2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference


The Shepard Musician: Medieval Allegorization of Orphic Myth
Paul J. Rachele
Dr. Betsy Delmonico, Faculty Mentor

Although Greek mythology had all but died out by Late Antiquity, the legacy of a handful of the heroes managed to outlive the culture that created them. Of them, none left so great an impact as Orpheus. Springing out of the collapsing Roman culture, Orpheus jumped straight into the medieval Christian canon. While the church leaders concerned themselves with the elimination of heresy, medieval scholars, writers and artists focused their craft on the artistic assimilation of pagan gods in an effort to “Christianize” Europe. Although whispers of the Roman mystery cult of Orphism could still be heard, at that time the veneration of Orpheus had long since gone out of style, and the demigod himself was poised to be forgotten. However, in texts like King Orfeo and statuettes from the Early Medieval era, the Christian allegorization of Orpheus rekindles his myth and brings a veneration of a different kind.

Keywords: Art, Literature, Mythology, Orpheus, Good Shepard, Christ, David, Middle Ages


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Supplemental Files (Downloadable):

Session: 14-1
Location: OP 2115
Time: 8:15

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