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

SUMMARY: This fragment, from the Byzantine Christian writer John Galenus the Deacon, contains quotations which he claims are from the Little Crater of Orpheus.


297. (Abel 160-162) Ἰωάννης Διάκονος Γαληνός (John Galenus the Deacon, Pediasmus) [Karl Krumbacher Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur2 p. 557] about Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 943 (Thomas Gaisford Poetæ Minores Græci II 604, 3; Natalis Comes [Natale Conti] Mythologiae Ven. 1568, 47; Hans Flach Glossen und Scholien zur Hesiodischen Theogonie p. 360):


ὅτι δὲ καλῶς ἡμεῖς ἐξελαβόμεθα τὸν μὲν Ἄρην εἰς τὸν πόλεμον, τὸν δὲ Διόνυσον εἰς τὸν οἶνον, τὸν δὲ Ποσειδῶνα εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, τὸν δ᾽ Ἥφαιστον εἰς τὸ πῦρ καὶ ἄλλα ἄλλως, μαρτυρεῖ καὶ ἐν τῶι μικροτέρωι Κρατῆρι ὁ Ὀρφεὺς τάδε λέγων·


Ἑρμῆς δ' ἑρμηνεὺς τῶν πάντων ἄγγελός ἐστι,   a

Νύμφαι ὕδωρ, πῦρ Ἥφαιστος, σῖτος Δημήτηρ,

ἡ δὲ θάλασσα Ποσειδάων μέγας ἠδ' Ἐνοσίχθων·

καὶ πόλεμος μὲν Ἄρης, εἰρήνη δ' ἔστ' Ἀφροδίτη.

οἶνος, τὸν φιλέουσι θεοὶ θνητοί τ' ἄνθρωποι,   5

ὅν τε βροτοῖς εὗρεν λυπῶν κηλήτορα πασῶν

ταυρογενὴς Διόνυσος ἐϋφροσύνην πόρε θνητοίς

ἡδίστην πάσηισί τ' ἐπ' εἰλαπίνηισι πάρεστι,

καὶ Θέμις ἥπερ ἅπασι θεμιστεύει τὰ δίκαια,

Ἥλιος ὃν καλέουσιν Ἀπόλλωνα κλυτότοξον,   10

Φοῖβον ἑκηβελέτην μάντιν πάντων ἑκάεργον,

ἰητῆρα νόσων Ἀσκληπιόν. ἓν τάδε πάντα.


ὅτι δὲ καὶ ἐκ τῆς Μνημοσύνης αἱ Μοῦσαι γεννῶνται καὶ ὅτι ὁ Ζεὺς καὶ αἰθὴρ λέγεται, ἄκουε τοῦ εἰρημένου Ὀρφέως·


Ζεὺς δέ τε πάντων ἐστὶ θεὸς πάντων τε κεραστής,   b

πνεύμασι συρίζων φωναῖσί τε ἀερομίκτοις.


ἦ γὰρ οὐχὶ δῆλός ἐστι τὸν αἰθέρα καλῶν οὕτω·


ταυτὸ καὶ ἁρμονία Μουσῶν τά τε ὄργανα πάντων   c

Μνημοσύνη πάντων πρῶτον πόρεν οὔτ ̓ ἀνεφάνθη·

ἀλλὰ χρόνος λήθηι κατεχρήσατο καὶ κατέκρυψε.

νῦν δὲ τέχναι τε λόγοι τε νόμοι θ' ὅσα τ᾽ ἔργα τέτυκται,

πάντα διὰ μνήμην διασώιζεται ἀνθρώποισιν.


ἔχεις ταύτας τὰς χρήσεις τῶν ὀνομάτων τῆς μεταλήψεως οὐκ ἐκ ποιητοῦ τοῦ τυχόντος ἀλλ' ἐκ σοφοῦ καὶ χρόνωι προήκοντος, ὥστε μὴ τερατολογεῖν ἡμᾶς οἴου, ὦ τέκνον.



“That we rightly relate Árîs to war, Diónysos to wine, Poseidóhn to the sea, Íphaistos to fire, these and other (deities), Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) also bears witness in the Little Kratír, saying the following things:


‘Ærmís is the interpreter and messenger of all,   a

the Nymphai (Νύμφαι) water, fire Íphaistos, grain Dîmítîr,

great Poseidóhn: both the sea and the Earth-shaker;

and war Árîs, but peace is Aphrodítî.

Wine, which Gods and mortal men love,   5

that discovered the enchanter of all miseries to mortal men,

bull-born Diónysos gave joy to mortals,

which is pleasant and present at all banquets,

and Thǽmis who declares justice to all,

the Sun who they call Apóllôn the renowned archer,   10

ready-to-shoot Phívos, seer of all, far-shooting,

Asklîpiós healer of maladies. All these are one.’


“Considering that the Mousai are also begotten from Mnîmosýnî and that Zefs (Ζεὺς) is also called aithír (αἰθὴρ), hear Orphefs mentioned previously:


‘Zefs is both the God of everything and the one who mixes,   b

hissing with winds and voices mixing in the air.’


“For in truth it is not evident that you invoke the aithír in this way:


         ‘The same is also for the harmony of the Mousai, and all their instruments   c

which Mnîmosýnî offered, and had not revealed;

but time borrowed and concealed these with forgetfulness.

But now the arts, speeches, laws, and works that have been made,

everything is preserved for men through memory.’


“You have these uses of the substitution of names, not from a chance poet, but from a wise one and who came before us in time, so you must not suppose we make up these marvels.”

(trans. by the author)


Herm. XXVIII; Christian Lobeck Aglaophamus I pp. 537. 731; Otto Kern l. l. 389; Otto Gruppe Suppl. 735.


Compare section a verse 1 to ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 28 Ἑρμοῦ verse 6 ἑρμηνεῦ πάντων “interpreter of everything.” Vs. 2 ss. is suggestive of Empedocles v. Kern 389. Νύμφαι ὕδωρ “the Water Nymphs” Antigonus of Carystus Palatine Anthology IX 406, 3: κεῖμαι δ᾽ ἐν Νύμφαις, κείναις φίλος, οὐδὲ Λυαίωι “I lie among the Nymphs, a friend to them, but not to Dionysos” (cf. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff Antigonos von Karystos p. 169); Leo Bloch in Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie vol. 3 p. 504. Compare verses 7 and 8 to Orphic fragment 207 on Bacchus: καίπερ ἐόντι νέωι καὶ νηπίωι εἰλαπιναστῆι. “Tho’ young the God, and but an infant guest” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820). Verse 12 ἓν τάδε πάντα “all things are the one” to Orphic fragments 167 a 4. and 239 and passages gathered together by Christian Lobeck in Aglaophamus I 462; Otto Weinreich Neue Urkund. sur Sarapis-Religion 17. 24. Compare b 1 to ὕμνος Ὀρφέως 11. Πανός verse 12 ἀληθὴς Ζεὺς ὁ κεράστης “truthful horned Zeus.” For c 2 see Orphic fr. 203 about Μνημώ (Μνημοσύνη) “Memory.” 


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