Orpheus


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Related to Orpheus: Eurydice, Orpheus and Eurydice

Orpheus

(ôr`fēəs, ôr`fyo͞os), in Greek mythology, celebrated Thracian musician. He was the son of Calliope by Apollo or, according to another legend, by Oeagrus, a king of Thrace. Supposedly, the music of his lyre was so beautiful that when he played, wild beasts were soothed, trees danced, and rivers stood still. Orpheus married the nymph Eurydice. When AristaeusAristaeus
, in Greek mythology, son of Apollo and Cyrene, especially honored as the inventor of beekeeping. Aristaeus tried to violate Eurydice, wife of Orpheus. Eurydice was fatally bitten by a snake while fleeing him.
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 tried to violate her, she fled, was bitten by a snake, and died. Orpheus descended to Hades searching for her. He was granted the chance to regain Eurydice if he could refrain from looking at her until he had led her back to sunlight. Orpheus could not resist, and Eurydice vanished forever. Grieving inconsolably, he became a recluse and wandered for many years. According to some legends, he became a devoted follower of Dionysus and introduced that god's cult in many places, but the women of Thrace, offended by his inattention, tore him to pieces. Another legend says that Orpheus taught the Thracian men to worship the sun (Apollo) above all other gods; in revenge Dionysus caused the wives of the Thracian men to murder their husbands and tear Orpheus to pieces. It was said that his head was thrown into the river Hebrus and floated, still singing, into the sea to the island of Lesbos, where an oracle of Orpheus was established. He was celebrated in the Orphic Mysteries.
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Orpheus

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Orpheus, asteroid 3,361 (the 3,361st asteroid to be discovered, on April 24, 1982), is approximately 12.2 kilometers in diameter and has an orbital period of 5.3 years. Orpheus was named after a masterful player of the lyre who is best remembered for his attempt to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld. According to Martha Lang-Wescott, Orpheus represents haunting, lyrical music, mourning or grief, or a sense of loss or longing for what is past. This asteroid’s key words are “loss,” “grief,” and “sad songs.” Jacob Schwartz gives Orpheus’s astrological significance as “mourning or loss, grieving for a missed opportunity or missing person.”

Sources:

Lang-Wescott, Martha. Asteroids-Mechanics: Ephemerides II. Conway, MA: Treehouse Mountain, 1990.
Lang-Wescott. Mechanics of the Future: Asteroids. Rev. ed. Conway, MA: Treehouse Mountain, 1991.
Schwartz, Jacob. Asteroid Name Encyclopedia. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1995.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Orpheus

 

a mythical Thracian bard, the son of the Muse Calliope. His marvelous singing enchanted gods and men and tamed the wild forces of nature. According to the myths, Orpheus took part in the voyage of the Argonauts and was the original creator of music and poetry. A loyal husband, he descended into the kingdom of the dead, Hades, to bring back his wife, Eurydice, and was killed by the enraged Maenads, the companions of Dionysus. These stories have frequently been used as themes in literature (in the works of Ovid, Vergil, Shelley, Rilke, V. Ia. Briusov, Viach. Ivanov, M. I. Tsvetaeva), the fine arts (in ancient Greek and Roman vase and wall paintings and in the works of Rubens, Canova, and others), and music (in the works of Gluck, Haydn, Liszt, Stravinsky).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Orpheus

his singing opens the gates of the underworld. [Ger. Opera: Gluck, Orpheus and Euridyce, Westerman, 72]

Orpheus

composed, sang many melancholic songs in memory of deceased Eurydice. [Gk. Myth.: Orpheus and Eurydice, Magill I, 700–701]

Orpheus

musician, charmed even inanimate things with lyre-playing. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 787]
See: Music
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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Orpheus, the son of god Apollo and the muse Calliope, is a poet of unparalleled prowess.
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In this paper, I outline the ways in which Dante not only asserts his authority over Virgil but in so doing he alludes indirectly to Virgil's own struggle to establish his poetic authority, in this case, Orpheus, the accepted authority on poetry in the ancient world.
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