The Legend of Orpheus
|Orpheus performs for Poseidon|
In Greek legend, Orpheus was the son of Oeagrus by the muse Calliope, and the most illustrious poet of the pre-Homeric period. He lived in Thrace, and accompanied the Argonouts on their expedition. Orpheus was presented by Apollo with a lyre, on which he played so exquisitely, that not only every living thing, but also rivers and rocks were moved by his sweet harmony and obeyed his will. He married the nymph Eurydice, who died from a serpent's sting. Resolved to recover her, Orpheus dared to descend into Hades. The music from his lyre gained him entrance, and so captivated Pluto that he consented to his request on condition that he should not look back at his wife until they reached the upper world. But when he was almost there, Orpheus turned to see if she was following him, whereupon Eurydice vanished before his eyes.In his grief, he then retreated to amountain cave and scorned the amorous advances of the Thracian women, who, in revenge, tore him limb from limb in Bacchic frenzy and threw his head into the Hebrus. The muses collected his remains and buried them at the foot of Olympus, while Zeus placed his lyre among the stars.