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ether and chaos' are celebrated as the two principles immediately posterior to this one. And being, simply considered, is represented under the symbol of an egg. And this is the first triad of the intelligible Gods. But for the perfection of the second triad they establish either a conceiving and a conceived egg as a God, or a white garment, or a cloud : because from these Phanes leaps forth into light. For indeed they philosophise variously concerning the middle triad. But Phanes here represents intellect. To conceive him however besides this, as father and power, contributes nothing to Orpheus. But they call the third triad Metis as intellect, Ericapæus as power, and Phanes as father. But sometimes 4 the middle triad is considered according to the threeshaped God, while conceived in the egg: for the middle always represents each of the extremes ; as in this instance, where the egg and the three-shaped God subsist together. Aud here you may perceive that the egg is that which is united; but that the three-shaped and really multiform God is the separating and discriminating cause of that which is intelligible. Likewise the middle triad subsists according to the egg, as yet united ; but the thirds according to the God who separates and distributes the whole intelligible order. And this is the common and familiar Orphic theology. But that delivered by Hieronymus and Hellanicus is as follows. According to them water and matter were the first productions, from which earth was secretly drawn forth : so that water and earth are established as the two first principles; the latter of these having a dispersed subsistence; but the former conglutinating and connecting the latter. They are silent however concerning the principle prior to these two, as being ineffable : for as there are no illuminations about him, his arcane and ineffable nature is from hence sufficiently evinced. But the third principle posterior to these two, water and earth, and which is generated from them, is a dragon, naturally endued with the heads of a bull and a lion, but in the middle having the countenance of the God himself. They add likewise that he has wings on his shoulders, and that he is called undecaying Time, and Hercules; that Necessity resides with him, which is the same as Nature, and incorporeal Adrastia, which is extended throughout the universe, whose limits she binds in amicable conjunction. But as it appears to me, they denominate this third principle as
These two principles are called by Plato, in the Philebus, bound and infinity. 2 This Orphic egg is the same with the mixture from bound and infinity, men. tioned by Plato in the Philebus. See the third book of my translation of Proclus on the Theology of Plato.
Ws your is omitted in the original. + μηποτε is erroneously printed instead of ποτε. 3
Te sposoy is I conceive erroneously omitted in the original.
established according to essence; and assert, besides this, that it subsists as male and female, for the purpose of exhibiting the generative causes of all things.
I likewise find in the Orphic rhapsodies, that neglecting the two first principles, together with the one principle who is delivered in silence, the third principle, posterior to the two, is established by the theology as the original; because this first of all possesses something effable and commensurate to human discourse. For in the former hypothesis, the highly reverenced and undecaying Time, the father of æther and chaos, was the principle: but in this Time is neglected, and the principle becomes a dragon. It likewise calls triple æther, moist ; and chaos, infinite; and Erebus, cloudy and dark; delivering this second triad analogous to the first : this being potential, as that was paternal. Hence the third procession of this triad is dark Erebus: its paternal and summit æther, not according to a simple but intellectual subsistence : but its middle infinite chaos, considered as a progeny or procession, and among these parturient, because from these the third intelligible triad proceeds. What then is the third intelligible triad? I answer, the egg; the duad of the natures of male and female which it contains, and the multitude of all-various seeds, residing in the middle of this triad : and the third among these is an incorporeal God, bearing golden wings on his shoulders; but in his inward parts naturally possessing the heads of bulls, upon which heads a mighty dragon appears, invested with the all-various forms of wild beasts. This last then must be considered as the intellect of the triad ; but the middle progeny, which are many as well as two, correspond to power, and the egg itself is the paternal principle of the third triad: but the third God of this third triad this theology celebrates as Protogonus, and calls him Jupiter, the disposer of all things and of the whole world; and on this account denominates him Pan. And such is the information which this theology affords us, concerning the genealogy of the intelligible principles of things.
But in the writings of the Peripatetic Eudemus, containing the theology of Orpheus, the whole intelligible order is passed over in silence, as being every way ineffable and unknown, and incapable of verbal enunciation. Eudemus therefore commences his genealogy from Night, from which also Homer begins : though Eudemus is far from making the Homeric genealogy consistent and connected, for he asserts that Homer begins from Ocean and Tethys. It is however apparent, that Night is according to Homer the greatest divinity, since she is reverenced even by Jupiter himself. For the poet says of Jupiter, " that he feared lest he should act in a manner displeasing to swift Night.” So that
αζετο yap Mo VUXTi gon ato dupesa pezon. So Damascius; but instead of pazos, all the printed editions of Homer read epdos.
Homer begins his genealogy of the Gods from Night. But it appears to me that Hesiod, when he asserts that Chaos was first generated, signifies by Chaos the incomprehensible and perfectly united nature of that which is intelligible; but that he produces Earth' the first from thence, as a certain principle of the whole procession of the Gods. Unless perhaps Chaos is the second of the two principles : but Earth,2 Tartarus and Love form the triple intelligible. So that Love is to be placed for the third monad of the intelligible order, considered according to its convertive nature; for it is thus denominated by Orpheus in his rhapsodies. But Eurth for the first, as being first established in a certain firm and essential station. But Tartarus for the middle, as in a certain respect exciting and moving forms into distribution. But Acúsilaus appears to me to establish Chaos for the first principle, as entirely unknown; and after this, two principles, Erebus as male, and Night as female; placing the latter for infinity, but the former for bound. But from the mixture of these, he says: that Æther, Love, and Counsel are generated, forming three intelligible hypostases. And he places Æther as the summit; but Love in the middle, according to its naturally middle subsistence; but Metis or Counsel as the third, and the same as highly reverenced intellect. And, according to the history of Eudemus, from these he produces a great number of other Gods.
Thus far Damascius, with whose very interesting narration the doctrine of the Chaldeans concerning the intelligible order accords, as delivered by Johannes Picus in his Conclusions according to the Opinion of the Chaldean Theologists. “The intelligible coordination (says he) is not in the intellectual co-ordination, as Amasis the Egyptian asserts, but is above every intellectual
Try is printed instead of Inv. 2 As the whole of the Grecian theology is the progeny of the mystic traditions of Orpheus, it is evident that the Gods which Hesiod celebrates by the epithets of Earth, Heaven, &c. cannot be the visible Heaven and Earth: for Plato in the Cratylus, following the Orphic doctrine concerning the Gods, as we have evinced in our notes on that dialogue, plainly shows, in explaining the name of Jupiter, that this divinity is the artificer of the sensible universe ; and consequently Saturn, Heaven, Earth, &c. are much superior to the mundane deities. Indeed if this be not admitted, the Theogony of Hesiod must be perfectly absurd and inexplicable. For why does he call Jupiter, agreeably to Homer, (natup ardowy TE BEWY TI), “father of gods and men ?”. Shall we say that he means literally
' that Jupiter is the father of all the Gods? But this is impossible ; for he delivers the generation of Gods who are the parents of Jupiter. He can therefore only mean that Jupiter is the parent of all the mundane Gods: and his Theogony, when considered according to this exposition, will be found to be beautifully consistent and sublime; whereas, according to modern interpretations, the whole is a mere chaos, more wild than the delirious visions of Swedenborg, and more unconnected than any of the impious effusions of methodistical rant. "I only add, that thy is again erroneously printed in the Excerpta of Wolfius for yny.
onu in the original should doubtless be prou. 4 Vid. Pici Opera, tom. i. p. 54.
hierarchy, imparticipably concealed in the abyss of the first unity, and under the obscurity of the first darkness." Coordinatio intelligibilis, non est in intellectuali coordinatione, ut dixit Amasis Ægyptius, sed est super omnem intellectualem hierarchium, iu abysso prime unitatis, et sub caligine primarum tenebrarum imparticipaliter abscondita.
But from this triad it may be demonstrated, that all the processions of the Gods may be comprehended in six orders, viz. the intelligible order, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual, the intellectual, the supermundane, the liberated, and the mundane.'. For the intelligible, as we have already observed, must hold the first rank, and must consist of being, life, and intellect; i. e. must abide, proceed, and return ; at the same time that it is characterised, or subsists principally according to casually permanent being. But in the next place, that which is both intelligible and intellectual succeeds, which must likewise be 'triple, but must principally subsist according to life, or intelligence. And in the third place the intellectual order must succeed, which is triply convertive. But as in consequence of the existence of the sensible world, it is necessary that there should be some demiurgic cause of its existence, this cause can only be found in intellect, and in the last hypostasis of the intellectual triad. For all forms in this hypostasis subsist according to all-various and perfect divisions; and forms can only fabricate when they have a perfect intellectual separation from each other. But since fabrication is nothing more than procession, the Demiurgus will be to the posterior orders of Gods what the one is to the orders prior to the Demiurgus; and consequently he will be that secondarily which the first cause of all is primarily. Hence his first production will be an order of Gods analogous to the intelligible order, and which is denominated supermundane. After this he must produce an order of Gods similar to the intelligible and intellectual order, and which are denominated liberated Gods. And in the last place, a procession correspondent to the intellectual order, and which can be no other than the mundane Gods, For the Demiurgus is chiefly characterised according to diversity, and is allotted the boundary of all universal hypostases.
All these orders are unfolded by Plato in the conclusions which the second hypothesis of his Parmenides contains; and this in a manner so perfectly agreeable to the Orphic and Chaldaic theology, that he who can read and understand the incomparable work of Proclus on Plato's theology will discover how ignorantly
11. e. θεοι νοητοι, νοητοι και νοεροι, νοεροι, υπερκοσμιοι, απολυτοι sive υπερουραιοι, et £y%001666.
the latter Platonists have been abused by the moderns, aš fanatics and corrupters of the doctrine of Plato.
According to the theology of Orpheus therefore, all things originate from an immense principle, to which through the imbèeility and poverty of human conception we give a name, though it is perfectly ineffable, and in the reverential language of the Egyptians, is a thrice unknown darkness,' in the contemplation of which all knowlege is refunded into ignorance. Hence, as Plato says, in the conclusion of his first hypothesis in the Parmenides, “it can neither be named, nor spoken of, nor conceived by opinion, nor be known or perceived by any being.” The peculiarity also of this theology, and in which its transcendency consists is this, that it does not consider the highest God to be simply the principle of beings, but the principle of principles, i. e. of deiform processions from itself, all which are eternally rooted in the unfathomable depths of the immensely great source of their existence, and of which they may be called superessential ramifications, and superluminous blossoms. ,' When the ineffable transcendency of the first God, which was considered (as I have elsewhere observed) to be the grand principle in the Heathen theology, by its most ancient promulgators, Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato, was forgotten, this oblivion was doubtless the cause of dead men being deified by the Pagans. Had they properly disposed their attention to this transcendency, they would have perceived it to be so immense as to surpass eternity, infinity, self-subsistence, and even essence itself, and that these in reality belong to those venerable natures which are as it were first unfolded into light from the arcane recesses of the truly mystic unknown cause of all. For, as Simplicius 2 beautifully observes, “ It is requisite that he who ascends to the principle of things should investigate whether it is possible there can be any thing better than the supposed principle; and if something more excellent is found, the same inquiry should again be made respecting that, till we arrive at the highest conceptions, than which we have no longer any more venerable. Nor should we stop in our ascent till we find this to be the case. For there is no occasion to fear that our progression will be through an unsubstantial void, by conceiving something about the first principles which is greater than and surpasses their nature. For it is not possible for our conceptions to take such a mighty leap as to equal, and much less to pass beyond the dignity of the first principles of
“Of the first principle (says Damascius, in Ms. #epi aşxwv) the Egyptians said nothing, but celebrated it as a darkness beyond all intellectual conception, a thrice unknown darkness,” πρωτην αρχην ανυμνηκασων, σκοτος υπερ πασαν, νησιν, σκοτος αγνωστον, τρις τουτο επιφημιζοντες.
2 In Epictet.