The most famous was a woman—or a nymph—who was the wife of Orpheus. While fleeing from Aristaeus, she was bitten by a serpent and died. Distraught, Orpheus played such sad songs and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept and gave him advice. Orpheus accomplished something no other person ever has: he traveled to the underworld and by his music softened the heart of Hades and Persephone, who allowed Eurydice to return with him to the world of the living.
But the condition was attached that he should walk in front of her and not look back until he had reached the upper world. In his anxiety, he broke his promise, and Eurydice vanished again from his sight. The story in this form belongs to the time of Virgil, who first introduces the name of Aristaeus. Other ancient writers, however, speak of Orpheus' visit to the underworld; according to Plato, the infernal gods only "presented an apparition" of Eurydice to him.
1. An Illyrian princess, wife of Amyntas II., king of Macedonia, and mother of the famous Philip. According to Justin (vii. 4, 5), she engaged in a conspiracy with, a paramour against the life of her husband ; but though the plot was detected, she was spared by Amyntas out of regard to their common, offspring.
After the death of the latter (b. c. 369), his eldest son, Alexander, who succeeded him on the throne, was murdered after a short reign by Ptolemy Alorites, and it seems probable that Eurydice was concerned in this plot also. From a comparison of the statements of Justin (vii. 5) and Diodorus (xv. 71, 77, xvi. 2), it would appear that Ptolemy was the paramour at whose instigation Eurydice had attempted the life of her husband; and she certainly seems to have made common cause with him after the assassination of her son. (Thirlwall's Greece, vol. y. p. 164.)
But the appearance of another pretender to the throne, Pausanias, who was joined by the greater part of the Macedonians, reduced Eurydice to great difficulties, and led her to invoke the assistance of the Athenian general Iphicrates, who readily espoused her cause, drove out Pausanias, and reinstated Eurydice and Ptolemy in the full possession of Macedonia, the latter being declared regent for the young king Perdiccas.
Justin represents Eurydice as having subsequently joined with Ptolemy in putting to death Perdiccas also ; but this is certainly a mistake. On the contrary, Perdiccas in fact put Ptolemy to death, and succeeded him on the throne: what part Eurydice took in the matter we know not, any more than her subsequent fate. (Diod. xvi. 2 ; Syricell. p. 263, b.)
2. An Illyrian by birth, wife of Philip of Macedon, and mother of Cynane or Cynna. (Arrian, ap. Phot. p. 70, b.; Kuhn, ad Aelian. V. H. xiii. 36 ; Paus. v. 17. § 4.) According to Dicaearchus, her name was Audata.
3. Daughter of Amyntas, son of Perdiccas III.,, king of Macedonia, and Cynane, daughter of Philip. Her real name appears to have been. Adea (Arrian, ap. Phot. p. 70, b.); at what time it was changed to that of Eurydice we are not told. She was brought up by her mother, and seems to have been early accustomed by her to those masculine and martial exercises in which Cynane herself delighted. (Polyaen. viii. 60; Athen. xiii. p. 560.) She accompanied her mother on her daring expedition to Asia [cynane] ; and when Cynane was put to death by Alcetas, the discontent expressed by the troops, and the respect with which they, looked on Eurydice as one of the surviving members of the royal house, induced Perdiccas not only to spare her life, but to give her in marriage to the unhappy king Arrhidaeus.
We hear no more of her during the life of Perdiccas ; but after his death her active and ambitious spirit broke forth: she demanded of the new governors, Pithon and Arrhidaeus, to be admitted to her due share of authority, and by her intrigues against them? and the favour she enjoyed with the army, she succeeded in compelling them to resign their office. But the arrival of her mortal enemy, Antipater, disconcerted her projects: she took an active part in the proceedings at Triparadeisus, and even delivered in person to the assembled soldiery an harangue against Antipater, which had been composed for her by her secretary Asclepiodorus; but all her efforts were unavailing, and Antipater was appointed regent and guardian of the king. (Arrian, ap. Phot. p. 71; Diod. xviii. 39.)
She was now compelled to remain quiet, and accompanied her husband and Antipater to Eufopev. But the death of Antipater in 319, the more feeble character of Polysperchon, who succeeded him as regent, and the failure of his enterprises in Greece, and above all, the favourable disposition he evinced towards Olympias, determined her to take an active part: she concluded an alliance with Cassander, and, as he was wholly occupied with the affairs of Greece, she herself assembled an army and took the field in person.
Polysperchon advanced against her from Epeirus, accompanied by Aeacides, the king of that country, and Olympias, as well as by Roxana and her infant son. But the presence of Olympias was alone sufficient to decide the contest: the Macedonian troops refused td fight gainst the mother of Alexander, and wen over to her side.
Eurydice fled from the field of battle to Amphipolis, but was seized and made prisoner. She was at first confined, together with her husband, in a narrow dungeon, and scantily supplied with food; but soon Olympias, becoming alarmed at the compassion excited among the Macedonians, determined to get rid of her rival, and sent the young queen in her prison a sword, a rope, and a cup of hemlock, with orders to choose her mode of death.
The spirit of Eurydice remained unbroken to the last; she still breathed defiance to Olympias, and prayed that she might soon be requited with the like gifts; then, having paid as well as she could the last duties to her husband, she put an end to her own life by hanging, without giving way to a tear or word of lamentation.
Her body was afterwards removed by Cassander, and interred, together with that of her husband, with royal pomp at Aegae» (Diod. xix. 52; Athen. iv. p. 155, a.)
4. Daughter of Antipater, and wife of Ptolemy, the son of Lagus. The period of her marriage is not mentioned by any ancient writer, but it is probable that it took place shortly after the partition of Triparadeisus, and the appointment of Antipater to the regency, b; c. 321. (See Droysen, Gesch. d. Naclifolger^ p. 154.)
She was the mother of three sons, viz. Ptolemy Ceraunus, Meleager, who succeeded his brother on the throne of Macedonia, and a third (whose name is not mentioned), put to death by Ptolemy Philadelphus (Paus. i. 7. § 1); and of two daughters, Ptolemai's, afterwards married to Demetrius Poliorcetes (Plut. Demetr. 32, 46), and Lysandra, the wife of Agathocles, son of Lysimachus. (Paus. i. 9. $ 6.)
It appears, how-ever,that Ptolemy, who, like all the other Greek princes of his day, allowed himself to have several wives at once, latterly neglected her for Berenice (Plut. Pyrrh. 4); and it was probably from resentment on this account, and for the preference shewn to the children of Berenice, that she withdrew from the, court of Egypt.
In 287 we find her residing at Miletus, where she welcomed Demetrius Polioreetes, and gave him her daughter Ptolemai's in marriage, at a time when such a step could not but be highly offensive to Ptolemy. (Plut. Demetr. 46.)
5. An Athenian of a family descended from the great Miltiades. (Plut. Demetr. 14; Diod. xx. 40.) She was first married to Ophelias, the conqueror of Gyrene, and after his death returned to Athens, where she married Demetrius Poliorcetes, on occasion of his first visit to that city. (Plut. Demetr. 14.) She is said to have had by him a son called Corrhabus.
6. A daughter of Lysimachus, king of Thrace, who gave her in marriage to Antipater, son of Cassander, king of Macedonia, when the latter invoked his assistance against his brother Alexander. (Justin xvi. 1; Euseb. Arm. p. 15.5.) After the murder of Antipater she was condemned by her father to perpetual imprisonment. (Justin, xvi. 2.)