7. ΑΣΤΡΟΛΟΓΙΚΑ* (ASTROLOGICAL THINGS) (fragments 249-288)

*This word, the neuter plural of ἀστρολογικός, is not actually defined as astrology, but, rather astronomy, yet it seems that Kern is using it to mean astrology, or maybe both subjects. In one of the quotations, the word used is ἀστρονομικός, which unquestionably means astronomy, yet in other quotations, their authors seem to be talking about astrology.

PREFACE

Tzetzes seems to testify that there was a body of astrological works by Orpheus, who says in verse 207 of Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά:

Ἀγκαῖός τ’ ἔμολε Πλευρώνιος, ὅς ῥα πορείας οὐρανίας ἄστρων ἐδάη κύκλους τε πλάνητας

“And Angaios Plevróhnios (Ἀγκαῖος Πλευρώνιος; trans. note: the helmsman of the Argonauts; also see Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου 23.635) came, who then taught the heavenly paths of the stars and the planetary orbits.”

(trans. by the author)

(compare to Ernst Μααβ Die Tagesgötter in Rom und den Provinzen p. 269 n. 23),

(compare after Gisek Rhein. Mus. VIII 1853, 102 and Abel in the preface to the Λιθικά [edit. a. 1881; trans. note: the Lithiká is not actually an Orphic text] p. 2 J. Heeg Die angebl. orphischen Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι Diss. Wuersburg 1907, 35).

Written down in Χιλιάδες τοῦ Ἰωάννου Τζέτζου XII 399 verse 140 p. 444 Kiessl.:

ὁ Ἄτλας ὁ παρ’ Ἕλλησιν, ὁ Λίβυς ἀστρολόγος, 140

ἀφ’ οὗ ὁ Ἕλλην Ἡρακλῆς παρέλαβε τὴν τέχνην,

οὐκ ἦσαν παλαιότεροι τοῦ Μέτωνος εἰς χρόνον;

οὐκ ἔγραψαν καὶ οὗτοι δὲ περὶ ἀστρολογίας;

κἄν συγχωρήσωμεν αὐτοὺς μὴ γράψαι περὶ τούτων,

Ὀρφεὺς ὁ μέγας, σύγχρονος ὑπάρχων Ἡρακλέϊ, 145

γράψας Ἐφημερίδας τε καὶ Δωδεκα<ε>τηρίδας

καὶ περὶ ἄλλων ἀκριβῶς, ἐλέγχει τούτους ψεύστας.

“The Átlas of the Greeks, the Libyan astronomer, 140

from whom the Greek Iraklís (Ἡρακλῆς) received the art,

Were they not older in time than Mǽtôn (Μέτων)?

Did they not also write about astronomy (ed. astrology?)?

Even if we assented that they did not write about these things,

Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) the great, contemporaneous with Iraklís, 145

having written Æphîmærídas (Ἐφημερίδας, Diaries) and Dôdækaætîrídas (Δωδεκαετηρίδας, Cycle of 12 Years),

and accurately about other things, accuses them of being liars.”

(trans. by the author)

Compare with Ἐξήγησις ἐπὶ Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου τοῦ Ἰωάννου Τζέτζου p. 27, 11 Herm.:

φυσικῶν φημὶ καὶ ἀστρονομικῶν, μαγικῶν τε καὶ τῶν τοιούτων, ἐπεὶ καὶ ὀλίγοις τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐπιτερπῆ, ἄλλως τε δὲ καὶ Ὀρφεὺς καὶ ἕτεροι περὶ τοιούτων συγγεγραφήκεσαν

“I say that of physics and astronomy, magic and other subjects, and pleasing things in few verses such as these, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) especially, and others wrote about them.”

(trans. by the author)

And the σχολιαστὴς επὶ Λυκόφρονος Eduard Scheer Lycophronis Alexandra, Vol. II Scholia Continens p. 3, 29 (also found in fragment 168 towards the end):

γράφει δὲ ὁ Ὀρφεὺς χωρὶς τῶν ἀστρολογικῶν καὶ ἐπωιδικῶν καὶ μαγικῶν καὶ τῶν ἑτέρων καὶ ὕμνους εἰς Δία καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς οὕτως· Ζεὺς πρῶτος γένετο, Ζεὺς ὕστατος ἀργικέραυνος, Ζεὺς κεφαλή, Ζεὺς μέσα, Διὸς δ’ ἐκ πάντα τέτυκται (above fragment 21a verse 1. 2).

“And apart from astrological, enchantments, magical songs*, and others, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) writes hymns to Zefs (Ζεύς) and the rest (of the Gods) in this way: ‘Zefs came first, Zefs of the bright lightning last, Zefs the head, Zefs the middle, and from Zefs all things are made.’ ”

(trans. by the author)

We have gathered together here, accordingly, all the fragments which inform on astrology. Theon (Orphic Critical Testimony 236) is said to have composed a commentary on the astrological poems of Orpheus (Heeg Festschr. M. v. Schans 1912, 164). Whether the title Περὶ καταρχῶν (“On beginnings”) was assigned to the astronomical works, as speculated by Heeg Diss. 68, we leave in doubt. Perhaps it also considers verse 37 of the Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικὰ (test. nr. 224):

σημείων τεράτων τε λύσεις ἄστρων τε πορείας.

“the interpretations of signs and wonders and the pathways of the stars.”

(trans. by the author)

On the relationship between these poems and the poem by Maximus (Μάξιμος ὁ Ἐφέσιος) Περὶ καταρχῶν preserved in a single codex Laurent. 28, 27 and published once more by Ludwich in 1877, compare below. These are understood to be parts of the (whole) body:

I. Δωδεκαετηρίδες “A cycle of twelve years” frr. 249-270.

II. Ἐφημερίδες “Journal” frr. 271-279.

III. Γεωργία “Agriculture” frr. 280-283

IV. <Περὶ δραπετῶν> “On runaways” fr. 284.

V. Περὶ σεισμῶν “On earthquakes” fr. 285.

VI. Περὶ ἐπεμβάσεων “On the commencement of dominant periods (χρονοκρατορία)”frr. 286-287

VII. Περὶ καταρχῶν “On the forecasts of undertakings” fr. 288.

On ΑΣΤΡΟΝΟΜΙΑ (“Astronomy”) v. p. 296. Μεγάλα Ἔργα (“The Great Works;” Christian Lobeck Aglaophamus I 413 s.) and (ed. The Orphic) Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι (“Works and Days;” fr. 11—29 Ab.) did not exist, as Josef Heeg proved in his dissertation (ed. in Die angeblichen orphischen Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι, Diss.).

We agree with Heeg to appose in Diss. 61 Julius Firmicus Maternus Mathesis IV preface 5 p. 196, 21 Kroll-Skutsch (Ab. p. 141):

omnia enim, quae Aesculapio Mercurius † einhnus (and Hanubius Teuffel; emhnus V; ed. the word is corrupted) vix tradiderunt, quae Petosiris explicavit et Nechepso et quae Abram, Orfeus et Critodemus ediderunt [et del. ed. princ. Venet.] ceterique omnes huius artis scii (Sittl; antisci vel antiscia codd.), perlecta pariter atque collecta et contrariis sententiarum diversitatibus comparata illis perscripsimus libris etc.

“In fact, of all that which Mercury transmitted to Aesculapius, which Petosiris and Nechepso set in order, and which Abraham, Orpheus, Critodemus and all the others having knowledge of this art published, we wrote a full account of in books, having examined them thoroughly, to an equal degree, as well as having gathered and compared them to the contrary diversity of opinions...” etc.

(trans. by the author)

Christian Lobeck Aglaophamus I 363; Paul Tannery Revue de philol. XXI 1897, 190; Josef Heeg Diss. 10. 61; Johannes Geffcken Herm. LV 1920, 282.

I. Δωδεκαετηρίδες “A cycle of twelve years”

Σοῦδα· Ὀρφεὺς Κροτωνιάτης (Orphic Critical Testimony 177):

Ὀρφεύς, Κροτωνιάτης, ἐποποιός, ὃν Πεισιστράτωι συνεῖναι τῶι τυράννωι Ἀσκληπιάδης (from Myrlea v. also Heeg 26) φησὶν ἐν τῶι ἕκτωι βιβλίωι τῶν γραμματικῶν· Δωδεκαετηρίδας.

“Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), of Krótôn (Κρότων), epic poet, who Asklîpiádîs (Ἀσκληπιάδης), in the sixth book of Grammar, says that he had acquaintance with the tyrant Peisístratos (Πεισίστρατος); (he composed) the Twelve Year Cycle (Δωδεκαετηρίδας), the Argonaftiká (Ἀργοναυτικά), and some others.”

(trans. by the author)

(Herman Diels Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker II3 164, 7 having followed Tzetzes, compare to Christian Lobeck Aglaophamus I 424 s. and Franz Boll as quoted in Heeg 70; δεκαετηρίδα, δεκαετηρίαν the codex in addition to δεκαετηρίας Brux.; Δωδεκαετηρίαν Lamb. compare to Gisek 102; Heeg 18; Franz Boll Aus der Offenbarung Johannis Στοιχεῖα I 79 s.), the Ἀργοναυτικὰ and other writings.

Χιλιάδες τοῦ Ἰωάννου Τζέτζου XII 144 p. 445 Kiessl. (v. repeated from the beginning of this section, p. 267 of Kern’s book):

κἂν συγχωρήσωμεν αὐτοὺς (sc. Atlantem et Herculem Metone astrologo antiquiores) μὴ γράψαι περὶ τούτων, Ὀρφεὺς ὁ μέγας, σύγχρονος ὑπάρχων Ἡρακλέϊ, γράψας Ἐφημερίδας τε (frr. 271—279) καὶ Δωδεκα<ε>τηρίδας καὶ περὶ ἄλλων ἀκριβῶς, ἐλέγχει τούτους ψεύστας.

“Even if we assented that they (sc. Atlas and Hercules, more ancient than the astrologer Meton) did not write about these things,

Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) the great, contemporaneous with Iraklís, 145

having written Æphîmærídas (Ἐφημερίδας, Diaries; frr. 271-279) and Dôdækaætîrídas (Δωδεκαετηρίδας, Cycle of 12 Years),

and accurately about other things, accuses them of being liars.”

(trans. by the author)

Compare to Tzetzes scholia on Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι Ἡσιόδου 568 (Thomas Gaisford [Tzetzes, Scholia in Hesiodi Opera et dies] Poetæ Minores Græci vol. II, p. 335, 17):

Ὀρφεὺς δὲ μαθηματικῶς* πάντα παρακελεύεται δρᾶν· οἷον.

“Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) exhorts us to do everything according to mathematics*: because of what.”

(trans. by the author)

*It seems that Kern what to translate μαθηματικῶς as “astrology,” which may be correct, but Liddell & Scott offers: “disposed to learn,” “mathematical” and “astronomical.”

These are followed by frr. 282. 263. 266. Josef Heeg 19 by reason denies that the Δωδεκαετηρίδες were part of a poem on agriculture (Γεωργία); compare to fr. 282. Now it is uncertain that fr. 281 pertains to agriculture; compare to Josef Heeg 47.

Perhaps the Δωδεκαετηρίδες (Cycle of Twelve Years) pertains to the Orphica of Censorinus. Censorini Liber De die natali 18, 6 p. 53, 5 Jahn (v. fr. 250):

ob hoc in Graecia multae religiones (regiones D) hoc intervallo temporis summa caerimonia coluntur, Delphis quoque ludi qui vocantur Pythia post annum octavum olim conficiebantur. proxima est hanc magnitudinem quae vocatur dodecaeteris ex annis vertentibus duodecim. huic anno Chaldaico nomen est, quem genethliaci non ad solis lunaeque cursus sed ad observationes alias habent accomodatum,quod in eo dicunt tempestates, frugumque proventus ac sterilitates, item morbos salubritatesque circumire.

“It is from this cycle that in Greece many religious festivals were celebrated with great ceremony. At Delphos, the games called Pythian were anciently celebrated every eight years. The most exact Great Year is the dodicæteries, a cycle composed of twelve natural (solar) years. It is called the Chaldean cycle. The astrologers did not regulate it by the course of the sun or the moon, but after other observations, because they said that only this space of time could embrace the different seasons, the epochs of abundance, of sterility and of plagues.”

(trans. William Maude, 1900)


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