Alba Maria Orselli

Orfeo e dintorni nel tardoantico cristiano

  • Abstract

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Following the Wittkover migration of symbols principle, this paper traces the path of some of the most significant myths involving a musical subject within the late ancient Christian culture, through literary sources, from Clemente of Alessandria to the Latins Cassiodorus and Isidorus of Seville, and through iconographic documentation from the late ancient ivories to sixth-century Palestianian floor mosaics. The persistence of the traditional ethical and civil values of music can be observed as well as its therapeutic capacity, revealed in particular through the privileged example of the myth of Orpheus. In the end the latter appears fully christianised thanks to the iconographic adoption of David, forefather and figure of Christ himself, on the outline of the pagan Orpheus.

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