ORPHIC FRAGMENT 56
For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.
Orphic fragment 56 consists of two somewhat lengthy narratives, both of which have been attributed to Klímîs Róhmîs (Clêmês Rômês, Κλήμης Ῥώμης), Clement of Rome. The two passages are no longer thought to have been written by Clement. It is not known who actually wrote these texts, therefore, their authorship is described as "pseudo-Clement." Clement was the first bishop of Rome after Peter the Apostle, although this too is disputed. He is a character in both narratives, both of which contain ideas from a theogony thought of as Orphic.
The first quotation comes from a Greek text entitled Omilía (Homilia or Homilies, Ὁμιλίᾳ). It presents ideas purported to be the view of Apíôn (Ἀπίων), most likely the grammarian from Alexandria (25 BCE – 46 CE approx.) contemporary with Clement. (See Orphic fragment 55 for the beginning of Apíôn's exposition.)
The second quotation comes from a Latin text entitled Recognitiones. When doing research, it may appear that this book was written by Rufinus Aquileiensis (344/345–411 CE), but he was simply the translator. The original Greek text has been lost. This narrative is presented as Clement speaking at the behest of Peter the Apostle, with the aim of mocking the ideas of the Greeks.
The present author was able to find the Greek text for Ὁμιλίᾳ fairly easily online, but the Latin text for Recognitiones cannot be found (except as photographed pages of books). The passage had to be typed out manually from Otto Kern's Orphicorum fragmenta of 1922. With the publication of this page, it is now available to whoever needs it.
Orphic fragment 56. (38) Apion quoted in Ὁμιλίᾳ Κλήμεντος Ῥώμης (pseudo-Clement) 6.5-12 (Migne 2, 200; P. de Lagarde Clementina 75, 3) Cf. versionem Syriacam Theodori bar Chōnī indicatam fr. 55.
(trans. Thomas Smith, 1886):
5. - Kronos and Rhea Explained.
Κρόνον οὖν τὸν χρόνον μοι νόει, τὴν δὲ Ῥέαν τὸ ῥέον τῆς ὑγρᾶς οὐσίας, ὅτι χρόνῳ φερομένη ἡ ὕλη ἅπασα ὥσπερ ὠὸν τὸν πάντα περιέχοντα σφαιροειδῆ ἀπεκύησεν οὐρανόν· ὅπερ κατ’ ἀρχὰς τοῦ γονίμου μυελοῦ πλῆρες ἦν ὡς ἂν στοιχεῖα καὶ χρώματα παντοδαπὰ ἐκτεκεῖν δυνάμενον, καὶ ὅμως παντοδαπὴν ἐκ μιᾶς οὐσίας τε καὶ χρώματος ἑνὸς ἔφερε τὴν φαντασίαν. ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν τῷ τοῦ ταὼ γεννήματι ἓν μὲν τοῦ ὠοῦ χρῶμα δοκεῖ, δυνάμει δὲ μυρία ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ τοῦ μέλλοντος τελεσφορεῖσθαι χρώματα, οὕτως καὶ τὸ ἐξ ἀπείρου ὕλης ἀποκυηθὲν ἔμψυχον ὠὸν ἐκ τῆς ὑποκειμένης καὶ ἀεὶ ῥεούσης ὕλης κινούμενον παντοδαπὰς ἐκφαίνει τροπάς. ἔνδοθεν γὰρ τῆς περιφερείας ζῷόν τι ἀρρενόθηλυ εἰδοποιεῖται προνοίᾳ τοῦ ἐνόντος ἐν αὐτῷ θείου πνεύματος, ὃν Φάνητα Ὀρφεὺς καλεῖ, ὅτι αὐτοῦ φανέντος τὸ πᾶν ἐξ | αὐτοῦ ἔλαμψεν, τῷ φέγγει τοῦ διαπρεπεστάτου τῶν στοιχείων πυρὸς ἐν τῷ ὑγρῷ τελεσφορουμένου. καὶ οὐκ ἄπιστον, ὅτι καὶ ἐπὶ λαμπυρίδων δείγματος ἕνεκα ἡ φύσις ἡμῖν ὁρᾶν ὑγρὸν φῶς ἐδωρήσατο.
"Now you must think of Kronos as time (Χρόνος), and Rhea as the flowing (Rheon) of the watery substance. For the whole body of matter was borne about for some Time, before it brought forth, like an egg, the sphere-like, all-embracing heaven (Οὐρανός), which at first was full of productive marrow, so that it was able to produce out of itself elements and colours of all sorts, while from the one substance and the one colour it produced all kinds of forms. For as a peacock's egg seems to have only one colour, while potentially it has in it all the colours of the animal that is to be, so this living egg, conceived out of infinite matter, when set in motion by the underlying and ever-flowing matter, produces many different forms. For within the circumference a certain living creature, which is both male and female, is formed by the skill of the indwelling divine spirit. This Orpheus calls Phanes, because when it appeared (Phaneis) the universe shone forth from it, with the lustre of that most glorious of the elements, fire, perfected in moisture. Nor is this incredible, since in glowworms nature gives us to see a moist light."
6. - Phanes and Pluto.
τὸ μὲν οὖν πρωτοσύστατον ὠὸν ὑποθερμανθὲν ὑπὸ τοῦ ἔσωθεν ζῴου ῥήγνυται, ἔπειτα δὲ μορφωθὲν προέρχεται ὁποῖόν τι καὶ Ὀρφεὺς λέγει
κρανίου σχισθέντος ᴗ ˗ πολυχανδέος ὠοῦ.
καὶ οὕτω μεγάλῃ δυνάμει αὐτοῦ τοῦ προεληλυθότος φανέντος, τὸ μὲν κύτος τὴν ἁρμονίαν λαμβάνει καὶ τὴν διακόσμησιν ἴσχει, αὐτὸς δὲ ὥσπερ ἐπ’ ἀκρωρείας οὐρανοῦ προκαθέζεται καὶ ἐν ἀπορρήτοις τὸν ἄπειρον περιλάμπων αἰῶνα. ἡ δὲ τοῦ κύτους ἔνδοθεν γόνιμος ὑπολειφθεῖσα ὕλη, ὡς ἐν πολλῷ τῷ χρόνῳ ὑποκειμένης ἕως φυσικῆς ὑποζέουσα ἡ θερμότης † τὰς πάντων διέκρινεν οὐσίας. τὸ μὲν γὰρ κατώτερον αὐτῆς πρῶτον ὥσπερ ὑποστάθμη ὑπὸ τοῦ βάρους εἰς τὰ κάτω ὑποκεχώρηκεν, ὃ διὰ τὴν ὁλκότητα καὶ διὰ τὸ ἐμβριθὲς καὶ πολὺ τῆς ὑποκειμένης οὐσίας πλῆθος Πλούτωνα προσηγόρευσαν, ᾅδου τε καὶ νεκρῶν βασιλέα εἶναι ἀποφηνάμενοι.
"This egg, then, which was the first substance, growing somewhat hot, was broken by the living creature within, and then there took shape and came forth something; such as Orpheus also speaks of, where he says,
'when the capacious egg was broken,' etc.
"And so by the mighty power of that which appeared (Phaneis) and came forth, the globe attained coherency, and maintained order, while it itself took its seat, as it were, on the summit of heaven, there in ineffable mystery diffusing light through endless ages. But the productive matter left inside the globe, separated the substances of all things. For first its lower part, just like the dregs, sank downwards of its own weight; and this they called Pluto from its gravity, and weight, and great quantity (Polu) of underlying matter, styling it the king of Hades and the dead."
7. - Poseidon, Zeus, and Metis.
ταύτην μὲν οὖν τὴν πρώτην καὶ πολλήν, ῥυπαρὰν καὶ τραχεῖαν οὐσίαν ὑπὸ Κρόνου, τοῦ χρόνου, καταποθῆναι λέγουσιν φυσικῶς διὰ τὴν κάτω ὑπονόστησιν αὐτῆς. μετὰ δὲ τὴν πρώτην ὑποστάθμην τὸ συρρυὲν ὕδωρ καὶ πρώτῃ ἐπιπολάσαν ὑποστάσει Ποσειδῶνα προσηγόρευσαν. τὸ δὲ λοιπὸν τρίτον τὸ καθαρώτατον καὶ κορυφαιότατον ἅτε διαυγὲς ὂν πῦρ Ζῆνα ὠνόμασαν διὰ τὴν ἐν αὐτῷ ζέουσαν φύσιν· ἀνωφερὲς γὰρ ὂν τὸ πῦρ πρὸς μὲν τὰ κάτω ὑπὸ χρόνου, τοῦ Κρόνου, οὐ κατεπόθη, ἀλλ’ (ὡς ἔφην) ἡ πυρώδης οὐσία ζωτική τε καὶ ἀνωφερὴς οὖσα εἰς αὐτὸν ἀνέπτη τὸν ἀέρα, ὃς καὶ φρονιμώτατός ἐστι διὰ τὴν καθαρότητα. τῇ οὖν ἰδίᾳ θερμότητι ὁ Ζεύς ˗˗˗ τουτέστιν ἡ ζέουσα οὐσία ˗˗˗ τὸ καταλειφθὲν ἐν τῷ ὑποκειμένῳ ὑγρῷ τὸ ἰσχνότατον καὶ θεῖον ἀνιμᾶται πνεῦμα, ὅπερ Μῆτιν ἐκάλεσαν.
"When, then, they say that this primordial substance, although most filthy and rough, was devoured by Kronos, that is, time, this is to be understood in a physical sense, as meaning that it sank downwards. And the water which flowed together after this first sediment, and floated on the surface of the first substance, they called Poseidon. And then what remained, the purest and noblest of all, for it was translucent fire, they called Zeus, from its glowing (Zeousa) nature, Now since fire ascends, this was not swallowed, and made to descend by time or Kronos; but, as I said, the fiery substance, since it has life in it, and naturally ascends, flew right up into the air, which from its purity is very intelligent. By his own proper heat, then, Zeus - that is, the glowing substance - draws up what is left in the underlying moisture, to wit, that very strong and divine spirit which they called Metis."
8. - Pallas and Hera.
κατὰ κορυφῆς δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐλθὸν τοῦ αἰθέρος καὶ συνποθὲν ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ, ὥσπερ ὑγρὸν θερμῷ μιγέν, τὸν ἀεικίνητον παλμὸν ἐνποιῆσαν γεννᾷ τὴν σύνεσιν, ἣν καὶ Παλλάδα ἐπονομάζουσιν διὰ τὸ πάλλεσθαι, τεχνικωτάτην οὖσαν φρόνησιν, ᾗ χρώμενος τὸν πάντα ἐτεχνήσατο κόσμον ὁ αἰθέριος τεχνίτης. ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ δὲ τοῦ διήκοντος Διός τοῦ θερμοτάτου αἰθέρος, ὁ ἀὴρ μέχρι τῶν ἐνταῦθα διικνεῖται τόπων, ἣν ἐπονομάζουσιν Ἥραν. καὶ ὡς δὴ τῆς τοῦ αἰθέρος καθαρωτάτης οὐσίας ὑποβεβηκυῖα, ὡς θήλεια τὴν καθαρότητα πρὸς σύγκρισιν τοῦ κρείττονος, ἀδελφὴ Διὸς κατὰ τὸ εἰκὸς ἐνομίσθη, ὡς ἐκ τῆς αὐτῆς οὐσίας γεγενημένη· γαμετὴ δὲ διὰ τὸ ὡς γυναῖκα ὑποκεῖσθαι.
"And this, when it had reached the summit of the aether, was devoured by it (moisture being mixed with heat, so to say); and causing in it that ceaseless palpitation, it begat intelligence, which they call Pallas from this palpitating (Pallesthai). And this is artistic wisdom, by which the aetherial artificer wrought out the whole world. And from all-pervading Zeus, that is, from this very hot aether, air (Aer) extends all the way to our earth; and this they call Hera. Wherefore, because it has come below the aether, which is the purest substance (just as a woman, as regards purity, is inferior), when the two were compared to see which was the better, she was rightly regarded as the sister of Zeus, in respect of her origin from the same substance, but as his spouse, as being inferior like a wife.”
(The following three chapters are not included by Kern:
9. – Artemis
παραλαμβάνεται δὲ ἡ μὲν Ἥρα πρὸς ἀέρων εὐκρασίαν, διὸ καὶ γονιμωτάτη ἐστίν· ἡ δὲ Ἀθηνᾶ, ἣν καὶ Παλλάδα λέγουσιν, διὰ τὸ ἄκρως θερμὸν γένεσίν τινος ποιῆσαι μὴ δυναμένη, παρθένος ἐνομίσθη. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Ἄρτεμις ἑρμηνευομένη, ἣν εἰς τὸν κατώτατον μυχὸν τοῦ ἀέρος παραλαμβάνουσιν, καὶ δι’ ἀκρότητα κρύους ἄγονον οὖσαν ὁμοίως παρθένον ἐκάλεσαν. Διόνυσον δὲ ὡς φρενῶν θολωτικὸν ὀνομάζουσιν τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν ἄνω τε καὶ κάτω ἀτμῶν θολερὰν καὶ μεθύουσαν σύστασιν. τὸ δὲ κατωτέρω τῆς γῆς ὕδωρ, ἓν ὂν τῇ φύσει καὶ διὰ πάντων τῶν χερσαίων πόρων διεῖρον καὶ εἰς πολλὰ διαιρούμενον (ὥσπερ συγκοπτόμενον), Ὄσιριν ἐκάλεσαν. λαμβάνουσι δὲ καὶ Ἄδωνιν εἰς ὡραίους καρπούς, Ἀφροδίτην εἰς μίξιν καὶ γένεσιν, Δήμητρα εἰς γῆν, Κόρην εἰς σπέρματα καὶ Διόνυσόν τινες εἰς ἄμπελον.
"And Hera we understand to be a happy tempering of the atmosphere, and therefore she is very fruitful; but Athena, as they call Pallas, was reckoned a virgin, because on account of the intense heat she could produce nothing. And in a similar fashion Artemis is explained: for her they take as the lowest depth of air, and so they called her a virgin, because she could not bear anything on account of the extreme cold. And that troubled and drunken composition which arises from the upper and lower vapours they called Dionysus, as troubling the intellect. And the water under the earth, which is in nature indeed one, but which flows through all the paths of earth, and is divided into many parts, they called Osiris, as being cut in pieces. And they understand Adonis as favourable seasons, Aphrodite as coition and generation, Demeter as the earth, the Girl (Proserpine) as seeds; and Dionysus some understand as the vine."
10. - All Such Stories Are Allegorical
καὶ πάντα τὰ τοιαῦτα ὁμοίως τοιαύτην τινὰ ἀλληγορίαν ἔχοντα νόει μοι· Ἀπόλλωνα δὲ ἥλιον τὸν περιπολοῦντα εἶναι νόμιζε, γονὴν ὄντα τοῦ Διός, ὃν καὶ Μίθραν ἐκάλεσαν, ἐνιαυτοῦ συμπληροῦντα περίοδον. αὗται δὲ αἱ μεταμορφώσεις τοῦ πανταχῆ διήκοντος Διὸς αἱ πολλαὶ νοείσθωσάν σοι τροπαί, τὰς δὲ μυρίας αὐτοῦ γυναῖκας ἐνιαυτοὺς ἢ γενεὰς ἐπινόει. ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ γὰρ τοῦ αἰθέρος ἡ διικνουμένη τὸν ἀέρα δύναμις ἑκάστῳ ἐνιαυτῷ καὶ γενεᾷ συνουσιάζουσα διαφόρως αὐτὸν τρέπει καὶ οὕτως γεννᾷ ἢ φθείρει τὰ ὡραῖα. καὶ παῖδες μὲν λέγονται οἱ ὡραῖοι καρποί, αἱ δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἄρρενας μίξεις αἱ κατ’ ἐνίους καιροὺς ἀκαρπίαι.
"And I must ask you to think of all such stories as embodying some such allegory. Look on Apollo as the wandering Sun (peri-polôn), a son of Zeus, who was also called Mithras, as completing the period of a year. And these said transformations of the all-pervading Zeus must be regarded as the numerous changes of the seasons, while his numberless wives you must understand to be years, or generations. For the power which proceeds from the æther and passes through the air unites with all the years and generations in turn, and continually varies them, and so produces or destroys the crops. And ripe fruits are called his children, the barrenness of some seasons being referred to unlawful unions."
11. - Clement Has Heard All This Before
Ταῦτα τοῦ Ἀππίωνος ἀλληγοροῦντος, σύννους ὢν ἐγὼ ἔδοξα τοῖς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ λεγομένοις μὴ παρακολουθεῖν, διὸ τὸν λόγον ἐγκόψας ἔφη μοι· Εἰ μὴ παρακολουθεῖς οἷς λέγω, τί καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διαλέγομαι; κἀγὼ ἀπεκρινάμην· Μή με ὑπολάμβανε ἀναισθήτως ἔχειν τῶν ὑπὸ σοῦ λεγομένων· πάνυ γὰρ αὐτὰ συνίημι, ἅτε δὴ οὐ πρῶτον αὐτῶν ἀκηκοώς. ἵνα δὲ γνῷς ὅτι οὐκ ἀγνοῶ τὰ ὑπὸ σοῦ λεγόμενα, τὰ μὲν σοὶ ῥηθέντα ἐπιτεμοῦμαι, τῶν δὲ παραλειφθέντων σοι κατὰ ἀκολουθίαν, ὡς παρ’ ἑτέρων ἤκουσα, ἀποπληρώσω τὰς ἀλληγορίας. καὶ ὁ Ἀππίων ἔφη· Ποίησον οὕτως ὡς λέγεις.
"While Apion was allegorizing in this way, I became plunged in thought, and seemed not to be following what he was saying. So he interrupted his discourse, and said to me, If you do not follow what I am saying, why should I speak at all? And I answered, Do not suppose that I do not understand what you say. I understand it thoroughly; and that the more that this is not the first time I have heard it. And that you may know that I am not ignorant of these things, I shall epitomize what you have said, and supply in their order, as I have heard them from others, the allegorical interpretations of those stories you have omitted. And Apion said: 'Do so.' "
This last chapter is included by Kern:
12. - Epitome of Apion's Explanation.
κἀγὼ (sc. Κλήμης) ἀπεκρινάμην· Παρίημι νῦν ἐπ’ ἀκριβὲς λέγειν τὸ ἐκ τῆς ἀπείρου ὕλης κατὰ ἐπιτυχίαν κράσεως ἀποκυηθὲν ἔμψυχον ὠόν, οὗ ῥαγέντος κατά τινας ἀρρενόθηλυς ἐξέθορεν Φάνης. καὶ πάντ’ ἐκεῖνα ἐπιτέμνομαι, μέχρις οὗ τὸ ῥαγὲν κύτος τὴν ἁρμονίαν ἔλαβεν, ὑπολειφθείσης αὐτοῦ μυελώδους ὕλης.
“And I answered: ‘l shall not at present speak particularly of that living egg, which was conceived by a happy combination out of infinite matter, and from which, when it was broken, the masculo-feminine Phanes leaped forth, as some say. I say little about all that, up to the point when this broken globe attained coherency, there being left in it some of its marrow-like matter.’ "
56b. Tyrannius Rufinus’ trans. of Recognitiones (pseudo-Clement) 10.17-20 (Ed. Basil. 156, Migne PG 1, 1429)
(trans. Thomas Smith, 1886):
17. – The Egg, Phanes, and the Titans.
aiunt ergo qui sapientiores sunt inter gentiles, primo omnium Chaos fuisse: hoc per multum tempus exteriores sui solidans partes, fines sibi et fundum quendam fecisse, tanquam in ovi immanis modum formamque collectum, intra quod multo nihilominus tempore, quasi intra oni testam, fotum vivificatumque esse animal quoddam; disruptoque post haec immani illo globo processisse speciem quandam hominis duplicis formae, quam illi masculofeminam vocant; hunc etiam Phaneta[m] nominarunt, ab apparendo, quia cum appa | ruisset, inquiunt, tunc etiam lux effulsit. et ex hoc dicunt progenitam esse substantiam, prudentiam, motum, coitum: ex his factum Coelum et Terram. ex Coelo sex progenitos mares, quos et Titanas vocitarunt, et sunt nomina eorum quidem qui ex Coelo orti sunt, haec: Oceanus, Coeus, Crios, Hyperion, Iapetos, Cronos, qui apud nos Saturnus nominatur. similiter et earum quae e Terra ortae sunt nomina sunt haec: Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Tethys, Phoebe.
“The wise men, then, who are among the Gentiles, say that first of all things was chaos; that this, through a long time solidifying its outer parts, made bounds to itself and a sort of foundation, being gathered, as it were, into the manner and form of a huge egg, within which, in the course of a long time, as within the shell of the egg, there was cherished and vivified a certain animal; and that afterwards, that huge globe being broken, there came forth a certain kind of man of double sex, which they call masculo-feminine. This they called Phanetas, from appearing, because when it appeared, they say, then also light shone forth. And from this, they say that there were produced substance, prudence, motion, and coition, and from these the heavens and the earth were made. From the heaven they say that six males were produced, whom they call Titans; and in like manner, from the earth six females, whom they called Titanides. And these are the names of the males who sprang from the heaven: Oceanus, Cœus, Crios, Hyperion, Iapetus, Chronos, who amongst us is called Saturn. In like manner, the names of the females who sprang from the earth are these: Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Tethys, Phoebe.”
18. – The Titans marry and Kronos devours his children.
ex his omnibus qui primus fuerat e Coelo natus, primam Terrae filiam accepit uxorem, secundus secundam et caeteri similiter per ordinem. primus ergo qui primam duxerat, propter eam deductus est deorsum; secunda vero propter eum cui nupserat, ascendit sursum; et ita singuli per ordinem facientes, manserunt in his qui eis nuptiali sorte obuenerant locis (Cf. J. Kroll Lehren d. Herm Trismeg. 237.) ex istorum coniunctionibus alios quoque innumeros asserunt progenitos. sed de illis sex maribus unus, qui dicitur Saturnus, in coniugium accepit Rheam, et cum responso quodam commonitus esset, quod qui ex ea naceretur for | tior ipso futurus esset regnoque eum depelleret, omnes qui ei nascerentur filios devorare instituit. huic ergo primus nascitur filius, quem Aiden appellarunt, qui apud nos Orcus nominatur, quem pro causis quibus supra diximus assumptum devorat pater. post hunc secundum genuit, quem Neptunum dicunt, quemque simili modo devoravit. novissimum genuit eum, quem Iovem appellant, sed hunc mater miserans Rhea, per artem devoraturo subtrahit patri, et primo quidem ne vagitus pueri innotesceret, Corybandtas quosdam cymbala fecit ac tympana percutere, ut obstrepente sonitu vagitus non audiretur infantis.
“Of all these, the first-born of the heaven took to wife the first-born of earth; the second the second, and in like manner all the rest. The first male, therefore, who had married the first female, was on her account drawn downwards; but the second female rose upwards, by reason of him to whom she was married; and so each doing in their order, remained in those places which fell to their share by the nuptial lot. From their intercourse they assert that innumerable others sprang. But of these six (Titanic) males, the one who is called Saturn (Κρόνος) received in marriage Rhea, and having been warned by a certain oracle that he who should be born of her should be more powerful than himself, and should drive him from his kingdom, he determined to devour all the sons that should be born to him. First, then, there is born to him a son called Aides, who amongst us is called Orcus (Ὅρκος); and him, for the reason we have just stated, he took and devoured. After him he begot a second son, called Neptune; and him he devoured in like manner. Last of all, he begot him whom they call Jupiter; but him his mother Rhea pitying, by stratagem withdrew from his father when he was about to devour him. And first, indeed, that the crying of the child might not be noticed, she made certain Corybantes strike cymbals and drums, that by the deafening sound the crying of the infant might not be heard.”
19. – Kronos swallows the stone, and the Three Zefs assume their rulerships.
Sed cum ex uteri imminutione intellexisset pater editum partum, expetebat ad devorandum; tune Rhea lapidem ei offerens magnum ‘hunc genui’ inquit. at ille accipiens absorbuit, et lapis devoratus eos quos primo absorbuerat filios, trusit et coëgit exire. primus ergo procedens descendit Orcus, et inferiora, hoc est inferna, occupat loca. secundus utpote illo superior super aquas detruditur, is quem Neptunum vocant. tertius qui arte matris Rheae superfuit, ab ipsa caprae superpositus in coelum emissus est.
"But when he understood from the lessening of her belly that her child was born, he demanded it, that he might devour it; then Rhea presented him with a large stone, and told him that that was what she had brought forth. And he took it, and swallowed it; and the stone, when it was devoured, pushed and drove forth those sons whom he had formerly swallowed. Therefore Orcus (Hades, ᾍδης), coming forth first, descended, and occupies the lower, that is, the infernal regions. The second, being above him...he whom they call Neptune (Ποσειδῶν), is thrust forth upon the waters. The third (Ζεὺς), who survived by the artifice of his mother Rhea, she put upon a she-goat and sent into heaven.”
20. – Conclusion.
Hactenus anilis gentilium fabula et genealogia processerit; sine fine enim est, si velim omnes generationes eorum quos deos appellant, et impia gesta proferre.
“But enough of the old wife’s fables and genealogy of the Gentiles; for it were endless if I should set forth all the generations of those whom they call Gods, and their wicked doings."
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.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.
This logo 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.
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:
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