ORPHIC FRAGMENT 76

OTTO KERN

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


SUMMARY: Phanes has four eyes which look everywhere.

76. (64) σχόλιον Ἑρμείου επὶ Φαίδρου Πλάτωνος 246e (138, 11 Couvr.):

ἐπειδὴ δὲ ὁ δωδέκατος ἀριθμὸς ἐκ <τοῦ> τελείου ἀριθμοῦ τοῦ τρίτου καὶ τοῦ γενεσιουργοῦ τοῦ τετάρτου κατὰ σύγκρασιν ἀπεγεννήθη, ὅλον τὸν τῶν θεῶν περιέχων θεῖον διάκοσμον, τοῦ δὲ τρίτου καὶ τετάρτου ἀρχαὶ μονὰς καὶ δυάς, εἴη ἂν μονὰς μὲν ὁ Αἰθήρ, δυὰς δὲ τὸ Χάος, τριὰς δὲ τὸ ᾠόν ---τέλειον γάρ ἐστι---, τετρὰς δὲ ὁ Φάνης, ὡς καὶ Ὀρφεύς φησι·

τετράσιν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ὁρώμενος ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.

“But since the number twelve comes out of the perfect number three, and the generating number four by that union, encompassing the whole divine order of the Gods, and since three and four are principles of the monad and dyad; the monad is Aithír (Αἰθήρ), the dyad Kháos (Χάος), the triad is the Egg - for it is perfect (number) -, the tetrad is Phánîs (Φάνης), as even Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) says (of Phánîs):

“ ‘with four eyes gazing hither and thither.’ ” (trans. by the author)

Compare the same in the same text σχόλιον Ἑρμείου επὶ Φαίδρου Πλάτωνος 244 a p. 91, 5 Couvr.:

τὸν δὲ δέκα πάντα εἶναι τὸν ἀριθμὸν καὶ ὅλως τετρόμματον καὶ τετραπρόσωπον αὐτὸν ἡ θεολογία καλεῖ.

“And ten is a whole number and the theology calls it ‘four-eyed and four-faced.’ ” (trans. by the author)

Herm. p. 505 n. 5; Lobeck I 490; Rohde Psyche II 6 109 n.

The Orphics took this verse from Αἰγίμιος (ed. the lost poem) fragment 188, 2 Rz.3 (ed. a. 1913) de Argo; Kern Herm. XXIII 1888, 482 n. 1; Wilamowitz Ilias und Homer 412 n. 1.


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.

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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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