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Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein, Orpheus and Eurydice, 1806, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Charles-François Lebœuf, Dying Eurydice (1822), marble

Eurydice (Εὐρυδίκη, Eurydíkē) (yur-ID-ih-see) in Greek mythology, was an oak nymph or one of the daughters of Apollo (the god of light). She was the wife of Orpheus. Orpheus loved her dearly; on their wedding day, Orpheus played songs filled with happiness as his bride danced through the meadow. One day, a satyr saw and pursued her. Eurydice stepped on a snake and fell to the ground. The venomous snake had bitten her, leaving Eurydice dead. Distraught, Orpheus played and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept. In their saddened states, they told him to travel to the Underworld and retrieve her. Orpheus did so, and by his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, his singing so sweet that even the Erinyes wept. In another version, Orpheus played his lyre to put the guardian of Hades, Cerberus, to sleep. It was then granted that Eurydice be allowed to return with him to the world of the living. But the condition was attached that he should walk in front of her and not look back until both had reached the upper world. Nevertheless, Orpheus in his passion for her, and just at the portals of Hades when they had reached daylight and climbed up all through hell together, could not help but turn around to gaze on her face. Eurydice then vanished again from his sight—this time forever.

The story in this form belongs to the time of Virgil, who first introduces the authorial name of Aristaeus in his work Georgics (29BC). Other ancient writers, however, speak of Orpheus' visit to the underworld; according to Phaedrus in Plato's Symposium, the infernal gods only "presented an apparition" of Eurydice to him. Plato's Phaedrus also accuses Orpheus of cowardice for not being prepared to die for Eurydice; it is possible that Plato knew a significantly different legend.

The story of Eurydice has strong parallels to the Japanese myth of Izanami, as well as to the Mayan myth of Itzamna and Ix Chel, the Indian myth of Savitri and Satyavan, and the Akkadian/Sumerian myth of Inanna's descent to the underworld.

Works of art

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice has been depicted in a number of works by famous artists, including Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin and recently Bracha Ettinger whose series Eurydice was exhibited in the Pompidou Centre, Paris (Face à l'Histoire, 1996); the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (Kabinet, 1997) and The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerpen (Gorge(l), 2007) and has inspired ample writings in the fields of ethics, aesthetics, art and feminist theory. It has also been retold in an opera by Monteverdi, Jacopo Peri, C W Gluck, Yevstigney Fomin and Harrison Birtwistle, a play by Sarah Ruhl, and in the comic book The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. It also forms the basis for the 1967 song "From the Underworld" by The Herd, and the poem "The Years Go Fast and the Days Go Slow" by James McCoy. "Eurydice (don't follow)" is also a song by the band The Cruxshadows. The music project Sleepthief includes "Eurydice" on their first album "The Dawnseeker." The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice features prominently in the 1967 album Reflections by Manos Hadjidakis and The New York Rock and Roll Ensemble in "Orpheus", the first song of the album. The freeware game Don't Look Back is a modern interpretation of the story.

See also


  • Ovid, Metamorphoses 10
  • Apollodorus, The Library 1.3.2
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.30
  • Virgil, Georgics 4.453
  • Plato, Symposium
  • Sleepthief,"Eurydice" featuring Jody Quine"
  • Griselda Pollock, "Abandoned at the Mouth of Hell". In: Looking Back to the Future. G&B Arts. ISBN 90-5701-132-8.
  • Judith Butler, "Bracha's Eurydice". In: Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger: Eurydice Series. Edited by Catherine de Zegher and Brian Massumi. Drawing Papers n.24. The Drawing center, NY, 2001. Reprinted in: Theory, Culture and Society, 21(1), 2004. ISSN 0263-2764.
  • Emmanuel Levinas in conversation with Bracha L. Ettinger, "What would Eurydice Say?" (1991-1993). Reprinted in 1997. Reprinted in Athena: Philosophical Studies, Volume 2, 2006. ISSN 1822-5047.
  • Dorota Glowaka, "Lyotard and Eurydice". In: Margaret Grebowicz (ed.),Gender after Lyotard. NY: Suny Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7914-6956-9
  • Christine Buci-Glucksmann, "Eurydice and her Doubles. Painting after Auschwitz", in: Artworking 1985-1999, Amsterdam: Ludion, 2000. ISBN 90-5544-283-6.
  • Carol Ann Duffy, "Eurydice". In: The World's Wife. ISBN 9780330372220.

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by James Russell Lowell
From Miscellaneous Poems

Heaven's cup held down to me I drain,
The sunshine mounts and spurs my brain;
Bathing in grass, with thirsty eye
I suck the last drop of the sky;
With each hot sense I draw to the lees
The quickening out-door influences,
And empty to each radiant comer
A supernaculum of summer:
Not, Bacchus, all thy grosser juice
Could bring enchantment so profuse,
Though for its press each grape-bunch had
The white feet of an Oread.
Through our coarse art gleam, now and then,
The features of angelic men:
'Neath the lewd Satyr's veiling paint
Glows forth the Sibyl, Muse, or Saint;
The dauber's botch no more obscures
The mighty master's portraitures.
And who can say what luckier beam
The hidden glory shall redeem,
For what chance clod the soul may wait
To stumble on its nobler fate,
Or why, to his unwarned abode,
Still by surprises comes the God?
Some moment, nailed on sorrow's cross,
May meditate a whole youth's loss,
Some windfall joy, we know not whence,
Redeem a lifetime's rash expense,
And, suddenly wise, the soul may mark,
Stripped of their simulated dark,
Mountains of gold that pierce the sky,
Girdling its valleyed poverty.

I feel ye, childhood's hopes, return,
With olden heats my pulses burn,—
Mine be the self-forgetting sweep,
The torrent impulse swift and wild,
Wherewith Taghkanic's rockborn child
Dares gloriously the dangerous leap.
And, in his sky-descended mood,
Transmutes each drop of sluggish blood,
By touch of bravery's simple wand,
To amethyst and diamond,
Proving himself no bastard slip,
But the true granite-cradled one,
Nursed with the rock's primeval drip,
The cloud-embracing mountain's son!

Prayer breathed in vain I no wish's sway
Rebuilds the vanished yesterday;
For plated wares of Sheffield stamp
We gave the old Aladdin's lamp;
'Tis we are changed; ah, whither went
That undesigned abandonment,
That wise, unquestioning content,
Which could erect its microcosm
Out of a weed's neglected blossom,
Could call up Arthur and his peers
By a low moss's clump of spears,
Or, in its shingle trireme launched,
Where Charles in some green inlet-branched,
Could venture for the golden fleece
And dragon-watched Hesperides,
Or, from its ripple-shattered fate,
Ulysses' chances re-create?
When, heralding life's every phase,
There glowed a goddess-veiling haze,
A plenteous, forewarning grace,
Like that more tender dawn that flies
Before the full moon's ample rise?
Methinks thy parting glory shines
Through yonder grove of singing pines;
At that elm-vista's end I trace
Dimly thy sad leave-taking face,
Eurydice! Eurydice!
The tremulous leaves repeat to me
Eurydice! Eurydice!
No gloomier Orcus swallows thee
Than the unclouded sunset's glow;
Thine is at least Elysian woe;
Thou hast Good's natural decay,
And fadest like a star away
Into an atmosphere whose shine
With fuller day o'ermasters thine,
Entering defeat as 't were a shrine;
For us,—we turn life's diary o'er
To find but one word,—Nevermore.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




From Latin EurydiceAncient Greek Εὐρυδίκη.

Proper noun




  1. (Greek mythology) A nymph and the wife of Orpheus.
  2. (Greek mythology) The name of various figures in the Greek mythology.



From Ancient Greek Εὐρυδίκη.

Proper noun


  1. A female given name.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Euridyce pulchra


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Classis: Malacostraca
Subclassis: Eumalacostraca
Superordo: Peracarida
Ordo: Isopoda
Cladus: Scutocoxifera
Subordo: Cymothoida
Superfamilia: Cirolanoidea
Familia: Cirolanidae
Genus: Eurydice
Species: E. acuticauda - E. affinis - E. agilis - E. akiyamai - E. arabica - E. barnardi - E. binda - E. bowmani - E. caudata - E. cavicaudata - E. chelifer - E. clymeneia - E. convexa - E. czerniavsky - E. dollfusi - E. elongata - E. emarginata - E. grimaldii - E. humilis - E. indicis - E. inermis - E. inornata - E. kensleyi - E. littoralis - E. longiantennata - E. longicornis - E. longipes - E. longispina - E. lusitanica - E. mauritanica - E. minya - E. naylori - E. nipponica - E. orientalis - E. peraticis - E. personata - E. piperata - E. pontica - E. pulchra - E. racovitzai - E. rotundicauda - E. spenceri - E. spinigera - E. subtruncata - E. tarti - E. truncata - E. valkanovi - E. woka - E. wyuna


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