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[2]

Now Calliope bore to Oeagrus or, nominally, to Apollo, a son Linus,1 whom Hercules slew; and another son, Orpheus,2 who practised minstrelsy and by his songs moved stones and trees. And when his wife Eurydice died, bitten by a snake, he went down to Hades, being fain to bring her up,3 and he persuaded Pluto to send her up. The god promised to do so, if on the way Orpheus would not turn round until he should be come to his own house. But he disobeyed and turning round beheld his wife; so she turned back. Orpheus also invented the mysteries of Dionysus,4 and having been torn in pieces by the Maenads5 he is buried in Pieria.


1 Accounts differ as to the parentage of Linus. According to one, he was a son of Apollo by the Muse Urania (Hyginus, Fab. 161); according to another, he was a son of Apollo by Psamathe, daughter of Crotopus (Paus. 2.19.8); according to another, he was a son of Apollo by Aethusa, daughter of Poseidon (Contest 314 according to another, he was a son of Magnes by the Muse Clio (Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 831).

2 That Orpheus was a son of Oeagrus by the Muse Calliope is affirmed also by Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.23ff.; Conon 45; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 831; the author of Contest 314; Hyginus, Fab. 14; and Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini. ed. G. H. Bode, i. pp. 26, 90 (First and Second Vatican Mythographers). The same view was held by Asclepiades, but some said that his mother was the Muse Polymnia (Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.23). Pausanias roundly denied that the musician's mother was the Muse Calliope (Paus. 9.30.4). That his father was Oeagrus is mentioned also by Plat. Sym.179d, Diod. 4.25.2, and Clement of Alexandria, Protrept. 7, p. 63, ed. Potter. As to the power of Orpheus to move stones and trees by his singing, see Eur. Ba. 561ff.; Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.26ff.; Diod. 4.25.2; Eratosthenes, Cat. 24; Conon 45; Hor. Carm. 1.12.7ff.; Seneca, Herakles Oetaeus 1036ff.; Seneca, Herakles Furens 572ff.

3 As to the descent of Orpheus to hell to fetch up Eurydice, compare Paus. 9.30.6; Conon 45; Verg. G. 4.454ff.; Ov. Met. 10.8ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 164; Seneca, Herakles Furens 569ff.; Seneca, Herakles Oetaeus 1061ff.; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. viii.59, 60; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 26ff. 90 (First Vatican Mythographer 76; Second Vatican Mythographer 44). That Eurydice was killed by the bite of a snake on which she had accidentally trodden is mentioned by Virgil, Ovid, Hyginus, and the Vatican Mythographers.

4 On Orpheus as a founder of mysteries, compare Eur. Rh. 943ff.; Arist. Frogs 1032; Plat. Prot. 369d; Plat. Rep. 2.365e-366a; Dem. 25.11; Diod. 1.23, Diod. 1.96.2-6, Diod. 3.65.6, Diod. 4.25.3, Diod. 5.77.3; Paus. 2.30.2, Paus. 9.30.4, Paus. 10.7.2; Plut. Frag. 84 (Plutarch, Didot ed., v. p. 55). According to Diod. 1.23, the mysteries of Dionysus which Orpheus instituted in Greece were copied by him from the Egyptian mysteries of Osiris. The view that the mysteries of Dionysus were based on those of Osiris has been maintained in recent years by the very able and learned French scholar, Monsieur Paul Foucart. See his treatise, Le culte de Dionysos en Attique (Paris, 1904), pp. 8ff.; Foucart, Les mystères d' Eleusis (Paris, 1914), pp. 1ff., 445ff.

5 As to the death of Orpheus at the hands of the Maenads or the Thracian women, see Paus. 9.30.5; Conon 45; Eratosthenes, Cat. 24; Verg. G. 4.520ff.; Ov. Met. 11.1ff. Usually the women are said to have been offended by the widower's constancy to the memory of his late wife, and by his indifference to their charms and endearments. But Eratosthenes, or rather the writer who took that name, puts a different complexion on the story. He says that Orpheus did not honour Dionysus, but esteemed the sun the greatest of the gods, and used to rise very early every day in order to see the sunrise from the top of Mount Pangaeum. This angered Dionysus, and he stirred up the Bassarids or Bacchanals to rend the bard limb from limb. Aeschylus wrote a tragedy on the subject called the Bassarids or Bassarae. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), (Leipsig, 1889), pp. 9ff.

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