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Alexis Pinchard, Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS, UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence, CPGE), The ISNS

Tenth International Conference, Cagliari 2012,

Abstract:The Salvific Function of Memory in Archaic Poetry, in the Orphic Gold Tablets and in Plato: What Continuity, What Break?
According to this paper, the Athenian Neoplatonic idea that there was a deep accordance between Orpheus, Pythagoras and Plato about the method and the definition of soul salvation (see Syrianus) is not fully erroneous. It just has to be put in a dynamic perspective instead of a static one. Original Orphism may indeed be defined as the cultural process — neither a fixed doctrine nor an organized church — that leads from the positive valuation of an external memory concerning epic or theogonic old paterns, working as a condition of the kleos aphthiton for heroes and poets, toward the positive valuation of the internal memory which is conceived of as bringing the philosopher’s soul in touch with eternal realities. Orphism does not deny the authority of Homeric or Hesiodic tradition, which makes immortal the names of heroes, but Orphism gradually transfers it inside the soul and thus discovers a new level of immortality, which concerns the ego and is independent from the surviving part of human society, just like the common immortality of soul demonstrated by Plato in the Phaedo does paradoxically not prevent certain souls from being more subject to death than other ones (see for example the end of the Timaeus, 90c)! In certain “Orphic” gold tablets, Mnemosyne is not invocated in order to keep alive an oral tradition through successive generations but for an individual soul to re-assume its own divine origin. This soteriological interpretation of the role played by memory is confirmed by the cyclical sequence bios thanatos bios found in the Olbia bones fragments (OF 463.1 Bernabé). Such a mental power makes the soul able to escape an ever-lasting re-birth and re-death cycle, just like the anamnēsis in Plato does, although the divine part of soul is identified only with rationality in Plato, and no longer with any vitalizing spirit correlated with body. The life of the soul, according to Plato, is overall an adequate relationship to itself, which is called intellection (nous; cf. Sophist, 249a; Leges X, 896a). But Orphism has already overcome the idea that the sole material ritual could work as a sufficient means for salvation. Moreover, there is no historical family tradition in Orphism unlike in the Homeric tradition. There are no Orphēidai like the Homēridai of Chios. Lineage in the Orphic tradition is only ritual and is only a matter of initiation. Oneself’s connection with Orpheus depends on will and on undertaking of a re-birth ritual, not on blood. The whole humanity is potentially in connection with Orpheus just like the Orphic Zeus contains everything and is contained by everything. For example, Pythagoras was re-enacting Orpheus although he was not Orpheus’s natural son (see Gregory Nagy’s Homer the Preclassic, E§116). In the same way, Plato asserts that every human being has seen the Ideas and can remember them by practicing dialectics. Finally, in Orphism, the selfidentification of the rhapsode with the mythical proto-poet occurs during the whole life, and not only during the oral performance. This is why there is a real Orphic “way of life” (vegetarian food, non-violence, saying truth; see Plato, Leges, 782 c-d), and not only an Orphic way of singing. Moreover, since the Orphic poems were written quite early and thus became protected against oral variations, the initiate could not identify himself with Orpheus as a creative poet. The very process of improvisation during an oral performance was forbidden to him. Therefore the ritual and ethic behavior, or the rationalizing interpretation of Orphic poems just like in the Derveni Papyrus, became the only way of re-enacting Orpheus. On one hand Orpheus’s powerful living voice was admitted as definitely remoted in the past, but on the other hand the inner and spiritual life became the most important factor of continuity in the Orphic tradition. So Orphism might be the analogy-generating tradition in which Plato found the first connection between different kinds of memory and different levels of immortality (see especially Diotima’s speech during the Symposium, 208c-d, 212a). Such a connection was the condition for dialectics, so that it could not be the result a dialectics. Of course, following Plato himself, modern scholars have accepted this hierarchy as a distinctive feature through which one could isolate Plato from other salvation traditions in Greek culture, as if to conceive of the genuine immortality as an instantaneous return to our metaphysical origin were the special innovation of philosophy. But, as we said, Plato might have just continued the process inaugurated by Orphism, and this process might also be not later than the Homeric poetry. Indeed, on the basis of much data excerpted from comparative poetics dealing with Indian and Iranian sacred poetry, we may assume that such a growing complexity of immortality and memory was a permanent trend in some ancient cultures, synchronically organized rather than diachronically, just like the Neoplaonic thinkers believed.


Alexis Pinchard, Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS, UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence, CPGE), The ISNS Tenth International Conference, Cagliari 2012,

The Salvific Function of Memory in Archaic Poetry, in the Orphic Gold Tablets and in Plato: What Continuity, What Break? 1
Introduction Since Auguste Diès, it has been often said that Plato has transposed Orphic language, imagery and ritual into the realm of pure Ideas, in order to be understood by his audience and to endow his new doctrine with an authorative voice. 2 So the mere form of Orphic poetry and that of certain Platonic mythoi would be the same, for example the main mythos found in the Phaedrus, whereas the spiritual content would be completely different, especially about the nature and means of salvation. In Plato, Orphism would be a mere meta-phora. Against this simplistic view this paper aims at showing that Orphism was already in itself a power of transposition and that Plato faithfully followed its impulse. The dynamic aspect of Orphism was more important than its various doctrinal contents or its special epic tradition. Indeed, since the real unity and the defining features of Orphism are a controversial question among scholars,3 this power of transposition might not be only one among the properties of Orphism, but its essential definition, so that Orphism might be proven to have an essential definition . Thanks to such a power of transposition, we might escape the idea that Orphism consists just in an accidental gathering of mutually independent religious trends. But transposition of what, from what and into what? The Orphic transposition deals with the connection between memory and immortality. It deals with an interiorisation process as well as with a unversalisation process. Indeed original Orphism may be defined as the cultural process — neither a fixed doctrine nor an organized church — that leads from the positive valuation of external memory concerning epic or theogonic paterns orally transmitted from master to pupil, towards the positive valuation of internal memory, which is independent from any sensuous experience and any peculiar social context. The former works as a condition of the kleos aphthiton (“unfailing fame”) for heroes and poets; the latter redeems the soul by
This paper have been made made possible by the kind help of the Center for Hellenic Studies (Harvard University) where I have been housed in April 2012. 2 See Diès 1972 (1926): 344: “Platon transpose l’orphisme et le mysticisme non seulement en ornement littéraire, mais en doctrine. Chez lui toutes les métaphores empruntées aux mystères aboutissent à l’Idée; toutes les espérances en certitude d’immortalité, fondée sur la parentée de l’âme avec l’Idée […].” Cf. Burkert (1962: 147): “Damit ist die erkenntnistheoretische Ausbildung der anamnēsis-Lehre und ihr Beweis aus der Mathematik als typische ‘platonische Transposition’ erwiesen; pythagoreisch sind Konzentrations- und Gedächnisübungen, die keine notwendige Verbindung mit mathematischer Wissenschaft haben, wohl aber im Schamanenbereich vorkommen.” 3 See Edmonds III 2011 and 2012. Edmonds sharply critizes every attempt to give some unity to Orphism. According to him Orphism would be essentially a “modern construct”. But this extreme nominalism forgets the spiritual dimension of Orphism: to connect the personal immortality, the internalization of epic heroism and the poetic kleos, as we will see it is done by many orphica, is not a common attitude in Greek religion and it is not absurd to label it as “Orphism”, even retrospectively. For example, there were many philosophers in Greece, with many doctrines and without any social unified institution; but who denies that the word “philosophy” has a consistent meaning and a real denotation? Moreover, one could argue that the obvious diversity of orphica is not the proof that our modern grouping of them is a mere artifact, but the sign of a really living tradition. Unity and multiplicity are not always contradictory: for example a living being, inasmuch as it possesses in himself not only material particles but also a unifying principle which uses to be called “soul”, regularly changes in surface along the time but he essentially remains the same. Analogically, the obvious diversity of texts does not prevent the continuity of a spiritual tradition which deals with what is mostly real in human life, i.e., the consciousness of the always imminent eventuality of death. Thus Orphism would gain a positive unity and would stop being defined just as what is no integrated into the polis-sponsored religion.


com bringing it in touch with the eternal realities which the soul is based on. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. 9 Ἀστέριος ὄνομα · 15: Ι Α 2. 8 / 41. 7 τοὶ δέ σε εἰρήσονται ἐνὶ φρασὶ πευκαλίμαισι (cf. I A 3. 3 ταύτης τῆς κρήνης μηδὲ σχεδὸν ἐμπελάσειας . just as the common immortality of soul demonstrated by Plato in the Phaedo does paradoxically not prevent certain souls from being more subject to death than other ones. 9 / 2. 10) 10: Ι Α 1. I A 1 & 3. 1030-1036. I A 4 1. so that it could not be the result of dialectics. 11) 11: Ι Β 1. τῆς Μνημοσύνης ἀπὸ λίμνης (cf. (cf. Such a connection was the condition for dialectics. Through Orphism to think became the most efficient ritual. 5) 9: Ι Α 1. 7 αὐτὰρ ἐμοὶ γένος οὐράνιον · τόδε δ’ ἴστε καὶ αὐτοί · (cf. 1) 16: Ι Α 2. Let us give in a synoptic way the text of what Pugliese Carratelli called the “Pythagorean” tablets (we use his classification and numbering system). I A 2. see Herrero 2008: 247-248 and 273-275. 0) 2: Ι Α 4. (cf. 2 . Cagliari 2012. (cf. 6 / 3. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. (cf. 4 εὑρήσεις δ’ ἑτέραν. while analyzing Aristophanes’s Ranae. 3 ἔνθα κατερχόμεναι ψυχαὶ νεκύων ψύχονται. 12 et I A 4. Orphism does not deny the authority of Homeric or Hesiodic traditions.Alexis Pinchard. the internalization process defining Orphism is also evidenced in ritual. 8 et I A 3. 208c-d. as it actually is in Platonic philosophy. 8 εἰπεῖν · Γῆς παῖς εἰμι καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος. 1) For the complex complementarity between Orphic and Homeric poetry. (cf. 3 τίς δ’ ἐζί ; πῶ δ’ ἐζί ; 12: Ι Α 3. According to Herreo. I B 1. 8 δίψηι δ’ εἰμὶ αὖος καὶ ἀπόλλυμαι · ἀλλὰ δότ’ αἶψα (cf. frequently called “Orphic gold tablets” although Orpheus’s name does not occur in them. 1) 4: Ι Α 2. 13 et I B 1. and thereafter their Orphic nature will be briefly discussed: 1: Ι Α 1. the difference between both traditions does not nccessarily concern the subject of poems. 2 παρ’ δ’ αὐτῆι λευκὴν ἑστηκυῖαν κυπάρισσον · (cf. I A 1. 4 et I A 41. Of course. 4 3 . which make immortal the names of heroes. but it found out salvation itself inasmuch as the concept of salvation implies that the consciousness can experience for ever a state of inner perfection. 5) 5: Ι Α 1. 6 et I A 41. alexispinchard@hotmail. I A 1. Orphism did not find out new means of salvation in Greece. 4) 8: Ι Α 2. (cf. 2 [ ************************** ] μεμνημένος ἥρως 3: Ι Α 2. I A 41. (cf. which only keeps a mental trace of the dead. This higher level does not destroy the lower one. 0 Μναμοσύνης τόδε †ἔργον† · ἐπεὶ ἂν μέλληισι θανεῖσθαι. 8 ὅ τι δὴ ἐξερέεις Ἄϊδος σκότος ὀρφνήεντος. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. CPGE). 7) 7: Ι Α 2. 7 τοῖς δὲ σὺ εὗ μάλα πᾶσαν ἀληθείην καταλέξαι. I A 42. 3) 14: Ι Α 3. I A 41. 212a). 6) 6: Ι Α 2. I A 1 & 3. 5 Feyerabend ( 1984: 17) already noticed that the justification of ritual by logos in Bacchic mysteries (hieros logos) prepares the justification of ontology in Parmenides. I A 1. 5 ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ προρέον · φύλακες δ’ ἐπίπροσθεν ἔασιν. can confirm my hypothesis. 1 εὑρήσσεις δ’ Ἀίδαο δόμων ἐπ’ ἀριστερὰ κρήνην. 12 . Text of some gold tablets The famous gold tablets. 6 et I A 3. but Orphism gradually transfers the narrative content of these traditions inside the soul of every initiated human being and thus discovers a new level of immortality.5 So Orphism might be the primeval analogy-generating tradition in which Plato found the idea of a connection between different kinds of memory and different levels of immortality (see especially Diotima’s speech during the Symposium. The way is as well interiorised as the goal: to understand the meaning and the mechanism of initiatory rituals is at least as important in order to obtain the highest immortality as to accomplish them externally. Indeed we are now trying to define this specific state of mind. 13: Ι Α 3. 9 et A 41. 4 This new level concerns the ego as an individual consciousness and is independent from the surviving part of human society. but the “state of mind” of the of the author and of the audience (2008: 275). I A 1. 5 et I A 3. I A 1.

14) 18: Ι Α 1. But this Pythagorean origin should not prevent us from rooting Mnemosyne’s gold tablets in Orphism. (cf.Alexis Pinchard. Opera et dies. My name is Starry: my race is heavenly. XVIII. 12 καὶ δή τοι ἐρέουσιν ὑπὸ χθονίωι βασιλῆϊ. 21: Ι Α 1. But quickly grant me cold water from the Lake of Memory to drink!” And they will announce you to the Chthonian King. cf. Graf modified). cold water pouring forth . 2) 19: Ι Α 2. 82. I am absolutely not a Kingsleyan — has rightly insisted on the initiatory adoptive relationship in the Pythagorean and Parmenidian traditions. having drunk. alexispinchard@hotmail.8 it 6 7 See Pugliese Carratelli 2003: 17-20. I am parched with thirst and I am dying. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. You. when you are about to die.6 This view is also evidenced by the stress laid upon heavenly immortality in Mnemosyne’s gold tablets. 4 . until Orpheus himself. whereas heavenly immortality is alluded in a famous Pythagorean akousma. Pythagoreanism may be viewed as the most genuine Orphic tradition. Peter Kingsley — for the most points. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. you yourself know this. which Plato likely critized in the Republic (364e-365a). according to a metaphoric use of Hesiod’s l anguage. especially concerning his antiPlatonic bias and his shamanistic interpretation of Greek philosophy. They will ask you. 36 B 2 DK. […] remembering hero… You will find to the left (right) of the house of Hades a spring and standing by it a white cypress. the souls of the dead refresh themselves. Do not even go near to this spring ! You will find another one. This is the work of memory. what you are seeking in the darkness of murky Hades. 13) 20: Ι Α 2. where the initiatiory filiation could be really or mythically traced back on a very long period. (cf. Orphism and Pythagoreanism I agree with Pugliese Carratelli when he attributes Mnemosyne’s gold tablet s to the Pythagorean milieu because to train memory was the favorite mental exercise among Pythagoras’s disciples. will go along the sacred road with other glorious initiates and possessed by Dionysos travel (transl. where the sun and the moon. And thereafter you will rule with other heroes. tell them the entire truth. De vita pythagorica. “Who are you? Where are you from?” You. Beside this elite Orphism. (cf. there was also a popular Orphims based on books and promoted by “Orpheotelests”. If Pythagoras or his first disciple really composed several poems which they themselves attributed to Orpheus. On the contrary. as it has been suggested by Walter Burkert (1966: 109). In Pythaorism the name of the lore master was always known. I A 1. 15 μύσται καὶ βάχχοι ἱερὰν στείχουσι κλεεινοί. See Kingsley 2001: Part III. there are guards before it. 10 καὐτοί σοι δώσουσι πιεῖν θείης ἀπὸ κρήνης. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. Descending to it. and 36 B 15 DK. 9 ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ πιέναι τῆς Μνημοσύνης ἀπὸ λίμνης. too. 8 See Ion of Chios. with astute wisdom. I A 17: Ι Α 2. I A 42. for example in the initiatiory naming Ἀστέριος ὄνομα. from the Lake of Memory.7 Such an importance of the wisdom lineage explains why Pythagoreanism was a kind of elite Orphism. as it is said by several old testimonies. I have selected these on the basis of their connection with Mnemosyne because this connection at the same time seems to be a rejoinder against their belonging to Orphism and really is the proof thereof. 11 et I A 41. and they will grant you to drink from the divine spring. 11 καὶ τότ’ ἔπειτ’ [ἄλλοισι μεθ’] ἡρώεσσι ἀνάξεις. 171). are called “the Isles of the Blessed” (Iamblichus. Cagliari 2012. CPGE). 14 καὶ δὲ καὶ σὺ πιὼν ὁδὸν ἔρχεαι ἅν τε καὶ ἄλλοι 22: Ι Α 1. Hesiod. Of course there are other gold tablets. Say: “I am a child of Earth and starry Sky.

Cagliari 2012. but it was a way to re-enact during an oral performance the very source of the sacred tradition. Plato. So the password conveys information about his own mythical past. as I argued in Chapter 3. the soul of the deceased will obtain another remembrance. Phaedrus. The password indicates where the initiate comes from and his secret divine filiation. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence.1-3. Pythagoras was Thracian in the same way that Orpheus was Thracian.9 In short.9 By implication. Put doors to your ears. transl. he took on the persona of Orpheus when he performed verses attributed to Orpheus. o profanes! (OF 1a) In which extent does the initiates need Orpheus’s song if they already know the mysteries of the successive divine generations? Similarly Parmenides is already a “knowing man” before being taught by the divinity who stands beyond the gates of Night and Day: ἵπποι ταί με φέρουσιν. First. This circularity echoes the famous incipit of Orpheus’s theogony in the Derveni Papyrus: Ἀείσω ξυνετοῖσι · θύρας δ’ ἐπίθεσθε βέβηλοι · I shall sing for the ones who are informed. the deceased has firstly to remember in order to be able to remember further. CPGE). the attribution to Orpheus and the self-identification of Pythagoras with Orpheus would have been simultaneous at the moment of performance. ἐπεί μ' ἐς ὁδὸν βῆσαν πολύφημον ἄγουσαι δαίμονες. Coxon modified) See Nagy (2012: E§116-117): “Just as Hesiod is mediated by Kynaithos in a performance of a Hymn to Apollo that re-enacts Hesiod as well as Homer. Nagy has also rightly pointed out this fact. the deceased has to remember the correct password he learned by heart during his initiation in the terrestrial life. πέμπον. but the dead has to keep in mind what was taught to him during his terrestrial life: πεφυλαγμένον εὖ μάλα πάντα (OF 478. Kynaithos identifies with Hesiod when he performs verses sacred to the Pythian Apollo. in order to be granted the access to Mnemosyne’s pool. Similarly. ἣ κατὰ πάντ' ἄστη φέρει εἰδότα φῶτα· The mares that carry me kept conveyiong me as far as ever my spirit reached. As I also argued in Chapter 3. It is not that Pythagoras simply attributed the verses of Orpheus to himself. Rather. a means of remembrance (cf. since Thracians wore trousers. 1. either as a mental faculty or as personified under the name of goddess Mnemosyne. which carries through every stage to meet her face to face a man who knows (Parmenides fr. ὅσον τ' ἐπὶ θυμὸς ἱκάνοι. Therefore the written gold tablet works as hypomnēma. once they had taken and set me on the goddess’ way of much discourse.2 = IIB2 Pugliese Carratelli).Alexis Pinchard. the wearing of Thracian trousers by Pythagoras conjures up the Thracian associations of Orpheus as a poet who became alien to Hellenism in the process of becoming marginalized at the Panathenaia. 9 Memory in gold tablets In our gold tablets Memory. Quite paradoxically.” 9 5 . But by drinking Mnemosyne’s water. appears in at least two ways. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. without forgetting anything. just as he identifies with Homer when he performs verses sacred to the Delian Apollo […]. in that Orpheus was conventionally represented as associating with Thracians. The ISNS Tenth International Conference.The mentioning of the trousers worn by Pythagoras indicates that he cultivated Thracian did not deal with a fake. The deceased must say the whole a-lētheia to the guardians. alexispinchard@hotmail. so also Orpheus is mediated by Pythagoras in performances that re-enact Orpheus. 276d 3).

until the penalty is paid. like a prison. καὶ πάνυ. and not even a letter needs to be changed (Plato. ὥσπερ αὐτὸ ὀνομάζεται. OF 430). the object of the new remembrance is not explicitly described. Indeed this doctrine was well-known in Pythagoreanism and had nothing secret. Whereas by remembering the password the initiate abstractally knows his heavenly filiation. The corporeal jail can threaten the soul with death. through Mnemosyne’s water. if a little. This doctrine can be summed up as follows: the souls of seemingly living men have to be punished for previous sins and are bound with their body just like prisoners were closely bound with human corpses by cruel Etruscan pirates in order to be killed. in the gold tablets. 10 In both case it deals with a pessimistic view of what we commonly call “human life” and with a positive valuation of afterlife. καὶ ταύτῃ “σῆμα” ὀρθῶς καλεῖσθαι. and again. [Socr. his true identity. 60 Rose. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. alexispinchard@hotmail. In the Gorgias (493a). and this is. This change in the way he is conscious of his own origin is the salvation itself. In his Protrepticus (fr.Alexis Pinchard. :] I think this (σῶμα) admits of many explanations. with the idea that the soul is undergoing punishment for something. 1032 and Euripides . τὸ κατθανεῖν δὲ ζῆν; 10 For a complete study of this metaphor. change is made. λέγων – τίς δ' οἶδεν. even very little. even if this knowledge is not excluded. 943-947 = OF 510 and 511) was said to be the founder. He does not anymore represent his daimonic origin. 400c-d. those who acknowledge Orpheus’s authority do not connect sōma and sēma. He remembers neither an objective fact nor a special speech. But I think it most likely that Orpheus’s disciples gave this name. Cratylus. Cagliari 2012. [τὸ] “σῶμα. called the body “a jail” for pseudo-etymological reasons: {ΣΩ. this inversion is developed by a “wise man” with the statement that we currently are dead: οὐ γάρ τοι θαυμάζοιμ' ἂν εἰ Εὐριπίδης ἀληθῆ ἐν τοῖσδε λέγει. Of course. in the Cratylus. but it is not excluded. he immediately experienced this inner divinity by drinking the cold water from Mnemosyne’s spring. of which Orpheus elsewhere (Aristophanes . The ISNS Tenth International Conference.} Πολλαχῇ μοι δοκεῖ τοῦτό γε· ἂν μὲν καὶ σμικρόν τις παρακλίνῃ. but an aspect of his own being with which he has to coincide. καὶ γὰρ <σῆμά> τινές φασιν αὐτὸ εἶναι τῆς ψυχῆς. the safe (σῶμα) for the soul. Aristoteles transmits a doctrine from the mystery cults. because by its means the soul gives any signs which it gives. it is for this reason also properly called “sign” (σῆμα). can remember his divine origin. ἕως ἂν ἐκτείσῃ τὰ ὀφειλόμενα. they think it has the body as an enclosure to keep it safe. CPGE). Some other Orphic fragments might sustain this interpretation. τοῦτον δὲ περίβολον ἔχειν. ὡς δίκην διδούσης τῆς ψυχῆς ὧν δὴ ἕνεκα δίδωσιν. Rhesus. as the name itself denotes. but he really identifies with it. [400c] their notion being that the soul is buried in the present life. So the metaphor of the body jail stands quite close to the one of the body conveived as a source of death. εἰ τὸ ζῆν μέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν. There is a kind of religious taboo. I suppose it does not mainly deal with the remembrance of the previous lives within the doctrine of transmigration. OF 430). ἵνα <σῴζηται>. if one keep in mind that Orphism inverted the values of life and death that hold in Homeric epic. which is beyond every incarnation and which still remains active in him. for some say it is the tomb (σῆμα) of the soul. 6 . ὡς τεθαμμένης ἐν τῷ νῦν παρόντι· καὶ διότι αὖ τούτῳ <σημαίνει> ἃ ἂν σημαίνῃ ἡ ψυχή.com Here.” καὶ οὐδὲν δεῖν παράγειν οὐδ' ἓν γράμμα. He can rejoin the central part of himself. According to Plato’s Cratylus (400c) certain people who explicitly claim to follow the authority of Orpheus. so that he becomes immortal. see Bernabé 1995. More likely is the hypothesis that the deceased. Frogs. δεσμωτηρίου εἰκόνα· εἶναι οὖν τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦτο. δοκοῦσι μέντοι μοι μάλιστα θέσθαι οἱ ἀμφὶ Ὀρφέα τοῦτο τὸ ὄνομα. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence.

Alētheia. καὶ φοροῖεν εἰς τὸν τετρημένον πίθον ὕδωρ ἑτέρῳ τοιούτῳ τετρημένῳ κοσκίνῳ. and will carry water into their leaky jar with a sieve which is no less leaky.2 made a fable in which—by a play of words3—he named this part. Socrates here mixes several sources. κομψὸς ἀνήρ). a jar. the man who intemperately lives. τὸ ἀκόλαστον αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐ στεγανόν. [493d] Now. οἱ ἀμύητοι. whereas Callicles assumed that corpses would be similar rather to the man who is satifisfied with what he has and who is not inhabited by desire. because it is so insatiate. And then by the sieve. ἢ οὐδ' ἂν ἄλλα πολλὰ τοιαῦτα μυθολογῶ. Now we can understand the explicitly Orphic bones fragments from Olbia: βίος. the perfect absence of any oblivion. τῶν δ' ἀνοήτων τοῦτο τῆς ψυχῆς οὗ αἱ ἐπιθυμίαι εἰσί. διὰ τὴν ἀπληστίαν ἀπεικάσας. ὦ Καλλίκλεις. cannot be associated with the terrestrial life as it is proven by the other tablets which connect sôma with pseudos: εἰρήνη πόλεμος ἀλήθεια ψεῦδος Διόν[υσος] (OF 464) 7 . I daresay. So you see this person. πεῖσαι μεταθέσθαι. the salvation. τὴν ψυχὴν εἶναι· τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν κοσκίνῳ ἀπῄκασεν τὴν τῶν ἀνοήτων ὡς τετρημένην. 1 and the part of the soul in which we have desires is liable to be over-persuaded and to vacillate to and fro. ὡς ἔφη ὁ πρὸς ἐμὲ λέγων. Callicles. οὐδέν τι μᾶλλον μεταθήσῃ; For I tell you I should not wonder if Euripides’ words were true. he named a leaky jar in his allegory. θάνατος. as being so impressionable and persuadable. but still it sets forth what I wish to impress upon you. but they all are clearly associated with the Orphic sōma-sēma doctrine. am I at all prevailing upon you to change over to the view that the orderly people are happier than the licentious or will no amount of similar fables that I might tell you have any effect in changing your mind? (Plato. Cagliari 2012. transl. the bones tablets of Olbia (Vth century BC)) The circular sequence βίος. as being perforated. ταῦτ' ἐπιεικῶς μέν ἐστιν ὑπό τι ἄτοπα. and instead of a life of insatiate licentiousness to choose an orderly one that is set up and contented with what it happens to have got. [493c] as my story-teller said. δηλοῖ μὴν ὃ ἐγὼ βούλομαί σοι ἐνδειξάμενος. if I somehow can. Dionysos is the paradigm of the whole circular process. τῆς δὲ ψυχῆς τοῦτο ἐν ᾧ ἐπιθυμίαι εἰσὶ τυγχάνει ὂν οἷον ἀναπείθεσθαι καὶ μεταπίπτειν ἄνω κάτω. τὸ δὲ κόσκινον ἄρα λέγει. ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀπλήστως καὶ ἀκολάστως ἔχοντος βίου τὸν κοσμίως καὶ τοῖς ἀεὶ παροῦσιν ἱκανῶς καὶ ἐξαρκούντως ἔχοντα βίον ἑλέσθαι. καὶ τοῦτο ἄρα τις μυθολογῶν κομψὸς ἀνήρ. Gorgias. and the thoughtless he called uninitiate: 4 [493b] in these uninitiate that part of the soul where the desires are. ἅτε οὐ δυναμένην στέγειν δι' ἀπιστίαν τε καὶ λήθην. in order to induce you to make a change. it may be. CPGE). UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. ἐάν πως οἷός τε ὦ. τοὐναντίον δὴ οὗτος σοί. takes the opposite view to yours. θάνατος. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. endures in this world the same torture as certain heroes in the classical hell. and so some smart fellow.Alexis Pinchard. ἀλλὰ πότερον πείθω τί σε καὶ μετατίθεσθαι εὐδαιμονεστέρους εἶναι τοὺς κοσμίους τῶν ἀκολάστων. indeed. or Italian. alexispinchard@hotmail. and to be dead. παράγων τῷ ὀνόματι διὰ τὸ πιθανόν τε καὶ πειστικὸν ὠνόμασε πίθον. 493a-d. βίος does not concern transmigration but concerns the coming back to the metaphysical origin of the soul. modified) So. βίος ἀλήθεια Διό[νυσος] Ὀρφικοί (OF 463. is bordering pretty well on the absurd. a Sicilian. to live?” and now we really. ἴσως Σικελός τις ἢ Ἰταλικός. showing how of all who are in Hades—meaning of course the invisible—these uninitiate will be most wretched. the licentious and fissured καὶ ἡμεῖς τῷ ὄντι ἴσως τέθναμεν· ἤδη γάρ του ἔγωγε καὶ ἤκουσα τῶν σοφῶν ὡς νῦν ἡμεῖς τέθναμεν καὶ τὸ μὲν σῶμά ἐστιν ἡμῖν σῆμα. are dead. according to Socrates and his “wise” sources (τις τῶν σοφῶν. when he say s: “Who knows if to live is to be dead. in fact I once heard someone among the sages say that we are now dead. he means the soul: and the soul of the thoughtless he likened to a sieve. All this. ἐνδείκνυται ὡς τῶν ἐν Ἅιδου – τὸ ἀιδὲς δὴ λέγων – οὗτοι ἀθλιώτατοι ἂν εἶεν. Therefore he really is dead. since it is unable to hold anything by reason of its unbelief and forgetfulness. τοὺς δὲ ἀνοήτους ἀμυήτους. and the body is our tomb. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. ὡς τετρημένος εἴη πίθος. maybe Empedocles and Pythagoras.

Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. so that he attends the very beginning of the world. ἀίδιον. <νείκεΐ θ'> ὅς κ(ε) ἐπίορκον ἁμαρτήσας ἐπομόσσηι. most of the dead are deprived of memory and have forgotten their terrestrial life. Therefore. an old decree And everlasting of the gods. δαίμονες οἵτε μακραίωνος λελάχασι βίοιο. στυγέουσι δὲ πάντες. 3. who composes his poem under the guidance of a πολυμνήστη Μοῦσα. There is a word of Fate. To be banished from divinity in Hesiod and Empedocles Finally. 11 This is asserterd by Graf 2007: 120. the epic values are inverted: the Homeric hell is equated with the the terrestrial life. In this case. 8 . The ISNS Tenth International Conference. a “Muse of rich memory” (fr. But. as failing of their pledge. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. Aristophanes. 186). that whosoe'er of those Far spirits. in Homer. φυομένους παντοῖα διὰ χρόνου εἴδεα θνητῶν ἀργαλέας βιότοιο μεταλλάσσοντα κελεύθους. πλατέεσσι κατεσφρηγισμένον ὅρκοις· εὖτέ τις ἀμπλακίηισι φόνωι φίλα γυῖα μιήνηι. 11 Such a hypothesis does not match Mnemosyne’s function in poetry: Mnemosyne provides a visionary ins piration to the poet. Of course. to keep the actual remembrance of their past life appears as a great privilege. πόντος δ' ἐς χθονὸς οὖδας ἀπέπτυσε. alexispinchard@hotmail. CPGE). αἰθέριον μὲν γάρ σφε μένος πόντονδε διώκει.Alexis Pinchard. according to Orphic tradition.8 DK).com Διόν[υσος] [ψεῦδος] ἀλήθεια σῶμα ψυχή (OF 465) Βίος-Βίος Ἀπόλλων-Ἀπόλλων Ἥλιος-Ἥλιος Κόσμος-ΚόσμοςΦῶς-Φῶς / Βορεικοὶ θιασῖται (OF 535. as it was for Teiresias. γαῖα δ' ἐς αὐγὰς ἠελίου φαέθοντος. made fast With amplest oaths. Do foul their limbs with slaughter in offense. νείκεϊ μαινομένωι πίσυνος. τῶν καὶ ἐγὼ νῦν εἰμι. 300 BCE) I also deny that the dying hero of the Mnemosyne tablets might thanks to the sacred spring merely remember the events of the life he has just left. the first moments of the theogony for example. Or swear forsworn. θεῶν ψήφισμα παλαιόν. I suppose that Mnemosyne’s water reminds the primeval condition of soul before every incarnation because Empedocles. so that Hades can be called “the plain of Lēthē” (τὸ Λήθης πεδίον. the real oblivion occurs in the terrestrial life and Mnemosyne grants the remembrance of what is forgotten in the terrestrial life. Ranae. not of the terrestrial life itself. was aware of such a metaphysical cycle: ἔστιν Ἀνάγκης χρῆμα. φυγὰς θεόθεν καὶ ἀλήτης. Cagliari 2012. τρίς μιν μυρίας ὧρας ἀπὸ μακάρων ἀλάλησθαι. with their lot of age-long life. ὁ δ' αἰθέρος ἔμβαλε δίναις· ἄλλος δ' ἐξ ἄλλου δέχεται.

since each hero is born from a god or goddess and from a mortal. which change Ever and ever troublous paths of life: For now Air hunts them onward to the Sea. For example. CPGE). 112. Moreover Empedocles claims to be « an immortal god and no longer a mortal” (θεὸς ἄμβροτος.B1 is told that he will be “a god instead of a mortal” (θεὸς δ’ἐσηι ἀντὶ βροτοῖο. there is a great difference between Empocles and the group and this group of gold tablets inasmuch as Empocles has right now his divine status whereas the initiate has to wait for his afterlife. Of course. As one trusting in raving Strife (Empedocles. Now Earth will spue toward beams of radiant Sun. 115. whereas the initiate of IIB1 (Pugliese Carratelli) claims to be of γένος ὄλβιον. And in that brood I too am numbered now. fr. 9 . The ISNS Tenth International Conference. alexispinchard@hotmail. Whence he will toss them back to whirling Air— Each gets from other what they all abhor. But this difference makes the link with the Mnemosyne tablets. fr. line 10). We are not told by the Hipponion gold tablet about such an ultimate transformation. 115 DK). as it is expressed in the fr. but we neither are told about the end of the “sacred road”. Cagliari 2012.Alexis Pinchard. being the privilege the ὄλβιοι who have been initiated is also mentioned in the clearly Dionysiac tablet IIB3 (line 6). Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. κεῖται νήυτμος τετελεσμένον εἰς ἐνιαυτόν· 12 Betz 2011: 107. A post-mortem τιμή. It has already been noticed that other Empocles’s fragments connected this demonic story are consonant with certain gold tablets. the initiate still has a trace of his earthly maternal genos since he introduces himself as the child of Earth and starry Sky (Γῆς παῖς εἰμι καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος). which also seems to be alluded in the gold tablets through the formula Γῆς παῖς εἰμι καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος (see Theogony. his genos ouranion. and he himself will be ὄλβιος (line 10) after his death thanks to the initiatory ritual. and be born through time In various shapes of mortal kind. Now the wild Sea disgorges them on Land. Here the earth might symbolize the mortal element of the intermediate heroic status. whereas he will be a complete god when he will have drunk Mnemosyne’s water. but he claims to be accepted by the underworld king only on the base of his heavenly filiation. the primeval state of the soul is qualified by Empedocles as a great τιμή and μήκος ὄλβου. The sole tradition which he might have learned by heart about some cyclical story of daimons is Hesiod’s theogony. οὐκέτι θνητός. was one of the gods.3) thanks to his knowledge concerning the cosmos and the fate of individual souls. 119 DK). but title might be applied with regard to the fact that he knows only the secret doctrines taught during the ritual initiation in his present life. 106):12 ὅς κεν τὴν ἐπίορκον ἀπολλείψας ἐπομόσσῃ ἀθανάτων οἳ ἔχουσι κάρη νιφόεντος Ὀλύμπου. at the very beginning. A fugitive from divinity and Shall wander thrice ten thousand weary years Far from the Blessed. Empedocles is an immortal god already in his terrestrial life because he has realized that a daimon inhabits his own interiority and such daimon. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. although he was told about such a metaphysical past by no human teacher. In the Mnemosyne tablets the initiate is just called “hero” and not “god” (θεός). “summit of happiness” (fr. Thus Memo ry is the ultimate reason of Empedocles’ immortality. In the same way the initiate of II. « of a happy race » (line 3). At t he beginning of the salvation process.

as well as the fate of a single daimon. although the fate of the soul is due to its free will and thus allows redemption through a certain personal activity. The personal reminiscence presents the individual inner life as the secret re-enacting of a myth which was learned by heart through oral tradition. but lie spiritless and voiceless on a strewn bed: and a heavy trance overshadows him. Love and Strife. κακὸν δ' ἐπὶ κῶμα καλύπτει. the famous cold water which trickles down from a high and beetling rock. And we have other examples of such a transposition directly in the gold tablets. becomes as well universal as singular. But in the tenth year he comes again to join the assemblies of the deathless gods who live in the house of Olympus. help to understand the cyclical evolution of the whole reality. [795] must lie breathless until a full year is completed. But the transposition achieved by Empedocles is twofold: the myth. Theogony. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. Servius. ἀλλά τε κεῖται ἀνάπνευστος καὶ ἄναυδος στρωτοῖς ἐν λεχέεσσι. 6. We find here again the double aspect of the salvific memory: lore passed on by generation in generation and personal reminiscence of a metaphysical past. and then falls into the main2. Empedocles has clearly transposed this mythical account into his own spiritual fate.565. The path of the individual soul between sin and salvation echoes the global rhythm of the world. Cf. OF 344-345. 10 . memory plays at least a double part. The two divine entities. For nine years he is cut off from the eternal gods and never joins their councils or their feasts. did the gods appoint the eternal and primeval water of Styx to be: and it spouts through a rugged place (Hesiod. ὠγύγιον· τὸ δ' ἵησι καταστυφέλου διὰ χώρου. αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν νοῦσον τελέσει μέγαν εἰς ἐνιαυτόν. then Zeus sends Iris to bring in a golden jug the great oath of the gods [785] from far away. Aen. CPGE). and when any one of them who live in the house of Olympus lies. τοῖον ἄρ' ὅρκον ἔθεντο θεοὶ Στυγὸς ἄφθιτον ὕδωρ. Far under the wide-pathed earth a branch of Oceanus flows through the dark night out of the holy stream. See West 1966: 374. which is peculiar by itself. [805] Such an oath. especially an intellectual activity. But when he has spent a long year in his sickness. alexispinchard@hotmail. ἄλλος δ' ἐξ ἄλλου δέχεται χαλεπώτερος ἆθλος· εἰνάετες δὲ θεῶν ἀπαμείρεται αἰὲν ἐόντων. although it 13 14 See Balaudé 2010: 96-98. then. a sore trouble to the gods. On the one hand. and never come near to taste ambrosia and nectar. Cf. For whoever of the deathless gods that hold the peaks of snowy Olympus pours a libation of her water and is forsworn. from unity to multiplicity and back. οὐδέ ποτ' ἐς βουλὴν ἐπιμίσγεται οὐδ' ἐπὶ δαῖτας ἐννέα πάντ' ἔτεα· δεκάτῳ δ' ἐπιμίσγεται αὖτις † εἰρέας ἀθανάτων οἳ Ὀλύμπια δώματ' ἔχουσι. 793. [800] another penance more hard follows after the first. On the other hand. He cannot and may not find out these formulae which are taught by his master. and a tenth part of his water is allotted to οὐδέ ποτ' ἀμβροσίης καὶ νέκταρος ἔρχεται ἆσσον βρώσιος. but the tenth flows out from a rock. concerning some divine character. ad Theogony. 783-806). UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. the aoidos has to learn by heart the traditional metric formulae in order to be able to improvise by variously combining these formulae. The epic and lyric paradigm In archaic Greek poetry.13 One might ask what the connection with Orphism is since neither Empedocles nor Hesiod mention Orpheus. But when strife and quarrel arise among the deathless gods. [790] With nine silver-swirling streams he winds about the earth and the sea's wide back. he has to experience personally the vision of the mythical origin of the world or of the heroic past. 14 Such a pasage was probably felt as especially fit for the transposition process which defines Orphism. But it is worth noticing that Hesiod’s account about the perjuring god was also attributed to Orpheus by ancient commentaries. Cagliari 2012.Alexis Pinchard. nine full years.

through his special power. and not only during the oral performance. The whole humanity is potentially in connection with Orpheus just like the Orphic Zeus contains everything and is contained by everything. The epic tale was changed in into a “soteriological program”. saying truth. in the gold tablets. This is why there is a real Orphic “way of life” (vegetarian food. 15 But both aspects are complementary. In the same way. on the other hand. It is not the privilege of a particular genos but of the whole human genos. There are no Orphēidai like the Homēridai of Chios. tradition is broken. non violence. embodies the invisible origin in the visible world.Alexis Pinchard. For example. The mystic vision has from now on the form of a return to oneself. but not in the same way as in the gold tablets. novelty is not the sign of any treason against origin. On the contrary. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’ is not his own past. alexispinchard@hotmail. The voice of a poet is no longer needed in order to be in touch with the invisible realm because the invisible realm stands in every human soul. 17 the heroic soul of the Orphic initiate has borrowed its main features from the epic terrestrial hero. guarantees both the concret training of human mind as well as the mystic transportation in the realm of primeval realities. as mother of the Muses. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. see Plato. This is proven by the syntaxical and lexical similarities between. 782 c-d). Plato asserts that every human being has seen the Ideas and can remember them by practicing dialectics. Pythagoras was re-enacting Orpheus although he was not Orpheus’s natural son. Through the poetic improvisation the transcendental reality is made present to human eyes and ears. but this gift has no connection with its individuality. the claim of the deceased’s soul for its genos ouranion. just before a deciding fight which will bring glory or shame to his whole lineage.e. The poet. Leges. 17 See Herrero 2011: 288-289. Mnemosyne. 11 . the self-identification of the rhapsode with the mythical proto-poet occurs during one’s whole life. As Herrero has rightly noticed. See Gregory Nagy 2012: E§116. Following an 15 16 See Vernant 1966 (1959): 111-112. the claim of the epic hero for belonging to a superior genos. the Orphic initiate of the gold tablets has to learn the password by heart as well as to experience a personal contact with divinity thanks to Mnemosyne’s water.16 In the same way. Moreover a kind of connection between memory and immortality is also to be found in epic and in the old lyric poetry. The poet has to improvise and create variation in the traditional canon during his oral performance in order to testify his inner contact with the sacred herebeyond. This is consistent with the lack ofhistorical family tradition in Orphism unlike in the Homeric tradition.. its essential nature transcending every temporal incarnation. So both aspects of theogonic memory have been kept in Orphism. But it does not deal anymore with the origin of the whole cosmos: only the single ego is concerned and this origin coincides with the end. this is the variation in oral poetry which ensures that the tradition is still based on the same extraordinary experience. When performative variations ceases. CPGE). on the one hand. Thus. A tradition is precisely such a reinforcment of spiritual identity thanks to differences throughout the course of time. Oneself’s connection with Orpheus depends on will and on undertaking of a re-birth ritual. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. i. and. Cagliari 2012. so that the personal immortality obtained in the hereafter by remembering the past lives and — further — the divine origin reflects the unfailing kleos granted by the professional memory of the epic rhapsodes. The poetic tradition can remain fundamentally one and the same just because it changes on the level of external performance. but they are transposed in the realm of afterlife. Finally. Lineage in the Orphic tradition is only ritual and is only a matter of initiation. and not only an Orphic way of singing. It follows that everybody is potentially concerned with such vision. not on blood. in Orphism.

. alexispinchard@hotmail. So its is a kind of meta-transpoistion Furthermore. fr. CPGE). so that it is neither necessary nor completely sure . 18 But such an immortality does not concern the individual consciousness. 21 See Nagy 1974. Such an inheritance ensures the unity of the various Orphic gold tablets types. as a good poet. 1. Cagliari 2012. κλέος ἄφθιτον ἕξεις ὡς κατ’ ἀοιδὰν καὶ ἐμὸν κλέος. embedded in both the blood offering identified in the Pelops cult. 20 See Quinlan 2009: “The Iliad does not recount the fall of Troy and the return of Helen. an unfailing fame for the victorious charioteer in some agōn. We would like to add that. by correctly remembering the glorious ancestors of the present winner and by showing it to the audience. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. Polycrates. the spring of Mnemosyne’s daughters brings immortality inasmuch as the inspired praise produces a kleos aphthiton. He will be remembered by next generations as a good disciple of Mnemosyne. but the words remain the same. The present athlete needs past and legens for his future glory and only a poet can provide it.22 Orpheus himeself. He is not the same individual.47 Page)21 There is a reciprocal gift of glory between the poet and the present athlete. i. “a remembering hero” (IA4. He needs to be inserted in the epic paradigm. The ritual process of athleticism that seeks through the accomplishment of glorious deeds and the attainment of victory to move the contestant from the state of preliminary exclusion and a figurative death to the goal of victory and immortality through everlasting fame is. You. Πωλύκρατες. The poet needs a beautiful victory in order to have a subject for his song. the poet can show the present victory as the re-enacting of the past deeds. in Pindar. generates a ritual association between the athlete and the hero. the Pindaric past does not constitute the central and secret part of the present life. you will have an exhaustible fame thanks to my song.20 So epic is implied in lyric. But the present winner can obtain the kleos aphthiton only inasmuch as he reminds the deeds of his heroic ancestors. as he is presented in the Argonautica for See Obbink: ontological shift. Inspired by the Muses. The gold tablets have transposed this proto-transposition in the intrinsic complexity of a single soul. the Pindaric poet obtains kleos aphthiton too. The praise has even a ritual value: it works like a libation to heroes. The famous ancestor remains someone else than his offspring. 22 We fully agree with Herrero when he writes: “The memory of the dead as object has been transformed into memory of the dead as subject: the lexical transition is easy to explain through epic lines 19 18 12 . UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. i.e. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. The genos is the real unity in which the means of remembrance and the object of remembrance are enclosed. But in contradistinction to the gold tablets.e. On the one hand. the “social elitism” of the Homeric epic has changed into a “spiritual elitism”. See Simondon 1982: 120-121. who are Mnemosyne’s daughters. like a poet. The gold tablets will unit these both rcepients of the kleos aphthithon. it depends on the surviving generations.” See Nagy 1990: 118-119.2). 19 The “work of memory” begins right now for the poet. line 22) initiate is remembering: he is a μεμνημένος ἥρως. There already is a kind of immortalizing transposition in Pindar. in so doing. This view is confirmed by Ibykos: καὶ σύ. the glorious (see κλεεινοί. The present athlete needs to be brought in touch with his own origins through poetic speech.. The victor who is celebrated is someone else from those who remember him and from the poet who reminds them of him. finally.Alexis Pinchard. just like my poem itself (Ibykos. rather it relates the extreme sufferings endured for Helen’s sake as a means of establishing an effective link with the mythic past and.

97). Olymp. ἀλλὰ ζεῦξον ἤδη μοι σθένος ἡμιόνων. in good time. to Pitana. alexispinchard@hotmail. 142). Pean) in which mnemosyne grants kleos (2011: 289). Firstly the road of the poet is traveled after the victory of the present athlete: ὦ Φίντις. στεφάνους ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ ἐπεὶ δέξαντο· χρὴ τοίνυν πύλας ὕ μνων ἀναπιτˈνάμεν αὐταῖς· πρὸς Πιτάναν δὲ παρ' Εὐρώτα πόρον δεῖ σάμερον̄ ἐλθεῖν ἐν ὥρᾳ· Phintis. and I must go today. “to be mindful of his return at home” (Odyssey III. Of course. and I can at last arrive at the race of these men. Therefore. And inasmuch as he has a divine part in himeself. to the road traveled by the glorious members of a virtuous genos towards their future. ὅ]στις ἄνευθ' Ἑλικωνιάδων βαθεῖαν ε. 247b 5-6: ἔνθα δὴ πόνος τε καὶ ἀγὼν ἔσχατος ψυχῇ πρόκειται). 15 -20. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. since they have won garlands at Olympia. CPGE). 52h.Alexis Pinchard. For Odysseus. for example the food of the Lotus-Eaters (cf. Cagliari 2012. so that we can drive the chariot along a clear path. νόστου τε λαθέσθαι. 13 . His real fatherland is among the gods. the initiate of the gold tablets is brought in contact with his heroic origin thanks to Mnemosyne. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. he is remembered like the glorious ancestors of the present athlete are. the immortality and the consequent glory of the Orphic initiate do not prevent other souls from being glorious and immortal because the victory that he has won is a victory against himself. VI..ων ἐρευνᾷ σοφίας ὁδόν. against his passions. (Pindar. [25] For those mules above all others know how to lead the way along this example. ᾇ τάχος. But he will be glorious because he will be immortal whereas the epic hero was immortal because he was glorious.[. the home which the Orphic initiate has to remember is divinity and immortality. Such a road is direcly connected with Mnemosyne: ἐ]πεύχο[μαι] δ' Οὐρανοῦ τ' εὐπέπˈλῳ θυγατρὶ Μναμ[ο]σύ[ν]ᾳ κόραισί τ' εὐμαχανίαν διδόμεν. beside the ford of Eurotas (Pindar. to remember and to remain a mortal were the same thing.]. like the human souls in the mythos of Plato’s Phaedrus (cf. 23 See Frame 1978: 35. τ]υφλα̣[ὶ γὰ]ρ ἀνδρῶν φρένες. Thus we can view Orphism as a movement of universalisation of divine fate and not only a process of internalization into certain souls. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. Pindar opposes the road traveled by the poet from present time towards the heroic origins. may be considered as the first μεμνημένος ἥρως. since he is at the same time a poet and an epic character. On the other hand.” But the dead remains object of memory too. and carefully avoided what could let him forget his desire to return home. ὄφˈρα κελεύθῳ τ' ἐν καθαρᾷ βάσομεν ὄκχον. in the gold tablets he is both object and subject of memory.23 But divinity and immortality proposed to the clever hero by Calypso were the main reasons why an oblivion of return was possible. 21-28). Odyssey IX.. and not a victory against other souls. Odysseus was already a μεμνημένος ἥρως since he wanted to νόστου μιμνῄσκεσθαι. come now and yoke the strength of mules for me. ἵκωμαί τε πˈρὸς ἀνδρῶν καὶ γένος· κεῖναι γὰρ ἐξ ἀλλᾶν ὁδὸν ἁγεμονεῦσαι ταύταν ἐπίστανται. Phaedrus. fr. On the contrary. quickly. like the winner of an agōn. And so it is right to open for them the gates of song.

the son of Cronos. αἶψ' ὅ γε δυσφροσυνέων ἐπιλήθεται οὐδέ τι κηδέων 24 25 See Feyerabend 1984. in the gold tablets. 52h. although several words and ideas are shared: 24 Ι Α 1. i. γουνοῖσιν Ἐλευθῆρος μεδέουσα. Olymp. 15 μύσται καὶ βάχχοι ἱερὰν στείχουσι κλεεινοί. without the Heliconian girls. “swiftfooted Achilles’s soul” joyfully “walk with great [strides]”. Cagliari 2012. Pean) Through the traveling of this anagogic road by the poet. But. it is one and the same road since the hero himself is I invoke Mnemosyne. and her maidens in order that they give me inspiration. Theogony.e. The isles of the Blessed are their final destination. Mnemosyne paradoxically lets human sorrows be forgotten: τὰς ἐν Πιερίῃ Κρονίδῃ τέκε πατρὶ μιγεῖσα Μνημοσύνη. the weel-dressed daughter of Sky. for the minds of men are blind when they want. bear of union with the father. See Quinlan 2009: 116. εἰ γάρ τις καὶ πένθος ἔχων νεοκηδέι θυμῷ ἄζηται κραδίην ἀκαχήμενος. [55] a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow (Hesiod.Alexis Pinchard. Such a triumphal road may be compared with the road which is supposed by the fact that. the initiate will be glorious in the hereafter because he will takes part in the glory of Dionysos himself. Them in Pieria begot Mnemosyne. 25 But the Orphic road is at the same time the road of poetic song. Memory and oblivion still play the greatest part. On the historical level. In spite of being almost anonymous among the mortals who still live on earth. alexispinchard@hotmail. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. From solace to salvation The words by which salvation is described in the gold leaves are also kindred with Hesiod’s. VI. may it be mysteriously kept in silence or ritually symbolized. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. Prosperity attended them. the comparison may be drawn also with the road which the victorious athletes used to travel in the Olympic games: both roads lead from death to a kind of immortality. λησμοσύνην τε κακῶν ἄμπαυμά τε μερμηράων. who reigns over the hills of Eleuther. 26 See Simondon 1982: 128-129. 71-73). CPGE). 14 καὶ δὲ καὶ σὺ πιὼν ὁδὸν ἔρχεαι ἅν τε καὶ ἄλλοι Ι Α 1. runs (XI.. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. 15-20. even after having died: ἐξ οὗ πολύκˈλειτον καθ' Ἕλλανας γένος Ἰαμιδᾶν· ὄλβος ἅμ' ἕσπετο· τιμῶντες δ' ἀρετάς ἐς φανερὰν ὁδὸν ἔρχονται· Since then the race of the sons of Iamus has been very famous throughout Greece. the real individuals of this genos can travel the road of their life as a glorious road. they walk along a bright path. 14 . fr. to explore the deep road of wisdom (Pindar. (Pindar. and by honoring excellence. His name will be the secret name of the god and thus will be repeated in every earthy and heavenly prayer. in the Nekyia of the Odyssey. 539) across the infernal field of asphodel after having heard Odysseus’s words about his glorious son. αὐτὰρ ἀοιδὸς Μουσάων θεράπων κλεῖα προτέρων ἀνθρώπων ὑμνήσει μάκαράς τε θεοὺς οἳ Ὄλυμπον ἔχουσιν. So the gold tablets consciously play with epic and lyric inter-textuality. 26 In Hesiod. 53-55).

thus. the oblivion of Hadès is the oblivion of oblivion27 since Hadès is ordinarily identified with “the plain of Lēthē” (τὸ Λήθης πεδίον. OF 488. Henceforth the internal life of the soul is an aspect of intellectual activity.6 Bernabé. the pain from which Mnemosyne makes the soul free is not due to a particular event which would have happened during the present life. by Bernabé-Jiménez San Cristóbal 2008). Cagliari 2012. chants the glorious deeds of men of old and the blessed gods who inhabit Olympus. 621a) and the only opportuny to access the genuine memory is to be found in Hadès. human actions can not delete it unless with the help of the gods in initiation ritual. can forget Hadès: Ἀΐδα τοι λάθεται ἄρμενα πˈράξαις ἀνήρ. This is why we may speak of salvation about Orphism rather than solace.Alexis Pinchard. For although a man has sorrow and grief in his newly-troubled soul and lives in dread because his heart is distressed. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. yet. when a singer. the goal as well as the road. Whereas in the gold tablets Mnemosyne’s water is for the initiate only a means to reach his own divine center. Moreover this life in itself is a source of pain whereas bliss can happen only while escaping the series of reincarnation: κύκλου δ’ἐξέπταν βαρυπενθέος ἀργαλέοιο I flew forth from the painful cycle of deep sorrow (Thurium. In the Orphic gold tablets. 28 The act of remembering is from now on the aim as well as the means. which is not visible in the world and which can not be remembered by normal people. CPGE). or through perceiving and saying the ἀ-λήθεια. Success or defeat in society have no influence on this pain. although they are not ontologically dependent on it and. Theogony. in Orphism. at once he forgets his heaviness and remembers not his sorrows at all. but about « the plain of ἀ-λήθεια » itself. IIB1 Pugliese Carratelli. On the contrary. Similarly a young victor in some athletic games. Respublica X. Ranae. like in the gold tablets. inasmuch as his deeds are praised by Pindar. 186). μέμνηται· ταχέως δὲ παρέτραπε δῶρα θεάων. For the intelligible Forms stand inside the remembering intellect. the sorrow forgotten thanks to Mnemosyne is associated with the fear from one’s own death and from the death of beloved people. which have no material 27 28 See Segal 1985: 209. by remembering the intelligible Forms. Plato: anamnēsis as the real life of soul Plato goes one step further in the identification between the one who remembers and the object that is remembered in the salvific remembrance. The internal daimon has not only to be remembered. Ol. 15 . τὸ ἀληθείας ἰδεῖν πεδίον). as it is said in the Phaedrus (247c and 248b. See Pinchard 2009: 415. but it deals with the native condition of human beings. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. 72) Even his dead ancestors receive some happiness when they hear his praise by the inspired poet. VIII. Hades is forgotten by a man with good accomplishments (Pindar. alexispinchard@hotmail. [100] the servant of the Muses. the Platonic anamnēsis is already the real immortality itself. but the gifts of the goddesses soon turn him away from these (Hesiod. transl. Aristophanes. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. 98-103). Since this pain is punishment for a surnatural guilt. in Hesiod. the Lēthē river stands on the path to the terrestrial life (see Plato. The salvation is somehow obtained through remembering memory. on the contrary. but it itself is the act of remembering. founds it. Of course.

29 For. Anamnēsis is nothing less than such a return. may it be viewed as the cosmic breath or as something immaterial. namely—and through that approaching it. but is the remembering itself. But Plato adds that such a life is perfectly itself only when the soul actually works as intellect (noûs). γνοίη τε καὶ ἀληθῶς ζῴη καὶ τρέφοιτο καὶ οὕτω λήγοι ὠδῖνος. alexispinchard@hotmail. and the intellect is just the circular figure which such a movement can take on. i. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. and not anymore an artificial and secondary synthesis. The divine part of the soul. but not before?” (Respublica VI. “to move” has to different meanings: on the one hand to give just impulse. but not an independant thing. while practising the philosophical anamnēsis with dialectics. and so find surcease from his travail of soul. it must be the first principle of every movement in the world. It is only in the See Delcomminette (2008:131): “Toute vie se ramène en définitive à cette source unique. Leges X. Therefore a sensible being can be alive only because it is linked with a soul. que Socrate qualifie d’ailleurs de « vie véritable » (cf. καὶ οὐκ ἐπιμένοι ἐπὶ τοῖς δοξαζομένοις εἶναι πολλοῖς ἑκάστοις.” 29 16 . the soul is defined as “the movement that can move itself” (τὴν δυναμένην αὐτὴν αὑτὴν κινεῖν κίνησιν. Of course. πρὶν δ' οὔ; “Will it not be a fair plea in his defence to say that it was the nature of the real lover of knowledge to strive emulously for true being and that he would not linger over the many particulars that are opined to be real. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. Moreover a sensible thing may be said alive inasmuch as it moves itself without any help of another sensible thing although a body is unable to move by itself inasmuch as it is a particular body (Leges X. In this case the subject and its act are not to be separated. VI. mais en tant que celle-ci est le lieu où l’âme est le plus purement elle-même. he would beget intelligence and truth. qui. such a connection between end and beginning. 490 b6). The fact that soul provides life to certain bodies implies that the soul itself is always alive and so that life consists in moving oneself. The noēsis must be a circular movement because the intelligible Forms which the intellect can grasp stand at the center of the soul since its origin.Alexis Pinchard. 895c). on the other hand to fixe a direction. so that the soul is the only necessarily permanent movement (Phaedrus. trouve son siège dans la partie rationnelle de l’âme. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. as a pure remembrance process. For the soul essentially is a movement that moves itself. Cagliari 2012. πρὶν αὐτοῦ ὃ ἔστιν ἑκάστου τῆς φύσεως ἅψασθαι ᾧ προσήκει ψυχῆς ἐφάπτεσθαι τοῦ τοιούτου – προσήκει δὲ συγγενεῖ – ᾧ πλησιάσας καὶ μιγεὶς τῷ ὄντι ὄντως.e. Second. le plus conforme à sa nature automotrice. 490a-b) The life of the soul. The intellect is the most living part of soul. Since the soul moves itself. and the edge of his passion would not be blunted nor would his desire fail till he came into touch with the nature of each thing in itself by that part of his soul to which it belongs to lay hold on that kind of reality—the part akin to it. and is no longer defined by a correlation with the body although it can eventually move the support and so are entirely present as soon as they are remembered. République. ἀλλ' ἴοι καὶ οὐκ ἀμβλύνοιτο οὐδ' ἀπολήγοι τοῦ ἔρωτος. its very self. but would hold on his way. and is no longer one of the instruments which the transmigrating daimon can successively use: Ἆρ' οὖν δὴ οὐ μετρίως ἀπολογησόμεθα ὅτι πρὸς τὸ ὂν πεφυκὼς εἴη ἁμιλλᾶσθαι ὅ γε ὄντως φιλομαθής. first. CPGE). the soul accesses also itself as pure intellect. and consorting with reality really. selon le langage de la tripartition. is not something which can accidentally remember. 896a 1-2).. is essentially an adequate relationship to itself. γεννήσας νοῦν καὶ ἀλήθειαν. So the act through which the intellect returns to itself is its very essence. the intellect. according to Plato. the divine part of soul was already an immortal principle a life in Orphism. Therefore. The soul is able to do both for itself. the subject of salvific remembrance is the same as the object of remembrance inasmuch as it is remembering. Henceforth the active relationship between the subject and the object of remembrance is an expression of their original nature. attain to knowledge and truly live and grow. 245c).

Spiritual progress towards virtue consists in converting more and more psychic movements into complete self-motion. ἅτε δὲ ἀεὶ θεραπεύοντα τὸ θεῖον ἔχοντά τε αὐτὸν εὖ κεκοσμημένον τὸν δαίμονα σύνοικον ἑαυτῷ. Quite paradoxically the excellent soul is more immortal than other ones inasmuch as it takes a greater part in the perfect life of intellect. καθ' ὅσον δ' αὖ μετασχεῖν ἀνθρωπίνῃ φύσει ἀθανασίας ἐνδέχεται. So there is no contradiction between the different levels of immortality established in the Timaeus (41ab). 81a. 17 . CPGE). which is not an organ different from its function. Cagliari 2012. but an always actual and complete self-motion. 249c. and has exercised these qualities above all his others. The notions of beginning and end presuppose the being of the soul. or has at least limited their spreading according to its own law. such as sexual desire. 247d) and grows in the wise soul. By giving the central part to its intellect. The movements the direction of which is not mastererd by the soul itself are associated with the body. πᾶσα ἀνάγκη που. and inasmuch as he is for ever tending his divine part and duly magnifying that daemon who dwells along with him. Phaedrus. Of course.Alexis Pinchard. but souls in general are complex and generated from a cause which stands out of the world. The wise soul is that which has absorbed all its movements in the complete self-motion. For example. their permanent self-motion would be not interrupted at a certain date because the time itself is an aspect of their motion. he must fall short thereof in no degree. Timaeus. whereas it looses its central part in the wicked soul. if so be that he lays hold on truth. it could be fully experienced by the soul at every moment in its life because it deals with aceessing the eternity of intelligible Forms. the soul possesses better and better what happens in itself. even if they were destroyed — what will certainly not happen —. cf. which is necessary: their immortal being depends on the good will of the Demiurgos. Such a progress can be achieved only when the soul is separated from the body. even the soul of the worst tyrant contains a part that has an intellection of the Idea of Egality in itself. but its duration is not different since every soul has necessarily a permanent duration: τῷ δὲ περὶ φιλομαθίαν καὶ περὶ τὰς ἀληθεῖς φρονήσεις ἐσπουδακότι καὶ ταῦτα μάλιστα τῶν αὑτοῦ γεγυμνασμένῳ φρονεῖν μὲν ἀθάνατα καὶ θεῖα. note 39. among which the highest one belongs to the intelligible Forms. διαφερόντως εὐδαίμονα εἶναι. Although it is not limited. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. he must be supremely blessed (Plato. 90c). whereas the wicked soul has a lot of movements not under control. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. It occurs in time but does not consist in any space of time. and in so far as it is possible for human nature to partake of immortality. τούτου μηδὲν μέρος ἀπολείπειν. ἄνπερ ἀληθείας ἐφάπτηται. See Pinchard 2001: 278. But he who has seriously devoted himself to learning and to true thoughts. which also are said to be “immortal”30. Timaeus. Republic VI. To change from suffering alien orientations to fixing every aspect of its own movement depends on the soul itself: it is the ultimate meaning of self-motion. may he pay attention to it or no. Phaedo. must necessarily and inevitably think thoughts that are immortal and act of intellection that soul also masters the direction of its own movement. greed. so that it is only the fact that they move as long as they are. Nevertheless the intellect is relatively more important in certain souls than in others because a single soul can develop into several movements. Indeed such an increased immortality is almost not concerned with time. It may be called freedom. 41b and Phaedrus. and to approach the Forms with the intellect brings to the soul a more intensive immortality. 490b 6. anger and so on. In this case self-motion includes real autonomy. Each soul Each soul has an intellect. alexispinchard@hotmail. and the necessity of a permanent movement for the soul demonsrated in the Phaedrus (245c-e). The immortality of Forms is stronger than the one of souls in general. cf. The intellect “is nourished” (τρέφοιτο. The soul becomes 30 ἀθάνατον. It is the complete self-motion. The Forms are immortal thanks to an intrinsic necessity because they are ungenerated and simple.

e. We have here maybe a new interpretation of the gold tablet sentence: Ι Α 2. Such a Self is essentially dynamic. it travels through sky and administers the whole world (Phaedrus. The Pythagorean belief in astral immortality is now necessarily and explicitly connected with the the metaphysical anamnēsis which was only alluded in the gold tablets. Cagliari 2012. by definition. On the one hand. Conversely. the perfect immortality really concerns the individual consciousness or not. concerning the soul. one the one hand.Alexis Pinchard. So. Thus the most immortal souls consist in a universal thought which they share and they seem to lose their individuality. CPGE). Therefore. beyond the manifold actions that were sustained by it and that used to individualize it. But the point is that such a return process coincides with the very essence of the soul. is there any community. Thereby its essence conquers its whole being. Is a revolving intellect still an ego? Does it have some difference with other revolving intellects? Does it feel these eventual differences? What about the Orphic plural “with other heroes”? If t here is no plurality in afterlife.e. this movement is the best image. The spiritual progress belongs to the essence of soul. the act of becoming more and more oneself is the Self itself. the philosophical logos makes eternal the universal essence of the subject itself. with the complete self-motion wich is also called intellect. the noûs. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. The intelligible Forms do not change according to the viewpoint they are seen. leaving aside the subjectivity in itself. This is why Socrates says in the Phaedrus: τελέα μὲν οὖν οὖσα καὶ ἐπτερωμένη μετεωροπορεῖ τε καὶ πάντα τὸν κόσμον διοικεῖ· When the soul is perfect and endowed with feathers. a soul in which the intellect does not play the central part has no center at all because only the complete self-motion and every complete self-motion produces a circular movement. alexispinchard@hotmail. which has never absolutely disappeared in spite of incarnation. Finally. 246c). in orherwords it remembers. However one could wonder whether. During the spiritual progess. immortality does not save self-consciousness. Thus the soul which is thinking (noēsis) is perfectly alive because it is perfectly itself and this self is a principle of life. For intellect is always a circular movement. 11 καὶ τότ’ ἔπειτ’ [ἄλλοισι μεθ’] ἡρώεσσι ἀνάξεις. so that they do not stand outside the soul. the human soul becomes similar to the divine cosmic soul which leads the circular movement of stars. an intellect must think the same thing as every other intellect inasmuch as they are more and more was it has to be according to its essence.. i. i. why does the soul fixe for itself precisely a circular movement when it does not let the bodily stimuli fixe the various directions of its own movements? The circular movement of the stars in heaven matches the true nature of soul because. of the eternal identity which defines the intelligible Forms for such a movement makes no difference between its beginning and its end. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. Whereas the epic speech praises the deeds of heroes and makes immortal only the various collections of their actions. any friendship? Indeed. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS.. 18 . the soul returns to itself. according to Plato. This essence is worth being obeyed because it was created by the Good itself. inside genesis. while practising the philosophical anamnēsis. The Forms are absolute. the intellectual self-motion. And thereafter you will rule with other heroes. and on the other hand the soul is originally kindred with intelligible Forms because it is invisible like the Forms and the Forms rule its inner structure.

in the philosophical immortality. Orpheus’s membra 19 . the philosophical dialogues have to be learnt by heart as epic poems which were at the beginning orally transmitted. To merge with intelligible universality implies that one goes further into singularity. The story of a primeval perfect corpus that was perfectly transmitted during some golden age and then was lost and reconstructed thereafter by a genial poet is a myth. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’ on the other hand immortality leaves a side the personal singularity. so that he has to get in touch with the realm of divine archetypes. eternity will not be granted to you. the philosophical conception of immortality seems to be unable to solve the human fear of death because anamnēsis forgets individuality. Tradition is viewed as a return rather than a linear road. This is the single ego. although it is not sufficient (see Epistula VII. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. He introduces a cyclical process in human tradition just like in metaphysical memory. alexispinchard@hotmail. with its pains and pleasures. But such a defect of the transmitted material is necessary in order to keep alive the tradition : each transmitting poet has to re-enact the very moment of the creation of the future tradition. Lore is not an enduring trace kept in mind by generation in generation. The true text is always lost. Human tradition can not be a divine reality which always remains perfectly the same as itself. If you do not focus on certain persons living at a certain time and in a certain place. Plato has understood that indeed. it is very secure. But during our terrestrial life we are afraid by death because we would like to keep our personal individuality. A philosopher can access eternity and universality only through the love of a single soul.Alexis Pinchard. it is one of its essential properties. so traditional elements are regularly scattered or lost. assumes both the individual dimension and the conscious dimension of salvation. and regularly similar new elements are brought into tradition in order to maintain its apparent shape. it belongs to another level of reality which can be accessed only through an extraordinary vision power. Eternity happens to us at a certain time and a certain place: this not accidental in respect of eternity itself. Philosophical immortality is at least so long as the time itself. since the very beginning. According to many proemium of Plato’s works.who refuses to meet his end. CPGE). individuality is not kept but it receives some sense. The immortality promised by religions. especially Orphic religions. Do we care about what philosophy saves? The erotic personal relationship between master and disciple might be the solution. It is redeemed. Plato and traditional memory This concern with individuality is the reason why Plato does not neglect the duality of the immortalizing memory which was assumed as well among epic or mythic poets as in Orphism. Thus. corrupted or scattered! Each transmitter practices a kind of “bricolage”. actions and passions. Plato explicitly asserts that a good empirical memory is needed to study philosophy. But even this last kind of memory is transformed by Plato. but not that one avoids it. Philosophy needs to be taught by generation in generation and a genuine tradition is never the tradition of nobody. the corpus of tradition has been already desintegrated. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. Just like an animal species is immortal whereas the individuals are not. On the contrary. It gets a function. Cagliari 2012. but it lives as a succession of oblivion and recollection just like what happens in individual minds according to the Symposium (208a-b). The space of time where the corpus is supposed to habe been perfectly transmitted has no historical meaning. Eternity needs the singularity of the moment in order to be itself. 344a). but it is the immortality of nobody. it even transcends time.

We may speak of Orphism when someone becomes aware of the destiny of its own soul by watching at the destiny of an epic hero or of a god. alexispinchard@hotmail. the story told in the Critias was at the beginning a pure oral tradition. See Cassirer 1972 (1953): 186. CPGE). Cagliari 2012. but then it was written down by Egyptian priests. Orphism is the constitutive aspect of myth for spiritual interiority. concerning the philosophical tradition.The Orphic internalization manifests as such and thus presupposes the great divisions between men and gods established by theogonies. and then written anew by Plato himself. Hermeneutics of partly lost or unclear old philosophical texts is possible only if pure Ideas are remembered. The Orphic internalization brings its own history with itself. Thanks to Orphism an internalization of epic memory happens and such an internalization provides a salvific function to memory at the level of individual soul. sometimes knowledge is orally transmitted and remains actually present in the minds of its holders. So the Orphic 31 32 See also Nagy 2012: E§§86-87. epic tradition also accepted variation in itself. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. Reciprocally. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. at least at the symbolic level. It keeps a trace of its past. we may say that Orphism was the dialectical aspect of the mythical consciousness. 20 . a new beginning is possible only if a metaphysical anamnēsis happens. 32 On the other hand. Tradition has been assimilated with a perfectly remaining identity throughout time. The individual consciousness was able to perceive its own interiority only inasmuch as this interiority put on the epic garnment. according to Plato. So. In other words. But.31 but it was not explicitly formulated before Plato.Alexis Pinchard. The interiority of the spiritual content is experienced as an abolished exteriority. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. on the one hand. These dichotomies are even increased since the visible life is viewed as necessarily made of pain and sorrow. Conclusion Following Ernst Cassirer (1972: 275). Indeed Orphism was the very first cultural moment when an individual consciousness acknowledged what is internal in itself. The divine part of the soul is not viewed as something immediately obvious. One should not think that before Orphism or outside Orphism the difference between what is internal in consciousness and what is external was already felt. and then it was anew orally transmitted by Solo. But. The empirical life remains structured by the usual dichotomies. Therefore it is a good thing that written texts are not perfectly kept and perfectly clear! Indeed. when psychic interiority and exteriority were not distinguished yet. In Orphism. but as as a deep mystery. but is progressively became frozen and crystallized. such an expression holds only from an a posteriori view point. this process of internalization has not to be equated with the primeval unity. For example. sometimes it sleeps in writings. However the interiorised myth is also increased to the level of a unversal order. myth defines the internal personality and does not presuppose it. the attempt to interpret old philosophical written texts can release anamnēsis. we are allowed to speak of Orphism when someone views the mythical beings as a paradigm of his own being and translates this aknowledgment into a new mythical element. Orphism took over the part of variation. such as Hesiod’s. or when myths and epic work as a mirror and explicitly assume this disjecta were the first symbol of this textual fact. and the individual consciousness was able to achieve such a recognition only inasmuch as its inner life had the form of an epic tale.

com interiorisation is not a reduction. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. we may assume that such growing complexity of immortality inasmuch as it is correlated with memory was a permanent trend in some ancient cultures. the difference between Homeric tradition and Orphic tradition is not a matter of chronology.Alexis Pinchard. did occur. two conceptual moments of Greek mentality that have been or could have been synchronical. from Orpheus to Homer. 33 34 Herrero (2008: 252) also admits a common Indo-European origin of both traditions. the reverse transposition. Cagliari 2012. Finally. synchronically organized rather than diachronically. and the universality of the cosmic Reason. the Orphic interiorisation positively values origin. But the Orphic transposition consists not only in a scale difference: also values are inverted: whereas in Hesiodic myth the best state is the end. just like the Neoplaonic thinkers believed. As a proof. It deals with two aspects of Greek culture. the peculiarity of Hesiodic myth has split into two directions: the singularity of the inner life happening in every soul. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. Salvation is an inverted cosmogony. alexispinchard@hotmail.33 It is a logical difference. 21 . See Herrero 2011 bis. 34 Moreover. CPGE). UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. on the basis of much data excerpted from comparative poetics dealing with Indian and Iranian sacred poetry. Because of the Orphic transposition.

Empédocle. 2007.. Edmonds. 2000. 2008. Professeur agrégé de philosophie (CNRS. 2012. 2008. corr. 1972 (1926). Pars II. Papyrus Derveni. Le savoir-vivre philosophique. Platon. Instructions for the Netherworld. Musaeus. edition and translation. I. UMR 7528 / Lycée Militaire d’Aix-enProvence. Nürnberg. Balaudé. Lars: The House of Hades: Studies in Ancient Greek Eschatology. Diès. Orfeo y la tradición órfica. 1962. Casadesús (ed. H. 204234. Carl. Alberto: — 1995: “Un etimología platónica: σῶμα-σῆμα” in Philologus 139.html. Further along the Path. Coxon. Studien zu Pythagoras. 3. Cagliari 2012. alexispinchard@hotmail. in Revista de filosofía 40. Fritz and S. Cambridge. Bernabé Pajares. fasc. Orphicorum et orphicis similum testimonia et fragmenta.brynmawr. Betz. 2011. Paris. http://www. Jiménez San Cristóbal. Jean Lacoste. Cassirer. Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets. Madrid. Graf. Linus Epimenides. 2 vol. fasc. p. 2010. — 2008bis: A. Bernabé and A. 1995. III: — 2011: editor: « Orphic » Gold Tablets and Greek Religion. The ISNS Tenth International Conference. 1 et 2. Paris. — 2004 : Poetae epici graeci. — 2008 : A. Berlin.Alexis Pinchard. Radcliffe G. 2011. Burkert. transl. 22 .. 2ème éd. Testimonia et fragmenta. Leiden. CPGE). page 115-138. Philolaos und Platon. Pars II. Socrate.). Sylvain: “Vie biologique et vie morale chez Platon”. Malcolm Schofield: The fragments of Parmenides. 1986. Ernst: La philosophie des formes symboliques 2: la pensée mythique . Walter: Weisheit und Wissenschaft. London. Aarhus. Delcomminette. 1972 (German edition: Yale University Press 1953). Ritual Texts for the Afterlife. — 2010: Platón y el orfismo. I. — 2012: Redifining Ancient Orphism (Abstract of the forthcoming book).. 2 vol. 2004/2005 .  Essai  de  critique  et  d’histoire. 102-119. 2007. Hans Dieter: “The anthropology of the Orphic gold tablets”. p. Paris. Literature Albinus. 1988. Jean-François. Maastricht. Münich-Leipzig. Auguste: Autour  de  Platon. in Edmonds 2011. Bernabé and F.

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