ORPHEUS: traditional date of birth. Orpheus was the son of Calliope and either Oeagrus or Apollo. He was the greatest musician and poet of Greek myth, whose songs could charm wild beasts and coax even rocks and trees into movement. He was one of the Argonauts, and when the Argo had to pass the island of the Sirens, it was Orpheus’ distractions that prevented the crew from being lured to destruction. This much of the legend of Orpheus is fairly certain. It’s the final days of Orpheus, however, that are the subject of varying stories.

One such version justified Orpheus’ inclusion here. The celebrated Thracian musician became a follower of Dionysius and, it is believed, soothed the Argonauts with means other than mere melodies, thus introducing homophile love into Greece. As a result, Orpheus was soundly hated by Aphrodite who considered him a competitor and rival. Orpheus met his end at the hands of the women of Thrace who, because the handsome hunk refused to pay them any attention, tore him to pieces.

And…speaking of charming Thracians…