How have I never seen this before?

OrpheusEurydiceRicketts

I was rereading my Details post and noticed that I failed to provide the etymology for the name of Orpheus’ wife:

In Greek mythology, Eurydice (Greek: ΕὐρυδίκηEurydikē “wide justice”, derived from ευρυς eurys “wide” and δικη dike “justice”) was the wife of Orpheus, who tried to bring her back from the dead with his enchanting music. The story of Eurydice may be a late addition to the Orpheus myths. In particular, the name Eurudike (“she whose justice extends widely”) recalls cult-titles attached to Persephone. The myth may have been derived from another Orpheus legend in which he travels to Tartarus and charms the goddess Hecate.

When I experienced anagnorisis like a kick in the dick.

They’re so wrong. It’s actually got to be one of the oldest strata of Orpheus’ myth.

You see Eurydike is a Sovereignty Goddess, and without her King Orpheus cannot rule.

Fuck, that … has repercussions.

How have I never seen this before?

12 thoughts on “How have I never seen this before?

    1. Though, following-up on the reference/excerpt you gave above, from the ever-popular Wickerpedes, it appears that the “citation needed” bit remains to bu fulfilled, but otherwise the reference is to Graves. Sure enough, I checked, and all Wavy Gravy has to say about this is the “older” version is inferred from “some pictures.” I am assuming that means vase paintings…

      Would you happen to know which vase paintings in particular he means?

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        1. The idea that Eurydike is a late addition to the tale, and that in earlier versions, it was Orpheus headed to Tartaros to charm Hekate. Wavy Gravy is saying that “some pictures” show that scene, but he provides no references for his statement, which makes me think it is probably highly conjectural…even if it is appealing in various ways, and might go some way to explaining a few things if it was true.

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          1. Ohhh! I’ve seen that claim in numerous studies of Orphism. I think it’s due in part to the fluidity of details. For instance three or four different names are given for his wife, including Argiope in Hermesianax and before the time of Plato Orpheus’ katabasis was generally represented as being successful. While I’ve seen the claim that he intended to bring Persephone up (partly on account of the Eurydike epiklesis and partly on the example of other heroes such as Theseus and Perithous) Hekate is a novel addition. (Though not one without precedent, as Orpheus engaged in Hekatean rites on numerous occasions, particularly in conjunction with Medeia.)

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            1. Interesting! Can you point me toward some of those? That is a crucial question for some of what I’m researching academically…and if you’ve got specifics on Hekate, that would be even more useful!

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                1. Right, I’ve read all you’ve posted over the last several hours…and I appreciate all of that work that you’ve done, and that you always do! ;)

                  My apologies for not being especially clear on this earlier. I have been awake a very long time, so perhaps I am losing my ability to communicate clearly, alas.

                  Do you have any direct evidence or references for Orpheus going to Tartaros to charm Hekate? That’s the crux of what I want to know, which is why I found the non-answer in Graves’ notes on the Orpheus story to be a dead-end (if you’ll excuse the phrase!). It’s not a question, for what I’m doing, what the name of the wife of Orpheus is (though it is an interesting matter!), but instead what evidence is there in any direct fashion that Hekate was the intended “goal” of the chthonic journey.

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                  1. Nothing that I’m familiar with. The closest I’ve seen is the passage in the Orphic Argonautica when he and Medeia are performing the summoning rite – but Hekate is coming up rather than Orpheus going down, so that doesn’t really count.

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                    1. Yeah…and if there really was “some picture/s” that Graves saw that fit this description, who is to say if he didn’t misread them? Okay, thanks…I’ll keep looking and see what I can find.

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  1. That’s interesting to think about when you connect it to the fact that it’s Hekate and Persephone being identified with Eurydike (the same Goddesses identified with Brimo) which would suggest an even further identification with Hermes and even Dionysos who cuckolds Hades at one point.

    Which would mean Harlequin is identified with both Orpheus as the journeying hero who must brave the Labyrinth and the Lord of the Labyrinth itself. Both initiated and initiator.

    Kind of reminds me of Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum comic where at the end Joker declares Batman the ruler of the Asylum after his ordeal

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