Orpheus and Eurydice
Orpheus was the greatest singer, poet and musician of the Antiquity. His father was the river god Oeagrus, the ruler of the Haemus Mountains (the Balkan Mountains) and his mother and teacher was the Muse of epic poetry – Calliope. With his fame, Orpheus overshadowed even the leader of the Muses Apollo. His magical songs and lyre entranced birds and animals, made forests lower their twigs, rocks and mountains move and snow drifts melt. He took part in the Argonauts’ journey for the Golden Fleece, counting the rhythm of the rowers with his songs and along the shore of the Sirens his enchanting voice silenced their bewitching chants.
Unfortunately, the sweet-voiced Thracian singer experienced a brief and tragic love. After the wedding day a snake bit his sweetheart Eurydice. The venom entered the body of the fragile dryad and soon after that she died. In order to be by her side again, Orpheus went down to the underworld where no one could resist his sorrowful lyre and touching song. Full of compassion were even Hades and Persephone – the cold rulers of the disembodied shadows. Impressed by his infinite love, they gave him permission to lead his beloved one out of the Kingdom of the Dead. However, there was one condition – she had to follow him and he was not allowed to turn back until they felt the warm embrace of daylight.
Walking along the steep gloomy path, unable to resist the temptation, Orpheus threw a longing glance at the love of his life. At that very moment, Eurydice was swallowed by the darkness. There was no turning back. With a heavy heart, Orpheus returned to his motherland Thrace. He could find no consolation in anything and avoided contact with other women. He even stopped drinking wine, even when Dionysus offered him some as a gift. The god took offence at Orpheus’ refusal and sent his maenades to kill him. The furious women cut his body into pieces. His head and lyre were carried away by the waters of the Thracian river Ebros(Maritsa) towards the sea. The sea waves brought them to the shores of Lesbos. Since then, the sounds of fascinating songs can be heard on the island. Later, the gods placed Orpheus’ golden lyre among the constellations in the sky.
The soul of the singer got down to the Kingdom of the Shadows and visited the places where Orpheus had searched for his lost love. He met Eurydice’s shadow again and squeezed her tightly in his arms. From then on, they could finally be inseparable. Their shadows wander at dusk among the Asphodel Meadows. Now Orpheus can turn around without fear to see whether Eurydice follows him.
Tags: lyre, Eurydice, Orpheus, song, love
Question: What kind of creature bit Eurydice?