Orphic theogony

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The so-called Orphic Theogony is an only indirectly known text from the circle of Orphic poetry . It depicts cosmogony , the mythical prehistory of the world, according to the same basic scheme as Hesiod's theogony : first the cosmos arises, then the world of gods and finally humanity. Apparently there were several versions available, of which the late antique Neo-Platonist Damascius († after 538) were still aware of three. The oldest of these is ascribed to Eudemos of Rhodes (4th century BC). The second, common in late antiquity, is that of the Holy Speeches in 24 Rhapsodies , an Orphic script of the 2nd century. Damascios attributed the third version to two unknown authors named Hieronymos and Hellanikos. He also considered the possibility that the two names refer to the same person.


  • Alberto Bernabé (Ed.): Poetae epici Graeci. Testimonia et fragmenta . Part 2: Orphicorum et Orphicis similium testimonia et fragmenta , Volume 1, Saur, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-598-71707-5 (authoritative critical edition)



  1. Damascios, De primis principiis 123-124.