Orpheus and Eurydice16-04-2013 22:26Orpheus was a legendary singer and lyre player of Thracian origin, known as the founder of what is to be called later “Orphic Mysteries” an occult strongly related to his descend in the Underworld, the land of the dead, in search of his beloved wife Eurydice.
Orpheus was usually said to be the son of the Thracian king Oiagros and Kalliope, one of the Muses. He was a devoted follower of Dionysos and a wonderful singer and musician. He was such a great singer that everyone and everything were moved and charmed by his music, men, birds, beasts, rocks, trees and rivers!
Orpheus participated in the expedition of Jason and the Argonauts and he saved his companions from death by the Sirens, the monstrous women who were singing to attract men in their death. Orpheus played a beautiful music with his lyre, outsinging the Sirens.
Orpheus loved and married a dryad nymph called Eurydice, but their union was brief because she soon died from viper bites. Orpheus was overcome by grief and his sad music is said that make even the Gods to weep. By playing his sad song, he resolved to make his way down into the Underworld in the hope of recovering Euridice. His singing charmed Kerberos, the three headed dog that guards the entrance of the Underworld into allowing him to enter the world of the dead and then to soften the heart of Hades himself.
Thrilled of his music, Hades and Persephone allowed him to lead his wife out of the land of the dead, under one condition, that he should never look back at her until they arrived at the world above. Orpheus, excited as he was, could not help himself from looking back at his wife and Eurydike disappeared at that moment and he lost her forever.
Orpheus is said that after his visit to the Underworld he came to honor only Helios, the sun god, and he used to climb up on the peak of Mount Paggaion every morning before sunrise to worship him. The rest of the gods and especially Dionysos who was worshipped extensively in Thrace, grew so angry that sent the Maenads, his female followers, against him.
The Maenads tore him to pieces during the frenzy of their Bacchic orgies. His head is believed that floated down to the Mediterranean shore and was carried by the winds and waves to the island of Lesbos. His lyre was transferred to the heavens by the Muses to become the constellation of the Lyre (Lyra) and Orpheus was finally reunited with Eyridice in the Underworld.
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