Orphic Literature

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Miguel Herrero (Universidad Complutense)
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In ancient Greece the mythical bard Orpheus was widely believed to be the author of a considerable amount of epic verse. The corpus of Orphic poetry, edited several times in the nineteenth and twentieth century, consists of poetic fragments differing widely in nature and subject matter. The most important of these fragments, on account of their religious content, come from theogonies (narratives about the origins of gods and the cosmos), hymns, and descents to Hades (


). As was commonly the case with ancient pseudepigraphic literature, the lack of canonicity in Orphic poetry meant that earlier poems were manipulated, reinterpreted, expanded, and imitated with different purposes, from archaic times to late antiquity. Although some Orphic poems have been thoroughly preserved…

2608 words

Citation: Herrero, Miguel. "Orphic Literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 November 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=7208, accessed 28 May 2024.]

7208 Orphic Literature 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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