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

SUMMARY: This fragment consists of quotations from the Dodekatropos, Fixed circle of twelve divisions, an astrological text attributed to Orpheus.

288. Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum IV 43 pointed out by F. Cumont (verse above) and edited and amended by Josef Heeg in Die Angeblichen Orphischen Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι (Inaugural Dissertation) p. 63:

Ἐξ τῆς δωδεκατρόπου Ὀρφέως· περὶ καταρχῶν.

a) Περὶ τροπικῶν ζωιδίων·

τῶν τροπικῶν ζωιδίων ὡροσκοπούντων μὴ ἅψηι ὁδοῦ· χαλεπὴ γὰρ καὶ βραδεῖα καὶ οὐ μετὰ καλοῦ· φίλοι δὲ ἔχθραν ποιήσουσι· πάλιν φίλοι γενήσονται· χρὴ σπείρειν φυτεύειν· θεμέλια μὴ τιθῆις· ἀρραβῶνα δίδου· οἱ ἐννοσοῦντες τοῖς v ζωιδίοις ἐγερθήσονται <> ἑβδομαδαῖοι διαλυθήσονται τὸ πάθος· εἰ δὲ ἡ τῆς κατακλίσεως ἡμέρα μετέλθηι ἀπὸ τῶν τροπικῶν εἰς τὰ στερεά, θάνατον ἐπάγει· οὐ δεῖ ἐξελθεῖν ἢ στρατεύειν· εἰ φύγοι τις, ἡ σύλησις γένηται· ἕως οὗ ἐν τῶι αὐτῶι ζωιδίωι ἦι Σελήνη, ταχὺ ἀνευρήσεις· εἰ δὲ παρέλθηι τῶν τροπικῶν, καὶ ἀπόλλυται, εἰ μέθ' ἑτέρου εὑρεθήσεται· ἐάν τις ὑπόσχεσις γένηται, οὐ πληροῦται · οἱ ὄνειροι |64 Heeg ψευδεῖς· οὐδὲ ἰατρεύει ἰατρός· ὑγρὰ οὐκ ὠφελεῖ· ἢ ἄλλος πληροῖ τὸ ἔργον· οὐδὲ γυναίκαις ἱστοῦ κατάρχεσθαι ὠφελεῖ· ἀποφυγών τις τῆν πατρίδαν πάλιν ἐπιστρέφει· βεβαίου γὰρ πράγματος μὴ κατάρχου τοῖς τροπικοῖς ζωιδίοις.

“From the Fixed circle of twelve divisions of Orpheus: On Beginnings

“a) On the zodiacal signs of the solstices:

“If the zodiacal signs of the solstices are ascending, do not travel: for it is difficult and the slowest, without favorable circumstances; and friends will produce hatred; but they will become friends once more; it is necessary to sow and to plant; you should not lay down foundations; be ready to give a security deposit; those who fall sick by the zodiacal signs of the solstices will be resuscitated or the misfortune will be dissolved on the seventh day; but if the day one takes the sickbed comes after the period from the solstices into those zodiacal signs which are permanently influential, it brings on death; you must not go out on an expedition or wage war; if someone flees, there could be pillaging; where so long as the Moon should be in the same zodiacal sign, you will find it quickly; but if you pass (the zodiacal signs) of the solstices, it is also destroyed, if it is found with that of another; if a promise comes to be, it is not fulfilled; the dreams are false; the doctor does not cure; liquids do not help; perhaps another completes the matter; it is not advantageous to women to begin the work of the loom; one who has fled from his homeland turns back; indeed, do not begin a steadfast matter of consequence during the zodiacal signs of the solstices.”

(trans. by the author)

b) Περὶ δισώμων <ζωιδίων>

τῶν δισώμων ζωιδίων ὡροσκοπούντων μηδέποτε ἀγοράζηις· δόλον γὰρ ἔχει ἡ πρᾶσις· ἢ νόσος ἢ ἕτερα πρόκειται. οἱ ἐν δισώμοις γενόμενοι γάμοι εἰς μοιχείαν τρέπονται· καὶ πολλαὶ μάχαι καὶ ὀδύναι τρέφονται τοῖς τοιούτοις γάμοις· εἴ τις φυγὼν τοῖς δισώμοις πιασθῆι, καὶ πάλιν φυγὰς γίνεται· εἴ τις ὑπεσχέθη ἵνα δώσηι μισθόν, οὐ δώσει ὅσον εἶπεν· αἱ δὲ χάριτες καὶ αἱ δωρεαὶ καλαὶ ἔσονται. φυτεύειν καὶ ὄρνισιν ἐπιτιθέναι ὠιά. ἡ δὲ κατάκλισις πάλιν πυρετὸν φέρει· καὶ ὑποστραφῆι τὸ νόσημα· ἢ ἐν καλῶι ἢ ἐν κακῶι πείσεις διπλασιάζει. καλὸν καὶ ὁδοῦ κατάρχεσθαι· εἰ δέ τις |65 Heeg ἀποθάνηι ἐν δισώμοις, μέλλει καὶ ἀποθανεῖν καὶ <εἰ> ἐν δισώμοις τις νοσήσει, νοσήσουσι καὶ ἕτεροι <ἐν> τῶι οἴκωι ἐκείνωι· νίκη ἐν δισώμοις, εἶτα δὲ κακὰ <. . . . .> διπλασιάζονται γάρ.

παιδευταῖς καὶ ἰατροῖς μανθάνειν καλὸν <εἰς> τὰ δίσωμα.

“b) On the double-bodied* <zodiacal signs>

“Should the double-bodied signs be in the ascendant, never go to the marketplace: for the sale holds the treachery; or sickness or other (miseries) are set before you; marriages which come to be in the double-bodied zodiacal signs turn into adultery; and much contention and distress are increased by marriages such as these; if he who has taken flight is laid hold of (i.e. arrested) during the double-bodied zodiacal signs, he becomes a refugee again; if someone has promised to give recompense, he will not give as much as he said; but favors and gifts will be beautiful. And you need to plant trees for the birds to lay eggs. Lying down brings fever anew; and the disease returns; double the susceptibilities for good or bad. It is good to commence a voyage; if someone should die during the double-bodied signs, another is also destined to die, and if someone gets sick during the double-bodied signs, others will also get sick in that house; victory in the double-bodied signs, but then evils, in fact, they double. For teachers and healers it is good to learn about the double-bodied zodiacal signs.”

(trans. by the author)

*The double-bodied (bicorporeal) zodiacal signs are Gemini, Pisces, and Sagittarius. Each one of these signs seems to refer to two different entities: Gemini is the twins, Pisces is the two fish, and Sagittarius is the Centaur, both human and animal.

c) Περὶ στερεῶν ζωιδίων

τῶν στερεῶν ζωιδίων ὡροσκοπούντων αἱ κτήσεις καὶ ἀγορασίαι βέβαιοί εἰσιν. ἐν στερεοῖς δεῖ γυναῖκα λαμβάνειν καὶ τὰ πράγματα αὐτῆς, τέχνην καὶ ἔργον, ἄρχεσθαι [οὐ] συμφέρει· πληροῦνται γὰρ αἱ βουλαί. ὁ κλέπτης εὐχερῶς εὑρήσεται· ἀποδημεῖν δὲ βέβαιόν ἐστιν· ὁ δὲ ἐχθρὸς γενόμενος οὐ φιλιοῦται· αἱ δὲ κρίσεις βέβαιοί εἰσιν· ἢ γὰρ θάνατον φέρει ἢ μῆκος νόσου ἢ δι’ ἑβδομάδος λυθήσεται ἡ νόσος· δεσμοὶ ἐν στερεοῖς κακοί· ὁ γὰρ ὀργισθεὶς οὐ μεταβάλλεται· ἐάν τις αἰτήσηι χρήματα, οὐ δίδοται αὐτῶι. λόγων καὶ μουσικῆς δεῖ ἄρχεσθαι ἐν τοῖς στερεοῖς· ὁ δὲ δανειζόμενος μόλις ἀποδίδωσι· διδάσκεσθαι δὲ γράμματα καλὸν <καὶ> φίλιας ποιεῖν· μεταβάλλει δὲ τὰ τροπικὰ καὶ ποιεῖ μάχας ἐν αὐτοῖς. |66 Heeg ὡσαύτως καὶ ἡ Σελήνη τὰ προειρημένα ζώιδια διερχομένη ταῦτα δηλοῖ ἅπερ καὶ ὁ ὡροσκοπῶν ἐσήμανεν.

“c) On the permanently influential zodiacal signs

“When the permanently influential zodiacal signs are ascending, possessions and purchases are secure. During the permanently influential signs, one stands in need to take a wife and her affairs, a skill, and a job; it is not useful to be first; in fact, your designs are accomplished. The thief will easily find (something to steal); but to be abroad is safe; and the enemy, having become so, does not become a friend; and outcomes are certain: for either one suffers death or a long disease or the disease will be undone in a week; the bonds in the permanently influential zodiacal signs are pernicious; for he who grows angry is not able to change; if someone should ask for property, it is not given to him. There is need to begin (the study of) reasonings and music during the permanently influential zodiacal signs; he who has loaned money only just barely repays it; it is good to learn the letters and to make friends; it changes the zodiacal signs of the solstices and makes battles in them. |66 Heeg And in a like manner, the Moon, passing through the zodiacal signs spoken of beforehand, shows what the ascendant has also indicated.”

(trans. by the author)

Josef Heeg Die Angeblichen Orphischen Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι (Inaugural Dissertation) pp. 63-67.

I have taken care here selecting the fragment Ἐκ τῶν Ἄμμωνος καταρχῶν as published in Maximi et Ammonis by Arthur Ludwich, 1877, p. 53 with Maximus’ (of Ephesus) Περὶ καταρχῶν, because many things agree with the Orphics. On the individual verses see Josef Heeg in the notes.

I. ἐν τροπικοῖς οὔτ’ ἂρ γαμέειν καλὸν οὔτε γάμοιο

μνηστείην ἐρατὴν τελέειν, οὐ κτήσιος ὠνήν·

μηδὲ δαημοσύνην τέχνης τινὸς ἄρχεο τῆμος.

εἰ δὲ καὶ ἄλλο τι πρᾶγμα θέλεις μίμνειν ἐπὶ δηρόν,

μὴ σύγε τοῦτ’ ἔρξηις τροπικοῖς Μήνης ἐνεούσης· 5

πάντα γὰρ ἐν τροπικοῖσι παλίντροπα ἐκτελέθουσι,

καὶ χρησμοὶ καὶ ὄνειροι ψεύδοντ' ἐν τροπικοῖσι.

ῥηιδιως δ’ ὁ λαβὼν καὶ ἀσπασίως ἀποτείσει.

πλώειν δ’ εἰς ξείνην καὶ ὁδεύειν ἢν ἐθέληισθα,

ἐν τροπικοῖς κέλομαι· νόστος δέ τοι ἔσσεται ὠκύς, 10

καὶ εἰς οἶκον ἴθι τῆμος ξείνης ἀπὸ γαίης.

ἢν δὲ φύγηι θεράπων κακομήχανος ἐν τροπικοῖσιν,

ἂψ εἰς οἶκον ἄνακτος ἐλεύσεται οὐδ’ ὑπαλύξει·

κλέψας δ' ἐν τροπικοῖσιν ἁλίσκεται οὐδέ τε λήσει.

I. “In the (zodiacal signs of the) solstices, it is neither good to marry nor execute

the delightful wooing for marriage, nor buying of property;

and you must not then begin the skill of any art.

But if you also wish any other thing of consequence to remain for long,

you should not do this when the Moon goes through the solstices, 5

for all in the (zodiacal signs of the) solstices arises exactly contrary (to your expectations),

and oracles and dreams are liars in the solstices.

And he who has seized something will easily and gladly repay it.

And if you should wish to sail to a foreign land and travel,

I urge you (to do so) during the solstices; the journey will be quick, 10

go then to the house of a stranger by land.

If a pernicious servant should take flight during the solstices,

he will return back again to the master’s house and will not escape;

he who has stolen during the solstices is seized and will not escape notice.”

(trans. by the author)

II. ἐν στερεοῖς ζώιοις ξείνην εἰς γαῖαν ἐπειχθεὶς 15

δηρὸν ἐκεῖ μενέεις, καί τοι νόστος βραδύς ἐστιν.

ἀρξαμένη δὲ νόσος στερεοῖς κακή· οὐδὲ γὰρ ὦκα

παύεται, ἀλλὰ μένει τε νόσος καὶ πολλάκις ἄνδρας

ὤλεσεν, εἰ μή τις Μήνην θεὸς εἴσιδεν ἐσθλός.

II. “During the zodiacal signs of permanent influence, having been driven into a foreign land

you will tarry there long, and the return home is slow.

A sickness which begins in the signs of permanent influence is severe; for it does not quickly

recede, but the sickness tarries and often men

perished, except a noble God saw the Moon.”

(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.

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