The Orphic Argonautica, long thought to be a very ancient epic, turned out to be a work of Late Antiquity and thus scholarly interest during the Victorian era waned, then cooled. Devalued, it remained an interesting but unimportant relic of a bygone age.
From a Theosophical and Theurgic point of view, the texts from this period are of special interest, so I was excited to find a copy of this lost work.
Jason Colavito's translation is the only one currently available in English and it is well worth reading. Orpheus is the primary hero of the tale, which is being related to his disciple Musaeus, and it loosely follows Apollonius of Rhodes' account until Colchis is reached, then it presents with a return trip through Northern and Western Europe. There is some Orphic lore scattered throughout the tale, but alas it is not a treatise on Orphism.
The Preface, Introduction and Footnotes greatly expanded my understanding and appreciation of the text. The supplemental material was lavish and opened my mind to new possibilities for my own Argonautic explorations.
In addition to The Orphic Argonautica, excerpts from the following obscure texts are shared in this slim volume:
The Trojan Histories of Dares Phrygius, Sections 1-3
The Narrationes of Lacantius, Book 7: 1-4
The First Vatican Mythographer, 135-138
The Sexond Vatican Mythographer, 135-138
The book concludes with Appendices A-D, which consist of Argonaut related essays by other scholars. Though this work more than stands alone, it is an excellent companion volume to Jason Colavito's Jason and the Argonauts through the Ages.
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