Orpheus


Orpheus
Orphean /awr fee"euhn, awr"fee euhn/, adj.
/awr"fee euhs, -fyoohs/, n.
1. Gk. Legend. a poet and musician, a son of Calliope, who followed his dead wife, Eurydice, to the underworld. By charming Hades, he obtained permission to lead her away, provided he did not look back at her until they returned to earth. But at the last moment he looked, and she was lost to him forever.
2. (italics) a ballet (1947) with music by Stravinsky and choreography by Balanchine.

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Greek legendary hero who sang and played the lyre so beautifully that animals, trees, and rocks danced around him.

When his wife, Eurydice, was killed by a snake, he went to the underworld in search of her, and his music and grief so moved Hades that he agreed to let Orpheus take Eurydice back to the land of the living on the condition that neither of them look back as they left. On seeing the Sun, Orpheus turned to share his delight with Eurydice, and she disappeared. Orpheus was later torn to pieces by maenads, and his head, still singing, floated to Lesbos, where an oracle of Orpheus was established. By the 5th century BC, a Hellenistic mystery religion (the Orphic mysteries), based on Orpheus's songs and teachings, had arisen. His story became the subject of some of the earliest operas.

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      ancient Greek legendary hero endowed with superhuman musical skills. He became the patron of a religious movement based on sacred writings said to be his own.

      Traditionally, Orpheus was the son of a Muse (probably Calliope, the patron of epic poetry) and Oeagrus, a king of Thrace (other versions give Apollo). According to some legends, Apollo gave Orpheus his first lyre. Orpheus's singing and playing were so beautiful that animals and even trees and rocks moved about him in dance.

      Orpheus joined the expedition of the Argonauts, saving them from the music of the Sirens by playing his own, more powerful music. On his return, he married Eurydice, who was soon killed by a snakebite. Overcome with grief, Orpheus ventured himself to the land of the dead to attempt to bring Eurydice back to life. With his singing and playing he charmed the ferryman Charon and the dog Cerberus, guardians of the River Styx. His music and grief so moved Hades, king of the underworld, that Orpheus was allowed to take Eurydice with him back to the world of life and light. Hades set one condition, however: upon leaving the land of death, both Orpheus and Eurydice were forbidden to look back. The couple climbed up toward the opening into the land of the living, and Orpheus, seeing the Sun again, turned back to share his delight with Eurydice. In that moment, she disappeared. A famous version of the story was related by Virgil in Georgics, Book IV.

      Orpheus himself was later killed by the women of Thrace. The motive and manner of his death vary in different accounts, but the earliest known, that of Aeschylus, says that they were Maenads urged by Dionysus to tear him to pieces in a Bacchic orgy because he preferred the worship of the rival god Apollo. His head, still singing, with his lyre, floated to Lesbos, where an oracle of Orpheus was established. The head prophesied until the oracle became more famous than that of Apollo at Delphi, at which time Apollo himself bade the Orphic oracle stop. The dismembered limbs of Orpheus were gathered up and buried by the Muses. His lyre they had placed in the heavens as a constellation.

      The story of Orpheus was transformed and provided with a happy ending in the medieval English romance of Sir Orfeo. The character of Orpheus appears in numerous works, including operas by Claudio Monteverdi (Orfeo, 1607), Christoph Gluck (Orfeo ed Euridice, 1762), and Jacques Offenbach (Orpheus in the Underworld, 1858); Jean Cocteau's drama (1926) and film (1949) Orphée; and Brazilian director Marcel Camus's film Black Orpheus (1959).

      A mystery religion based on the teachings and songs of Orpheus is thought to have eventually arisen in ancient Greece, although no coherent description of such a religion can be constructed from historical evidence. Most scholars agree that by the 5th century BC there was at least an Orphic (Orphic religion) movement, with traveling priests who offered teaching and initiation, based on a body of legend and doctrine said to have been founded by Orpheus. Part of the Orphic ritual is thought to have involved the mimed or actual dismemberment of an individual representing the god Dionysus, who was then seen to be reborn. Orphic eschatology laid great stress on rewards and punishment after bodily death, the soul then being freed to achieve its true life.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Orpheus — {{Orpheus}} Sohn eines Thrakers namens Oiagros oder des Apollon* und der Muse* Kalliope*, ein begnadeter Sänger zur Kithara, der sogar Tiere, Bäume und Felsen durch seine Lieder bewegte. Als seine junge Frau, Eurydike*, durch einen Schlangenbiß… …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

  • ORPHEUS — ut sensit Myrleanus Asclepiades, Apollinis et Calliopes, unius Musarum, fil. fuit. Virg. in Pollione: Non me carminibus vincet nec Thracius Orpheus, Nec Linus; huic mater quamvis, atque huic pater adsit, Orphei Calliopea, Lino formosus Apollo.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Orpheus — puede hacer referencia a: La forma de escribir Orfeo en latín o en inglés Véase también: Orfeo (desambiguación) Títulos de obras artísticas o literarias Orpheus (Liszt), poema sinfónico Orpheus (ballet), de George Balanchine, 1948 Orpheus (banda) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Orpheus — Orpheus, griech. Sängerheros, Sohn des Öagros und der Muse Kalliope, die ihn am Hebrosfluß in Thrakien gebar, von solcher Macht des Gesanges, daß er Bäume und Felsen bewegte und wilde Tiere zähmte. Als seine Gattin Eurydike durch einen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Orpheus — Orpheus, ein berühmter thrakischer Sänger, der Muse Kalliope und des Oeager, oder des Apollo Sohn. Groß, ja größer als die irgend eines spätern sterblichen Sängers, war Orpheus Kunst; er vermochte mit süßen Liedern zum Klange seiner Saiten die… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Orpheus — Or phe*us, prop. n. [L. Orpheus, Gr. ?.] (Gr. Myth.) The famous mythic Thracian poet, son of the Muse Calliope, and husband of Eurydice. He is reputed to have had power to entrance beasts and inanimate objects by the music of his lyre. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Orpheus — Orpheus, Sohn der Muse Kalliope u. des Apollo (nach And. des Öagros), alter thracischer Barde in Pieria u. im Hebrosthale in Thracien. Sein Gesang zur siebensaitigen Leier bewegte Felsen u. Bäume, zähmte die wildesten Thiere u. bannte Ungewitter… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Orpheus — Orpheus, mythischer Sänger in Griechenland, Sohn der Muse Kalliope, bezauberte durch Gesang die wildesten Tiere, Bäume und Steine, holte seine geliebte Gattin Eurydike aus der Unterwelt zurück, ward von Bacchantinnen zerrissen, galt als Stifter… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Orpheus — Orpheus, myth., des Oeagros und der Kalliope Sohn, wanderte aus Thracien nach Griechenland, bewegte durch Gesang u. Saitenspiel Steine u. Bäume, besänftigte wilde Thiere etc., wurde zuletzt von den Mänaden zerrissen. Unter seinem Namen sind seit… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Orpheus — [ôr′fē əs, ôr′fyo͞os΄] n. [L < Gr] Gr. Myth. a poet musician with magic musical powers who descends to the underworld and tries to lead his wife, Eurydice, back from the dead but fails because he breaks the injunction not to look back at her… …   English World dictionary

  • Orpheus — Hermes, Eurydike und Orpheus (Relief in der Villa Albani, Rom) Orpheus (griechisch Ὀρφεύς) war der berühmteste Sänger in der griechischen Mythologie. Nach ihm wurden die Orphik und der Orphismus benannt …   Deutsch Wikipedia