The tales told of Orpheus are legion. He is said to have been an Argonaut--and to have saved Jason's life. Rivers are reported to have stopped their flow to listen to the sounds of his lyre and his voice. Plato cites his poetry and Herodotus refers to "practices that are called Orphic." Did Orpheus, in fact, exist? His influence on Greek thought is undeniable, but his disciples left little of substance behind them. Indeed, their Orphic precepts have been lost to time.
W.K.C. Guthrie attempts to uncover and define Orphism by following its circuitous path through ancient history. He tackles this daunting task with the determination of a detective and the analytical rigor of a classical scholar. He ferries his readers with him on a singular voyage of discovery.
"Absolutely indispensable. . . . written for both scholars and general readers. It is admirably lucid and well-organized, and is fully accessible--indeed, fascinating--for anyone interested in the ancient world."--David Ulansey, Boston University
Table of Contents:
List of illustrations
Foreword to the Mythos edition
Ch. I Famous Orpheus
Ch. II What Is Meant by Orphism?
Ch. III Orpheus and His Story
Ch. IV The Creation and the Gods as Presented by Orpheus
Ch. V The Future Life as Seen by Orpheus
Ch. VI Life and Practices of the Follower of Orpheus
Ch. VII Orpheus and Other Greek Religious Thinkers
Ch. VIII Orpheus in the Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman World