ORPHIC FRAGMENT 29 - OTTO KERN

ORPHIC FRAGMENT 29 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: This fragment consists of several quotations with various ideas about the beginning of the universe, as seen from the Argonaftiká (Ἀργοναυτικὰ), both the Orphic and that of Apollónios Ródios (Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος), and ideas of Æmbædoklís (Ἐμπεδοκλῆς), and Vergilius.

29. (35) Ἀργοναυτικὰ Ἀπολλωνίου Ῥοδίου I 494:

ἂν δὲ καὶ Ὀρφεὺς 495

λαιῆι ἀνασχόμενος κίθαριν πείραζεν ἀοιδῆς.

ἤειδεν δ᾽ ὡς γαῖα καὶ οὐρανὸς ἠδὲ θάλασσα,

τὸ πρὶν ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλοισι μιῆι συναρηρότα μορφῆι,

νείκεος ἐξ ὀλοοῖο διέκριθεν ἀμφὶς ἕκαστα·

ἠδ᾽ ὡς ἔμπεδον αἰὲν ἐν αἰθέρι τέκμαρ ἔχουσιν

ἄστρα σεληναίη τε καὶ ἠελίοιο κέλευθοι· 500

οὔρεά θ᾽ ὡς ἀνέτειλε, καὶ ὡς ποταμοὶ κελάδοντες

αὐτῆισιν νύμφηισι καὶ ἑρπετὰ πάντ᾽ ἐγένοντο.

ἤειδεν δ᾽ ὡς πρῶτον Ὀφίων Εὐρυνόμη τε

Ὠκεανὶς νιφόεντος ἔχον κράτος Οὐλύμποιο·

ὥς τε βίηι καὶ χερσὶν ὁ μὲν Κρόνωι εἴκαθε τιμῆς, 505

ἡ δὲ Ῥέηι, ἔπεσον δ᾽ ἐνὶ κύμασιν Ὠκεανοῖο·

οἱ δὲ τέως μακάρεσσι θεοῖς Τιτῆσιν ἄνασσον,

ὄφρα Ζεὺς ἔτι κοῦρος, ἔτι φρεσὶ νήπια εἰδώς

Δικταῖον ναίεσκεν ὑπὸ σπέος, οἱ δέ μιν οὔπω

γηγενέες Κύκλωπες ἐκαρτύναντο κεραυνῶι, 510

βροντῆι τε στεροπῆι τε· τὰ γὰρ Διὶ κῦδος ὀπάζει.

“And Orpheus lifted his lyre in his left hand and made essay to sing. He sang how the earth, the heaven and the sea, once mingled together in one form, after deadly strife were separated each from other; and how the stars and the moon and the paths of the sun ever keep their fixed place in the sky; and how the mountains rose, and how the resounding rivers with their nymphs came into being and all creeping things. And he sang how first of all Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of Ocean, held the sway of snowy Olympus, and how through strength of arm one yielded his prerogative to Kronos and the other to Rhea, and how they fell into the waves of Ocean; but the other two meanwhile ruled over the blessed Titan-Gods, while Zeus, still a child and with the thoughts of a child, dwelt in the Dictaean cave; and the earthborn Cyclopes had not yet armed him with the bolt, with thunder and lightning; for these things give renown to Zeus.”

(trans. R. C. Seaton, 1912)

E scholiis Laurentiani notanda sunt:

496 τὴν πρώτην σύγχυσιν τῶν στοιχείων ἄιδειν βούλεται, ὡς ἔκ τινος φιλονεικίας τὸ ἴδιον ἕκαστον μετέσχεν καὶ τάξιν ἔλαβεν. οἰκεία δὲ καὶ τοῖς ὑποκειμένοις πράγμασιν ἡ ὠιδή, ὅτι πρέπον ἐστὶ τῆς μάχης παύσασθαι καὶ εἰς τὴν οἰκείαν διάθεσιν ἐπανιέναι.

498 Ἐμπεδοκλῆς φησιν ὅτι συγκεχυμένων ἁπάντων τὸ πρότερον νεῖκος καὶ φιλία παραπεµφθέντα τὴν διάκρισιν ἐποιήσαντο, χωρὶς δὲ τούτων οὐδὲν δύναται γενέσθαι· ὧι ἕπεται, ὡς εἰκός, καὶ Ἀπολλώνιος. λαβὼν παρὰτοῦ ποιητοῦ λέγοντος·

‘ἀλλ’ ὑμεῖς <μὲν> πάντες ὕδωρ καὶ γαῖα γένοισθε’. (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 7.99)

καὶ Ζήνων (fr. 104 Arn., cf. 105) δὲ τὸ παρ’ Ἡσιόδωι (Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 116) Χάος ὕδωρ εἶναί φησιν, οὗ συνιζάνοντος ἰλὺν γίνεσθαι, ἧς πηγνυμένης ἡ γῆ στερεμνιοῦται· τρίτον δὲ Ἔρωτα γεγονέναι καθ’ Ἡσίοδον (vs. 120), ἵνα τὸ πῦρ παραστήσηι·πυρωδέστερον γὰρ πάθος ὁ Ἔρως. Ἀναξαγόρας (Diels I3 391 n. 72) δὲ μύδρον εἶναι τὸν ἥλιόν φησιν, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα γίνεσθαι. διὸ καὶ Εὐριπίδης (Ὀρέστης Εὐριπίδου 983. cf. Βίοι καὶγνῶμαι τῶν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ εὐδοκιμησάντων Διογένους Λαερτίου II 10) γνώριμος αὐτῶι γεγονώς φησι χρυσέαν βῶλον τὸν ἥλιον εἶναι. τὴν δὲ σελήνην ὁ αὐτὸς Ἀναξαγόρας (Diels 1. 1. 392 n. 77) χώραν πλατεῖαν ἀποφαίνει, ἐξ ἧς δοκεῖ ὁ Νεμεαῖος λέων πεπτωκέναι.

496 “He sings about the first mixture of the elements, how from the love of strife every thing shared in and occupied its own rank. And the song is also appropriate to the underlying acts; it is clearly seen that they made an end of the battle and return to their appropriate rank.

498 “Æmbædoklís (Ἐμπεδοκλῆς) says that when all has been commingled, first, strife and love, having passed through (this process), created separation, but apart from these (i.e. strife and love), nothing is strong enough to come into being; this follows, so it would seem, (in the thought of) Apollónios (Ἀπολλώνιος). For Thalís (Θαλῆς) conceived water as first of all, having accepted the sayings of the poet:

‘But indeed, may you all come to be water and earth.’ (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 7.99)

And Zínôn (Ζήνων) says that in Isíodos (Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 116), Kháos (Χάος) is (intended to mean) water (ὕδωρ), becoming mud when settled, and from this congealing to a solid. And third, Ǽrôs (Ἔρως) came into being, according to Isíodos (vs. 120), in order to stand beside fire; for fiery passion is Ǽrôs. And Anaxagóras says that the sun is a red-hot mass of iron, from which all comes to be. Wherefore, famous Evripídîs (Ὀρέστης Εὐριπίδου 983) producing (his play),

says that the sun is a golden lump. And Anaxagóras himself declares the moon is a broad space, from which it is thought the Nemean lion had fallen.”

(trans. by the author)

Vs. 496-502 Empedoclei sunt (v. Schol.), v. etiam Tzetz. ad Iliad. 41, 21 Herm. Melanippae Euripideae fr. 484 N. (vs. 2-4) (v. Dieterich 101) allato:

καθὰ φησὶν Ὀρφεὺς τε ὁ παλαιὸς καὶ Ἡσίοδος, Ἐμπεδοκλῆς τε σὺν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἀκραγαντῖνος καὶ Ἀναξαγόρας ὁ Κλαζομένιος καὶ ὁ τοῦ Ἀναξαγόρου τουτουὶ μαθητὴς Εὐριπίδης, οὗτινός εἰσιν ἔπη καὶ οἱ τανῦν ἐκτεθέντες μοι ἴαμβοί.

“Just as venerable Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) says, and Isíodos (Ἡσίοδος), Æmbædoklís (Ἐμπεδοκλῆς) Akragandínos (Ἀκραγαντῖνος), together with Anaxagóras of Klazomænai (Κλαζομεναί). And from Anaxagóras, Evripídîs (Εὐριπίδης) acquired this, with that, the words came about, now set out in iambic verse.” (trans. by the author)

Cf. σχόλιον Συριανοῦ τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά τοῦ Ἀριστοτέλους B 1 p. 996 a 4 (11, 35 Kr.):

ἐπεὶ καὶ Πυθαγόρειος ὢν Ἐμπεδοκλῆς πῶς ἂν τὰς Ὀρφικὰς ἤ τὰς Πυθαγορείους ἀρχὰς ἠθέτησεν

“Since the Pythagorean Æmbædoklís (Ἐμπεδοκλῆς) by any means denied Orphic or Pythagorean origins.” (trans. by the author)

Imitantur praeter Ovid. Metam. X 145 et Apollinar. Sidon. c. VI 7 (v. nr. 104; cf. Lobeck I 508, Max Mayer 1. 1.) Apollonium Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά 419, sed omittunt Empedoclea et immiscent Hesiodeis vere Orphica ut e. g. 424 πολύμητιν Ἔρωτα et 429 anthropogoniam, de qua vide s. ΙΕΡΟΙ ΛΟΓΟΙ:

αὐτὰρ ἔγωγε μετ’ αὐτὸν ἑλὼν φόρμιγγα λίγειαν

ἐκ στόματος μελίγηρυν ἱεὶς ἀνέπεμπον ἀοιδήν. 420

πρῶτα μὲν ἀρχαίου Χάεος μελανήφατον ὕμνον,

ὡς ἐπάμειψε φύσεις, ὥς τ’ οὐρανὸς ἐς πέρας ἦλθε,

γῆς τ’ εὐρυστέρνου γένεσιν, πυθμένας τε θαλάσσης·

πρεσβύτατόν τε καὶ αὐτοτελῆ πολύμητιν Ἔρωτα,

ὅσσα τ’ ἔφυσεν ἅπαντα, διακριθὲν ἄλλο ἀπ’ ἄλλου, 425

καὶ Κρόνον αἰνολέτην, ὥς τ’ ἐς Δία τερπικέραυνον

ἤλυθεν ἀθανάτων μακάρων βασιλήϊος ἀρχή·

μέλπον θ’ ὁπλοτέρων μακάρων γένεσίν τε κρίσιν τε·

καὶ Βριμοῦς, Βάκχοιο, Γιγάντων τ’ ἔργ’ ἀΐδηλα.

ἀνθρώπων τ’ ὀλιγοδρανέων πολυεθνέα φύτλην 430

ἤειδον. στεινὸν δὲ διὰ σπέος ἤλυθεν αὐδὴ

ἡμετέρης χέλυος μελιχρὴν ὄπα γηρυούσης.

“But composing myself, I took up the clear-toned phórminx (φόρμιγξ),

yearning to deliver melodious song with my voice.

First indeed, (I sang out) the shadowy hymn of ancient Kháos (Χάος),

and how it came to exchange natures, and how the sky came to its limit.

And (I sang) of the origin of the broad-breasted earth, and the depth of the sea;

and ancient shrewd Ǽrôs (Ἔρως), complete in himself,

and all that he generated, separated other from other.

And (I sang of) Krónos (Κρόνος) the terrible destroyer, and how thundering Zefs (Ζεύς)

came (to hold) the royal command of the happy deathless ones.

And I sang of the younger happy Gods, both of their origin and characteristics;

and Vrimó (Βριμώ), Vákkhos (Βάκχος), and the annihilating deeds of the Earthborn (Γίγαντες).

And I sang of the multi-ethnic generation of powerless men.

My tale rose through the narrow cavern,

singing with honey-sweet voice with my phórminx!”

(trans. by the author)

Cf. ad 428 Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά 17:

βριμοῦς τ’ εὐδυνάτοιο γονάς ἠδ’ ἔργ’ ἀΐδηλα

Γηγενέων, οἳ λυγρὸν ἀπ’ Οὐρανοῦ ἐστάξαντο*

σπέρμα γονῆς τὸ τε πρόσθεν ὅθεν γένος ἐξεγένοντο

θνητῶν οἳ κατὰ γαῖαν ἀπείριτον αἰὲν ἔασι test. nr. 224 et Mayer 1. 1. 237.

“Of Vrimó (Βριμώ) and her powerful offspring and the annihilating deeds

of the Earthborn, who, from (the blood of) Ouranós dripped the unhappy

seed of their family, and from whom afore was born the race

of mortals, who exist forever upon the immeasurable earth.”

(trans. by the author)

*At least one manuscript has a comma at this point, but Kern’s manuscript does not, nor is it in the manuscript used by Siegfried Pyrrhus Petrides (Orphica Vol. Two: Orpheus’ Argonautica, Athens 2005, p. 40). There are other punctuation discrepancies from this quotation in various manuscripts, as well as inconsistencies beyond punctuation. To give some examples, in one manuscript (Orphica, Nova Editio Accurata in VSVM Praelectionum Academicarum et Schorarum, Leipzig, 1818, p. 3), the word before the above-mentioned comma, ἐστάξαντο, is ἐκμάξαντο, and, like Kern and Petrides, there is no comma after the word, but there is a comma after γονῆς, missing from Kern. (Cf. also ORPHICA - Procli Hymni – Musaei: Carmen de Hero et Leandro – Callimachi: Hymni et Epigrammata, Leipzig, 1824, p. 6, finding exactly the same.)

29 a. (248) Scholia Danielis in Publius Vergilius Maro Bucolics IV 10 p. 46, 3 Nigidius de diis lib. IV:

quidam deos et eorum genera temporibus et aetatibus <dispescunt>, inter quos et Orpheus primum regnum Saturni, deinde Iovis, tum Neptuni, inde Plutonis; nonnulli etiam, ut magi, aiunt, Apollinis fore regnum: in quo videndum est, ne ardorem, sive illa ecpyrosis appellanda est, dicant.

“Some divide the Gods and their races by seasons and generations, among whom indeed Orpheus (declares) the first rule to be that of Saturn (Κρόνος), next Jove (Ζεύς), then Neptune (Ποσειδῶν), after that Pluto (Πλούτων); some even yet affirm, as the magi, that the rule shall be of Apollo: in which it can be perceived, not as heat, but rather it is addressed as ecpyrosis, so they say.” (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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