Orpheus

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  • There were nine goddesses called Muses. Born out of Zeus and a Titan named Mnemosyne, each muse presided over a different art or science. Calliope, one of these sisters, was the inspiration of poets and musicians. She was the mother of Orpheus (a mortal because his father was one) and gave to her son a remarkable talent for music.
  • Orpheus played his lyre so sweetly that he charmed all things on earth.
  • Orpheus loved a young woman named Eurydice, and when they were married, they looked forward to many years of happiness together. But soon after, Eurydice stepped on a poisonous snake and died.
  • He went to the underworld to follow her. When he reached the river Styx, he plucked his lyre again, and Cerberus, the fierce threeheaded dog who guarded the gates, heard the sweet music and lay still to let him pass.
  • He came to palace of Hades and Persephone and convinced them to take Eurydice back. They agreed but in one condition...
  • They left the underworld . “I can see daylight ahead” called Orpheus to Eurydice. “We are almost there.” But Eurydice had not heard him, and so she did not answer. Orpheus turned to make sure that she was still following him. He caught one last glimpse of her arms stretched out to him. And then she disappeared, swallowed by darkness.
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