The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice for Kids Illustration

Orpheus and Eurydice
Ancient Roman (and Greek) Myth

Apollo gave Orpheus his first lyre. In the Greek mythical world, Orpheus was the son of Apollo. In the Roman mythical world, Orpheus was not considered a god, so the Romans did not change his name. Eurydice was his wife, so they did not change her name either. Hades, however, as guardian of the afterlife, was a very important god to Romans. They changed his name to Pluto. But the myth remained relatively the same.

As the myth goes ..

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a gifted musician named Orpheus. Orpheus was the son of Apollo (who has the same name in Roman mythology and Greek mythology) and one of the muses. With such talented parents, it was no wonder that Orpheus was a gifted musician. The truth was, Orpheus was more than gifted. His music was magical. When he played the lyre, as his father had taught him, his songs could cast spells and soothe savage beasts.

Orpheus loved his wife, a mortal, named Eurydice. When she died, he traveled down into the Underworld. He begged Pluto to allow his wife to come back to earth as herself, to be by his side, alive and well once again.

Ever a soft touch, Pluto agreed. Pluto had one condition. Pluto agreed to let Eurydice follow her husband back to earth and life. But, during the trip, Orpheus had to promise not to look back until both he and his wife were safely back on earth.

Orpheus was worried. He was afraid that perhaps his wife might need his help - it was a very scary trip back to the surface. He worried that perhaps Pluto would not send her after all. To reassure himself that all was fine, he risked a quick look behind him, and lost his wife forever.