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Orpheus

legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth
Roman mosaic depicting Orpheus, wearing a Phrygian cap and surrounded by the beasts charmed by the music of his lyre.

Orpheus (Greek: Ὀρφεύς) was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth.

Quotes about OrpheusEdit

  • Hard rocks he soften'd with persuasive song,
    And sooth'd the rivers as they roll'd along.
    Yon beeches tall, that bloom near Zona, still
    Remain memorials of his vocal skill:
    His lays Pieria's listening trees admire,
    And move in measures to his melting lyre.
  • Here the sweet bard his tuneful lyre unstrung,
    And ceas'd the heavenly music of his tongue;
    But, with the sound entranc'd, the listening ear
    Still thought him singing, and still seem'd to hear.
  • I have soared aloft with poetry and with high thought, and though I have laid my hand to many a reflection, I have found nothing stronger than Necessity, nor is there any cure for it in the Thracian tablets set down by the voice of Orpheus nor in all the simples which Phoebus harvested in aid of trouble-ridden mortals and gave to the sons of Asclepius.
    • Euripides, Alcestis, translation by David Kovacs
  • [Orpheus] had abstained from the love of women, either because things ended badly for him, or because he had sworn to do so. Yet, many felt a desire to be joined with the poet, and many grieved at rejection. Indeed, he was the first of the Thracian people to transfer his affection to young boys and enjoy their brief springtime, and early flowering this side of manhood.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses (ca. 8 AD) as quoted by A. S. Kline, Ovid: The Metamorphoses (2000)
  • The Orphics were an ascetic sect; wine, to them, was only a symbol, as, later, in the Christian sacrament. The intoxication that they sought was that of "enthusiasm," of union with the god. They believed themselves, in this way, to acquire mystic knowledge not obtainable by ordinary means. This mystical element entered into Greek philosophy with Pythagoras, who was a reformer of Orphism as Orpheus was a reformer of the religion of Dionysus. From Pythagoras Orphic elements entered into the philosophy of Plato, and from Plato into most later philosophy that was in any degree religious.

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