Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists

BOOK 14, Pages 628-638

Translated by C.D.Yonge (1854). A few words and spellings have been changed.

See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. The chapter numbers in the translation are shown in green.

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[25.] G   [628] Music also contributes to the proper exercising of the body and to sharpening the intellect; on which account, every Greek people, and every barbarian nation too, that we are acquainted with, practise it. And it was a good saying of Damon the Athenian, that songs and dances must inevitably exist where the mind was excited in any manner; and liberal, and gentlemanly, and honourable feelings of the mind produce corresponding kinds of music, and the opposite feelings likewise produce the opposite kinds of music. On which account, that saying of Cleisthenes the tyrant of Sicyon was a witty one, and a sign of a well-educated intellect. For when he saw, as it is related [ Herodotus, 6.129 ], one of the suitors for his daughter dancing in an unseemly manner (it was Hippocleides the Athenian), he told him that he had danced away his marriage, thinking, as it should seem, that the mind of the man corresponded to the dance which he had exhibited; for in dancing and walking decorum and good order are honourable, and disorder and vulgarity are discreditable. And it is by this principle that the poets originally arranged dances for freeborn men, and employed figures only to be emblems of what was being sung, always preserving the principles of nobleness and manliness in them ; on which account it was that they gave them the name of hyporchēmata {accompaniment to the dance}. And if anyone, while dancing, indulged in unseemly postures or figures, and did nothing at all corresponding to the songs sung, he was considered blameworthy; on which account, Aristophanes or Platon, in his Preparations (as Chamaeleon quotes the play), spoke thus : -   
  So that if anyone danced well, the sight 
  Was pleasing : but they now do nothing rightly. 
  But stand as if amazed, and roar at random.   

  For the kind of dancing which was at that time used in the choruses was decorous and magnificent, and to a certain extent imitated the motions of men under arms; on which account Socrates in his Poems says that those men who dance best are the best in warlike exploits ; and thus he writes : -   
  But they who in the dance most suitably 
  Do honour to the Gods, are likewise best 
  In all the deeds of war.   

  For the dance is very nearly an armed exercise, and is a display not only of good discipline in other respects, but also of the care which the dancers bestow on their persons.   

[26.] G   [629] And Amphion of Thespiae, in the second book of his treatise on the Temple of the Muses on Mount Helicon, says that in Helicon there are dances of boys, got up with great care, quoting this ancient epigram : -   
  I both did dance, and taught the citizens 
  The art of music, and my flute-player 
  Was Anacus of Phialeia
  My name was Bacchides of Sicyon
  And this my duty to the gods performed 
  Was honourable to my country Sicyon.   

  And it was a good answer which was made by Caphesias the flute-player, when one of his pupils began to play on the flute very loudly, and was endeavouring to play as loudly as he could ; on which he struck him, and said, "Goodness does not consist in greatness, but greatness in goodness." There are also relics and traces of the ancient dancing in some statues which we have, which were made by ancient sculptors ; on which account men at that time paid more attention to moving their hands with graceful gestures; for in this particular also they aimed at graceful and gentlemanlike motions, comprehending what was great in what was well done. And from these motions of the hands they transferred some figures to the dances, and from the dances to the palaestra ; for they sought to improve their manliness by music and by paying attention to their persons. And they practised to the accompaniment of song with reference to their movements when under arms ; and it was from this practice that the dance called the Pyrrhic dance originated, and every other dance of this kind, and all the others which have the same name or any similar one with a slight change : such as the Cretan dances called orsitēs and epikrēdios ; and that dance, too, which is named apokinos, (and it is mentioned under this name by Cratinus in his Nemesis, and by Cephisodorus in his Amazons, and by Aristophanes in his Centaur, and by several other poets,) though afterwards it came to be called maktrismos; and many women used to dance it, who, I am aware, were afterwards called maktypiai.   

[27.] G   But the more sedate kinds of dance, both the more varied kinds and those too whose figures are more simple, are the following : - the Dactylus, the Iambic, the Molossian, the Emmelea, the Cordax, the Sicinnis, the Persian, the Phrygian, the Nibatismus, the Thracian, the Calabrismus, the Telesias (and this is a Macedonian dance which Ptolemy was practising when he slew Alexander the brother of Philip, as Marsyas relates in the third book of his History of Macedon). The following dances are of a frantic kind : - the Cernophorus, and the Mongas, and the Thermaustris. There was also a kind of dance in use among private individuals, called the anthema, and they used to dance this while repeating the following form of words with a sort of mimicking gesture, saying -   
  Where are my roses, and where are my violets ? 
  Where is my beautiful parsley ?
  Are these then my roses, are these then my violets ?
  And is this my beautiful parsley ?  

  Among the Syracusans there was a kind of dance called the Chitoneas, sacred to Artemis, and it is a peculiar kind of dance, accompanied with the flute. There was also an Ionian kind of dance practised at drinking parties. They also practised the dance called angelikē; at their drinking parties. And there is another kind of dance called the 'Burning of the World', which Menippus the Cynic mentions in his Banquet. There are also some dances of a ridiculous character: - the igdis, the maktrismos, the apokinos, and the sobas ; and besides these, the morphasmos, and the Owl, and the Lion, and the Pouring out of Meal, and the Abolition of Debts, and the Elements, and the Pyrrhic dance. And they also danced to the accompaniment of the flute a dance which they called the 'Dance of the Master of the Ship', and the Platter Dance.   

  The figures used in dances are the xiphismos, the kalathismos, the kallabidēs, the skōps, and the skōpeuma. And the skōps was a figure intended to represent people looking out from a distance, making an arch over their brows with their hand so as to shade their eyes. And it is mentioned by Aeschylus in his Spectators : -   
  And all these old skōpeumata of yours.   

  [630] And Eupolis, in his Flatterers, mentions the kallabidēs, when he says -   
  He walks as though he were dancing the kallabidēs.   

  Other figures are the thermaustris, the hekaterides, the skopos, the Hand-down, the Hand-up, the dipodismos, the Taking-hold of Wood, the epankonismos, the kalathiskos, the strobilos. There is also a dance called the Telesias; and this is a martial kind of dance, deriving its title from a man of the name of Telesias, who was the first person who ever danced it, holding arms in his hands, as Hippagoras tells us in the first book of his treatise on the Constitution of the Carthaginians.    

[28.] G   There is also a kind of satyric dance called the Sicinnis, as Aristocles says in the eighth book of his treatise on Dances ; and the Satyrs are called Sicinnistae. But some say that a barbarian of the name of Sicinnus was the inventor of it, though others say that Sicinnus was a Cretan by birth ; and certainly the Cretans are dancers, as is mentioned by Aristoxenus. But Scamon, in the first book of his treatise on Inventions, says that this dance is called Sicinnis, from being shaken { ἀπὸ τοῦ σείεσθαι }, and that Thersippus was the first person who danced the Sicinnis. Now in dancing, the motion of the feet was adopted long before any motion of the hands was considered requisite ; for the ancients exercised their feet more than their hands in games and in hunting; and the Cretans are  greatly addicted to hunting, owing to which they are swift of foot. But there are people to be found who assert that Sicinnis is a word formed poetically from κίνησις {movement}, because in dancing it the Satyrs use most rapid movements; for this kind of dance gives no scope for a display of the passions, on which account also it is never slow.   

  Now all satyric poetry formerly consisted of choruses, as also did tragedy, such as it existed at the same time ; and that was the chief reason why tragedy had no regular actors. And there are three kinds of dance appropriate to dramatic poetry, - the tragic, the comic, and the satyric; and in like manner, there are three kinds of lyric dancing, - the pyrrhic, the gymnopaedic, and the hyporchēmatic. And the pyrrhic dance resembles the satyric; for they both consist of rapid movements; but the pyrrhic appears to be a warlike kind of dance, for it is danced by armed boys. And men in war have need of swiftness to pursue their enemies, and also, when defeated, to flee, and not like madmen to stand firm, nor be afraid to seem a short time cowards.   

  But the dance called gymnopaidikē {"naked-boy-dance"}is like the dance in tragedy which is called Emmelea ; for in each, there is seen a degree of gravity and solemnity. But the hyporchematic dance is very nearly identical with the comic one which is called cordax. And they are both a sportive kind of figure.

[29.] G   But Aristoxenus says that the Pyrrhic dance derives its name from Pyrrhichus, who was a Lacedaemonian by birth; and that even to this day Pyrrhichus is a Lacedaemonian name. And the dance itself, being of a warlike character, shows that it is the invention of some Lacedaemonian; for the Lacedaemonians are a martial race, and their sons learn military marches which they call enoplia. And the Lacedaemonians themselves in their wars recite the poems of Tyrtaeus, and move in time to those tunes. But Philochorus [ Fr_216 ] asserts that the Lacedaemonians, when owing to the generalship of Tyrtaeus they had subdued the Messenians, introduced a regular custom in their expeditions, that whenever they were at supper, and had sung the paean, they should also sing one of Tyrtaeus's hymns as a solo, one after another; and that the polemarch should be the judge, and should give a piece of meat as a prize to him who sang best. [631] But the Pyrrhic dance is not preserved now among any other people of Greece; and at the same time that it has fallen into disuse, their wars also have been brought to a conclusion; but it continues in use among the Lacedaemonians alone, being a sort of prelude preparatory to war: and all who are more than five years old in Sparta learn to dance the Pyrrhic dance. But the Pyrrhic dance as it exists in our time, appears to be a sort of Dionysiac dance, and a little more pacific than the old one; for the dancers carry thyrsi instead of spears, and they point and dart canes at one another, and carry torches. And in their dances, they portray Dionysus and the Indians, and the story of Pentheus: and they require for the Pyrrhic dance the most beautiful melodies, and what are called the "stirring" tunes.

[30.] G   But the gymnopaidikē resembles the dance which by the ancients used to be called Anapale : for all the boys dance naked, performing some kind of movement in regular time, and with gestures of the hand like those used by wrestlers: so that the dancers exhibit a sort of spectacle akin to the palaestra and to the pancratium, moving their feet in regular time. And the different modes of dancing it are called the Oschophoricus, and the Bacchic, so that this kind of dance, too, has some reference to Dionysus. But Aristoxenus says that the ancients, after they had exercised themselves in the gymnopaidikē, turned to the Pyrrhic dance before they entered the theatre : and the Pyrrhic dance is also called the Cheironomia. But the hyporchematic dance is that in which the chorus dances while singing. Accordingly Bacchylides says -   
  There's no room now for sitting down. 
  There 's no room for delay.   

  And Pindar says -   
  The Lacedaemonian troop of maidens fair.   

  And the Lacedaemonians dance this dance in Pindar. And the hyporchēmatikē is a dance of men and women. Now the best modes are those which combine dancing with the singing; and they are these - the Prosodiac, the Apostolic  (which last is also called parthenios), and others of the same kind. And some danced to the hymn and some did not; and some danced in accompaniment to hymns to Aphrodite and Dionysus, and to the Paean, dancing at one time and resting at another. And among the barbarians as well as among the Greeks there are respectable dances and also indecorous ones. Now the cordax among the Greeks is an indecorous dance, but the Emmelea is a respectable one : as is among the Arcadians the Cidaris, and among the Sicyonians the Aleter; and it is called Aleter also in Ithaca, as Aristoxenus relates in the first book of his History of Sicyon. And this appears enough to say at present on the subject of dances.   

[31.] G   Now formerly decorum was carefully attended to in music, and everything in this art had its suitable and appropriate ornament : on which account there were separate flutes for each separate kind of harmony; and every flute-player had flutes adapted to each kind of harmony in their contests. But Pronomus of Thebes was the first man who played the three different kinds of harmony already mentioned on the same flute. But now people meddle with music in a random and inconsiderate manner. And formerly, to be popular with the vulgar was reckoned a certain sign of a want of real skill : on which account Asopodorus of Phliūs, when some flute-player was once being much applauded while he himself was remaining in the hyposcenium, said - "What is all this? the man has evidently committed some great blunder : " - as else he could not possibly have been so much approved of by the mob. But I am aware that some people tell this story as if it were Antigenides who said this. But in our days artists make the objects of their art to be the gaining the applause of the spectators in the theatre; [632] on which account Aristoxenus, in his book entitled Miscellany of Banquets, says- " We act in a manner similar to the people of Paestum who dwell in the Tyrrhenian Gulf; for it happened to them, though they were originally Greeks, to have become at last completely barbarised, becoming Etruscans or Romans, and to have changed their language, and all the rest of their national habits. But one Greek festival they do celebrate even to the present day, in which they meet and recollect all their ancient names and customs, and bewail their loss to one another, and then, when they have wept for them, they go home. And so," says he, " we also, since the theatres have become completely barbarised, and since music has become entirely ruined and vulgar, we, being but a few, will recall to our minds, sitting by ourselves, what music once was." And this was the discourse of Aristoxenus.   

[32.] G   Therefore it seems to me that we ought to have a philosophical conversation about music : for Pythagoras the Samian, who had such a high reputation as a philosopher, is well known, from many circumstances, to have been a man who had no slight or superficial knowledge of music ; for he indeed lays it down that the whole universe is put and kept together by music. And altogether the ancient philosophy of the Greeks appears to have been very much addicted to music ; and on this account they judged Apollo to have been the most musical and the wisest of the gods, and Orpheus of the demigods. And they called everyone who devoted himself to the study of this art a sophist, as Aeschylus does in the verse where he says -   
  And then the sophist sweetly struck the lyre.   

  And that the ancients were excessively devoted to the study of music is plain from Homer, who, because all his own poetry was adapted to music, makes, from want of care, so many verses which are headless, and weak, and imperfect in the tail. But Xenophanes, and Solon, and Theognis, and Phocylides, and besides them Periander of Corinth, an elegiac poet, and the rest of those who did not set melodies to their poems, compose their verses with reference to number and to the arrangement of the metres, and take great care that none of their verses shall be liable to the charge of any of the irregularities which we just now imputed to Homer. Now when we call a verse headless { ἀκέφαλος }, we mean such as have a mutilation or lameness at the beginning, such as - 
  ἐπειδὴ νῆάς τε καὶ Ἑλλήσποντον ἵκοντο.   [ Il_23.2 ] 
  ἐπίτονος τετάνυστο βοὸς ἶφι κταμένοιο.   [ Od_12.423 + Il_3.375 ]   

  Those we call weak { λαγαρὸς } which are defective in the middle, as -   
  αἶψα δ' ἄρ' Αἰνείαν φίλον υἱὸν Ἀγχίσαο.   [ ? ] 
  τῶν αὖθ' ἡγείσθην Ἀσκληπιοῦ δύο παῖδε.   [ Il_2.731 ]   

  Those again are μείουροι , which are imperfect in the tail or end, as -   
  Τρῶες δ' ἐρρίγησαν ὅπως ἴδον αἴολον ὄφιν.   [ Il_12.208 ] 
  καλὴ Κασσιέπεια θεοῖς δέμας ἐοικυῖα.   [ ~ Il_8.305 ] 
  τοῦ φέρον ἐμπλήσας ἀσκὸν μέγαν, ἐν δὲ καὶ ἤια.    [ Od_9.212 ]   

[33.] G   But of all the Greeks, the Lacedaemonians were those who preserved the art of music most strictly, as they applied themselves to the practice a great deal : and there were a great many lyric poets among them. And even to this day they preserve their ancient songs carefully, being possessed of very varied and very accurate learning on the subject; [633] on which account Pratinas says -  
  The Lacedaemonian grasshopper sweetly sings. 
  Well suited to the chorus.   

  And on this account the poets also continually styled their odes -   
  President of sweetest hymns :   

  and -   
  The honey-winged melodies of the Muse.   

  For owing to the general moderation and austerity of their lives, they betook themselves gladly to music, which has a sort of power of soothing the understanding ; so that it was natural enough that people who hear it should be delighted. And the people whom they called chorēgoi, were not, as Demetrius of Byzantium tells us in the fourth book of his treatise on Poetry, those who have that name now, the people, that is to say, who hire the choruses, but those who actually led the choruses, as the name intimates : and so it happened, that the Lacedaemonians were good musicians, and did not violate the ancient laws of music.   

  Now in ancient times all the Greeks were fond of music ; but when in subsequent ages disorders arose, when nearly all the ancient customs had got out of fashion and had become obsolete, this fondness for music also wore out, and bad styles of music were introduced, which led all the composers to aim at effeminacy rather than delicacy, and at an enervated and dissolute rather than a modest style. And perhaps this will still exist hereafter in a greater degree, and will extend still farther, unless someone again draws forth the national music to the light. For formerly the subjects of their songs used to be the exploits of heroes, and the praises of the Gods; and accordingly Homer says of Achilles [ Il_9.189 ] -   
  With this he soothes his lofty soul, and sings 
  The immortal deeds of heroes and of kings.   

  And of Phemius he says [ Od_1.337 ] -   
  Phemius, let acts of gods and heroes old, 
  What ancient bards in hall and bower have told, 
  Attempered to the lyre your voice employ, 
  Such the pleased ear will drink with silent joy.  

  And this custom was preserved among the barbarians, as Dinon tells us in his history of Persia. Accordingly, the poets used to celebrate the valour of the elder Cyrus, and they foresaw the war which was going to be waged against Astyages. " For when," says he, "Cyrus had begun his march against the Persians, (and he had previously been the commander of the guards, and afterwards of the heavy-armed troops there, and then he left;) and while Astyages was sitting at a banquet with his friends, then a man, whose name was Angares, (and he was the most illustrious of his minstrels,) being called in, sang other things, such as were customary, and at last he said that -   
  A mighty monster is let loose at last 
  Into the marsh, fiercer than wildest boar ; 
  And when once master of the neighbouring ground 
  It soon will fight with ease against numerous hosts.   

  And when Astyages asked him what monster he meant, he said - ' Cyrus the Persian.' And so the king, thinking that his suspicions were well founded, sent people to recall Cyrus, but did not succeed in doing so"   

[34.] G   But I, though I could still say a good deal about music, yet, as I hear the noise of flutes, I will check my desire for talking, and only quote you the lines out of the Amateur of the Flute, by Philetaerus -   
  O Zeus, it were a happy thing to die 
  While playing on the flute. For flute-players are 
  The only men who in Hades below 
  Can feel the bliss of Aphrodite
  But those whose coarser minds know nought of music
  Pour water always into bottomless casks.   

  After this there arose a discussion about the sambuca. And Masurius said that the sambuca was a musical instrument, very shrill, and that it was mentioned by Euphorion (who is also an Epic poet), in his book on the Isthmian Games ; for he says that it was used by the Parthians and by the Troglodytes, and that it had four strings. [634] He said also that it was mentioned by Pythagoras, in his treatise on the Red Sea. The sambuca is also a name given to an engine used in sieges, the form and mechanism of which is explained by Biton, in his book addressed to Attalus on the subject of Military Engines. And Andreas of Panormus, in the thirty-third book of his History of Sicily, detailed city by city, says that it is borne against the walls of the enemy on two cranes. And it is called sambuca because when it is raised up it gives a sort of appearance of a ship and ladder joined together, and resembles the shape of the musical instrument of the same name. But Moschus, in the first book of his treatise on Mechanics, says that the sambuca is originally a Roman engine, and that Heracleides of Pontus was the original inventor of it. But Polybius, in the eighth book of his History, says, - "Marcellus, having been a great deal inconvenienced at that siege of Syracuse by the contrivances of Archimedes, used to say that Archimedes had given his ships drink out of the sea;- but that his sambucas had been buffeted and driven from the entertainment in disgrace."   

[35.] G   And when, after this, Aemilianus said, - "But, my good friend Masurius, I myself often, being a lover of music, turn my thoughts to the instrument which is called the magadis, and cannot decide whether I am to think that it was a species of flute or some kind of harp. For that sweetest of poets, Anacreon, says somewhere or other -   
  I hold my magadis and sing, 
  Striking loud the twentieth string, 
  O Leucaspis, as the rapid hour 
  Leads you to youth's and beauty's flower.   

  But Ion of Chios, in his Omphale, speaks of it as if it were a species of flute, in the following words -   
  And let the Lydian flute, the magadis, 
  Breathe its sweet sounds, and lead the tuneful song.   

  And Aristarchus the grammarian, (a man whom Panaetius the Rhodian philosopher used to call the Prophet, because he could so easily divine the meanings of poems,) when explaining this verse, affirms that the magadis was a kind of flute: though Aristoxenus does not say so either in his treatise on the Flute-players or in that on Flutes and other Musical Instruments ; nor does Archestratus either, - and he also wrote two books on Flute-players; nor has Pyrrhander said so in his work on Flute-players; nor Phillis of Delos, - for he also wrote a treatise on Flute-players, and so did Euphranor. But Tryphon, in the second book of his essay on Names, speaks thus - "The flute called magadis."   And in another place he says - "The magadis gives a shrill and deep tone at the same time, as Anaxandrides intimates in his Man fighting in heavy Armour, where we find the line -   
  I will speak to you like a magadis, 
  In soft and powerful sounds at the same time. "  

  And, my dear Masurius, there is no one else except you who can solve this difficulty for me.   

[36.] G   And Masurius replied - Didymus the grammarian, in his work entitled Alternative Interpretations of the Plays of Ion, says, my good friend Aemilianus, that by the term magadis aulos he understands the instrument which is also called kitharistērios ; which is mentioned by Aristoxenus in the first book of his treatise on the Flute-boring ; for there he says that there are five kinds of flutes: the virginal, the child-pipes, the cithara-pipes, the perfect, and the super-perfect. And he says that Ion has omitted the conjunction 'and' improperly, so that we are to understand by magadis aulos the flute which accompanies the magadis; for the magadis is a stringed { ψαλτικὸν } instrument, as Anacreon tells us, and it was invented by the Lydians, on which account Ion, in his Omphale, calls the Lydian women ψάλτριαι, as playing on stringed instruments, in the following lines -    
  But come, O Lydian ψάλτριαι, and singing 
  Your ancient hymns, do honour to this stranger.   

  [635] But Theophilus the comic poet, in his Neoptolemus, calls playing on the magadis μαγαδίζειν, saying -   
  It may be that a worthless son may sing 
  His father or his mother on the magadis { μαγαδίζειν }, 
  Sitting upon the wheel; but none of us
  Shall ever play such music now as theirs.   

  And Euphorion, in his treatise on the Isthmian Games, says that the magadis is an ancient instrument, but that in latter times it was altered, and had the name also changed to that of the sambuca. And this instrument was very much used at Mitylene, so that one of the Muses was represented by an old sculptor, whose name was Lesbothemis, as holding one in her hand. But Menaechmus, in his treatise on Artists, says that the pectis, which he calls identical with the magadis, was invented by Sappho. And Aristoxenus says that the magadis and the pectis were both played with the fingers without any plectrum; on which account Pindar, in his scolium addressed to Hieron, having named the magadis, calls it a responsive harping { ψαλμὸν ἀντίφθογγον }, because its music is accompanied in all its keys by two kinds of singers, namely, men and boys. And Phrynichus, in his Phoenician Women, has said -   
  Singing responsive songs on tuneful harps.   

  And Sophocles, in his Mysians, says -   
  There sounded too the Phrygian triangle, 
  With oft-repeated notes ; to which responded 
  The well-struck strings of the soft Lydian pectis. 

[37.] G   But some people raise a question how, as the magadis did not exist in the time of Anacreon (for instruments with many strings were never seen till after his time), Anacreon can possibly mention it, as he does when he says-
  I hold my magadis and sing,
  Striking loud the twentieth string,
  O Leucaspis.

But Poseidonius [ Fr_107 ] asserts that Anacreon mentions three kinds of melodies, the Phrygian, the Dorian, and the Lydian; for that these were the only melodies with which he was acquainted. And as every one of these is executed on seven strings, he says that it was very nearly correct of Anacreon to speak of twenty strings, as he only omits one for the sake of speaking in round numbers. But Poseidonius is ignorant that the magadis is an ancient instrument, though Pindar says plainly enough that Terpander invented the barbitos to correspond to, and answer the pectis in use among the Lydians-
  The sweet responsive lyre
  Which long ago the Lesbian bard,
  Terpander, did invent, sweet ornament
  To the luxurious Lydian feasts, when he
  Heard the high-toned pectis.

Now the pectis and the magadis are the same instrument, as Aristoxenus tells us, and Menaechmus the Sicyonian too, in his treatise On Artists. And this latter author says that Sappho, who is more ancient than Anacreon, was the first person to use the pectis. Now, that Terpander is more ancient than Anacreon, is evident from the following considerations:- Terpander was the first man who ever got the victory at the Carneian games, as Hellanicus tells us in his Victors at the Carneia, which he wrote in verse and in prose.

The first establishment of the Carneia took place in the twenty-sixth Olympiad [ 676-673 B.C. ], as Sosibius tells us in his essay On Dates. But Hieronymus, in his treatise On Harp-players, which is the subject of his fifth book On Poets, says that Terpander was a contemporary of Lycurgus the law-giver, who, it is agreed by all men, was, with Iphitus of Elis, the author of that establishment of the Olympic games from which the first Olympiad is reckoned [ 776 B.C. ]. But Euphorion, in his treatise On the Isthmian Games, says that the instruments with many strings are altered only in their names; but that the use of them is very ancient.

[38.] G   [636] However, Diogenes the tragic poet represents the pectis as differing from the magadis; for in his Semele he says-
  And now I hear the turban-wearing women,
  Votaries of the Asiatic Cybele,
  The wealthy Phrygians' daughters, loudly sounding
  With drums, and bull-roarers, and brazen-clashing
  Cymbals, their hands each striking in concert,
  Pour forth a wise and healing hymn to the gods.
  Likewise the Lydian and the Bactrian maids
  Who dwell beside the Halys, loudly worship
  The Tmolian goddess Artemis, who loves
  The laurel shade of the thick leafy grove,
  Striking the clear three-cornered pectis, and
  Raising responsive tunes upon the magadis,
  While flutes in Persian manner neatly joined
  Accompany the chorus.

And Phillis of Delos, in the second book of his treatise On Music, also asserts that the pectis is different from the magadis. And his words are these- "There are the phoenix, the pectis, the magadis, the sambuca, the iambyca, the triangles, the clepsiambus, the scindapsus, and the nine-string." For, he says that "the lyre to which they sang iambics, they called the iambyca, and the instrument to which they sang them in such a manner as to vary the metre a little, they called the clepsiambus, while the magadis was an instrument uttering a sound an octave apart, and equally in tune for every portion of the singers. And besides these there were instruments of other kinds also; for there was the barbitos, or barmus, and many others, some with strings, and some with sounding-boards."

[39.] G   There were also some instruments besides those which were blown into, and those which were used with different strings, which gave forth only sounds of a simple nature, such as the castanets (κρέμβαλα), which are mentioned by Dicaearchus, in his essay On the Manners and Customs of Greece, where he says, that formerly certain instruments were in very frequent use, in order to accompany women while dancing and singing; and when any one touched these instruments with their fingers they uttered a shrill sound. And he says that this is plainly shown in the hymn to Artemis, which begins thus-
  Artemis, now my mind will have me utter
  A pleasing song in honour of your deity,
  While this my comrade strikes with nimble hand
  The well-gilt brazen-sounding castanets.

And Hermippus, in his play called The Gods, gives the word for rattling the castanets, κρεμβαλιάζειν, saying-
  And beating down the limpets from the rocks,
  They make a noise like castanets (κρεμβαλιάζουσι).

But Didymus says, that some people, instead of the lyre, are in the habit of striking oyster-shells and cockle-shells against one another, and by these means contrive to play a tune in time to the dancers, as Aristophanes also intimates in his Frogs [ 1304 ].

[40.] G   But Artemon, in the first book of his treatise On the Dionysiac System, as he calls it, says that Timotheus the Milesian appears to many men to have used an instrument of more strings than were necessary, namely, the magadis, on which account he was chastised by the Lacedaemonians as having corrupted the ancient music. And when some one was going to cut away the superfluous strings from his lyre, he showed them a little statue of Apollo which they had, which held in its hand a lyre with an equal number of strings, and which was tuned in the same manner; and so he was acquitted. But Duris, in his treatise On Tragedy, says that the magadis was named after Magodis, who was a Thracian by birth. But Apollodorus, in his Reply to the Letter of Aristocles, says- "That which we now call psalterium is the same instrument which was formerly called magadis; but that which used to be called the clepsiambus, and the triangle, and the elymus, and the nine-string, have fallen into comparative disuse." [637] And Alcman says-
  And put away the magadis.

And Sophocles, in his Thamyras, says-
  And well-compacted lyres and magadides,
  And other highly-polished instruments,
  From which the Greeks do make the sweetest sounds.

But Telestes, in his dithyrambic poem, called Hymenaeus, says that the magadis was an instrument with five strings, using the following expressions-
  And each a different strain awakens,-
  One struck the loud horn-sounded magadis,
  And in the five-fold number of tight strings
  Moved his hand to and fro most rapidly.

I am acquainted, too, with another instrument which the Thracian kings use in their banquets, as Nicomedes tells us in his essay on Orpheus. Now Ephorus, and Scamon in his treatise On Inventions, say that this instrument called the phoenix derives its name from having been invented by the Phoenicians. But Semus of Delos, in the first book of his History of Delos, says that it is so called because its ribs are made of the palm-tree (φοῖνιξ) which grows in Delos. The same writer, Semus, says that the first person who used the sambuca was Sibylla . . . the before-mentioned Scamon, and that the instrument derives its name from having been invented by a man named Sambyx.

[41.] G   And concerning the instrument called the tripod (this also is a musical instrument) the before-mentioned Artemon writes as follows- "And that is how it is that there are many instruments, as to which it is even uncertain whether they ever existed; as, for instance, the tripod of Pythagoras of Zacynthus. For as it was in fashion but a very short time, and as, either because the fingering of it appeared exceedingly difficult, or for some other reason, it was very soon disused, it has escaped the notice of most writers altogether. But the instrument was in form very like the Delphian tripod, and it derived its name from it; but it was used like a triple harp. For its feet stood on some pedestal which admitted of being easily turned round, just as the legs of movable chairs are made; and along the three intermediate spaces between the feet, strings were stretched; an arm being placed above each, and tuning-pegs, to which the strings were attached, below. And on the top there was the usual ornament of a basin, and of some other ornaments which were attached to it; all which gave it a very elegant appearance, and it emitted a very powerful sound. And Pythagoras assigned the three harmonies - the Dorian, the Lydian, and Phrygian - to the three spaces. And he himself sitting on a chair made on the same principles and after the same pattern, putting out his left hand so as to take hold of the instrument, and using the plectrum in his other hand, moved the pedestal with his foot very easily, so as to use whichever side of the instrument he chose to begin with; and then again turning to the other side he went on playing, and then he changed to the third side. And so rapidly did the easy movement of the pedestal, when touched by the foot, bring the various sides under his hand, and so very rapid was his fingering and execution, that if a person had not seen what was being done, but had judged only by his ear, he would have fancied that he was listening to three harp-players all playing on different instruments. But this instrument, though it was so greatly admired, after his death rapidly fell into disuse."

[42.] G   Now the system of playing the harp without any vocal accompaniment, was, as Menaechmus informs us, first introduced by Aristonicus the Argive, who was a contemporary of Archilochus, and lived in Corcyra. But Philochorus, in the third book of his Atthis [ Fr_23 ], says- "Lysander the Sicyonian harp-player was the first person who ever changed the art of pure instrumental performance, dwelling on the long tones, and producing a very rich sound, and adding also to the harp the music of the flute; and this last addition was first introduced by Epigonus; [638] and taking away the jejuneness which existed in the music of those who played the harp alone without any vocal accompaniment, he first introduced various beautiful modifications on that instrument; and he played on the different kinds of harp called iambyca and magadis, and the so-called syrigmus. And he was the first person who ever attempted to change his instrument while playing. And afterwards, adding dignity to the business, he was the first person to institute a chorus [of players]." And Menaechmus says that Dion of Chios was the first person who ever played on the harp an ode such as is used at libations to the honour of Dionysus. Timomachus, in his History of Cyprus, says that Stesander the Samian added further improvements to his art, and was the first person who at Delphi sang to the accompaniment of his lyre the battles narrated by Homer, beginning with the Odyssey. But others say that the first person who ever played amatory songs on his harp was Ametor, the Eleuthernaean, who did so in his own city; and his descendants are called Ametoridae.

Aristoxenus says that just as some men have composed parodies on hexameter verses, for the sake of exciting a laugh; so, too, others have parodied the verses which were sung to the harp, in which pastime Oenopas led the way. And he was imitated by Polyeuctus the Achaean, and by Diocles of Cynaetha. There have also been poets who have composed indecent songs, concerning whom Phaenias of Eresus speaks in his writings Against the Sophists, where he writes thus:- "Telenicus the Byzantian, and also Argas, being both authors of indecent songs, were men who, as far as that kind of poetry could go, were accounted clever. But they never even attempted to rival the songs of Terpander or Phrynis." And Alexis mentions Argas, in his Bareback Rider, thus-
  (A)   Here is a poet who has gained the prize
  In choruses.
  (B)   What is his style of poetry ?
  (A)   A noble kind.
  (B)   How will he stand comparison
  With Argas?
  (A)   He's a whole day's journey better.

And Anaxandrides, in his Heracles, says-
  For he appears a really clever man.
  How gracefully he takes the instrument,
  Then plays at once . . .
  When I have eaten my fill, I then incline
  To send you off to sing a match with Argas,
  That you, my friend, may thus the sophists conquer.

[43.] G   But the author of the play called The Beggars, which is attributed to Chionides, mentions a certain man of the name of Gnesippus as a composer of ludicrous verses, and also of merry songs; and he says -
  I swear that neither now Gnesippus, nor 
  Cleomenes with all his nine-stringed lyre, 
  Could ever have made this song endurable. 

And the author of the Helots says - 
  He is a man who sings the ancient songs 
  Of Alcman, and Stesichorus, and Simonides
  (he means to say Gnesippus)
  He likewise has composed songs for the night, 
  Well suited to adulterers, with which 
  They charm the women from their doors, while striking 
  The shrill iambyca or the triangle. 

And Cratinus, in his Effeminate Persons, says - 
  Who, O Gnesippus, ever saw me in love ?
  I am indignant; for I do think nothing 
  Can be so vain or foolish as a lover . . .
And he ridicules him for his poems; and in his Herdsmen he says - 
  A man who would not give to Sophocles 
  A chorus when he asked one; though he granted 
  That favour to Cleomachus, whom I 
  Should scarce think worthy of so great an honour, 
  At the Adonia. 
And in his Hours he says - 
  Farewell to that great tragedian 
  Cleomachus, with his chorus of hair-pullers, 
  Plucking vile melodies in the Lydian fashion. 

[639] But Telecleides, in his Rigid Men, says that he was greatly addicted to adultery. And Clearchus, in the second book of his Amatory Anecdotes, says that the love-songs, and those, too, which are called the Locrian songs, do not differ in the least from the compositions of Sappho and Anacreon. Moreover, the poems of Archilochus, and that on fieldfares, attributed to Homer, relate to some division or other of this passion, describing it in metrical poetry. But the writings of Asopodorus about love, and the whole body of amorous epistles, are a sort of amatory poetry written in prose.

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