The young wife of Orpheus. As she was walking through the grass, in the company of naiades, she was bitten by a snake and died. The grieving Orpheus wandered around aimlessly until he went to the underworld to plead with Hades for her return. Moved by Orpheus' music and words, Hades allowed Eurydice to return to the land of the living on the condition that he not look back as he was conducting her to the surface. He failed to do so and her shade slipped back to the underworld.
Now that she was lost to him forever, Orpheus became inconsolable and shied away from human company. He was eventually torn to pieces by a group of roaming maenads.
The scene where Eurydice is again separated from her husband is depicted on a beautiful mosaic in Rome (fifth century BCE). Also the moment where she is bitten by a snake is frequently depicted, such as on a painting by Poussin.
- Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- Hyginus. Fabulae, 251.
- Ovid. Metamorphoses x, 1 ff.; xi, 66.
- Virgil. Aeneid vi, 18.