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Unformatted text preview: Orpheus - Sources Orpheus Name of Orpheus does not appear anywhere in Name Homer, the Hymns, or Hesiod. Hymns Earliest appearance 6th century B.C. inscription at Delphi (Orpheus as an Argonaut). Delphi References in Greek Lyric Poetry (Pindar), tragedy References (Aeschylus, Euripides). (Aeschylus, Lost play by Aeschylus Bassarides –story about Lost Bassarides story Orpheus’ death, Dionysus responsible. Orpheus’ Comic references (4th century B.C) “Come and choose your books, Homer, Hesiod, Orpheus…” choose Archaeological evidence ORPHEUS ORPHEUS Son of one of the Muses (Calliope = with the Son beautiful voice) and Oeagrus, a Thracian river-god, or son of Apollo. According to some his father was mortal. Archetypal musician. Reaction of nature to his music. his He wooed and won over Eurydice (or Eurydike), a He Dryad (nymph) by the charm of his music. Dryad Vergil’s Georgics (poem about farming) Vergil’s Georgics Aristaeus (husband of Theban princess Autonoe) Aristaeus disrupted the wedding of Orpheus and Eurydice, pursuing the bride. pursuing As Eurydice fled, a snake bit her and she died. Orpheus went to the underworld, Hades and Orpheus Persephone agreed to release the young bride, provided that Orpheus does not look back. provided He looked back, Cerberus turned him away. Homosexuality Bacchae from Thrace tore him to bits Bacchae (sparagmos) because he neglected them or because excluded them from his mysteries or he neglected Dionysus. neglected The corpse in river Hebrus, head continues to The sing and prophesy. Claimed by Lesbos. sing According to other sources, Eurydice, Orpheus’ wife, was running happily through a meadow, stepped by accident on a water snake, was bitten and died. Compare Meadows, the place for women to get lost (compare Persephone, who was picking flowers). The song of Orpheus The song of Orpheus Lamentation for having lost his wife for ever. Importance of the one moment in mythology that leads life to eternal unhappiness. Romanticism. Music as consolation. Cosmogony as Music. Reference in Plato’s Symposium in the speech Reference Symposium of Phaedrus: claim that the gods, while admiring Alcestis who died for her husband, Admetus, were not so impressed with Orpheus who did not die for her; thus they showed her a phasma (=ghost) of his wife. phasma Many scattered references in Plato. Also for Many books of Orpheus and Musaeus (his son) books First reference to Eurydice is Hellenistic. Orpheus is said to have participated in the Orpheus expedition of the ARGONAUTS (to take the Golden Fleece, myths on Jason) Golden Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 450 BC. Berlin, Staatliche Museen- found at Gela, S. Italy. BC. Hermes Euridice Orpheus, Roman copy of classical original. Panel originally in the Athens agora. Hermes psychopompos holds Eurydice’s hand. Names agora Hermes psychopompos inscribed. Orpheus’ name written right to left. Louvre Louvre Death of Orpheus, Museum of Fine Death of Orpheus, Museum of Fine Arts – Boston. Detail of previous MFA Boston, Detail of previous MFA Boston, Death of Orpheus, Thracian Woman On this 5th century B.C. vase, Orpheus is shown being killed by Thracian women as he sinks to the ground holding his lyre Thracian Detail from previous Athenian red Detail from previous Athenian red figure clay vase, about 475425 BC. Munich. Harvard University Art Museum Harvard University Art Museum Vase Death of Orpheus Roman mosaic with Orpheus (Rottweil ( Dominikaner-Museum) Roman Orpheus Mosaic at Paphos, discovered at a Roman villa in 1984. Orpheus Archaeological Museum of Sparta-Roman Mosaic Archaeological Mosaic in Jerusalem (5th century A.D) Mosaic Poussin, Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with Orpheus and Eurydice 1650-1 Musee du Louvre, Paris Jean Raoux – French, Getty Museum. (1717) Note Orpheus and Eurydice, Hades and Persephone, and the three Fates- theatrical staging Hades "Orpheus and Cerberus" "Orpheus and Cerberus" Thomas Crawford (181357) was an American NeoClassicist sculptor Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld (1861) (1861) John William Waterhouse, Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus Head Duality of Orpheus Duality Music, prophecy, magic> Apollo None of the violence of archer-god Orpheus and Dionysus-legendary misogyny in Orpheus contrast with Dionysus. Parallel elements contrast Orpheus torn to pieces by maenads like Orpheus Dionysus (in one version by the Titans) or Pentheus who neglected Dionysus. Pentheus Relation with the Underworld (Dionysos, Relation Demeter etc) Demeter Orphica Orphica Orpheus –human, divine? Orpheus Orphica a new “mystery” secret rite? Absence of testimony. Worshippers of Dionysos, Absence Demeter, Cybele had carved on their tombs expressions of their fate, nothing like that for Orphism. Orphism. Classical references on books of Orpheus, poems Classical hieros logos (=sacred story) (=sacred Orpheus founder of rites (references in Plato and Orpheus Aristophanes) Aristophanes) Orphism Orphism 6th century B.C. Mythical Orpheus-religion. “Teaching of Orpheus” offered afterlife myths, mysteries like the Eleusinian. mysteries Written form. The Orphics offered a theogony and Written anthropogony, like the Hesiodic account. anthropogony, Philosophical implications. In the beginning there Philosophical was TIME, from Time sprang AETHER (=air) CHAOS and EREBOS CHAOS Chronos an egg inside Aether from which springs Chronos PHANES – bisexual creator of all that exists PHANES Orphic Cosmogony Cosmogony
TIME (CHRONOS) AETHER (time lives as egg CHAOS EREBOS PHANES NYX (=Night) GAIA OURANOS Theogony Theogony
CHAOS GE TARTARUS EROS EREBOS With Night NIGHT URANUS MOUNTAINS (OURANOS) PONTUS ERINYES GIANTS DAY ATHER MOERAE (FATES) NEMESIS (=retribution) Phanes, never mentioned before Hellenistic Phanes, age age Night superior power to the gods In Aristophanes’ Birds the creator of the world In Birds born from an egg. Identified with Eros. born Possibly a comic representation Swallowing of Phanes by Zeus in Orphic Swallowing account account Popular Orpheus Popular side of Orpheus, charms/incantations of Orpheus Popular (references from Euripides “thracian tablets, Orpheus’ spells”) (references Orphic Hymns : Name of corpus of writings attributed to Orpheus Orpheus Golden Lamellae (=tablets). Thin plates of gold found in Golden graves with inscriptions, found in South Italy and Crete. Worn as an amulet? as 2nd century B.C. Reflect earlier tradition Portions of sacred literature to the dead man, as instruction for Portions the way to the underworld. Written in hexameter verse, also in prose. prose. Plate from South Italy, Petelia (British Museum) Museum) You shall find to the left of the House of Hades a You spring, and by the side standing a white cypress. To this spring approach not near. this But you shall find another, from the lake of Memory cold water flowing forth, and there are guardians before it. Say, “I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven; But my race is of Heaven. But I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly the cold water flowing from the Lake of Memory.” And they water will give you to drink…among the heroes you’ll be lord. lord. Plate from Crete (Eleuthernai), 2nd Plate century B.C. century I am parched with thirst and I perisham Give me to drink of the ever-flowing spring on the right, where the cypress is. the Who are you? Whence are you? -I am the son of Earth and starry Heaven. ...
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