Zeus, Beginning, Middle and….

Orphic Hymn, fr. 46

“Zeus came first; white-lightning Zeus came last;
Zeus is the beginning; Zeus is the middle; everything came from Zeus.”

Ζεὺς πρῶτος γένετο, Ζεὺς ὕστατος ἀργικέραυνος,
Ζεὺς κεφαλή, Ζεὺς μέσα, Διὸς δ’ ἐκ πάντα τέτυκται



This fragment is preserved in the introduction to the Scholia to Lykophron’s Alexandra by Isaac Tzetzes (or his father John). The commentary is introduced by a rather modest epigram:


“I, Lykophron’s thick book, though full of songs,
was once obscure, possessing unseeable visions.
But now by means of Hermean craft Isaac Tzetzes
Has set me free, once he loosened my well-woven restraints.”

ἡ βίβλος τελέθουσα Λυκόφρονος ἀσματοκόμπουσα
ἦν ἀλαὸς προπάροιθεν ἀδερκέα δέργματ’ ἔχουσα·
νῦν δέ με δορκαλέην ῾Ερμείῃ θήκατο τέχνῃ
Τζέτζης ᾿Ισαάκιος ἐύστροφα πείσματα λύσας.

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