to be a part of the soul, and the faculty of sense likewise, even then their statements would not apply generally to all soul, nor to the whole of any one soul. The account given in the so-called Orphic poems is open to the same strictures. For the soul, it is there asserted, enters from the universe in the process of respiration, being borne upon the winds.” (trans. R. D. Hicks, 1907)
Ad hunc locum σχόλιον Ἰωάννου Φιλοπόνου επὶ Περὶ Ψυχῆς Ἀριστοτέλους 186, 24 Hayd.:
λεγομένοις εἶπεν, ἐπειδὴ μὴ δοκεῖ Ὀρφέως εἶναι τὰ ἔπη, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν τοῖς Περὶ φιλοσοφίας (fr. 7 Rose) λέγει· αὐτοῦ μὲν γάρ εἰσι τὰ δόγματα, ταῦτα δέ φασιν Ὀνομάκριτον ἐν ἔπεσι κατατεῖναι (test. nr. 183). λέγει οὖν ἐκεῖ ὅτι ἡ ψυχὴ ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνέμων ἐκ τοῦ παντὸς φερομένη ἀναπνεῖται ὑπὸ τῶν ζώιων. ὥστε καὶ οὗτος ὁ λόγος οὐ περὶ πάσης ψυχῆς λέγει· οὐ γὰρ πάντα ἀναπνεῖ τὰ ἔμψυχα· οὕκουν τὰ ἔντομα οὐδὲ τὰ φυτά. φασὶ δὲ αἰνίττεσθαι τὰ ἔπη διὰ μὲν τῆς ἀναπνοῆς τὴν ἐπιτηδειότητα τοῦ δεξομένου τὴν ψυχὴν σώματος, διότι ἡ ἀναπνοὴ (πνοὴ R) καταψύχουσα τὸ ἔμφυτον θερμὸν εἰς συμμετρίαν ἄγει, τοὺς δ' ἀνέμους φασὶ δυνάμεις τινὰς σημαίνειν δι’ ὧν κατάγεται ἡ ψυχὴ εἰς τὴν γένεσιν ἐκ τῆς ὁλικῆς ἐνεργείας, ἣν ἐνεργεῖ τοῦ μερικοῦ σώματος τούτου καὶ τῆς γενέσεως ἀπηλλαγμένη.
“He said, by saying these things, since it does not seem these poems are from Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), and he says that in On Philosophy (fr. 7 Rose); for of that, indeed, are the doctrines, and they say that Onomákritos (Ὀνομάκριτος) laid them out in poetry (test. nr. 183). In fact, he says there, that the soul, borne along by the winds from the whole, is breathed in by the animals. And so also this narrative does not speak about every soul; for (the soul) is not breathing into all animate beings: certainly not insects nor plants. And he says that the poems are speaking in riddles when they speak of breathing, through the inclination of the body to receive the soul, because the breath, cooling the innate heat, leads it into due proportion, and he says that by the winds he is indicating powers, by which through them, the soul is drawn down into generation from universal energy, whatever operates from the individual body and desiring to free itself from its origin.” (trans. by the author)
Cf. Ἰωάννου Φιλοπόνου επὶ Περὶ Ψυχῆς Ἀριστοτέλους 202, 1 Hayd.:
εἰπὼν οὖν ἐν τοῖς ἐπάνω καὶ τὰ φυτὰ ἔμψυχα εἶναι, ἐν οἷς ἔλεγεν ὅτι διαιρούμενα τὴν αὐτὴν κατ’ εἶδος ἔχει ψυχήν, καὶ ἔτι ἔνθα ἐνεκάλει τοῖς Ὀρφικοῖς ἔπεσι λέγουσι τὴν ψυχὴν ἐκ τοῦ ὅλου φερομένην ἀναπνεῖν ἡμᾶς
“Having said, in fact, in the above (passages) that the plants are also animate, in these (passages), he said that dividing itself according to the form, it carries soul; and yet he brings a charge against the Orphic stories which say we breathe the soul, carrying itself out of the whole.” (trans. by the author)
et in eundem σχόλιον Θεμιστίου επὶ Περὶ Ψυχῆς Ἀριστοτέλους 35, 17 Heinze:
τοῦτο δὲ πέπονθε καὶ ὁ λόγος ὁ λεγόμενος ἐν τοῖς καλουμένοις Ὀρφέως ἔπεσι· φησὶ γὰρ τῆς ψυχῆς μεταλαμβάνειν τὰ ζῶια παρὰ τὴν πρώτην ἀναπνοήν.
“But this is what has happened and is called the word, as invoked in the poetry of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς); for he declares that the animals partake in soul from the first respiration.” (trans. by the author)
et σχόλιον Σιμπλικίου επὶ Περὶ Ψυχῆς Ἀριστοτέλους 72, 12 Hayd.:
ἔοικε δὲ ὁ Ὀρφεὺς τὴν μὲν τῶν σωμάτων πρὸς ζωιὴν ἐπιτηδειότητα ἀναπνοὴν καλεῖν, τὰς δὲ ὁλικὰς κινητικὰς αἰτίας ἀνέμους, ὧν οὐκ ἄν ποτε χωρὶς αἱ μερικαὶ ψυχώσειαν τὰ ἐπιτήδεια σώματα.
“And it seems that Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), indeed, calls breath the tendency of bodies (to come) to life, but the universal stimulating responsible winds, apart from them at any time, these particular ones could not individually animate the appropriate bodies.” (trans. by the author)
Adde ex Iamblicho Περὶ ψυχῆς quoted in Ἐκλογαὶ φυσικαὶ καὶ ἠθικαί Ἰωάννου Στοβαῖου I c. XLIX 32 (I 366, 17 Wachsm.):
ὥσπερ Ἀριστοτέλης μὲν (μὲν del. Meinek.) ἐν τοῖς Ὀρφικοις (Gaisf. ex Aristot.] φυσικοῖς FP) ἔπεσί φησι λέγεσθαι τὴν ψυχὴν εἰσιέναι (Canter] ὡς εἰσὶν F, ὡς εἰσὴν P, πως εἰσιέναι Meinek.) ἐκ τοῦ ὅλου ἀναπνεόντων ἡμῶν φερομένην ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνέμων· ἔοικέ γε μὴν αὐτὸς ὁ Ὀρφεὺς χωρὶς ὑπολαμβάνειν εἶναι καὶ μίαν τὴν ψυχήν, ἀφ’ ἧς πολλὰς μὲν εἶναι διαιρέσεις, πολλὰς δὲ καὶ ἀμέσους (Usen.] μέσας FP) ἐπιπνοίας καθήκειν ἐπὶ τὰς μεριστὰς ψυχὰς ἀπὸ τῆς ὅλης ψυχῆς.
“Indeed, as Aristotǽlîs asserts in the Orphic poems, saying that the soul enters from the whole, drawing breath carried by the winds; it seems likely, at least, that Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) himself, apart from having understood there being one soul, from which, indeed, there are many divisions, and that many and immediate winds come upon separate souls from the whole soul.” (trans. by the author)
et XLIX 38 (I 376, 2 Wachsm.):
οἱ μὲν δὴ μίαν οὐσίαν τῆς ψυχῆς ἀριθμῶι τιθέμενοι, πληθύουσαν (Wachsm.] πληθύοντες FP) δὲ αὐτήν, ὡς Ἀμέλιος οἴεται, σχέσεσι καὶ κατατάξεσιν, ἢ ὡς οἱ Ὀρφικοὶ λέγουσιν, ἐπιπνοίαις ἀπὸ τῆς ὅλης, ἔπειτα ἀνασχέοντες (P1] ἀναχέοντες FP2, ἀναστοιχειοῦντες Lobeck I 756, ἄγχοντες Usen. coll. Stob. p. 304, 18, ἀναστέλλοντες vel ἀναστρέφοντες temptabat Wachsm.) ἀπὸ τοῦ πλήθους τῆς ὅλης ἐπὶ τὴν μίαν ψυχὴν ἀποθεμένην (corr. Usen.] ἀποθεμένας FP) τὰς σχέσεις καὶ τὰς εἰς ἕτερον κατατάξεις καὶ (Cant., ἢ FP) ἀναλύοντες ἀπὸ τῆς εἰς τὰ μεταλαβόντα διαιρέσεως, ἀπολυομένης τῆς τῶν μετασχόντων διαλήψεως (corr. Heer.] αποδιαλήψεως FP) τηροῦσιν αὐτὴν ὅλην πανταχοῦ τὴν αυτήν, μίαν οὐσίαν (om. P) τε αυτῆι διδόασι καθ' ἓν πεπερασμένην.
“(Some theologians), regard the one essence of the soul by numeration, and multiply it, as Amǽlios (Ἀμέλιος) supposes, into categories and classifications, or as the Orphics say, by “winds” from the whole (soul), then rising from the multitude of the whole to the one soul, which has laid these conditions and other classifications aside, and free it from division into those things which partake of it, from freeing itself from having partaken of separation, watching over the whole itself, everywhere from itself, they (the theologians) grant it one essence in limitation through unity.” (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.