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A figure from Greek mythology, king of the Thracian tribe Cicones, called by Pindar "the father of songs". His name does not occur in Homer or Hesiod, but he was known by the time of Ibycus (c.530 BC).
He was a poet famous for his extraordinary way of playing the lyre. Orpheus married the nymph Eurydice and when she died he descended to the underworld trying bring her back to the earth. Playing the lyre he convinced Pluto to let her go, on the condition that he would not look back until they had reached the earth. At the very last moment he did look back because he was so anxious to see her again and Eurydice disappeared for ever in the realm of spirits.