The entry of Orpheus into archaic Greek society.

Lester, Kevin (2013) The entry of Orpheus into archaic Greek society. thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

Although absent from early Archaic sources by the sixth century BCE Orpheus the poet had become synonymous with poetry and inspiration. This work will examine the emergence of the myths of Orpheus in Archaic Greece with a view to understanding his place in society. This will entail the exploration of the relationship between poetry and the evolving role of the individual in Archaic society in order to clarify the context in which Orpheus came to prominence. By examining the changing role of the poet within society one can understand ways in which the evolution of Archaic society, including the development of the polis and what has been termed ‘the rise of the individual,’ may have influenced the creation and performance of poetry. These factors, together with the absorption of new cultural influences into Greek society and the development of new attitudes to the afterlife created the social context in which the Orpheus myths took form. This work will clarify the extent to which changing values found expression in the figure of Orpheus and the ways in which the elements of the myths reflected contemporary social concerns. Consideration will be given to claims of exotic influence made by modern scholars and the extent to which Orpheus’ mythology made him a suitable vehicle for the importation of exotic ideas such as reincarnation and metempsychosis and whether these myths expressed the concerns of a society increasingly preoccupied with the fate of the individual soul after death. Orpheus’ perceived otherness made him a liminal figure who crossed boundaries in transcending and uniting the divisions between the animal, human and divine worlds. This work will highlight ways in which the mythical Orpheus was essentially a construct of Archaic Greek society and reflected notions concerned with poetry, heroic identity and immortality inherent in this culture.

Item Type: Thesis (UNSPECIFIED)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;10412/267.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Orpheus, Parthia
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2014 17:43
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2015 10:14
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/477

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