inventor of the lyre

by Janette Turner Hospital

Any undergraduate that ever tucked a copy of Ovid’s Metamorphosis under his or her arm will be familiar with the tragic story of Orpheus and his wife Eurydice. Orpheus, the inventor of the lyre, apparently played and sang so beautifully that he could reduce any number of sundry gods, small creatures—even inanimate objects—to limp, putty-like acquiescence. When Eurydice dies from a snake bite, the gods allow him to travel to the underworld and bring her back, on the condition (there always being conditions with gods) that he walk in front of her and never turn around. Orpheus does exactly that, of course, and loses his love; the rest is for endless generations of freshmen to mull over their lattes. Read more…