Orpheus and Euridice: myth and death

Orpheus and Euridice: myth and death

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The one of Orpheus and Euridice is one of the most famous couples in Greek mythology even if the more famous of the two is certainly Orpheus, known for being an excellent poet and musician. It is said that in its time it had no competitors. Orpheus was the son of Eagro, king of Thrace and of the muse Calliope, Eurydice is his partner, let's get to know the sad but exciting story that makes them often quote as a couple.

Orpheus and music

Let's start talking about the protagonist, Orpheus, and his skill as a musician. It is said that it was the God Apollo who gave him a lira, then the muses themselves taught him to use it and naturally he became very good. Seneca also tells it, who writes that feeling his music "The roar of the rapid torrent ceased", "The inert woods moved, leading the birds to the trees", "even the beasts flocked from their lairs to the melodious song". A real talent that he himself cultivated with great determination, adding two more strings to his instrument to obtain more suave melodies.

Among the first companies they see Orpheus among the protagonists, there is the rather well-known one of the Argonauts expedition in which the ship Argo arrived near the island of the "enchanting" Sirens. It was the music of the zither of Orpheus to save the Argonauts from the temptation of siren song.

Orpheus and Euridice: myth

Eurydice, daughter of Nereus and Doride, was the woman for whom Orpheus lost his mind and soon became his wife. He made her fall in love with his music and his poetry, just as he made many other creatures in the world fall in love. It was not immediately an easy love because Eurydice, with her beauty, immediately made Aristeo fall in love with her and tried to steal her from Orpheus by courting her. To remain faithful to her husband, the beautiful young woman ran away from the suitor, without even looking at the ground, stepped on a snake that bit her and died. Immediately.

Orpheus and Euridice they were a very close-knit couple, so the husband, as soon as he learned of his partner's disappearance, reacted in despair: for him a life without Eurydice made no sense, not even his passion for music comforted him in the least.

To try to reunite with Eurydice he succeeded in descend into Hades after convincing Charon and bringing him to her with the aim of snatching her from the kingdom of the dead and bringing her back to life. After the Styx, past the dog Cerberus and the judges of the dead, Orpheus found himself in the underworld, among many damned souls who certainly did not show themselves as friends, but with his determination he still managed to arrive from Hades and Persephone.

At this point he pulled out his instrument and began to play and sing all his pain until they moved. On hearing it, many incredible things happened in the underworld: even the Erinyes were moved, they cried, the Ixion wheel, Tizio had a moment of respite because the vultures that devoured his liver stopped in front of the pain of Orpheus. Tantalus too forgot his thirst.

Shocked terribly, Hades and Persephone they allowed Orpheus to bring Eurydice back to the realm of the living but under a strange condition: during the journey to earth he had to stand in front of her and never turn to look at her until they reached the open air.

The scene in which Orpheus he began to walk towards the light holding his beloved by the hand, with high hopes. As he proceeded, a bad suspicion leapt into his mind, he began to fear that he had been deceived and to suspect that in Eurydice's place there was a ghost. Useless to try to convince himself, he could not help but turn around to check and this condemnation Eurydice to the Underworld, this time forever. Orpheus had to see her disappear, this time because of his own fault.

Throughout the following week, the musician poet tried to bribe Charon to try a second time to bring Eurydice back to the living but this time he did not succeed, he did not have this second chance. He only had to take refuge on Mount Rodope, in Thrace, collapsing in a state of terrible despair, in complete solitude. The only ones who were able to attend his home were the young boys to whom he taught abstinence and the origin of the world and the gods.

Orpheus and Euridice: death

There are other stories about the death of Orpheus. There are those who say that it was Zeus who shocked him because he had revealed mysteries that should have remained secret. Others attribute the poet's death to Aphrodite who instigated the Thracian women to quarter him.

Regardless of the causes of his death, it was a terrible event for all who delighted in listening to his music. To mourn, the nymphs wore a black robe, the rivers swelled for too much weeping and the Muses worked hard to recover his body and bury him at the foot of Mount Olympus.

When the gods sent a terrible plague throughout Thrace to punish the crime of the Bacchantes, it was necessary, in order to stop it, to recover the head of Orpheus and pay him the funeral honors. It was found by a fisherman near the mouth of the Melete river and was placed in the Antissa cave, sacred to Dionysus. His lyre was also found and placed in the sky, with the dedicated constellation, so that everyone could admire it.

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Video: Mythology with AtomZilla - Orpheus and Eurydice, A tragic love story (May 2022).