Orpheus and Eurydice

Orpheus was the son of the Thrakian king and River God Oiagros (or the god Apollo) and the eldest of the nine Muses, Calliope - patron of epic and elegiac poets.

Orpheus was a gifted singer and played the kithara (ancient Greek plucked string instrument with 7-18 strings) or lyre, a gift from the god Apollo. His music not only moved people but also animals and even trees and rock.

His wife was Eurydice, a fair naiad - a nymph of springs, rivers and lakes. They loved each other dearly. But their happiness was short-lived. Eurydice was bitten by a poisonous snake while taking a walk and died. Orpheus grieved deeply for her. He went down into the underworld and sang so touchingly before Hades, God of the Underworld, and his wife Persephone that they returned his beloved to him. However, there was a restriction - he was not to turn around to her on their way to the world of the living until they have passed the Gate to the Underworld or the grace would be revoked. But out of longing for her and a fear of loosing her Orpheus throws a quick glance back at her. And Eurydice disappears. For seven days Orpheus lamented on the banks of Acheron, the River of the Dead, then he returns to the world of the living. He is no longer interested in women and invents homosexual love.

His rejection infuriated Thrakian women and they tore Orpheus apart in a bacchanalian frenzy. All of nature mourned his death. His head and his lyre were taken out to sea by the river Hebron to the island Lesbos. The religious inhabitants of the island caught both, buried the head and placed the lyre in a temple.

Orpheus's soul, however, found his beloved Eurydice in the underworld and they spend eternity happily together on the Elysian Fields.



Bacchus was the Roman God of Wine named after the epithet Bacchos of Dionysos, the Greek God of Wine and Fertility.

Bacchae - Male and female admirers of Dionysos who roamed forest and field caught wild animals and devoured their raw flesh. They even tore apart humans Orpheus, like, for instance. They were clothed in the skins of bagged dears and fawns. Weapon and badge of the Bacchae was a Tyros staff entwined with ivy and vine leaves and decorated with a pine cone on its top.

Dryad (Greek: drys: oaks) are nymphs of trees. Dryads lived and died with their trees, especially with oaks.

Source: Who's Who in der Antiken Mythologie by Gerhard Fink
© 1993 Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlgag GmbH & Co. KG, Munich

Young Hercules
1.19 Lure of the Lyre
1.20 Fame
1.21 Lyre, Liar
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