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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

The Great Age of Greek Sculpture. First Period 450-400 B. C.

The Orpheus relief

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HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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Among the other bas-reliefs which show that influence there is no difficulty in choosing one of exceptional beauty, the so-called Orpheus relief. This is known to us in three copies, unless indeed the Naples example be the original. The story here set forth is one of the most touching in Greek mythology. Orpheus, the Thracian singer, has descended into Hades in quest of his dead wife, Eurydice, and has so charmed by his music the stern Persephone that she has suffered him to lead back his wife to the upper air, provided only he will not look upon her on the way. But love has overcome him. He has turned and looked, and the doom of an irrevocable parting is sealed. In no unseemly paroxysm of grief, but tenderly, sadly, they look their last at one another, while Hermes, guide of departed spirits, makes gentle signal for the wife's return. In the chastened pathos of this scene we have the quintessence of the temper of Greek art in dealing with the fact of death.

 

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


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