Orpheus

Definition

Orpheus is a figure from ancient Greek mythology, most famous for his virtuoso ability in playing the lyre or kithara. His music could charm the wild animals of the forest, and even streams would pause and trees bend a little closer to hear his sublime singing. He was also a renowned poet, travelled with Jason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, and even descended into the Underworld of Hades to recover his lost wife Eurydice. Orpheus was seen as the head of a poetic tradition known as Orphism where, according to some scholars, adherents performed certain rituals and composed or read poems, texts, and hymns, which included an alternative view of humanity's origins. Orpheus is widely referenced in all forms of ancient Greek art from pottery to sculpture.

More about: Orpheus

Timeline

  • c. 700 BCE
    Greek poet Hesiod writes his Theogony and Works and Days.
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