The Culture of Kitharôidia

  Power, Timothy. 2010. The Culture of Kitharôidia. Hellenic Studies Series 15. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

Part II. Anabolê, Prooimion, Nomos: Form and Content of Citharodic Songs

1. Prelude/Anabolê

In their descriptions of Nero’s performance in Naples, neither Tacitus nor Suetonius says anything about an instrumental lead-in, but a prelude to the song proper, typically called the anabolê, was a standard element of citharodic performance, and so would most likely have been performed by Nero in Naples. The proto-citharodic Homeric bards Demodocus and Phemius both play anabolai on the phorminx before beginning the vocal component of their performances (ὁ φορμίζων ἀνεβάλλετο καλὸν ἀείδειν ‘He struck up on the phorminx an anabolê to his beautiful song’, Odyssey 1.155, 8.266; cf. 17.262). Ovid describes Orpheus making exploratory runs on the strings of his cithara before “moving his voice in song” (Metamorphoses 10.145–147). Similarly, the Muse Calliope praetemptat ‘tries out’ the strings of her cithara before beginning her song (5.339–340). [1] Such preludes have a practical function. They provide the citharode a chance to limber his fingers and a final opportunity to check the instrument’s tuning; the latter function is clearly indicated in the former Ovid passage: et sensit varios, quamvis diversa sonarent, | concordare modos (“And Orpheus heard that the various notes, although they produced different sounds, were in tune with one another”). If a kithara player is accompanying a chorus, the instrumental prelude meets the additional task of calling the rhythm and tune for the choral song and dance (e.g. Pindar Pythian 1.1–3).

But the “deferral” (anabolê in its non-technical sense) of song proper also plays an important psychological role in the ritualized performance event. Beyond simply alerting the audience that the performance is beginning, it mediates the transition from the quotidian phenomenal world to the emotionally heightened, ritually marked experience of song that, ideally, both performer and listeners share. [2] There is a quasi-erotic dimension to this mediation as well: preludial deferral—foreplay—stokes the desire for the song to come. This process of musico-erotic seduction is well captured in the aetiological citharodic performance described in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. Hermes is playing the newly invented lyre before an initially recalcitrant audience of one, Apollo, whose resistance quickly dissolves upon hearing the notes of the anabolê:

λαβὼν δ’ ἐπ’ ἀριστερὰ χειρὸς
πλήκτρῳ ἐπειρήτιζε κατὰ μέρος· ἣ δ’ ὑπὸ χειρὸς
σμερδαλέον κονάβησε. γέλασσε δὲ Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων
γηθήσας, ἐρατὴ δὲ διὰ φρένας ἤλυθ’ ἰωὴ
θεσπεσίης ἐνοπῆς καί μιν γλυκὺς ἵμερος ᾕρει
θυμῷ ἀκουάζοντα. λύρῃ δ’ ἐρατὸν κιθαρίζων
στῆ ῥ’ ὅ γε θαρσήσας ἐπ’ ἀριστερὰ Μαιάδος υἱὸς
Φοίβου Ἀπόλλωνος, τάχα δὲ λιγέως κιθαρίζων
γηρύετ’ ἀμβολάδην, ἐρατὴ δὲ οἱ ἕσπετο φωνή.

Homeric Hymn to Hermes 418–426

The anabolê was traditionally brief, as it seems to be here. Some formally adventurous musicians of the fifth century BCE, however, expanded it into a showcase for instrumental virtuosity, to the consternation of critics such as Democritus of Chios, who said, parodying Hesiod Works and Days 265–266, “A man who contrives evils for another contrives evils for himself, but the long anabolê is the greatest evil for its composer” (Aristotle Rhetoric 3.9.1409b26–30). Aristotle says that Democritus was criticizing Melanippides, a dithyrambic composer, who enlarged the preludial role of the aulos in his choral songs. But developments in kitharôidia and dithyramb kept close pace in the fifth century, so we could expect that citharodes too experimented with this controversial innovation. [

2. The Prooimion: Necessary Introductions

Hermes moves from his seductive instrumental prelude, pregnant with erôs, to another prefatory performance, sung ἀμβολάδην ‘in the manner of an anabolê’. This secondary anabolê, this time a sung prelude (its content is indirectly described in lines 427–433 of the Hymn), came, by at least the first part of the fifth century, to be called a prooimion. [5] Prooimia are hymns (humnoi)—the two terms were occasionally used interchangeably—typically composed ἐν ἔπεσι (“Plutarch” On Music 4.1132d), that is, in dactylic hexameters or quasi-hexametrical dactylic measures, in which singers “dedicated themselves to the gods as they wished (πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς ὡς βούλονται ἀφοσιωσάμενοι).” After this hymnal dedication, citharodes would “move immediately (ἐξέβαινον εὐθύς) to the poetry of Homer and other poets,” that is, to the narrative song that was the main event of the performance, the piece that came to be called the citharodic nomos (On Music 6.1133c). [6] With the prooimion, then, citharodes “begin from” the divine before embarking on the oimê ‘song’, with its typically mortal themes, that follows. [7] The shorter prooimia collected among the Homeric Hymns served an analogous function in rhapsodic performance, a medium closely connected to kitharôidia. For example, the performer of Hymn 31, addressing Helios, declares, “After beginning (ἀρχόμενος) from you, I will celebrate the line of mortal heroes” (18–19; cf. 32.18–19, to Selene).

Indeed, at least some of the Homeric Hymns could have been derived from or even common to the repertoire of citharodes. Rhapsodic and citharodic prooimia were more morphologically and phraseologically alike than different; they shared, after all, the same generic DNA. [8] A partial dactylic verse, κύκνος ὑπὸ πτερύγων ‘the swan to the accompaniment of his wings’, is identified by the Alexandrian scholar Aristarchus as the ἀρχή ‘beginning’ of a work by the citharode Terpander, presumably a prooimion rather than a nomos (fr. 1 Gostoli = SLG 6). The same phrase occurs in the first verse of Homeric Hymn 21, to Apollo, in which the speaker hymning Apollo, implicitly describing himself as a citharode, compares himself to the singing swan: “Phoebus, of you the swan also sings clearly to the accompaniment of his wings … And of you the aoidos holding the clear-toned phorminx with his sweet verse always sings first and last” (21.1–4). [9] Perhaps Aristarchus knew Hymn 21, or some close version thereof, as a citharodic prooimion. Another dactylic phrase, ἀλλά, ἄναξ, μάλα χαῖρε, is cited by Aelius Dionysius as the ἀρχή of an ἐξόδιον κιθαρῳδικόν, which we may take to mean the lead-off verse (ἀρχή) of the concluding section of the prooimion rather than of the song proper, the nomos (Attic Lexicon 76). Such χαῖρε-formulas mark the conclusion of most of the Homeric Hymns (e.g. 21.5, 31.17), when the rhapsode bids farewell to the hymned god before moving to the heroic song. [10]

It is notable, however, that, for Plato, writing in the fourth century BCE, prooimia belong first and foremost to kitharôidia. [11] He several times evokes the traditional sequencing of prooimion and citharodic nomos as a metaphor for the logical exposition of political theory. (The metaphor is prompted in part by the long-standing play on nomos as “song genre” and as “law,” e.g. Laws 722e.) Thus in Timaeus 29d Socrates tells Timaeus, who has begun expounding on the divine creation of the physical world, “We have welcomed, then, your prooimion with wondrous admiration (θαυμασίως), but, following the sequence (ἐφεξῆς), begin to perform for us the nomos.” [12] Socrates’ casting of Timaeus as a hymn-singing citharode indeed begins with his earlier, punning injunction to Timaeus to “invoke the gods according to custom (κατὰ νόμον).” The latter does indeed call upon the “gods and goddesses” at the beginning of his discourse, in the customary manner of the proemial hymn (27b–c). [13] We should assume that in actual practice the divinities hymned by citharodes were usually those honored in the broader context of the festival or celebratory occasion on which the citharode performed. Accordingly, in the retelling of Arion’s performance aboard a ship at sea in Plutarch Banquet of the Seven Sages 18.161d, the citharode appropriately “strikes up a prefatory invocation of the sea gods” (τινα θεῶν πελαγίων ἀνάκλησιν προανακρουσάμενος) before moving on to the rest of his performance. Occasional appropriateness did not always determine the choice of hymned god, however. The vocationally appropriate Apollo and the Muses, through whom “singer men and citharists populate the earth” (ἄνδρες ἀοιδοὶ ἔασιν ἐπὶ χθόνα καὶ κιθαρισταί, Hesiod Theogony 95)—ἄνδρες ἀοιδοὶ καὶ κιθαρισταί is clearly a hendiadys for “citharodes”—were no doubt reliably supra-occasional hymnic subjects. [14]

The complete sequence of anabolê to prooimion to song proper is neatly represented in the description of the citharodic performance of Orpheus in Ovid Metamorphoses 10.145–155. Orpheus begins with an instrumental prelude (145–147), transitions to a prooimion (begun ab Iove ‘from Zeus’, 148–154), and then to the main event, a medley of love stories about Ganymede, Hyacinth, and other mortals, which continues through the rest of Book 10. A passage in Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius of Tyana (4.39) confirms that Nero, and other real-life citharodes of his day, followed this traditional sequencing as well. Philostratus describes the three-stage performance of an impersonator of Nero, who, dressed in citharodic garb, faithfully recreates the emperor’s “act” in the unlikely confines of a Roman inn. The impersonator starts with the “customary” instrumental anabolê (ἀναβαλόμενος οὖν, ὅπως εἰώθει), then sings a brief proemial humnos that had been composed by Nero (βραχὺν διεξελθὼν ὕμνον τοῦ Νέρωνος), then finally “adds on” to these introductory segments a medley of Nero’s songs, melê, that constitutes the main focus of the performance (ἐπῆγε μέλη).

Nero presumably followed this traditional sequencing at his Neapolitan performances as well. Tacitus Annals 15.34.1 mentions that, in response to an earthquake that damaged the Neapolitan theater but hurt none of the spectators, Nero composed and performed a song of thanks to the gods (per compositos cantus grates dis … celebrans). Tacitus has Nero singing this song—the plural cantus would seem to describe multiple melodic elements artfully arranged together, compositi, into a single song—before he left Naples. It sounds like it was a humnos, and we might imagine that he incorporated it as a prooimion into his routine there or soon after at his public appearances in Rome. Tacitus says too that in the song Nero “celebrated the good fortune that attended the recent downfall” (ipsam recentis casus fortunam celebrans). This detail, which implies self-reference or self-dramatization, could also point to a prooimion. Given the paucity of firm textual evidence it is difficult to say with certainty, but citharodes seem to have used the prooimion as a space in which to engage in some form of self-referential discourse, in most cases, however, probably more generic than the more personally specific tenor of Nero’s song of thanksgiving: requests for divine inspiration and audience favor, vaunting, self-promotional commentary about their musical art or expressions of their own hopes for victory. [15] A two-line hexametrical fragment from what is perhaps a citharodic prooimion, in which the singer boasts of singing new songs to a seven-stringed kithara, suggests this (fr. 4 Gostoli = PMG p363). There is musico-poetological commentary too in the prooimion sung by Orpheus in Ovid Metamorphoses 10.148–154.

Quintilian Institutio Oratoria 4.1.2 attests to the related rhetorical function of the prooimion as a captatio benevolentiae: “οἴμη is a song, and citharodes have given the name prooemium to those few words that they sing for the sake of winning favor before they enter on the contest proper” (οἴμη cantus est et citharoedi pauca illa, quae, antequam legitimum certamen inchoent, emerendi favoris gratia canunt, prooemium cognominaverunt). Quintilian’s favor means not only divine favor, but that of the audience and judges as well, as the context of the passage makes clear—Quintilian is comparing oratorical to citharodic prooemia. The critical role of the prooimion in favorably disposing audiences to the citharode is dramatically attested by the story, probably apocryphal, in which Euripides shows his support for Timotheus of Miletus, unpopular in Athens because of his innovative style, by composing for him the prooimion to the nomos Persians, “with the result that Timotheus won the prize and ceased to be despised” (Satyrus Life of Euripides T 4.24 Kovacs). [16] An anecdote concerning Nero suggests that citharodes might directly address their audience, but this could be no more than a literary distortion. In his account of Nero’s first, semiprivate appearance as a citharode at the Juvenalian festivities of 59 BCE, Dio Cassius 61.20.1–2 records that, before singing to the kithara his showpiece, Attis or Bacchae, “the emperor said, ‘My lords, give me a favorable hearing,” (κύριοί μου, εὐμενῶς μου ἀκούσατε, εἶπεν ὁ αὐτοκράτωρ). We are reminded that Quintilian says prooimia were brief (pauca illa), but this preface seems too minimal to qualify as a prooimion; further, it is spoken rather than sung. While it is certainly possible that Nero, and citharodes more generally, offered a preliminary greeting before any music began, it is likely that Dio has compressed a more extensive proemial rhetoric of ingratiation into a “one-liner,” the better to dramatize the (to his mind) grotesque irony of an αὐτοκράτωρ deferring, in the obsequious manner of the entertainer, to an audience of his subjects (cf. Philostratus Life of Apollonius of Tyana 5.7).

The prooimion could also have provided the opportunity for more extensive praise of the citharode’s host city. Such praise forms the subject of two hexameters attributed to Terpander, which celebrate the martial, cultural, and political excellence of Sparta:

ἔνθ’ αἰχμά τε νέων θάλλει καὶ Μῶσα λίγεια

καὶ Δίκα εὐρυάγυια, καλῶν ἐπιτάρροθος ἔργων.

Where the spear of the young men (neoi) blooms, and the clear-voiced Muse,

and Justice who goes along the wide avenues, a helper in noble deeds.

While it is possible that these lines come from a narrative song that would constitute the bulk of the nomos, a prooimion seems a better bet. Such a prooimion would be a traditional piece intended for performance in Sparta, that important market for early kitharôidia, a piece perhaps handed down specifically by the Lesbian line of citharodes “descended” from Terpander, those recurrent winners at the mousikoi agônes at the Carneia. [
18] The conclusion of the Delian portion of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, in which the singer links his praise of the god with praise of the Ionians assembled at the Delian festival of Apollo and the local maiden chorus that also sings there (146–178), offers a sense of the wider proemial context, and the still wider festal context of performance, in which the encomiastic rhetoric of fr. 5 Gostoli might have found place. It is worth noting that the praise of Delos in the Hymn (as preserved in Thucydides 3.104) is introduced by phraseology that echoes the language of the Terpandrean lines:

ἀλλὰ σὺ Δήλῳ, Φοῖβε, μάλιστ’ ἐπιτέρπεαι ἦτορ,
ἔνθά τοι ἑλκεχίτωνες Ἰάονες ἠγερέθονται
αὐτοῖς σὺν παίδεσσι γυναιξί τε σὴν ἐς ἄγυιαν·
οἱ δέ σε πυγμαχίῃ τε καὶ ὀρχηθμῷ καὶ ἀοιδῇ
μνησάμενοι τέρπουσιν ὅταν στήσωνται ἀγῶνα.
But in Delos, Phoebus, you most of all delight in your heart,
where (ἔνθα) the Ionians in trailing chitons gather
with their children and wives on your avenue.
And with boxing, dancing, and song
they call you to mind and delight you, when they settle into their assembly.

Homeric Hymn to Apollo 146–150

Like the rhapsodic performer of these lines at Apollo’s festival on Delos, the citharode at the Carneia festival may similarly have sung fr. 5 by way of fusing praise of the hymned god with the here-and-now Apollonian virtues on display in Sparta and in particular in the festal program of the Carneia.

It is significant that not only was the Carneia an occasion for competitive lyric music, it was more functionally a “mimêma ‘imitation’ of military training” (Demetrius Marshaling of the Trojans ap. Athenaeus 4.141e), a frame for rituals, such as a footrace for youths (neoi), that were aimed at the “integration of initiates to the adult life of the soldier and the citizen.” [19] Indeed, the fragment comes into clearer focus when read against the backdrop of the festival. If the “clear-voiced Muse” refers to the agonistic practice of kitharôidia, which “blooms” (θάλλει) each time the Carneia is celebrated, so too the “spear of the neoi” could allude to the festival’s quasi-militaristic contests, which seasonally represent the “blooming” of Spartan martial valor from year to year; both music and the spear in turn ensure the flourishing of Justice, that is, political order, in the city. [20] Yet the transmission and performance of the prooimion to which these lines belong surely transcended the original occasion of the Carneia. The idealized Spartan setting, graced by the music of Terpander, could be re-evoked by later citharodes singing the prooimion in any number of places. Plutarch and Arrian, both writing during the time of Hadrian, cite the lines. Arrian quotes them (without naming, however, Terpander as their author) at the very end of his treatise Tactica, claiming that “these epê seem to me to suit much more the current kingdom (basileia), which Hadrian has ruled for twenty years, than ancient Lacedaemon” (44.3). In light of both Hadrian’s classicizing philhellenism and his patronage of kitharôidia, it is possible that Plutarch and Arrian knew the verses from the living culture of kitharôidia under Hadrian, which was seeing a revival of the Terpandrean classics.

On the comparative basis of the shorter rhapsodic Homeric Hymns, we may conjecture that citharodic prooimia by and large had a highly generic, recyclable character, and thus were fit to be reperformed on appropriate occasions, regardless of the content of the main song. Cicero De oratore 2.80 says that the citharodic prooemium is “joined to” (adfictum) the song proper, without the coherent thematic connection that the oratorical prooemium has with the speech it prefaces. Given the exiguousness of the fragments, we cannot be too specific about the form and content of citharodic prooimia beyond their probably considerable overlaps with the Hymns. The invocational formula ἀμφί ‘about’ + the name of the hymned subject seems to have been a consistent generic signature, at least in an early period. The formula introduces four of the Homeric Hymns (7, 19, 22, 33), presumably on the model of the citharodic practice. [21] Hermes begins the very first hymn performed to the lyre by singing ἀμφὶ Δία Κρονίδην καὶ Μαιάδα καλλιπέδιλον ‘about Zeus the son of Cronus and Maia of the beautiful sandals’ (Hymn to Hermes 57); the divine subjects of Demodocus’ proto-citharodic humnos of Ares and Aphrodite are also indicated by ἀμφί (Odyssey 8.267). The best-known iteration of the ἀμφί formula was a dactylic verse attributed to Terpander:

The line or some close variation was the highly traditional incipit of a proemial hymn to Apollo. So common was it that by the fifth century BCE citharodes had earned the nickname amphianaktes, and a verb was coined, ἀμφιανακτίζειν, that was used synonymously with προοιμιάζεσθαι. [
23] The temporal adverb αὖτις ‘once more’ (in some versions rendered as αὖτε) announces, “from the top,” the recursiveness of the prooimion, the cyclicality of its inaugural function, and dramatizes the serial reenactment of the persona of its legendary composer, Terpander of Lesbos, by the citharodes who assume the “I”of his prooimion. [24] Just as common-repertoire rhapsodic prooimia were attributed collectively to a single author, Homer, who was emulated by generations of rhapsodes, so were traditional citharodic prooimia attributed collectively to Terpander (“Plutarch” On Music 4.1132d, 6.1133c), the model citharode. [25] Terpander set a model for such performative emulation by emulating classic models in his own musical and performative practice. The second-century BCE scholar Alexander Polyhistor captures this dynamic: Terpander himself “emulated (ezêlôkenai) the epic verse (epê) of Homer and the melodies (melê) of Orpheus” (FGrH 273 F 77 ap. “Plutarch” On Music 5.1132f).

We have the text, as well as the musical notation, of a prooimion attributed to Mesomedes, a Cretan citharode and composer who enjoyed the patronage of Hadrian:

The first two lines are hexameters in “Doric” melic dialect, to which is appended a short trochaic verse. The melody is harmonically and rhythmically simple; word accent coincides with melodic pitch throughout, and there are no melismatic figures. [
29] The prooimion presumably prefaced the citharodic nomoi for which Mesomedes was known, and was probably transmitted along with them by performing citharodes (Dio Cassius 78.13.7; Eusebius 2.2160; Suda s.v. Μεσομήδης). The “brief humnos” performed by Philostratus’ Nero impersonator could have sounded something like it, at least verbally. Styles of music, however, may well have changed from the time of Nero to Hadrian, and the simple tune of Mesomedes perhaps reflects the broader archaizing trends, literary and visual, that developed under Hadrian. Of course, the musical settings of citharodic prooimia, even in the wake of the New Music, might always have been relatively straightforward and unadorned, characterized by a restrained, hymnic solemnity that stood in contrast to the greater degree of sonic elaboration that would characterize the following nomos.

It is possible that a difference in complexity between prooimion and nomos was thematized in two hexameters attributed to Terpander, Gostoli fr. 4 = PMG p363. Strabo quotes the lines in the course of his survey of Lesbian geography, when he has occasion to mention Methymna’s most famous musical son, Arion:

οὗτος μὲν οὖν κιθαρῳδός. καὶ Τέρπανδρον δὲ τῆς αὐτῆς μουσικῆς τεχνίτην γεγονέναι φασὶ καὶ τῆς αὐτῆς νήσου, τὸν πρῶτον ἀντὶ τῆς τετραχόρδου λύρας ἑπταχόρδῳ χρησάμενον, καθάπερ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀναφερομένοις ἔπεσιν εἰς αὐτὸν λέγεται

σοὶ δ’ ἡμεῖς τετράγαρυν ἀποστέρξαντες ἀοιδάν
ἑπτατόνῳ φόρμιγγι νέους κελαδήσομεν ὕμνους.

1 ἀποστρέψαντες Strabo: ἀποστέρξαντες Cleonides Introduction to Harmonics 12

This man [Arion] was a citharode. They say that Terpander too was a practitioner (tekhnitês) of the same type of music and was of the same island, the first man to make use of the seven-stringed lyre instead of the four-stringed lyre, as is stated in the hexameter verses (epê) that are attributed to him:

For you we will, loving four-voiced song no more, sing new songs to the heptatonic phorminx.

It is tempting to read these verses as Terpander’s own manifesto of musical innovation, anticipating the modernist claims of New Music composers such as Timotheus PMG 796, which begins, “I sing not the old songs, for my new ones (kaina) are better.” [
31] But we might do better to understand their significance within the specific context of the citharodic performance ritual. [32] If the verses come from a prooimion, which seems likely—the σοί ‘you’ must refer to a hymned divinity—they might belong at its conclusion, signaling a transition to the song proper, the nomos, which is referred to cataphorically, and in the poetic plural, as neoi humnoi. [33] The rhetorical intent, if not the precise phraseology, recalls a transitional formula recurrent in the Homeric Hymns, μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον ‘I will shift to another humnos’ (5.293, 9.9, 18.11), with which the rhapsode (or citharode), after bidding farewell to the hymned divinity, signals that he is ready to move on from the prooimion to the heroic epos. [34]

The kithara is figured, not unusually, as the “heroic” phorminx (cf. Pindar Pythian 1.1). With the notable exception of Euripides (Alcestis 568, Ion 881, Heracles 348), Archaic and Classical poets prefer the archaizing poeticisms lura, phorminx, and kitharis to kithara; perhaps the technical and professional connotations of the latter word acted as a disincentive (and, for that reason, as an incentive for the more “realist” Euripides). [36] Even the modernist Timotheus, in a self-dramatizing passage from his Persians that alludes to these lines, uses the Homeric archaism kitharis to ennoble his recently introduced eleven-stringed kithara (Persians 231; cf. Ion fr. 32.1 West, a “hendecachord lura”). But perhaps too phorminx is a nod of verisimilitude toward the great antiquity of Terpander, whom one tradition puts before the development of the concert kithara proper, which is dated to the time of Terpander’s student Cepion (“Plutarch” On Music 6.1133c, compared to Duris FGrH 76 F 81, who attests Terpander’s invention of the kithara itself). Indeed, Terpander’s “invention” of the nomos and his “invention” of the seven-stringed lyre (or kithara) are cognate themes in the history of kitharôidia. [37] The performing citharodes who sing these verses thus reenact these foundational acts of invention or renewal, their own identities merging across time with that of their famed primogenitor. We may note the force of the first-person plural pronoun ἡμεῖς ‘we’ in underlining this effect. [38] At least in this case, the movement from melodically simple prooimion to complex nomos recapitulates the historical development of kitharôidia itself.

3. Hymnic and Choral Origins of Kitharôidia

Proemial performance was not always “in sequence,” as the Homeric Hymn to Hermes shows. After his instrumental anabolê, Hermes begins to sing (ἀμβολάδην) his prooimion, which is essentially a self-legitimating cosmo-theogonic hymn (also theogonic is the abbreviated hymn to his parents, Zeus and Maia, that he performs earlier, at 57–61), by honoring Mnemosyne, mother of the Muses, “for she had received the son of Maia [in his capacity as lyre singer] as her lot” (430). He goes on to sing, still in proemial mode, the other immortal gods κατὰ κόσμον ‘in perfect order’, until he is interrupted by Apollo, who is desperate to question Hermes about his new musical art (426–435). But at this point the expected transition to the song proper is indefinitely deferred. The fact that Hermes’ performance is “all prologue” perhaps carries a self-referential, meta-formal charge, in keeping with the playful self-reflexiveness of the text as a whole. The Hymn to Hermes was itself notionally a prooimion, but, as with the other long, presumably rhapsodic texts included among the Homeric Hymns, its great length would probably have completely deferred the narrative epos that normally followed the recitation of the prooimion. [39] As Quintilian’s pauca illa, Philostratus’ βραχὺν διεξελθὼν ὕμνον, and Mesomedes 1b indicate, the typical prooimia of citharodes tended to be brief and functional, at least in the Imperial period. It may be, however, that citharodes performed too longer, freestanding prooimia in the style of the monumental Homeric Hymns, which served no introductory purpose. Indeed, such pieces may have played an important evolutionary role in the early history of kitharôidia, and it is possible that they continued to be performed alongside the fuller ensemble of prooimion plus nomos that became the norm for agonistic kitharôidia by the fifth century BCE.

Here it is worth recounting, and fine-tuning, the reconstruction of the generic and performative archaeology of the prooimion proposed by Hermann Koller, which in turn relates to the early development of kitharôidia. The prooimion, Koller argues, was originally sung by a lyre player, the kitharistês, as lead-in to the song of the chorus of singer-dancers he accompanied. [40] In Pindar’s Odes we encounter paradigmatic scenes of citharist-accompanied choral lyric performances that follow the scheme of instrumental prelude–prooimion–song proper discussed above; their ancestral relation to kitharôidia is clear. Pindar Pythian 1 begins with a stylized proemial introduction, a compressed description of a performance by Apollo and the chorus of the Muses in which Apollo’s golden phorminx strikes up ἁγησιχόρων … προοιμίων ἀμβολαί ‘instrumental preludes to chorus-leading prooimia’; these “chorus-leading prooimia” are sung preludes that in turn preface the main body of the choral song (1–4). [41] In Nemean 5.21–26, the epinician chorus evokes the same divine ensemble’s performance at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis: Apollo played a prelude on the phorminx, after which the Muses ὕμνησαν ἀρχόμεναι Διός ‘sang a humnos, beginning from Zeus’ (25), before celebrating the heroic exploits of Peleus. In these scenes it is the chorus that sings the prooimion, but “the picture … of a prooimion as if performed by the chorus [and not by the kitharistês] is idealized.” [42] This idealization may be intended to reflect the actual performance of epinician songs, self-contained compositions in which the chorus seemingly handled all proemial responsibilities, such as they were.

The four hexameter lines of Alcman PMG 26 represent the inheritance of an older and more pervasive choral lyric performance mode. They probably come from a prooimion sung solely by the kithara player, explicitly called the kitharistês in PMG 38.2, and probably to be identified with Alcman himself (cf. PMG 39.1), who accompanied the choral song and dance of the Spartan parsenikai ‘girls’ addressed in the first line of the fragment. [43] Another hexameter verse of Alcman, PMG 107, is likely also derived from a prooimion: Πολλαλέγων ὄνυμ’ ἀνδρί, γυναικὶ δὲ Πασιχάρηα ‘Speak-a-lot is the man’s name, Pleased-with-all is the woman’s’. Aelius Aristides, who quotes the line in Oration 45.32, understands it to mean, “Let the man say much, and let the woman be happy with whatever she hears.” It is tempting to read the line as a metaperformative, “allegorical” statement of Alcman’s traditional proemial practice: the (male) citharist sings while the (female) chorus waits in silence for its turn to begin the song proper. [44] We may note, however, that the fragmentary remains of Alcman suggest that his choruses did in their turn perform abbreviated proemial invocations, condensed “speech acts” to mark the start of their own singing (“Come, Muse … begin a μέλος νεοχμόν ‘new song’ for girls to sing,” PMG 14; cf. PMG 27, 29). These secondary choral prooimia, as PMG 14 shows—the melos is not only absolutely “new,” but new in relation to the song that went before it—are self-consciously distinct from the preceding “citharistic” prooimia. (Pindar, we saw, entirely neglects the latter.) A rather enigmatic paraphrase of a Stesichorean verse by Aelius Aristides (33.2 = PMG 241), μέτειμι δὲ ἐπὶ ἕτερον προοίμιον ‘I will switch over to a different prooimion’, may be explained in reference to this proemial stacking. The phrase resembles the stereotypical transitional formula μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον ‘I will shift to another humnos’, but the Stesichorean variant of this formula, whatever its original wording and meter, could have been voiced by the kitharistês to indicate the passage from his traditional role as singer of the solo prooimion, which he is now performing, to that of accompanist to the prooimion infixed in the choral song itself, called here the ἕτερον προοίμιον. [45]

In time, some citharists transcended their limited roles as accompanists, taking center stage as virtuoso soloists, as citharodes. [46] This process of performative differentiation is mythicized in an aetiological account of agonistic kitharôidia at Delphi, preserved by Proclus, which we looked at in Part I.4 in connection to the dramatically transformative effect of citharodic costume:

Χρυσόθεμις ὁ Κρὴς πρῶτος στολῇ χρησάμενος ἐκπρεπεῖ καὶ κιθάραν ἀναλαβὼν εἰς μίμησιν τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος μόνος ᾖσε νόμον, εὐδοκιμήσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ διαμένει ὁ τρόπος τοῦ ἀγωνίσματος·

Chrysothemis the Cretan, wearing conspicuous raiment and taking up the kithara in reenactment (mimêsis) of Apollo, was the first man to sing by himself a nomos; and since he won acclaim, this style of competitive performance persists to this day.

Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320b.1–4

The definitive moment is captured in which Chrysothemis, elsewhere attested as the victor of the first Pythian musical contest (Pausanias 10.7.2), emerges into the spotlight, resplendent in his Apollonian garb, as a citharode. The background from which he emerges is implicitly choral, for the oldest medium of lyric song at Delphi was the paeanic chorus, whose model incarnation, comprised of the Cretans who first settled at Delphi, was led at the founding of the Pythian shrine by Apollo kitharistês himself (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 514–519). The father of Chrysothemis, Carmanor, was said to have purified Apollo on Crete after the god’s slaying of the serpent (Pausanias 2.7.7; 2.30.3; 10.7.2); according to the implied mythical chronology, then, his son would have belonged to that pioneering group of paean singers. Strabo 9.3.10 records that citharodes at the legendary “ancient agôn” of the Pythia used to compete in singing paeans for Apollo, a claim that would seem to conflate the solo performance of competitive kitharôidia at the historical Pythia with its protomorphic origins in choral performance. While it has been argued that the testimony of Strabo and Proclus reflect late attempts by Peripatetic eidographers to posit a historical basis for a perceived correlation between the monodic nomos and choral paean, the two genres most closely associated with Apollo, it is entirely possible that both writers (or their sources) had access to the local musical lore of Delphi, as Pausanias, who makes clear that he is reporting local Delphian accounts, certainly did (10.7.2). [
47] Conversely, it was related that Philammon, the second victor at the Pythian agôn after Chrysothemis, “seemed to have been the first to establish choruses of parthenoi ‘girls’” at Delphi (πρῶτος ἐδόκει χοροὺς συστήσασθαι παρθένων, Pherecydes FGrH 3 F 120 = scholia MV to Odyssey 19.432; cf. “Plutarch” On Music 3.1132a). In the musico-mythical economy of Delphi, both Chrysothemis and Philammon thus alternately play the archetypal roles of solo agonistic citharode and integrated choral kitharistês serving the interests of the local cultic community. [48] In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo Apollo himself alternates between solo performance, playing his phorminx on the way to his Pythian shrine (180–185), and his role as Mousagêtês, the kitharistês to the chorus of the Muses on Olympus (186–206). [49]

We might detect too a curious reflex of citharode/chorus differentiation in the fate of Philammon’s son, Thamyris, the third Pythian victor in kitharôidia according to the Delphian tradition recorded in Pausanias 10.7.2. As the version of events related in the Iliad has it, Thamyris boasted that he could defeat the Muses in a song contest, and was subsequently punished by them at Messenian Dorion with the loss of his singing (aoidê) and his kithara playing (kitharistus), that is, his kitharôidia:

Δώριον, ἔνθά τε Μοῦσαι
ἀντόμεναι Θάμυριν τὸν Θρήϊκα παῦσαν ἀοιδῆς
Οἰχαλίηθεν ἰόντα παρ᾽ Εὐρύτου Οἰχαλιῆος·
στεῦτο γὰρ εὐχόμενος νικησέμεν εἴ περ ἂν αὐταὶ
Μοῦσαι ἀείδοιεν κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο·
αἳ δὲ χολωσάμεναι πηρὸν θέσαν, αὐτὰρ ἀοιδὴν
θεσπεσίην ἀφέλοντο καὶ ἐκλέλαθον κιθαριστύν.

… Dorion, where the Muses met Thamyris the Thracian and put an end to his singing, as he was journeying from Oechalia, from the house of Eurytus the Oechalian: for boasting he vaunted that he would win, even if the Muses themselves were to sing against him, the daughters of Zeus the aegis-bearer; but in their wrath they maimed him, and took from him his wondrous singing, and made him forget his kithara playing.

Iliad 2.594–600

While the mythos surrounding Thamyris is complexly overdetermined, involving multiply layered accretions of commentary on real-world musico-poetic developments of the Archaic and Classical periods, at a most basic level the Iliadic episode deals with the intimate relationship between citharode and chorus, which here takes an antagonistic turn; the former’s detachment from the latter is made problematic, indeed catastrophic. [
50] It is notable that some writers identify Thamyris as a citharist (Plato Ion 533b–c; Dio Chrysostom 12.21; Pliny Natural History 7.204) rather than a citharode, echoing perhaps an implicit sequel to the contest in which Thamyris is forcibly subordinated to the chorus as a “mute” accompanist, his hopes for a solo career irrevocably dimmed. [51] The adjective πηρός in Iliad 2.599 was taken by ancient interpreters to mean that he was made ‘lame’ as well as ‘blind’, ‘dumb’, or ‘mad’. Could we not then understand too the physical incapacitation of Thamyris by the Muses in light of the subtext of the aborted differentiation, as a symbolic curtailment of the Panhellenic aspirations of the itinerant, agonistic citharode—Thamyris significantly meets the Muses while traveling from one professional engagement to another—and his notional containment within the local horizons that define choral performance culture? [52] The Panhellenically ambitious rhapsodes primarily responsible for the oral composition and transmission of the Iliad may have been particularly drawn to the myth for the way in which it puts the citharode, a potential rival, back in his place, as it were.

These themes register obliquely in a first-century BCE epigram by the poet Honestus of Corinth, which was attached to a statue of Thamyris that had been dedicated two centuries earlier by one Philetaerus, son of Eumenes of Pergamon, in the Valley of the Muses at Mount Helicon in Boeotia, then controlled by the city of Thespiae: “Look at me, one who was overbold in music, now voiceless in song. (Why did I come against the Muses in contest?) Here I sit, Thamyris the Thracian, with my phorminx, lame [or blind, πηρός]. But, goddesses, to your music do I listen.” [53] Honestus connects the metaphorical implications of the statue’s emplacement at the sanctuary with the metaperformative subtext of the Iliadic story: Thamyris is posed with his phorminx, immobile and without the ability to sing, subordinated musically and spatially to the local Muses of Helicon, whose choral identity is explicitly acknowledged by Honestus in another statue-base epigram from the sanctuary (XXI Gow-Page, in which the sculpturally represented Roman noblewoman, Augusta, is called a σύγχορος ‘chorus-mate’ of the Heliconian Muses). [54] The properly choral identity of the Muses may be indicated in the Thamyris epigram by a word I have twice translated generically as ‘music’, molpê, but which often specifically denotes the combination of song and dance that constitutes choral mousikê. If it has that meaning here, we might understand the poem’s opening phrase [τ]ὸν θρασὺν ἐς μολπήν to mean ‘the one who was insolent toward choral song and dance’, and the closing phrase addressed to the Muses, μολπῆς δ’ ὑμετέρης ἀίω, to mean ‘I hearken to your choral song and dance’.

The formal complement to the performative differentiation of citharode from chorus was the detachment of prooimia from the choral songs they once introduced, and their subsequent repurposing as preludes to the extended heroic narratives framed by the monodic nomos that replaced the strophic choral song, such as the one Chrysothemis sings in the “breakout” performance described by Proclus. We will examine the formal and contentual aspects of the nomos in the following sections. In a parallel development, however, citharodic prooimia also evolved beyond their introductory role into long, stand-alone narrative humnoi of the kind collected among the Homeric Hymns. While these latter humnoi may have been rhapsodic, we should nevertheless imagine that formally analogous humnoi were sung melodically to the kithara as well. [57] We ought to consider the public performance of the bard Demodocus in the agora in Scheria as a symptom of this latter development. Standing in the midst (ἐς μέσον) of a chorus of Phaeacian youths, who danced but did not sing, Demodocus “struck up on the phorminx an anabolê to a beautiful song about the love of Ares and Aphrodite of the fair crown” (αὐτὰρ ὁ φορμίζων ἀνεβάλλετο καλὸν ἀείδειν | ἀμφ᾽ Ἄρεος φιλότητος εὐστεφάνου τ᾽ Ἀφροδίτης, Odyssey 8.266–267). The lengthy tale sung by Demodocus (268–366) has its roots in the prooimion, as the telltale incipit ἀμφί indicates. While the context remains ostensibly choral, it is now the chorus that is the “mute” accompanist; the kitharistês has emerged as solo kitharôidos, elaborating his functional prooimion into a self-sufficient humnos. Some have sought, inconclusively, to locate the inheritance of this arrangement—citharode plus “mute” chorus—in the performance of Stesichorean song. [58] It is better to view Demodocus’ performance, lodged as it is between the choral and the monodic, as representing a liminal stage in the evolution of kitharôidia from its supporting role in choral song, khorôidia. [59] For Heraclides of Pontus, the compiler of a fourth-century BCE history of kitharôidia, what he calls Demodocus’ Marriage of Aphrodite and Hephaestus counts as a proto-citharodic song (fr. 157 Wehrli = “Plutarch” On Music 3.1132b). The “G-rated” title is in line with the streak of cultural conservatism and religious piety that runs through Heraclides’ scholarship on music, which, like the musicology of his Academic forerunner Plato, is concerned to distinguish the “good old days” of lyric music from the notional decadence of the kitharôidia in the fourth century.

The Hesiod of Works and Days claims that he won a tripod at the funeral games of Amphidamas in Euboean Chalcis with a humnos (657). This humnos might better be imagined as proto-citharodic song than as rhapsôidia. [63] The Panhellenic persona and practice of Hesiod was, at least by the Classical period, by and large rhapsodic; the image of a rhapsodic Hesiod was widely thought to be inscribed in the Dichterweihe scene at Theogony 30–32, in which Hesiod receives the skêptron ‘staff’ from the Muses, rather than a lyre. [64] Yet, remarkably, the manifestation of Hesiod as a citharode persisted at the local Boeotian level. Pausanias 9.31.3 reports that the victory tripod from Chalcis, which Hesiod claimed to have dedicated to the Muses at Helicon who “first set [him] on the path of aoidê ‘song’” (Works and Days 658–659), was still present in the Valley of the Muses below Mount Helicon, a site steeped in citharodic culture and lore. Here, by the tripod, there was a statue of Hesiod seated and holding a kithara—“inappropriately,” a surprised Pausanias notes—rather than the rhapsode’s staff. [65] In proximity to this statue were images of the citharodes Thamyris, Arion, and Orpheus, as well as a sculptural group of Apollo and Hermes struggling over possession of the lyre (9.30.1–3). Also situated in the area was a grotto devoted to the prototypical citharode and citharist Linus, the musical rival of Apollo, who received hero cult in conjunction with the Muses (9.29.6).

We saw that the Homeric Hymn to Hermes imagines Hermes’ first lyric performance before Apollo as a self-contained cosmo-theogonic song that is reminiscent of the Hesiodic Theogony. The original divine kitharôidia as conceived in the Hymn is thus hymnic. Another primal cosmogonic humnos: in Euripides’ Antiope, Amphion makes his initial entrance singing to the lyre, before an audience of Athenian shepherds who comprise the chorus. He sings a hexameter, Αἰθέρα καὶ Γαῖαν πάντων γενέτειραν ἀείδω ‘Heaven and Earth the begetter of all things I sing’ (fr. VI Kambitsis). The verse would appear to be the incipit of a humnos that likely continued for several more lines. What Euripides is staging here is a primal citharodic scene that recapitulates Hermes’ hymnic performance before Apollo in the Hymn to Hermes, which similarly begins from the origins of the “immortal gods and the dark earth” (426). (There may also be a reference to the proemial invocation attributed to Terpander [fr. 3] that begins Ζεῦ πάντων ἀρχά ‘Zeus, beginning of all things’.) The first mortal citharode plays to an amazed crowd on the lyre of Hermes (fr. IV; XLVIII.96–97) a cosmo-theogony with distinctly Hesiodic overtones. [66] Significantly, Euripides has Amphion characterize his tekhnê not as kitharôidia, but as humnôidia ‘hymn singing’ (fr. V). [67] The primal musical form chimes with its primal content, the evocation of the first cosmic principles, Earth and Sky. The hymnic evocation itself foreshadows Amphion’s “Orphic” dominion over nature, which is guaranteed by Hermes at the end of the play (fr. XLVIII.92–94, “Charmed by your music, solid rocks will follow you and trees will leave their seats in their mother [i.e. Earth]).”

Evidence for the continued performance tradition of citharodic humnoi in the Classical period is to be found in the Suda entry on Timotheus, which says that the Milesian produced 36 prooimia and 21 humnoi, yet only 19 nomoi. Neither these numbers nor these generic designations should be taken at face value—humnos in particular could serve as a catch-all term for any sort of composition attributed to Timotheus, even a dithyramb or nomos—but at least some of the pieces called humnoi (and perhaps prooimia) were likely stand-alone pieces, unattached to nomoi. [68] By the time of Timotheus, the nomos served as the regular contest piece; the typical context of hymnic performance must therefore have been cultic and civic celebration, which may or may not have had a competitive dimension, rather than festival agônes per se. Timotheus’ Artemis, although it is named without generic designation by the Suda, seems to have been a humnos. The Hellenistic poet and historian of poetry Alexander of Aetolia tells, in elegiac verse, the story that the Ephesians commissioned, for a fee of golden shekels, Timotheus, “skilled in kithara and melodies (μελέων)”—the phrase qualifies the citharode as both performer and composer—to “hymn” (ὑμνῆσαι) Artemis; the occasion, according to Macrobius’ paraphrase of Alexander, was the rededication of her temple in Ephesus (fr. 4 Powell ap. Macrobius Saturnalia 5.22.4–5). [69] An anecdote recorded by Plutarch has Timotheus reperforming the Artemis in Athens, where its exotic evocation of the goddess as “thyiadic, frantic, maenadic, fanatic” (θυιάδα φοιβάδα μαινάδα λυσσάδα) was supposedly so shocking that not even the avant-garde dithyrambist Cinesias could keep from standing up to voice his outrage. [70] If the anecdote is not totally apocryphal, however, then the context of the Athenian performance is unclear. Had Timotheus repurposed his humnos for a suitable cultic occasion in Athens? Or had he perhaps adapted it as a supra-occasional agonistic prooimion, fit to be sung in Athens—touchy audiences aside—or, for that matter, in any other contest-hosting city?

Nero composed his own self-contained humnoi. “Lucian” Nero 3 says that the emperor inaugurated, on site, his ambitious project to cut an Isthmian canal by singing an occasionally appropriate humnos to Amphitrite and Poseidon, followed by a “short song” (ᾆσμα οὐ μέγα), presumably also a hymn, to the local sea divinities Melicerte and Leucothea. Suetonius Nero 22.3 records that Nero marked the beginning of his tour of contests in Greece by singing (cantare) at the altar of Zeus Casios immediately upon his arrival in Cassiope on Corfu. The song he sang, which Suetonius does not name, was presumably a humnos to Zeus, which would have made an auspicious prooimion, begun ab Iove ‘from Zeus’, to the “path of song” through Greece that was to follow. Mesomedes, who, we saw, composed nomoi and prooimia, also produced humnoi. These are not as short as the prooimia, nor are they especially lengthy. The hymns to the sun (2) and to Nemesis (4), for which we have text and musical notation, are both around twenty lines. The performance context for these pieces is entirely uncertain. Hadrian’s symposia are one possibility—Mesomedes’ other poems, such as the short, preciously witty ecphrastic works on a sponge (9) or a gnat (11), indeed read more like ludic sympotic lyric than public kitharôidia—although actual cultic or celebratory occasions should not be ruled out. [71] At the same time, their middling length would not preclude them from serving as prooimia to nomoi.

4. The Rule of Nomos: What’s in a Name?

The word nomos in its primary sense belongs to the realm of the social and the political: ‘local custom, law, rule, regulation’. The musico-generic application of nomos presumably grew out of a more general musical application of the word, the semantics of which Gregory Nagy describes as follows:

From this primary, generically unmarked musical sense of nomos developed a secondary, generically marked use, that denoting the contest pieces performed by citharodes, auletes, aulodes, and citharists, pieces that deployed, in systematic fashion, harmonic and rhythmic elements drawn from a number of regional and occasional musical idioms, nomoi in the primary sense. Inasmuch as the competitive performers of early nomoi were expected to observe certain structural and musical “rules” in their performance of these pieces, however, the name was particularly, if coincidentally apt. A passage in “Plutarch” On Music, almost surely derived from Heraclides of Pontus, indeed argues that the old-time citharodic nomos took its name just because of its strictly regulated musical character:

οὐ γὰρ ἐξῆν τὸ παλαιὸν οὕτως ποιεῖσθαι τὰς κιθαρῳδίας ὡς νῦν οὐδὲ μεταφέρειν τὰς ἁρμονίας καὶ τοὺς ῥυθμούς· ἐν γὰρ τοῖς νόμοις ἑκάστῳ διετήρουν τὴν οἰκείαν τάσιν. διὸ καὶ ταύτην <τὴν> ἐπωνυμίαν εἶχον· νόμοι γὰρ προσηγορεύθησαν, ἐπειδὴ οὐκ ἐξῆν παραβῆναι <τὸ> καθ’ ἕκαστον νενομισμένον εἶδος τῆς τάσεως.

“Plutarch” On Music 6.1133b

The etymology proposed by Heraclides is surely off the mark, as it completely disregards the meaning of nomos as ‘melodic idiom’ in favor of a direct derivation from the original sense of ‘law, custom’. There is little doubt that a reality-distorting ideological agenda is at work here. Like most Athens-based, post-Platonic cultural historians, Heraclides has a tendency to overplay the “lawful” conservatism of the old-time music, arkhaia mousikê, that he sets off against the supposed musical decadence of his own day, decadence that portends or entails political, moral, and religious disorder—an idea that goes back, via Plato and Socrates, to the sociomusical theories of the sophist and Periclean cultural advisor, Damon of Oa, that “nowhere are the styles of music altered without change in the greatest laws (nomoi) of the polis” (οὐδαμοῦ γὰρ κινοῦνται μουσικῆς τρόποι ἄνευ πολιτικῶν νόμων τῶν μεγίστων, Plato Republic 424c). [
75] But the point Heraclides makes nonetheless has some objective validity: the citharodic nomos was inherently conservative in form, content, and execution. [76] According to “Plutarch” On Music 6.1133b, “On the whole, the kitharôidia of the time of Terpander continued in a quite simple form until the time of Phrynis,” that is, for a span of over 200 years, from the early seventh century BCE, when Terpander supposedly established the first citharodic agôn in Sparta. [77]

This generic inertia was grounded primarily in the agonistic system, which required a relatively homogeneous formal basis for judging musical performance, and thus discouraged excess innovation in the nomos; severe punishments for infractions of the sort of musical rules alluded to by Heraclides are recorded in the anecdotal tradition. Judges could act as umpires at mousikoi agônes, enforcing basic codes of performative conduct. It is possible too that at some festivals, authorities prescribed the content of the poetic texts to be sung by the citharodes. [78] But Heraclides’ presumption of a formal set of rules stipulating exactly what sort of musical techniques citharodes were permitted or forbidden to employ is a late, tendentiously literalizing way of understanding the organically self-regulating conventionality of early citharodic contest culture as whole, and the nomos in particular. That is, an ideology of conservatism, acting in concert with the institutional practicalities of the agôn, informed the “horizon of expectations” of judges and audiences at mousikoi agônes. Archaic and Classical citharodes intent on success in the agônes were compelled to meet and negotiate these expectations by working within the unwritten “laws” of the nomos. [79] After all, to deviate excessively from the accepted musical and performative conventions could mean loss in the contests—the worst fate for an agonistic citharode who relied both on prize winnings and popular acclaim to sustain his livelihood. Yet such compulsion was surely not felt as an oppressive, external restriction on free expression, as the late Classical musicologists romanticize it, but rather took the form of a systemic orthodoxy maintained unreflexively by performers and audiences alike. This does not mean, of course, that experimentation and innovation did not take place before Phrynis in the later fifth century BCE; the claim made to that effect in On Music is clearly exaggerated. The nomos was in fact a form entirely open to individual creativity, albeit within well-defined limits. (And those limits would surely have been differently defined in different contexts and locales, say, at the Athenian Panathenaia versus the Spartan Carneia.) When successfully introduced and received, innovations would have become naturalized, legitimated conventions, and could model other such innovations in turn—the essential “lawfulness” of the nomos perseveres; tradition accommodates and integrates the new. Consider the verse fragment attributed to Terpander, probably belonging to a prooimion rather than a nomos (although perhaps referring to the musical setting of the nomos), in which the singer boasts, “We will sing new songs to the seven-toned phorminx” (Gostoli fr. 4 = PMG p363). As was proposed above, the verse acts as a kind of legitimating speech act, channeling the model citharode as an authorizing model of innovation-in-tradition for the citharode who sings it. Conservative musicologists of the fourth century and after accordingly recognized that Terpander introduced new harmonic and rhythmic devices in his own time, although they were quick to stress that he did so with a “dignity and propriety” lacking in the self-consciously progressivist stance of later Classical musicians (On Music 28.1140f; cf. 12.1135c).

Puns on nomos as civic law and strictly disciplined musical genre were not uncommon (e.g. Plato Laws 700a–b, 722d, 734e, 799e–800a; Athenaeus 8.352b). Although this punning generally dates from the fourth century BCE, it reflects earlier mentalities about the traditional propriety of the musical form, as well as age-old associations between the kithara and kitharôidia and social order. [80] Timotheus of Miletus provides a case in point. Resistance to the radical musical and formal innovations, often referred to collectively as kainotomia, introduced by Timotheus into his art led to charges of paranomia ‘musical lawlessness’ being brought against him (Plutarch Whether an Old Man Should Engage in Public Affairs 795d; cf. “Plutarch” On Music 4.1132e). His public response to these charges is preserved in the final section of Persians, a nomos, which concludes with the suggestion that his kitharôidia, far from being “lawless,” in fact promotes, through the intercession of Apollo, an epikouros ‘auxiliary’ to the citharode’s songs (204–205), eunomia ‘good civic order’ in the polis (240). The political “spin” that Timotheus puts on his citharodic nomos—the implicit contention that it is lawful—demonstrates how fluidly the musico-aesthetic sense of nomos could shade into the sociopolitical. The oscillation between music and politics, which moves beyond the realm of the poetic and metaphorical and into the real of the social imaginary, was at home above all in the “cosmic” ideology attached to kitharôidia. And this ideology, even if only explicitly articulated at its late Classical twilight, after Minerva’s owl had flown, as it were, must have long acted as a stabilizing influence on the nomos, as a sort of generic superego, making it especially resistant to kainotomia. For as much as kitharôidia was popular entertainment, an agonistic spectacle, it still carried on some level its fundamentally conservative extra-aesthetic charge to put in order disordered states, to bring about normative social structure and harmony, as exemplified in the myths of Amphion and Orpheus, of lyric purifications at Delphi by Apollo (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 514–519, actually a proto-citharodic paean), and in the accounts of Terpander’s musico-political intervention in Sparta. Plato asserts the “naturalness” of this condition when he imagines that οἱ παλαιοί ‘the men of old’ named the citharodic nomos after nomos ‘law, custom’ because they unselfconsciously recognized, “as if in a dream,” its inherent political potential (Laws 799e–800a); both political and musical nomoi are dedicated to the maintenance of good social order, and both should be violated only on the pain of penalty. [81]

The intimacy between kitharôidia and Apollo must also have colored the ethical disposition of the nomos, even though the nomos itself was not, like the Classical choral paean to which it was often linked, solely dedicated to the god. Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320a34–35 preserves a popular etymology of nomos that derives it from Apollo’s epithet Nomimos, thus linking the musical form specifically to the Apollonian ideal of lawful order and social equilibrium. [82] (Proclus in fact seems to make the argument that Apollo has taken his epithet from the name of the genre, but it is probable that he or Photius has confused the more commonly held derivation.) This divine ideal is manifest at the formal-aesthetic level as well: the nomos “on account of the god [Apollo] rises in orderly and magnificent fashion; it is calm in its rhythms and uses grandiose language.” [83] This restraint stands in marked contrast to the tenor of the Dionysian dithyramb, which is hypothesized as the sonically tumultuous, emotionally excessive aesthetic-ethical “other” to the nomos (320b12–30). Proclus’ source for this is probably a fourth-century writer on music; Heraclides is a likely candidate. [84] What this source is describing is almost certainly not the contemporary nomos of the fourth century BCE, which had significantly assimilated the style of the dithyramb, but rather the nomos in its old, Terpandrean aspect. The description is certainly idealizing, and the Apollonian/Dionysian distinction reductive, but, again, there is no good reason to think that the testimony in Proclus does not reflect preconceptions surrounding the nomos in the Archaic and Classical periods.

Andrew Barker sees the semantic development of nomos from the general, as melodic idiom, to the specific, as contest piece, taking place only in the later fifth century, at the initiative of historians and theorists of music, who were then beginning attempts at a scholarly systematization of musical genres. For them it served as a “scholar’s term of art.” [85] It is true that the incidental legal semantics of nomos appealed to their conservative views on civic mousikê and kitharôidia in particular. But the literary record suggests that the properly generic sense of the word was already known by the early Classical period, and coexisted alongside the generalized usage. In Sophocles’ Thamyras, probably produced around the middle of the fifth century BCE, a character speaks of being drawn to the “place of assembly” (eira) to listen to the eponymous lyre singer “under the compulsion of the lura and of the nomoi, with which Thamyris makes outstanding music” (fr. 245). The semantics of nomoi here are dual: in the mythical world of the drama, the word has its primary, unmarked sense of ‘tunes’, but, in the unmistakably proto-citharodic context of the public lyric performance that is described, to the here-and-now audience it carries too its marked, generic sense. The latter meaning would come across all the more clearly if Sophocles (or another actor) did in fact play the role of Thamyris equipped with a kithara, as several sources report (Life of Sophocles 24; Athenaeus 1.20e–f; Eustathius Commentary on the Iliad 381.8 van der Valk). That Thamyris already in Iliad 2.594–600 appears as an itinerant, self-promoting, agonistic singer-to-the-kitharis rather than a subservient Haussänger like the other Homeric bards surely eased his assimilation to the persona of the contemporary professional citharodes, who perform nomoi. Another connotation may be in play as well. The mythographer Conon preserves a tradition that has the Scythians making Thamyris their king because of his great skill in kitharôidia (FGrH 26 F 1 [7]); Strabo 7 fr. 35 says that he ruled over the Thracians in Acte, on the slopes of Mt. Athos. It is possible that in Sophocles’ play Thamyris was similarly made king of the Thracians. If so, nomoi in fr. 245 would carry not only its generic sense, but also its legislative one: the citharode-king acts as musico-political “nomothete” in the Thracian assembly-place, calling the populace to order with his lura. [86]

5. What’s in a (Terpandrean) Nomos?

By the fifth century BCE at least seven or eight of the nomoi routinely performed as contest pieces at citharodic agônes across Greece had achieved canonical status. These were generally attributed, as were the common-repertoire citharodic prooimia, to Terpander. The attribution is bound up with two other legendary accounts of Terpandrean “inventions,” both of which register the circumstances, technical and institutional, that shaped the emergence of the citharodic nomos. First, Terpander’s seven-stringed lyre, prototype of the concert kithara, whose expanded range enabled the synthesis of harmonically simple local melodic traditions, nomoi, into a Panhellenically comprehensive, harmonically complex repertoire of agonistic nomoi that went under the idealized authorship of Terpander. [91] The second cognate “invention” is Terpander’s “first katastasis ‘establishment’” of musical culture in Sparta, which featured prominently his victory at (and probably foundation of) the oldest and most prestigious citharodic agôn, supposedly attached to the Carneia festival in Sparta, period 676/3 BCE. [92] The competitive setting of the Carneia is where he was envisioned to have developed and canonized his nomoi; Heraclides says that he performed his nomoi “in the agônes” (On Music 3.1132c), as was the practice of historical citharodes. The establishment of the agôn at this Apolline festival also provided the background for the sociopolitical significance attributed to the citharodic nomos. For Terpander’s agonistic nomoi were not merely delightful showpieces, but served to bring harmony to the fractious Spartans who listened to them. This exemplary conflation of the musical and the political is rendered literally in late sources such as Clement of Alexandria, who writes that Terpander “set to music (emelopoiêse) the nomoi of the Lacedaemonians” (Stromateis 1.16.78). The thinking behind this claim finds an earlier expression in the synchronization of Terpander’s activities in Sparta with the political activity of the Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus in the early eighth century BCE, which is presented by Hieronymus of Rhodes in his On Citharodes (fr. 33 Wehrli ap. Athenaeus 14.635f). Hieronymus, a disciple of Aristotle, was presumably trying to forge an explicit identity between citharodic and civic nomoi; on this view, it is as if Terpander served as the lyric accompanist to that famed lawgiver, their organizing musical and political discourses performed in a duet of eunomia. [93] Similarly, Plutarch Agis 10.6 says that Terpander “by singing accomplished the same things as Lycurgus,” although he does not make him a coeval of Lycurgus. Hieronymus’ synchronic rationalization may be relatively idiosyncratic, but it likely reflects a more mainstream recognition of a conceptual affinity, no doubt promoted by both the citharodes and the Spartans, between Terpander’s musical ordering of stasis-ridden Spartan society, an operation thought to have been mandated by no less than Apollo’s oracle in Delphi, and his foundational katastasis of musical culture at Sparta, including the Carneian agôn, where the nomoi were sung—a paradigmatic dovetailing of the political and the aesthetic, the cosmic and the spectacular.

We will return to the musical, historical, and political implications of the Terpandrean biographical tradition in Part III. What follows in this section is rather an account of the musical form and poetic content of the Archaic and Classical (“Terpandrean”) nomos, much of which will be perforce impressionistic and speculative. There is no other ancient song genre as culturally central as the nomos that remains so mysterious to us in its particulars. This, as we will see, is not only due to the alternating generality and obscurity of our meager testimonia, but is also the result of a certain constitutive vagueness in the genre itself.

In the mostly late sources, Terpander is alternately said to have composed (poiein), written (graphein), or invented (heuriskein) the nomoi to which his name is attached; he is in any case assumed to be their author. [94] Heraclides of Pontus, our fullest authority on early kitharôidia, presents more complex testimony, however. In one place, he calls Terpander a “poiêtês ‘composer’ of citharodic nomoi,” and says that he first gave them names (onomata) (fr. 157 Wehrli ap. “Plutarch” On Music 3.1132c). But in another passage from his scholarship excerpted in On Music, Heraclides is more circumspect in his attribution of authorship to the old master:

οἱ δὲ τῆς κιθαρῳδίας νόμοι πρότερον <οὐ> πολλῷ χρόνῳ τῶν αὐλῳδικῶν κατεστάθησαν ἐπὶ Τερπάνδρου· ἐκεῖνος γοῦν τοὺς κιθαρῳδικοὺς πρότερος ὠνόμασε Βοιώτιόν τινα καὶ Αἰόλιον Τροχαῖόν τε καὶ Ὀξὺν Κηπίωνά τε καὶ Τερπάνδρειον καλῶν, ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ Τετραoίδιον.

“Plutarch” On Music 4.1132d

Here Terpander is not the composer, but merely the namer of nomoi, which have come into being without the agency of a composer. The indeterminateness of this formulation may reflect the fact that, in actual practice, these nomoi did not exist as the closed-off, totalized creations of one individual author. Rather, they functioned more like open-ended structures that, despite the totalized regulation suggested by their name, allowed citharodes considerable leeway in their choice of texts to be sung as well as some room for improvisation and elaboration within the traditional musical guidelines. Heraclides, in the passage from On Music quoted in Section 4, stresses the careful observance of a specific harmonia, rhythm, and tasis ‘arrangement’ honored by performers of early nomoi; Photius s.v. νόμος similarly emphasizes the “established harmonia and (pre)determined rhythm” (ἁρμονία τακτή, ῥυθμὸς ὡρισμένος) of the nomos (cf. Suda s.v. νόμος). We should note, however, that structural articulation, rhythm, and mode, as well as the other epiphenomena of the appointed mode (tessitura, tempo, dynamic range, and ethical quality), are rather broad areas, each open to interpretation. A citharode could make a personalized mark on a traditional nomos by playing creatively within the assigned rules, in particular by crafting unique melodic variations on the source material.

There is no indication that any one pre-composed melody (melos) or set of melodies defined the Terpandrean nomoi, in contrast to the songs of Sappho or Pindar, which, at least ideally, possessed rigidly distinct melodic identities. [96] Photius in fact calls the nomos a “style or manner of melodizing” (τρόπος τῆς μελῳδίας; cf. “Plutarch” On Music 28.1140f), a definition implying that each nomos was ultimately a format for melodic improvisation based upon prescribed motival elements. [97] Indeed, it must be the case that a certain tension was built into the performance of these nomoi, a dialectical tension between the careful preservation of the traditional elements characteristic of the nomos and the necessary introduction of original interpretive touches, and that a successful citharode was one who knew how to keep this tension between strange and recognizable in a balance that would be most amenable to the particular audience before whom he appeared. [98] In terms of Western musico-generic ontology, then, we might think of the Terpandrean nomos as being more akin to a classic jazz standard, which may be subject to considerably diverse interpretations by different performers through time, than a classical sonata or Lied. As one writer on jazz puts it, “Ideally, a new version of an old song is virtually a recomposition and this labile relation between composition and improvisation is one of the sources of jazz’s ability to constantly replenish itself.” [99] However, even a standard possesses a more fixed melodic identity than would a nomos. A better comparandum might be the classical Indian rāga, which is defined not by set melodies, but by modal prescriptions, “designation of a particular scale … pitch ranking, characteristic ascent and descent patterns, motives, use of ornaments, performance time, and emotional character.” [100]

Clearly, then, musical performance in action, as process, was the definitional aspect of early kitharôidia, not the objective, reified, static musico-poetic “work of art.” [101] The Terpandrean nomos had no unitary, fixed identity before it was realized in performance; it was a template to be filled in by the citharodes, who were “performers and singers above all,” but were nevertheless, even if in a restricted sense, creative artists—absolute distinctions between performative fidelity and compositional creativity are especially out of place here. [102] Heraclides’ characterization of Terpander as a “poiêtês of citharodic nomoi” may thus be intended not to mean that he was the sole and original composer of the canonical nomoi, but that he was a prototypical agonistic composer-in-performance, who “in each nomos set melê to his own verses (epê) and those of Homer and sang them in the agônes” (fr. 157 Wehrli)—a generic description of the creative elaboration of traditional material every agonistic citharode was expected to demonstrate in performance. Similarly, “Plutarch” On Music 5.1133b cites another, unnamed source that “ancient Philammon of Delphi constructed (sustêsasthai) some of the citharodic nomoi composed (pepoiêmenôn) by Terpander.” In this scenario, Terpander, whom one probably related account makes into a four-time Pythian victor (On Music 4.1132e), is cast in the role of the generic creative performer, “composing” the nomoi that were “constructed”—the verb sunistasthai here suggests a broader-stroked, less detail-oriented assemblage than a formal composition (poiein)—by his predecessor Philammon, here filling the role played by Terpander in more mainstream traditions. Thus at On Music 3.1132c Terpander’s fundamental contribution to kitharôidia is compared to that made to aulôidia by Clonas of Tegea (or Thebes; cf. On Music 5.1133a), “the first to construct the aulodic nomoi” (τὸν πρῶτον συστησάμενον τοὺς αὐλῳδικοὺς νόμους).

Other testimonia make the more explicit claim that Terpander set Homer’s actual verse to music. “Plutarch” On Music 6.1133c says that after the prooimion citharodes went on to sing “Homer and other poets.” Heraclides of Pontus is more specific. After rehearsing a list of legendary proto-citharodes, which depends on a Sicyonian inscription (anagraphê, FGrH 550 F 1) that treated the history of music, including a section on legendary kitharôidia, the music historian describes the compositional process of Terpander: [108]

Ἡρακλείδης δ’ ἐν τῇ Συναγωγῇ τῶν ἐν μουσικῇ <εὐδοκιμησάντων> τὴν κιθαρῳδίαν καὶ τὴν κιθαρῳδικὴν ποίησιν πρῶτόν φησιν Ἀμφίονα ἐπινοῆσαι τὸν Διὸς καὶ Ἀντιόπης, τοῦ πατρὸς δηλονότι διδάξαντος αὐτόν. πιστοῦται δὲ τοῦτο ἐκ τῆς ἀναγραφῆς τῆς ἐν Σικυῶνι ἀποκειμένης, δι’ ἧς τάς τε ἱερείας τὰς ἐν Ἄργει καὶ τοὺς ποιητὰς καὶ τοὺς μουσικοὺς ὀνομάζει. κατὰ δὲ τὴν αὐτὴν ἡλικίαν καὶ Λίνον τὸν ἐξ Εὐβοίας θρήνους πεποιηκέναι λέγει, καὶ Ἄνθην τὸν ἐξ Ἀνθηδόνος τῆς Βοιωτίας ὕμνους, καὶ Πίερον τὸν ἐκ Πιερίας τὰ περὶ τὰς Μούσας ποιήματα· ἀλλὰ καὶ Φιλάμμωνα τὸν Δελφὸν Λητοῦς τε <πλάνας> καὶ Ἀρτέμιδος καὶ Ἀπόλλωνος γένεσιν δηλῶσαι ἐν μέλεσι, καὶ χοροὺς πρῶτον περὶ τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖς ἱερὸν στῆσαι· Θάμυριν δὲ τὸ γένος Θρᾷκα εὐφωνότερον καὶ ἐμμελέστερον πάντων τῶν τότε ᾆσαι, ὡς ταῖς Μούσαις κατὰ τοὺς ποιητὰς εἰς ἀγῶνα καταστῆναι· πεποιηκέναι δὲ τοῦτον ἱστορεῖται Τιτάνων πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς πόλεμον· γεγονέναι δὲ καὶ Δημόδοκον Κερκυραῖον παλαιὸν μουσικόν, ὃν πεποιηκέναι Ἰλίου τε πόρθησιν καὶ Ἀφροδίτης καὶ Ἡφαίστου γάμον· ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ Φήμιον Ἰθακήσιον νόστον τῶν ἀπὸ Τροίας μετ’ Ἀγαμέμνονος ἀνακομισθέντων ποιῆσαι. οὐ λελυμένην δ’ εἶναι τῶν προειρημένων τὴν τῶν ποιημάτων λέξιν καὶ μέτρον οὐκ ἔχουσαν, ἀλλὰ καθάπερ <τὴν> Στησιχόρου τε καὶ τῶν ἀρχαίων μελοποιῶν, οἳ ποιοῦντες ἔπη τούτοις μέλη περιετίθεσαν· καὶ γὰρ τὸν Τέρπανδρον ἔφη κιθαρῳδικῶν ποιητὴν ὄντα νόμων, κατὰ νόμον ἕκαστον τοῖς ἔπεσι τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τοῖς Ὁμήρου μέλη περιτιθέντα ᾄδειν ἐν τοῖς ἀγῶσιν.

Heraclides in his Collection of [Famous] Musicians says that Amphion the son of Zeus and Antiope was the first to conceive of kitharôidia and citharodic poetry; clearly, it was his father who instructed him. [109] This is attested by the inscription preserved in Sicyon, from which Heraclides derives the names of the priestesses at Argos and the names of poets and musicians. Around the same time Linus of Euboea was composing thrênoi ‘dirges’, Anthes of Boeotian Anthedon humnoi, and Pierus of Pieria poems about the Muses, while Philammon of Delphi told of the wanderings of Leto and the birth of Artemis and Apollo, and was first to establish choruses at the temple in Delphi. Thamyris, by birth a Thracian, sang with such better voice and so much more tunefully than anyone alive in his time that, as the poets have it, he entered into an agôn with the Muses. It is said that Thamyris composed a War of the Titans Against the Gods. Demodocus of Corcyra was also a musician of old, who composed a Sack of Ilion and a Marriage of Aphrodite and Hephaestus while Phemius of Ithaca composed a Return from Troy of Agamemnon and His Company. [110] The arrangement of words (lexis) in the poems by the aforementioned [citharodes] was not “free” (lelumenê) and lacking meter [as it was in the citharodic poetry of Heraclides’ day], but was like that in the poetry of Stesichorus and the melic composers (melopoioi) of old, those who composed epê and set melê ‘melodies’ to them. Heraclides also said that Terpander, being a composer (poiêtês) of citharodic nomoi, in each nomos set melê to his own epê and those of Homer and sang them in the contests (agônes).

Heraclides of Pontus fr. 157 Wehrli = “Plutarch” On Music 3.1132a–c

The crucial question presented by this passage is how we are to take the meaning of epê, which in turn would better indicate what is meant when we hear that Terpander set Homer to music for performance at musical contests. Were Terpander’s Homeric epê, and his own, dactylic hexameters, as Alexander Polyhistor seems to employ the word, or as Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320b5–6 assumes when he writes, “By using heroic meter, Terpander seems to have been the first to perfect the nomos” (δοκεῖ δὲ Τέρπανδρος μὲν πρῶτος τελειῶσαι τὸν νόμον ἡρώιῳ μέτρῳ χρησάμενος)? Or by epê does Heraclides mean also some other variant of lyric dactyls? The latter interpretation is prompted by the mention of Stesichorus, who composed heroic narratives arranged in strophic units of various dactylic cola rather than in the stichic hexameters of the Homeric epics. [
111] But is Heraclides directly equating citharodic nomoi with the poetry of Stesichorus and the Archaic melopoioi? Those who think so have used this passage to support the idea that Stesichorus was himself a citharode. [112] Bruno Gentili has argued that the epê employed by both Terpander and Stesichorus represent an early lyric stage of dactylic rhythms that eventually underwent a “normalizzazione omoritmica” to become the dactylic hexameter. [113] Indeed, we saw that a one-line fragment ascribed to Terpander is in a quasi-hexametrical iambo-dactylic rhythm that shares characteristics with Stesichorean metrical cola (fr. 2 Gostoli = PMG 697). [114] The verse introduces a prooimion, not a nomos, but we learn at On Music 4.1132d that Terpander’s prooimia, which seem to be known in some versions even to the late compiler or at least his source (cf. 6.1133c), were also composed in epê. Two other fragments attributed to Terpander (frs. 4 and 5 Gostoli = PMG p363) are in perfect hexameters, however.

6. Stesichorus and the Citharodes

Before examining further the meaning or meanings of epê, we should consider more closely the reason for which Heraclides brings Stesichorus into his discussion of the early citharodes. The latter were not, as far as we can tell, designated as melopoioi. Terpander is called a melopoios only once, by the Byzantine chronicler George Syncellus (T 11 Gostoli). The term was reserved for canonical “lyric” poets, choral and monodic, with whom Stesichorus is usually grouped, Pindar, Simonides, Sappho, Alcaeus, and Anacreon (cf. Dionysius of Halicarnassus On Composition 19 and 24), and for tragedians (Aristophanes Frogs 1250, the earliest use of the word), that is, poet-composers whose socioeconomic status and production of reified “works” distinguish them from the itinerant, agonistic citharodes, virtuoso re-elaborators of traditional musical and textual material. Inversely, Stesichorus, save for one highly dubious mention of a Stesichorus the kitharôidos in Suda s.v. ἐπιτήδευμα, is never explicitly identified as a citharode in the ancient literary record. Heraclides does not call him one here, nor does Heraclides, or anyone else, call his compositions nomoi. [115] Quintilian’s oft-cited characterization of Stesichorus in Institutio Oratoria 10.1.62 as “singing of great wars and heroic leaders and sustaining on the lyre the weight of epic song” (maxima bella et clarissimos canentem duces et epici carminis onera lyra sustinentem) has been taken to mean that Quintilian knows Stesichorus as a citharode, but the statement really says nothing about performance. In fact, Quintilian knows very well what a citharoedus is and does (e.g. 1.12.3), and we should expect him to designate Stesichorus as such if he thought him to have been one. The Himeran poet is but another one of the nine canonical “lyric” poets, lyrici, like Alcaeus, whose achievement on the lyre Quintilian also emphasizes.

Although over the past four decades a number of scholars have sought to reclassify Stesichorus as a citharode, performing with or without a mute chorus, I remain attached to the older consensus view, recently strengthened by a number of energized “choralist” responses to the “monodist” claims, that he—not to mention Ibycus, Pindar, and Bacchylides—was, as his speaking name suggests, by and large a composer and arranger of choral songs accompanied by a kitharistês. While this arrangement early on served as a template for the emergence of kitharôidia, and could include monodic song by way of prooimia, it was not kitharôidia properly speaking. [116] It is true, as one “monodist” puts it, that the “epic content and narrative manner of [Stesichorean] compositions, and the almost epic scale of some of them seem to fit more neatly into what we know of the earlier kitharodic tradition than into the practice of any other so-called lyric poet.” [117] But why should this resemblance, objective as it is, amount to anything other than the influence of a solo performance medium on a choral one? The claim made in Suda s.v. Στησίχορος, that Stesichorus “first established a chorus with (or to) kitharôidia” (πρῶτος κιθαρῳδίᾳ χορὸν ἔστησεν), need not mean, as Wilamowitz first suggested, that he sang monodically while a mute chorus danced in pantomime (as Demodocus does for the Phaeacian chorus in Odyssey 8). Rather, it communicates, in reductive terms, the fact that Stesichorus had “choralized”—or, given its distant origins in choral song and dance, “rechoralized”—the kitharôidia of his day. That is, he was among the first to marry the ambitious musical techniques, including the use of a technically advanced concert kithara, as well as the more Panhellenically oriented, long-form heroic narratives of the citharodic nomoi to the triadic song-and-dance format of choral mousikê, which previously had drawn largely from epichoric heroic and cultic traditions, as we see in the fragments of Alcman. [118] What Stesichorus created was a choral lyric adaptation of heroic sagas—including those attributed to “Homer,” alongside whom ancient critics as early as Simonides tend to set Stesichorus (PMG 564)—not as they were recited by the rhapsodes, but as they were sung by the citharodes. The observation of the Peripatetic scholar Chamaeleon in his treatise On Stesichorus that Homer’s verses were “melodized” (μελῳδηθῆναι) is cited without context by Athenaeus (14.620c = fr. 28 Wehrli), but it may have been made in the context of a discussion about the practice of Stesichorus’ citharodic models.

Stesichorus’ expansion of choral form had models too in earlier generations of innovative Italian melopoioi. Xenocritus of Locri, who took part in the second-wave institution (katastasis) of musical contests at Sparta, composed choral paeans that were later classified as dithyrambs because they so markedly contained “heroic themes” (“Plutarch” On Music 10.1134e). Xenocritus was surely acquainted with the agonistic kitharôidia that constituted the first katastasis of musical culture in Sparta, and perhaps borrowed material from its nomoi for his choral songs. But he seems to have been known (or remembered) primarily as an aulodic composer: Pindar fr. 140b S-M indicates that he devised a “harmonia for the auloi,” i.e. the Locrian mode, in which to sing a paean for Apollo and the Graces. [122] A curious passage from Glaucus of Rhegium On Ancient Poets and Musicians (by way of On Music 7.1133f) connects Stesichorus with the music of the aulos. Glaucus asserts that he “imitated neither Orpheus nor Terpander nor Archilochus nor Thaletas, but Olympus, since he employed the Harmateios ‘Chariot’ nomos and the dactylic species of rhythm, which some say comes from the Orthios nomos.” Glaucus should not be taken to mean that Stesichorus exclusively composed for the aulos rather than for the kithara, although it is entirely possible that he did, like Xenocritus, occasionally compose aulodic songs. [123] Rather, Glaucus, who maintained the seemingly minority view that the first composers of aulôidia were anterior to Terpander, and, presumably, to kitharôidia itself (On Music 4.1132e–f), is concerned to counter the communis opinio that Stesichorus emulated lyric poets, and to show instead how his music emulated the earliest musician and inventor of the Chariot nomos, the ur-aulete Olympus. [124] He also makes the tendentious argument that Stesichorus’ preference for dactylic rhythms does not reflect his dependence on the nomic tradition of kitharôidia, but rather his adaptation of aulos music, specifically the Orthios nomos, best known in its Terpandrean citharodic version, but here, presumably, a pre-citharodic, aulodic (or auletic) version devised by Olympus. [125]

This confusing testimony prompts several interrelated points. First, the communis opinio that Glaucus criticizes is no confirmation that Stesichorus was viewed as a solo citharode, since neither Archilochus nor Thaletas were viewed as citharodes. Archilochus composed for dithyrambic and paeanic choruses; Thaletas of Gortyn was a composer of choral paeans, renowned for his activity alongside, or slightly before, Xenocritus of Locri at festivals in Sparta, Arcadia, and Argos (On Music 9.1134b–c; Glaucus dated him earlier than Xenocritus, On Music 10.1134f). Unlike Xenocritus, however, Thaletas seems to have specialized, as did Stesichorus, in lyre-accompanied khorôidia. [126] It is significant, then, that elsewhere in his On Ancient Poets Glaucus seeks to “aulodize” Thaletas in the same manner he does Stesichorus, claiming that the paeonic and cretic rhythms employed by the Cretan composer were inherited from Olympus rather than from Archilochus, Orpheus, or Terpander (On Music 10.1134e–f). The parallelism is clear. In Glaucus’ view, like Thaletas before him, Stesichorus was a composer of choral lyric who imported aulos-based musical devices into his kithara-based settings. Again, Glaucus has a pro-aulos agenda, as it were, and we should be suspect of his claims about influence. The communis opinio surely had it right that Stesichorus “imitated” the citharodes, represented, as often, by Orpheus and Terpander, as well as the techniques of older choral lyric composers such as Thaletas and Archilochus. Nonetheless, Glaucus may well have identified something distinctly auletic in the Stesichorean lyric scores with which he was familiar. [127] It would not be surprising if Stesichorus merged in a distinctive fashion material borrowed from the nomic repertoire of the aulos, perhaps by way of aulodic predecessors such as Xenocritus, with that appropriated from citharodic nomoi.

Let us return to the testimony of Heraclides. Stesichorus and the other melopoioi who treated epic material melodically are cited not because they were citharodes, but because their compositional process offers an instructional comparandum for early citharodic songmaking. We need not think that Heraclides means to say, however, that Terpander and the early citharodes sang strophic songs as Stesichorean choruses did, nor even that he is referring to the technical affinities in the metrical patterning of their epê. The formal basis of the comparison is more general even than that. The rhythmic regularity and discipline characteristic of early citharodic nomoi and Stesichorean songs are what unite them, each in their own way, against song that employs λελυμένη λέξις καὶ μέτρον οὐκ ἔχουσα “diction that is ‘free’ and lacking meter.” Heraclides elsewhere emphasizes the rhythmic predictability of the nomos (“Plutarch” On Music 6.1133b), which, in both its old and new forms, was stichic, not strophic. [129] We should keep in mind that Heraclides was writing in the later fourth century, by which time a new, freer style of kitharôidia had become dominant and the Terpandrean style had largely fallen away. As the old nomoi of Terpander increasingly disappeared from the repertoire of citharodes, they left no significant traces in the textual record, because they had no fixed textual identity; they were open musical structures waiting to be filled, in performance, with a diverse range of narrative poetry, little of which would have been preserved in a dedicated written transmission independent of performance practice. [130] This “song loss” is indicated by an indirect proof employed later in the On Music, for which Heraclides is probably still the source: “That the citharodic nomoi of old consisted of epê, Timotheus made clear. He sang his first nomoi, at least, in epê while mixing in dithyrambic diction (ὅτι δ’ οἱ κιθαρῳδικοὶ νόμοι οἱ πάλαι ἐξ ἐπῶν συνίσταντο, Τιμόθεος ἐδήλωσε· τοὺς γοῦν πρώτους νόμους ἐν ἔπεσι διαμιγνύων διθυραμβικὴν λέξιν ᾖδεν, 4.1132d–e). [131] That is, Heraclides must resort to the nomoi of Timotheus, which he would know both as written and performed compositions, to make the argument for a now “lost” Terpander. The case with Stesichorean song was different. Stesichorus composed autonomous musico-poetic texts that could be and were preserved under his name. Their language, metrical structure, and perhaps even their musical scores—traditionally affiliated with kitharôidia—would still have been familiar to the readers of Heraclides. [132] The Terpandrean nomic practice, however, once practically, performatively obsolescent, would have existed almost entirely as a cultural memory. In a sense, Stesichorus serves a purpose analogous to that of Timotheus, to attest to what is no longer heard (or read).

It is no coincidence that the citharodes of the Lesbian school, so dominant in the agônes of the Archaic and earlier Classical periods, who had once been the main proponents of the repertoire attributed to Terpander, pass from the scene by the end of the fifth century. Phrynis of Mytilene, who won a Panathenaic victory at mid-century, is the last citharode of the Lesbian line of whom we have certain evidence. As a formal innovator, however, he must have been largely responsible for the decline of the Terpandrean style that he himself inherited. (According to the scholia to Aristophanes Clouds 971a, which also record the Panathenaic victory, his teacher was Aristocleitus, a direct descendant of Terpander.) “Plutarch” On Music 6.1133b claims that kitharôidia remained “simple” from the time of Terpander until the time of Phrynis, and Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320b8–10 specifies that it was Phrynis who fundamentally renewed it, introducing harmonic and rhythmic kainotomia (ἐκαινοτόμησεν): he employed a polychord kithara and “attached hexameter to ‘free verse’” (τό τε γὰρ ἑξάμετρον τῷ λελυμένῳ συνῆψε). This metrical mixture prefigures the mixing of epê and dithyrambic diction practiced by Timotheus, who “brought the nomos to its current form (taxis).” Phrynis’ “free verse” (lelumenon) is probably something like what Hephaestion On Poems 3.3 calls apolelumena, “verse written at random (eikê) and without defined meter,” for which are adduced the nomoi of Timotheus as examples. (Hephaestion’s language notably echoes that of Heraclides in On Music 4.1132d–e.) These metrical and lexical changes introduced by Phrynis and Timotheus were inextricable from their properly musical innovations, which are well attested in other musicological sources as well. [133]

There is no reason to believe, however, that late- and post-Classical notions of the Terpandrean style were entirely suppositional. The Terpandrean nomoi were maintained on a Panhellenic scale at festival musical contests until at least the second half of the fifth century, in some places, such as Sparta, perhaps later (for Athens, see Aristophanes Acharnians 13–16; Knights 1278-1279, with scholia ad loc.; cf. Suda s.v. Λοιδορεῖσθαι τοὺς πονηρούς). Heraclides and scholars of music after him, although they may not have had first-hand experience of the performance of Terpandrean nomoi, at the very least would have been familiar with the work of later fifth-century writers who did, such as Glaucus of Rhegium. Thus they are presumably reliable when they say that the melodizing of epê was a feature of the early nomos.

7. Terpander’s Homer

But what about the claim that Terpander set Homeric poetry to music? Does Heraclides mean that Terpandrean nomoi dealt with (some of) the same material the Homeric rhapsode did, but in “Stesichorean” form, in lyric dactyls rather than hexametrical epê? Or should we take his account more literally to mean that the nomoi incorporated Homeric hexameters? The answer to both these questions is yes, which makes sense if we do not think of the Terpandrean nomoi, like the prooimia, as a body of works that are synchronically the products of one master poet-composer, but rather the mutable frameworks of an Archaic citharodic performance tradition that evolved diachronically and could accommodate different models of textual presentation side by side as its Panhellenic perspectives widened. Terpander came to stand as the hypostasis of this tradition. That is, an ancient practice of singing heroic and divine exploits in pre-hexametrical melic cola, cultivated above all by Aeolic aoidoi—perhaps this is what Heraclides calls “Terpander’s own epê”—coexisted alongside and interacted with the singing of the hexametrical epê that we have come to associate primarily with the recitations of the Ionian rhapsodes. Both the rhapsode and the citharode were offshoots of the phorminx-playing singer of the Dark Age, who, in addition to his monodic performance of heroic epos, played the part of the kitharistês for the melic chorus as well. [134] The poetic patrimony of the Archaic and Classical citharode was thus metrically heterogeneous, including both the hexameter and “irregular” epê such as we see in Terpander PMG 697 and refracted in Stesichorean song, as well as a range of traditional narratives to suit each. Certain nomoi had rhythmic profiles that doubtless called for predominantly non-hexametrical texts; the Trochaic nomos would seem to be such a one. [135]

By the fifth century BCE, hexameter texts almost certainly dominated the performance of the citharodic nomos, likely a result of the influence of the rhapsodes in defining Panhellenic ideals of epic form, thanks especially to their prominent role in standardizing the texts of the Odyssey and Iliad at the Panathenaic festival in Athens. [137] It is telling that two representations of citharodic song in fifth-century tragedy are perfectly hexametrical, Sophocles Thamyras fr. 242 and Euripides Antiope fr. VI, although the latter, at least, probably represents a humnos rather than a nomos. Proclus attests that Phrynis mixed “free” verse with hexameters. According to “Plutarch” On Music 4.1132e, Timotheus composed part of his “first nomoi” (ἐν ἔπεσι) with dithyrambic language (and presumably meters). This description epê surely refers foremost to hexameters, as we have one invaluable hexameter verse from a nomos of Timotheus, the Persians, probably the initial line of the work (PMG 788): κλεινὸν ἐλευθερίας τεύχων μέγαν Ἑλλάδι κόσμον (“Fashioning a glorious and great adornment of freedom for Greece”). We saw above that in this same passage of On Music, which is probably derived from Heraclides, Timotheus’ epê are adduced to show that Terpander too used epê. This would imply that what Heraclides has uppermost in mind when he speaks of citharodic epê are hexameters, although his use of the word in connection to Stesichorus clearly shows too that he is aware of its broader applications for kitharôidia.

What then does Heraclides mean when he says that the citharodes performed Homer? For a mid-fourth-century inhabitant of Athens such as Heraclides, “Homer” meant above all the Iliad and Odyssey as they were performed by rhapsodes at the Panathenaia. [138] We do in fact have literary evidence for the citharodic performance of episodes from these Homeric epics. Athenaeus preserves this intriguing testimony:

Τιμόμαχος δ’ ἐν τοῖς Κυπριακοῖς Στήσανδρον λέγει τὸν Σάμιον ἐπὶ πλεῖον αὐξῆσαι τὴν τέχνην καὶ πρῶτον ἐν Δελφοῖς κιθαρῳδῆσαι τὰς καθ’ Ὅμηρον μάχας, ἀρξάμενον ἀπὸ τῆς Ὀδυσσείας.

Timomachus in his History of Cyprus says that Stesander of Samos greatly augmented the tekhnê [of kitharôidia] and was the first at Delphi to perform citharodically the battle scenes in Homer, starting from the Odyssey.

Athenaeus 14.638a = Timomachus FGrH 754 F 1

Stesander is difficult to date with accuracy, but a date in the later sixth or early fifth century BCE is possible. [
139] Timomachus, probably writing in the earlier fourth century BCE, seems to imply that Homeric narrative had been sung by citharodes before Stesander, perhaps even at Delphi, and presumably at the Pythian agônes there; the Samian’s innovation was to focus on citharodizing the most dramatic episodes from the tradition, the better to show off his cutting-edge tekhnê. (Although Timomachus mentions only the Odyssey, Stesander’s singing of Homeric “battle scenes” certainly points to the Iliad as well.) It is worth noting a lyric hexameter in Alcman fr. 102 Calame = PMG 80 that resembles, yet differs slightly from Odyssey 12.47: καί ποκ’ Ὀδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος ὤατ’ ἑταίρων | Κίρκα ἐπαλείψασα ‘And once Circe anointing the ears of the companions of long-suffering Odysseus’. Alcman, who himself played the role of the kitharistês—the lines perhaps come from a prooimion—could be drawing on a tradition of “Homeric” kitharôidia that was known at Sparta through the agôn at the Carneia. [140]

This fragment suggests as well that citharodic Odysseys or, more likely, collections of citharodic Odyssean episodes were performed alongside rhapsodic versions, overlapping with them in some ways—the Samian Stesander, for example, would have been particularly intimate with the Homeric rhapsôidia that flourished in Ionian Greece—but differing in others, be they metrical and dialectal features, or, as we see in Alcman’s verses, phraseology and narrative detail. [141] At the metrical level, we might expect citharodes to have been less consistently rigid in their deployment of the hexameter, to have sung some “pre-Homeric” melic cola alongside a majority of hexameters, the rhythmic flexibility determined by the expressiveness of the melodic lines. [142] It may be worth interpreting in this light the claim made in Athenaeus 14.632d that “because Homer set to music (memelopoiêkenai) all of his poetry” metrical anomalies persist in its transmission, specifically the substitution of shorts for longs in beginning, middle, and end of the hexameter verse. By contrast, the hexameters of the Archaic elegiac poets, who “did not set their poems to melodies,” are more metrically consistent than those of Homer. Rather than dismissing this testimony as “the desperate theory of some metrician or philologist,” we might see it in it a recognition that melodized citharodic texts of Homer were known for taking certain musical liberties with the fixed schemata of the hexameter line. [143] Of course, such a view is anachronistically warped. It is not that citharodes were consciously “breaking the rules” of hexameter composition. Rather, their metrical freedom was a natural, organic function of their musical renderings of heroic narrative, distinct from the tightened constraints of rhapsodic recitative.

In any case, we need not think that a rhapsodic monopoly on the performance of the Homeric epics in Athens came into being, either by custom or by official enforcement, with the Peisistratidai. As will be argued below, the tyrants probably did promote the citharodic performance of certain non-Homeric epic narratives, but we hear nothing about restrictions placed upon Panathenaic citharodes’ choice of material, as we do for rhapsodes, who were supposedly compelled by the so-called Panathenaic Rule to recite only episodes from the Iliad and Odyssey, in fixed sequence. [147] The imposition of this rule, or at least the belief that once upon a time such a rule was imposed, indicates that rhapsodes were held to a higher calling at this festival, to compete yet also to collaborate in reproducing the texts of the two epics in their complete measure, practicing what Nagy has called a “communalization of repertoire.” [148] Unencumbered by any such requirements, citharodes were presumably free to select scenes from these traditions, perhaps even ones adapted from the familiar rhapsodic texts themselves, to fit into their nomoi; Stesander’s method of presenting only maximally sensationalistic battle scenes exemplifies this selective freedom. Such virtuoso settings of the material would obviously have offered an emotional, sensual, and spectacular terpsis that stood in contrast to the more affectively prosaic, yet cognitively satisfying sequenced renditions of the rhapsodes—the pleasures of the ear and eye versus the pleasures of the text, to put the distinction in reductive terms.

8. Rhapsodes Versus Citharodes

The relationship between the citharode and rhapsode was indeed far more complicated than Homerists and other scholars of Archaic poetry have recognized. The two were proximal others, treating in distinct fashions similar, even identical narrative subjects (Homer primarily, but also other epic traditions) and generic forms. It is likely that this close relationship resulted in a professional rivalry between them—given their shared roots in Dark Age bardic performance, a sibling rivalry. For, although they were not in direct competition at the agônes, they did compete extra-agonistically for cultural prestige, not to mention for popular attention and economic “market share” at agonistic festivals where both performed, in particular at the Great Panathenaia, which by the end of the fifth century BCE had become the most important stage in all of Greece for both rhapsôidia and kitharôidia. [153] Although rhapsodes in a sense gained leverage in Athens by taking control of the textualization of the prestigious Homeric epics, the iconographical evidence suggests that kitharôidia generated far more popular enthusiasm than rhapsôidia. We have over 90 depictions of citharodes (and citharists) on Attic vases from the middle of the sixth century to the end of the fifth; over the same period, we have only a handful of images of rhapsodes. [154] It may be that “with no fancy costume or distinctive instrument, the rhapsodes tended not to catch the artist’s eye.” [155] But the artist’s eye nevertheless focalized the enthusiasms and desires of the spectators at the agônes. The citharode was the showman par excellence, and the numerous depictions demonstrate how deeply audiences appreciated and wanted to commemorate that showmanship. He made a more compelling spectacle of himself than the rhapsode did, or could; his performance of text and music was more embellished, sensationalistic, visually and acoustically enchanting. [156]

Plato’s Ion evokes a scene of rhapsodic performance at the Panathenaia that suggests the way a talented and dramatic rhapsode could keep a mass audience spellbound in pleasurable suspense (Ion 535e). But Ion is of course touting the aesthetic and psychagogic force of his chosen medium, and we should leave some room for exaggeration when he describes the violent emotional transport he creates in his audience. It is also conceivable that by Ion’s time, the later fifth century BCE, rhapsodes had begun to imitate not only the histrionic delivery of tragic actors (532d), but also the grandiose self-presentation of the citharodes, who themselves were increasingly theatricalizing their acts at this time. Plato emphasizes the brilliant skeuê worn by Ion, and his golden crown (530b, 535d). Such rich costume is at odds with the relatively unadorned garb worn by rhapsodes in Archaic and early Classical depictions, and accords more with the showy costume of the citharode. [157] Attempts to dress up rhapsôidia had limited effect in making it as sensationally compelling as kitharôidia, however. At Plato Laws 658d the Athenian Stranger speculates that of all the practitioners of agonistic entertainments a rhapsode reciting the Iliad and Odyssey and Hesiodic excerpts would most appeal to conservative older men (gerontes) such as the Stranger and his interlocutors. This geriatric demographic suggests that rhapsôidia, contrary to the claims of Ion, was not the most exciting display of show business on offer at the agônes.

By contrast, citharodic lore, as refracted in the musical historical scholarship of the fourth century BCE, claimed Phemius and Demodocus as proto-citharodes. Both are included in Heraclides’ catalogue of early citharodes (“Plutarch” On Music 3.1132b). According to Demetrius of Phalerum, Demodocus, who is made a native of Laconia, the heartland of early kitharôidia in continental Greece, was the winning competitor at the early Pythian citharodic agôn, where an impressed Agamemnon engaged him to be his court singer. [159] Demetrius’ scenario, a tendentious imposition of historical citharodic culture onto the mythical past, builds on earlier antiquarian research on citharodic history, which in turn, I suspect, registered the Homerizing propaganda of the citharodes themselves. [160] Demetrius was clearly sympathetic to the practice of a citharodic Homer, which represented the conjunction of conservative cultural and political ideals dear to him: Homer, the ultimate in poetic prestige, and kitharôidia, long recognized for its ability to bring societies to good order (as Laconian Demodocus was to keep order in an Agamemnon-less Mycenae, and as Terpander later brought harmony to unstable Sparta). There was a nostalgic tone to his research, as there was to other Academic and Peripatetic scholarship on arkhaia mousikê (cf. “Plutarch” On Music 3.1131f). In his own time, the Classical practice of singing Homer to the kithara had largely disappeared from Athens, having been overtaken by the performance of new, dramatically loaded nomic texts, some dealing with Homeric episodes, but not confined by epic meter, diction, or tone, which were introduced a century earlier by Timotheus.

The most striking reflex of citharodic-rhapsodic antagonism may be hiding in plain sight, embedded in the (rhapsodic) Iliad itself. I refer to the cameo of Thamyris that has made its way into the Messenian section of the Catalogue of Ships, in a passage we have already had occasion to consider (Iliad 2.594–600). Although Homeric poetry acknowledged the status of the aoidos as a wandering professional dêmioergos ‘worker for the community’, “summoned all over the boundless earth” (Odyssey 17.382–385), it is Thamyris alone who appears as a musical free agent, moving from one local engagement, as retainer to the house of King Eurytus in Oechalia, to another. As the historicizing research of Demetrius imagines Demodocus to be a Panhellenically competitive Pythian kitharôidos in between his royal appointments, so Thamyris in his itineracy is drawn in the Iliad as a citharodic agônistês, his contest with the Muses—alluded to, but not actually described—a prototype of institutionalized mousikoi agônes such as those of the Pythia. [163] According to local Delphian lore, Thamyris was in fact a winning competitor at one of the earliest Pythian citharodic agônes (Pausanias 10.7.2). The description in lines 599–600 of Thamyris’ musical art suggests a gloss on kitharôidia: the Muses “took from him his wondrous singing (aoidê), and made him forget his kithara playing (kitharistus).” [164] The word kitharistus seems marked. Used only here in early Greek poetry, it is, according to the scholia vetera ad loc., an Aeolic formation (ὁ σχηματισμὸς τῆς λέξεως Αἰολικός); as such, it might constitute a deliberate dialectal allusion to the Aeolic origins of kitharôidia. Significantly, the word is used only once elsewhere, by the learned Hellenistic poet Phanocles (fr. 1.21 Powell), to describe the famed kithara playing on Lesbos, the cradle of competitive kitharôidia, that was the legacy of another Thracian proto-citharode, Orpheus. It is significant too, of course, that Thamyris is working and traveling in Aeolic Thessaly (Oechalia is located in Thessaly at Iliad 2.730).

Other scholars have noted the metapoetic implications of the Thamyris narrative, arguing that Thamyris stands for rival, pre-Homeric poetic traditions, whose instability and ultimate failure vis-à-vis the Iliadic tradition are reflected in the Thracian’s hubris and grim fate. [165] But the narrative serves too as a metaperformative critique, an undercutting of the celebrated status of agonistic citharodes by the rhapsodes who stood behind the textualization of the Iliad, and a de facto affirmation of the superiority of their own tekhnê. [166] After his encounter with the Muses, the Panhellenic aspirations of itinerant Thamyris are deflated, as are his musical pretensions, and this divinely wrought diminution of his confidence and abilities subordinates him (and the citharodes he prefigures) to the rhapsode who narrates his fate. After all, the Catalogue of Ships into which the Thamyris tale is subsumed stands as a bravura display of the rhapsode’s mastery of Panhellenic poetic traditions, yet one that is introduced by an elaborately humble and pious invocation of the Muses, who authorize its performance (2.484–486: “Tell me now, Muses who have dwellings on Olympus—for you are goddesses and are at hand and you know everything, whereas we hear only tell of things and know nothing—who were the rulers of the Danaans and their lords”). At the same time, the Iliad passage, by stripping Thamyris of his singing and his kithara playing, that is, of his kitharôidia, implicitly renders him … a rhapsode. It is as if the Muses, in correcting the musical excesses of the citharode, have revealed rhapsôidia to be the natural state of epic performance, the mode most genuinely suited to the transmission of heroic kleos.

There are, however, indications of a corresponding citharodic recuperation of Thamyris, a promotion of his (ethically transcendent) status as an outstanding exemplar of the art. [167] As was discussed above, in the citharodic lore attached to the Pythian Games (where rhapsodes did not compete), Thamyris, as local culture hero (the son of Philammon), was remembered not for his infamous defeat, but for his agonistic success. It was conceivably in friendly citharodic traditions too that Thamyris was made the deviser of foundational musical resources for kitharôidia, the Orthios nomos and the Dorian harmonia. [168] Heraclides of Pontus, in the discussion of early kitharôidia in his Collection of [Famous] Musicians (fr. 157 Wehrli = “Plutarch” On Music 1132b), which draws on encomiastic citharodic lore preserved in the Sicyonian anagraphê, does not hesitate to rank the Thracian among the most celebrated of legendary citharodes, even to assert his superiority over them, saying that Thamyris “sang with better voice and more melodiously than anyone else in those days.” And while Heraclides acknowledges the story that Thamyris challenged the Muses to an agôn, he notably distances himself from it, and says nothing of the outcome; the story is “told by the poets” (κατὰ τοὺς ποιητάς). [169] We might detect some ambivalence too in his mentioning that “Thamyris is recorded (historeitai) to have composed a War of the Titans against the Gods.” It is possible that Heraclides detected a critical tendentiousness in the attribution of the “appropriately early and hubristic theme, the Titanomachy” to the supposedly hubristic citharode, and so treated it with some circumspection. [170] Alternatively, however, the attribution may not be a complete fiction. Titanomachy narratives may have circulated under the name of Thamyris, supplying the texts for actual citharodic humnoi or nomoi.

9. Terpander and “Other Poets”

i. Lesbian lyric epic and the Epic Cycle

It has usually been the assumption, implicit or explicit, that rhapsodes were solely responsible for creating and transmitting the poems of the Epic Cycle. [174] Yet it makes little sense not to assume that citharodes too, from an even earlier point in some cases than the rhapsodes, played a key role in the production and performance of a range of Cyclic narratives, although these need not have mapped onto the neat segmentations of the Cycle as it is summarized in Proclus’ Chrestomathia. [175] There can be general agreement about the existence, from at least the tenth century BCE, of a pre-Ionian (and pre-rhapsodic) Aeolic epic tradition located on and around Lesbos that treated myths relating to the Trojan War, myths that were the cultural patrimony of the Boeotian and Thessalian settlers in the region. The proximity of Lesbos and neighboring Aeolic settlements to the Troad would obviously have encouraged their cultivation of this body of myths. The old Aeolic phase evident in Homeric diction, which is marked by specifically Lesbian dialectal forms, attests to the foundational status of this tradition in the evolutionary history of Trojan epic. [176] What has been little recognized, however, is that the famed citharodes of Lesbos, the “Lesbian Singers” who followed the lead of Terpander, must have been primary inheritors and elaborators of their native heroic oral poetry. They would have expanded the simple music of its old bardic performance in accord with the widened harmonic and melic scope of the new heptatonic kithara, while keeping its subject matter relatively intact. This inheritance, then, would have yielded sophisticated citharodic treatments of episodes that fell within the parameters of what would become the Iliad, and of ante- and post-Iliadic episodes as well. Yet scholars have overlooked the citharodic reception of the Lesbian epic tradition; it is as if the epic patrimony of Aeolic Lesbos, passing over the island’s native singers, went directly to the Ionian rhapsodes.

Thus, in a recent study of the reception of heroic epic, Iliadic and Cyclic, by Sappho and Alcaeus, Martin West mentions neither Terpander nor the citharodes. The Lesbian poets, he asserts, used “Ionic models, representing an Ionian tradition,” and these were what their audiences knew as well: “The implication is that rhapsodes were performing regularly at public or private gatherings on Lesbos.” [177] There can be no doubt that by the end of the seventh century BCE itinerant Ionian rhapsodes would have established a firm “footprint” in Lesbian performance culture, and that Sappho and Alcaeus were familiar with their renditions of epic material. But what about the local pride of Lesbos, the kitharôidoi? West does argue that a “popular tradition of some kind” was perpetuated by “epic singers” on Lesbos even as rhapsôidia was beginning to define the form and content of Trojan epic. [178] Although not identified as such by West, these popular performers would have been above all the native-born citharodes, who were by Sappho’s time making their name Panhellenically as well, as Sappho fr. 106 directly attests. West adduces a relevant morphological detail in the poetic dialect of the Lesbian melopoioi as evidence of their familiarity with this epichoric tradition:

West’s answer to the last question is that Sappho and Alcaeus heard these forms from “epic singers.” I would specify that they heard them sung at concerts or agônes of citharodes, on the same festival occasions on which rhapsodes too might have presented their accounts of Trojan myth. The interactions between the performance traditions of rhapsodes and citharodes, both rivalrous and emulative, afforded by such occasions would be the most logical background against which to understand the introduction of the Πέραμος form: the citharodes were gradually bringing their older lyric cola, to which Πέρραμος was suited, in line with the hexametrical rhythmicization of the increasingly standardized rhapsodic treatment of Trojan epic. [
180] (We should recall that Sappho’s praise of the “outstanding Lesbian Singer” in fr. 106 is itself expressed in a hexameter line.) It is important to recognize, however, that such formal and linguistic accommodation by citharodes of rhapsôidia does not signal their own obsolescence; their creative, musical engagement with rhapsodic practice would, as we have seen, continue until the end of the fifth century BCE, with no dimming of their cultural relevance and popularity.

πάντες δ’ ἄνδρες ἐπήρατον ἴαχον ὄρθιον

Πάον᾽ ὀνκαλέοντες ἐκάβολον εὐλύραν,

ὔμνην δ᾽ ῎Εκτορα κ᾽Ανδρομάχαν θεοεικέλο[ις.

In view of the probable citharodic reception of those epic traditions, we might note the significance of the phorminx that Achilles is playing when the ambassadors dispatched by Agamemnon come to persuade him to return to battle:

τὸν δ᾽ εὗρον φρένα τερπόμενον φόρμιγγι λιγείῃ
καλῇ δαιδαλέῃ, ἐπὶ δ᾽ ἀργύρεον ζυγὸν ἦεν,
τὴν ἄρετ᾽ ἐξ ἐνάρων πόλιν Ἠετίωνος ὀλέσσας·
τῇ ὅ γε θυμὸν ἔτερπεν, ἄειδε δ᾽ ἄρα κλέα ἀνδρῶν.
And they [the embassy] found him delighting his heart with a clear-sounding phorminx,
beautiful and cunningly wrought, and there was a silver bridge on it.
He won it from the spoils after he destroyed the city of Eëtion.
Now he was delighting his heart with it, and he was singing the glorious deeds of men.

Iliad 9.186–189

This phorminx is no ordinary instrument, but one of those auratic artifacts whose wondrous craftsmanship and mythically resonant provenance, although only briefly alluded to in the Iliadic narrative, indicate that they played some far more meaningful role in a para-Iliadic tradition. [
190] In this case, that tradition is a distinctly Aeolic one, devoted to romantic accounts of Achilles’ sacking of cities on Lesbos and across the Troad, accounts that would have been cultivated originally by aoidoi in these areas and then inherited by the Lesbian citharodes. [191] It is entirely reasonable to assume that in singing Achilles’ exploits citharodes would have taken a particular interest in foregrounding and expanding his lyric persona, in linking his heroic glory to the famed kitharôidia of Lesbos and environs by telling of his recovery and possession of a lyre with meaningful attachments to local Aeolic place lore. [192] Like citharodic Apollo in Sappho fr. 44.33, this Achilles is εὐλύρας. [193] Such self-regarding inclusion of charismatic “heroic citharodes” (or quasi-citharodes) in citharodic epic narrative is a phenomenon that, we will see, is elsewhere attested. However, in the rhapsodic Iliad we catch only a glimpse of the elaborately characterized lyric Achilles. As Nagy has argued, the scene in Iliad 9, in which Achilles sings while Patroclus “waits for whatever moment the Aeacid would leave off singing” (191), is specifically imagined in terms of the late Archaic and Classical “esthetics of rhapsodic sequencing,” the relay-style performance of the Iliad from one rhapsode to the next that was formalized above all by the Panathenaic Rule in Athens. [194] The description of the phorminx nevertheless betrays its importance to the heroic experience of Achilles in the Aeolic tradition. The Iliad says that Achilles selected it from the spoils that were the possessions of King Eëtion of Thebe (cf. 6.414–418, 23.826–829), a city of the Troad at the nexus of key pre-Iliadic myths. [195] It was the home of Andromache, the daughter of Eëtion, and it is clear from the frequent references in the Iliad that Achilles’ capture of it had been the subject of lavish narration. [196]

In another account, preserved by Diodorus Siculus 5.49, Achilles took possession of the lyre after sacking the nearby city of Lyrnessos, where he won another crucial prize, Briseis. [197] This lyre, according to Diodorus, came with a remarkable pedigree. It was no less than the first lyre of all, that invented by Hermes, who gave it as a wedding gift to Cadmus and Harmonia. After his foundation of Thebes, in which this lyre of Hermes was presumably involved—the secondary lyric foundation of Thebes by Amphion, to whom Hermes more typically presents his lyre, has seemingly informed the earlier Cadmeian establishment—Cadmus brought the lyre to Lyrnessos, where it remained until Achilles captured the city. In an alternative tradition preserved by Philostratus On Heroes 11.10, it was the lyre of Orpheus that came to Lyrnessos, which Philostratus seems to place on Lesbos rather than on the coast of the Troad. This lyre “imparted sound to the rocks” that naturally surrounded the city. Even in his own day, Philostratus reports, the sea around Lyrnessos “resounds with the song of the rocks.” The story has the marks of an ex post facto lyric foundation myth, with the Orphic lyre playing the part of that of Amphion (or Cadmus) in Thebes; it recalls as well the tradition that Orpheus’ lyre was recovered at Lesbian Antissa by Terpander (Nicomachus Excerpts 1). [198] Since Philostratus tells the story of the lyre in the midst of a discussion of Achilles’ martial exploits on Lesbos, including his sack of Lyrnessos, we are entitled to assume that in the account upon which he relies it was this very Orphic lyre that Achilles took from Lyrnessos. [199] Rather than viewing the testimonia of Diodorus and Philostratus as late, learnedly fanciful elaborations of Homeric myth, we should see in them genuine traces of ancient citharodic variations on the lyric Achilles. In both versions, Achilles is made the inheritor of an instrument otherwise associated with important proto-citharodic figures, Orpheus and Terpander, or Hermes, Cadmus, and Amphion. Further, in both these cases, the pedigreed lyre is implicitly heptachord, and as such a suggestive precursor to the seven-stringed kithara played by the citharode. The superfine, “daedalic” manufacture of the phorminx as it appears in the Iliad—indeed, no other phorminx in Homer is so lavishly constructed—may also reflect accounts of its technical advancement.

Finally, we might ask ourselves the reason for the variation in the backstory of Achilles’ lyre as related by Diodorus and Philostratus. Could the two versions represent distinct, perhaps rival strains of citharodic lore, each making claim on the lyric Achilles, the one followed by Philostratus based in the northeastern Aegean and the Aeolis, tracing inventions in the field back to Orpheus and Terpander—a reflex of which is to be found in Timotheus Persians 221–231—the other followed by Diodorus a variant of “mainland” traditions that commemorated either Cadmus or Amphion as mortal founding fathers of the lyre? Nicomachus Excerpts 1 might preserve another such (seemingly competitive) difference in the mythical claims of these traditions, although he tries, rather awkwardly, to resolve it. Nicomachus relates that Hermes gave his seven-stringed lyre to Orpheus, from whom it passed to Terpander; as a result, “Terpander is said to have invented the heptachord lyre. But,” he continues, Terpander brought the lyre to Egypt, from where “they say the Achaeans received it from Cadmus son of Agenor.” The catalogue of legendary citharodes offered by Heraclides of Pontus, which draws from lore recorded in the Sicyonian anagraphê, also seems to hew to “mainland” traditions focused on Boeotia and Delphi. The figures mentioned are all Boeotian (Amphion, taught by Hermes, is the earliest; Pieros of Pieria is a Boeotian creation, as Pausanias 9.29.2 shows); or they are Euboean (Linus), Delphian (Philammon and Thamyris, a Thracian absorbed into Delphic myth), or Homeric (Phemius and Demodocus); Orpheus, despite his origins in Pieria and Thrace, does not make the list. [200]

ii. Lesches and the (citharodic) Little Iliad

At least in the version of the story that Phaenias tells, Lesches emerges as the winner of the contest (διημιλλῆσθαι δὲ τὸν Λέσχην Ἀρκτίνῳ καὶ νενικηκέναι). Although this outcome may seem to be at odds with the diminished place in the Cycle assigned to the Little Iliad, it may simply be a matter of patriotic pride—Phaenias was from Eresos, a city of Lesbos—or, less personally, a reliance on local Lesbian accounts. Geographical biases aside, however, Nagy sees a more complex dynamic at work in this narrative condensation of the Cycle’s formation: “As long as a given tradition can somehow survive after losing to another tradition, the loser can be presented as the winner.” While keeping intact the essential terms of Nagy’s valuable analysis, I would contend that the anecdotal contest between Lesches and Arctinus assumes a historical tension not only between successive poetic traditions but between rival performance traditions as well. That is, the epic tradition represented by Lesbian Lesches is a citharodic tradition, while that by Ionian Arctinus is a rhapsodic one, which largely succeeded, yet did not make entirely obsolete the older citharodic one. [

Predictably, direct evidence for a citharodic Little Iliad is nonexistent. But there are several clues worth considering. First, it is significant that Phaenias mentions Lesches in close conjunction with Terpander of Lesbos (fr. 33 Wehrli), whom he emphatically dates after Lesches. It is unclear what criteria Phaenias is using for this chronological arrangement, but it might be based on an inference from the poetic repertoire of the old Terpandrean nomoi: because these nomoi used to be filled out with episodes from the Little Iliad, Lesches was therefore one of the “other poets” whose epê Terpander supposedly melodized (to use Heraclides’ formulation), and was thus obviously older than his citharodic countryman.

Next, we have two intriguing bits of text that could represent traces of a citharodic Little Iliad. Clement Stromateis 1.104.1 (= fr. 9 Bernabé) quotes as follows a verse from the Little Iliad that describes the night on which Troy was captured: νὺξ μὲν ἔην μεσάτα, λαμπρὰ δ’ ἐπέτελλε σελάνα (“It was the middle of the night, and the bright moon was rising”). The same verse was also known, more widely it seems, in the dialectally variant form νὺξ μὲν ἔην μέσση, λαμπρὰ δ’ ἐπέτελλε σελήνη. In this version, the epic-Ionic forms μέσση and σελήνη stand in place of the Doric or Aeolic form μεσάτα and the Doric σελάνα preserved in Clement’s version. The word λαμπρά, which appears in both versions, has the long final alpha characteristic of melic Doric-Aeolic dialect. [205] Benedetto Bravo has recently argued that the verse cited by Clement is a concoction of a learned grammarian, who, “knowing that Lesches was a Lesbian poet (from Mytilene or Pyrrha), fabricated an edition of the Little Iliad that arbitrarily modified its Ionic dialect form so as to give it the greatest possible Aeolic coloratura.” [206] Bravo’s theory is ingenious, but it complicates a simpler and more probable scenario, which is that the two versions represent two related but variant Little Iliad traditions. Specifically, the Doric-Aeolic verse cited by Clement represents a textual “capture” of the original, citharodic performance transmission of the Little Iliad, while the Ionicized version captures a secondary performance transmission of the same narrative material, which became the mainstream tradition. [207] This tradition was primarily rhapsodic, but it should be noted that λαμπρά, a distinctly non-Ionic form that could easily have been changed to λαμπρή, remains. We may recall that the fragments of the Terpandrean prooimia show a juxtaposition of epic-Ionic and melic-Doric-Aeolic forms, so perhaps even the Ionically inflected νὺξ μὲν ἔην μέσση, λαμπρὰ δ’ ἐπέτελλε σελήνη is a verse a fifth-century citharode would have sung (and a rhapsode would have recited). In an epic fragment preserved on a later-fourth- or third-century BCE papyrus (P.Oxy. 2510), which Bravo has persuasively argued belongs to the Little Iliad, we find the non-Ionic genitive singular μάχας instead of the metrically equivalent Ionic form μάχης (line 11). This is unlikely to be a copyist’s error, and, given the relatively early date of the papyrus, it is still more unlikely that the work of a literary counterfeiter lies behind it. [208] Again, we are probably looking at a melic remainder in a rhapsodic (or mixed-use) text of the once-dominant citharodic performance tradition of the Little Iliad. It is worth noting that the same verse that contains μάχας also contains a metrical anomaly, a rare breach of Hermann’s Bridge, the constraint against word break after the fourth-foot trochee. Such a violation need not be indicative of musical performance of the hexameter, but in conjunction with the Doric-Aeolic form, this metrical freedom may point to an originally melodic setting. [209]

Fifth-century Attic vase painting presents us with what appears to be another textual “capture” of a citharodic rendition of material from the Cycle. In the schoolroom scene on a red-figured cup of Douris from around 490–480 BCE (Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz F 2285), a boy—not one playing a lyre, but standing in the company of lyre players—studies a scroll containing a hexameter verse: ΜΟΙΣΑ ΜΟΙ | ΑΦΙ (ἀμφὶ) ΣΚΑΜΑΝΔΡΟΝ | ΕΥΡΩΝ (ἐύρροον) ΑΡΧΟΜΑΙ (ἄρχομ’) | ΑΕΙΝΔΕΝ (ἀείδεν) ‘Muse, for me, I begin to sing about wide-flowing Scamander’ (PMG 938e). The Aeolicism Μοῖσα suggests that the verse, although grammatically and orthographically garbled in Douris’ depiction, belongs to a citharodic setting of a non-Homeric Trojan War episode. [210] The presence of ἀμφί further suggests its specifically proemial function. As Cicero De oratore 2.80 indicates, however, citharodic prooimia avoided mention of the thematic content of the narrative poems they prefaced. The verse might then be meant to represent a secondary prooimion sung in the introductory section of the nomos proper, the arkha (see discussion below), stating the subject of the song text, and thus comparable to Iliad 1.1. Alternatively, its ungainly construction might indicate that it is the artist’s idiosyncratically reductive conflation of a typical hymnic prooimion, signaled by the signature features Moisa moi amphi, and an epic theme typical of the nomic song that would follow it—the “wide-flowing Scamander” stands as metonym for the entire Trojan Cycle. [211] In either case, the image provides valuable evidence for the circulation of at least some written copies of citharodic texts among practicing musicians—the kitharistês who owned the scroll was perhaps a professional citharode as well—in the fifth century BCE, even if their main avenue of transmission was oral.

Euripides’ own Trojan Women attests to a citharodic tradition of singing Cyclic narrative. In the first stasimon of the play, the chorus of captive Trojans recounts the ill-fated welcome of the Horse into their city—an episode known from the Little Iliad of Lesches—beginning as follows:

ἀμφί μοι Ἴλιον, ὦ
Μοῦσα καινῶν ὕμνων,
ἄεισον ἐν δακρύοις
ᾠδὰν ἐπικήδειον·
νῦν γὰρ μέλος ἐς Τροίαν ἰαχήσω.

Sing for me about Ilion, Muse of novel humnoi, a song of lamentation amidst tears; for now I will raise a melody for Troy.

The dactylic incipit ἀμφί μοι Ἴλιον unmistakably references citharodic music. As with the verse inscribed on the Douris cup, it may be meant to represent either the phraseology of the secondary proemial introduction to the narrative section of the citharodic nomos, or it may be Euripides’ conflation of typical proemial humnos and nomic narrative. In either case, Euripides looks to Classical kitharôidia as the most obvious model for a melic account of the fall of Troy such as he is composing. In so doing, however, he self-consciously creates a novel fusion of citharodic song and the women’s song of lament (ᾠδὰν ἐπικήδειον) that his tragic chorus is made to sing. Such a generic fusion, which involves the melodramatic intensification of the old nomos and its epic contents, is redolent of the Athenian New Music, and very likely reflects the theatrical transformations of the nomos that citharodes such as Timotheus of Miletus were at the time introducing into their art (Trojan Women was produced in 415 BCE). Indeed, the Μοῦσα καινῶν ὕμνων ‘Muse of novel humnoi’ invoked by the chorus might contain an allusion to the sphragis section of a nomos in which Timotheus claims to reject the “Old Muse” (Μοῦσα παλαιά) in favor of the καινά ‘novel songs’ that he prefers to compose instead (PMG 796). [

10. Argonautica Citharoedica

It is remarkable that our oldest representation of Orpheus, sculpted alongside the Argonauts Castor and Polydeuces on a metope of the Sicyonian Monopteros, a square pavilion at Delphi whose construction is datable to the reign of the tyrant Cleisthenes of Sicyon or shortly thereafter (Cleisthenes ruled from around 600 to 560 BCE), shows him holding what appears to be a kithara (rather than a lyre) and dressed in the long chiton of the agonistic citharode (Plate 8). [221] It is not easy to resist linking this Orpheus and the other Argonautic scenes from the Monopteros metopes with the report in Herodotus 5.67.1–68.1 that, during a period of open hostilities between Sicyon and Argos, Cleisthenes banned rhapsodic competitions of Homeric epic because he objected to what he understood as its pro-Argive content. [222] Herodotus mentions only that Dionysian “tragic khoroi” were established in place of the rhapsodic contests, but it is a reasonable assumption that agônes of predominantly Aeolic citharodes, singing an Aeolic-based epic tradition, could have been promoted by the tyrant as a politically and culturally suitable substitute for the Homeric rhapsodes and the Argive heroic kleos that they perpetuated. [223] In his civic promotion of kitharôidia, Cleisthenes would have had models (and rivals) in the Archaic Peloponnese, Sparta, which had been hosting citharodic contests at the Carneia, dominated above all by the Lesbian virtuosos, since the early seventh century, and Corinth, where Periander had enlisted the musical services of Arion of Methymna—testimony that surely condenses a wider-based engagement with citharodic as well as dithyrambic culture on the part of the Corinthian tyrant.

Citharodic Argonauticas found receptive audiences elsewhere. On the metope of the Sicyonian Monopteros at Delphi, Orpheus is shown standing next to another figure holding a kithara and wearing a chiton. Although not identified by a legible inscription, as is Orpheus (labelled Ορφας), this citharode is most likely meant to be the Delphian music hero Philammon. According to Pherecydes of Athens (FGrH 3 F 26), who is presumably drawing from Delphian lore, it was Philammon who participated in the voyage of the Argo, not Orpheus. [224] We may thus imagine citharodes appeasing local sensibilities at Delphi, above all at the Pythian agônes, by making Philammon, a legendary Pythian victor (Pausanias 10.7.2), their avatar in the Argonautic narratives they sang there. The conspicuous pairing of Orpheus and Philammon on the Sicyonian metope at Delphi might represent an attempt on the part of Cleisthenes to harmonize, as it were, the variant, even rivalrous traditions, and to visualize the notion of a continuity of prestige between the citharodic cultures nurtured at Delphi and Sicyon, where Cleisthenes had instituted his own Pythian Games (scholia ad Pindar Nemean 9, title), a likely setting for kitharôidia in Sicyon. [225] Of course, it is possible that citharodes themselves had at some point begun to accommodate both the Orphic and local Delphian traditions by making the two citharodic heroes into a dynamic duo of sorts, perhaps on the model of other heroic pairs on the Argo, the Dioscuri and the Boreads.

Citharodes likely continued to perform Argonautic narrative through the fifth century. Pindar, like Ibycus and Simonides before him, treated the adventures of Jason and the Argonauts in his poetry, most extensively in Pythian 4. Although it has been argued that this triadic song, composed for a chariot victory of Arcesilas IV of Cyrene in 462 BCE, was sung monodically (that is, citharodically) on account of its considerable length and “epic” style, there is, as in the case of the long Stesichorean compositions, no compelling reason to discount its performance by a trained chorus. [228] Certainly, Pindar emerges from the biographical tradition as an even less likely citharode than Stesichorus. But, like Stesichorus, Pindar was familiar with the citharodic nomos. The lengthy, epicizing narrative of Pythian 4 could represent a “Stesichorean” attempt to emulate that genre, which remained strongly identified with Argonautica, in the choral medium. [229] Pindar emphatically includes Orpheus in his catalogue of the Argonauts, describing him as the ultimate proto-citharode: “And from Apollo came a phorminx player, father of songs, renowned Orpheus” (ἐξ Ἀπόλλωνος δὲ φορμικτὰς ἀοιδᾶν πατὴρ | ἔμολεν εὐαίνητος Ὀρφεύς, 176–177). [230] The epithet εὐαίνητος ‘renowned’ is notable. It is a relatively rare word, used only here in this form; a variant, εὐαίνετος, appears only twice, at Bacchylides 19.11, where it modifies merimna ‘poetic fantasy’, and in Antimachus 32.2 Wyss, where it describes a winning horse in a chariot race. It has been suggested that Pindar is alluding to an earlier evocation of Orpheus by Ibycus, presumably in an Argonautic narrative, in which Orpheus is called ὀνομάκλυτος ‘famous’ (PMG 306). [231] But another allusion may be at work here, a punning reference to the Lesbian citharodes who traced their musical practice back to Orpheus through Terpander. Among the most famous of the Lesbian apogonoi ‘descendants’ of Terpander was the presciently named Euainetidas, who hailed from Antissa, Terpander’s home city (Hesychius s.v. Λέσβιος ᾠδός). The existence of this citharode has been all but lost to us, but so well regarded in antiquity was Euainetidas that some claimed that he as much as Terpander had claim to the title of the superlative “Lesbian singer” of the proverb μετὰ Λέσβιον ᾠδόν ‘After the Lesbian Singer’ (Eustathius Commentary on the Iliad 741.15 van der Valk; Hesychius s.v. Λέσβιος ᾠδός), which referred to the preeminence of the Lesbian citharodes at the Spartan Carneia. To an early-fifth-century audience, εὐαίνητος, in the context in which it is used in Pythian 4, might well have evoked the name of this legend of kitharôidia.

Indeed, a Cyrenean audience was perhaps especially able to appreciate the allusion. The expression ‘After the Lesbian singer’ originally referred to the supremacy of the Lesbian citharodes at the Spartan Carneia, but Dorian Cyrene, where Pythian 4 was performed, also celebrated a festival of Apollo Carneius. In Pythian 5, composed for the same victory of Arcesilas IV as Pythian 4, Pindar’s Cyrenean chorus in fact celebrates the glorious Spartan cultural heritage that is represented by the Carneia of its own city (72–80). We know nothing about what sort of mousikoi agônes were attached to this festival in the fifth century BCE, but if the Spartan Carneia were a model in this respect, we would expect kitharôidia to have been prominently featured. [232] (And we might speculate further that the citharodes competing there found that Argonautic narratives successfully complemented local accounts of Cyrene’s heroic past, just as Pindar did.) It is significant that in Pythian 5.65 Pindar, enumerating Apollo’s gifts to mortals, foregrounds that the god, who was essential to the foundation of the Cyrene, “gave them the kitharis” (πόρεν τε κίθαριν), that is, the music of the kithara. This kitharis, allied with the Muse, is in turn appropriately conducive to eunomia ‘good civic order’ (67). As in Timotheus Persians 240, eunomia would seem to evoke secondarily the civic ordering brought about by the citharodic nomos, an effect most famously demonstrated in Terpander’s sociomusical pacification of the fractious Spartans at the Spartan Carneia. Just as Terpander’s intervention was metaphorized as a healing of a diseased populace (Aelian Historical Miscellanies 12.50; Boethius On Music 1.1), so Pindar depicts Cyrene as a city sick with stasis, in need of healing that will come not only from its ruler, Arcesilas, but from Apollo’s lyric music, which is presented as an extension of his healing arts (Pythian 4.271–274; Pythian 5.63–65). [233]

There is another possible point of continuity, at the level of song content, between the citharodic cultures at the Spartan and Cyrenean Carneia festivals. The figure in question is Alcestis, whose status as the Thessalian daughter of Pelias notably brings her into the orbit of Argonautic myth and poetry (Hesiod fr. 37.16–22 M-W). She was depicted on the Chest of Cypselus among scenes from the Funeral Games of Pelias, in which Argonautic characters prominently figured (Pausanias 5.17.9–11). [236] The chorus of Euripides’ Alcestis makes an intriguing mention of the performance at the Spartan Carneia of lyric songs commemorating Alcestis:

πολλά σε μουσοπόλοι
μέλψουσι κατ’ ἑπτάτονόν τ’ ὀρείαν
χέλυν ἔν τ’ ἀλύροις κλέοντες ὕμνοις,
Σπάρτᾳ κυκλὰς ἁνίκα Καρνεί–ου περινίσεται ὥραμηνός, ἀειρομένας
παννύχου σελάνας,
λιπαραῖσι τ’ ἐν ὀλβίαις Ἀθάναις.
τοίαν ἔλιπες θανοῦσα μολ-πὰν μελέων ….

Often shall the servants of the Muses sing of you to the seven-toned mountain tortoise, and in lyreless songs (humnoi), celebrating your fame, at Sparta when the circling season of the month of Carneius comes around, while the moon is raised high the whole night long, and in shining, prosperous Athens. Such a musical theme (molpa) do you leave by your death for singers of songs (melê).

Euripides Alcestis 445–454

The “lyreless humnoi” must refer to the aulos-accompanied choral songs of Athenian tragedy—as such the expression is an apposite bit of choral self-reference. What about the songs at the Carneia? Choral performance could be indicated by μέλψουσι and μολπάν (446, 454), both of which tend to denote singing and dancing together, but these words could more properly belong to the Athenian aulodic-choral milieu. [
237] The “Muses’ servants” in Sparta might then be the citharodes, above all the Lesbian apogonoi of Terpander, for whom the Carneian agônes were most famous. [238] Indeed, with the term μουσοπόλοι, which occurs in Sappho fr. 150.1, Euripides would appear to be alluding specifically to the Lesbian musicians who made the Carneia such a conspicuous center of kitharôidia. [239] The extended description of the lyre (the “seven-toned mountain tortoise”), which sequentially accords with Sparta as the “lyreless humnoi” accord with Athens, strongly supports the interpretation that it is citharodes who sing of Alcestis. [240]

Before leaving Argonautic myth and kitharôidia in Sparta, it is worth considering the implications of a curious passage in Theocritus Idyll 22, the hymn to Castor and Polydeuces, in which the speaker asks in the rhetorical style of a prooimion:

ὦ ἄμφω θνητοῖσι βοηθόοι, ὦ φίλοι ἄμφω,
ἱππῆες κιθαρισταὶ ἀεθλητῆρες ἀοιδοί,
Κάστορος ἢ πρώτου Πολυδεύκεος ἄρξομ’ ἀείδειν;
The both of you, who assist mortals, who are both dear to them,
horsemen, citharists, athletes, singers,
Whom first shall I begin to sing, Castor or Polydeuces?

Theocritus Idyll 22.23–25

Line 24 clearly alludes to a traditional hendiadys for “citharodes,” ἄνδρες ἀοιδοὶ καὶ κιθαρισταί, which appears in early hexameter poetry, most notably Hesiod Theogony 95. But, although the Dioscuri were associated with an armed dance at Sparta (Plato Laws 796b), the characterization of them as singers-to-the-kithara is unique to this passage. Has Theocritus invented it? [
242] If so, we might see it as a projection onto the twins of the cultural enthusiasms of the apotheosized royal sibling couple of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arsinoe (the Theoi Adelphoi), who may be the implicit recipients of the hymnic praise directed toward the Dioscuri in the poem. [243] Similarly, in Idyll 18, the “Epithalamium for Helen,” Helen is uniquely praised for her ability to play and sing to the lyre (35–37: “Surely no one is as skilled as Helen at striking [krotêsai] the lura and singing of Artemis and broad-breasted Athena”). [244] The praise could again reflect the lyric interests exhibited by Arsinoe, whose marriage to Philadelphus the poem, some have argued, indirectly celebrates. [245] But if the Idyll 22 passage is a crypto-encomium of the Ptolemies, this need not entail that the lyric Dioscuri represent a Theocritean innovation. Theocritus may rather be performing some virtuosic musico-poetic archaeology, uncovering a traditional motif in citharodic poetry: the assimilation of the athletic twins to the image of the agonistic citharodes who sing their heroic exploits—note the pointedly asyndetic intertwining of the athletic and the musical in ἱππῆες κιθαρισταὶ ἀεθλητῆρες ἀοιδοί. [246] Such a motif would have been rooted at the Spartan Carneia, but was conceivably at home in other festal contexts in cities in which the divinized Dioscuri were honored, including Athens. [247] The Dioscuri also received cult on Archaic Lesbos—Alcaeus composed a hymn to them (fr. 34)—a fact that is notable in light of the predominantly Lesbian provenance of the citharodes at the Carneia; perhaps they brought these lyricized Dioscuri with them to Sparta. [248] Given that Theocritus’ poem as a whole plays with the form of the Archaic humnos, and the passage in question is markedly proemial, the citharodic casting of the Dioscuri may have originally figured in proemial evocations of the brothers in locally relevant humnoi that prefaced the performance of nomoi. [249] But it could as well have been elaborated in one of the epic narratives featuring the Dioscuri that constituted the text of a nomos, e.g. the voyage of the Argo, the Calydonian boar hunt, the battle against the Hippocoontidae, or the brothers’ rescue of Helen from Theseus and Perithous, a story treated chorally by Alcman (fr. 21) and in the Cycle (Cypria fr. 13 Bernabé). A lyric Helen might similarly have made an appearance in any number of citharodic epics performed in Sparta. The scholia to Idyll 18 report that “some things” (τινα) in Theocritus’ poem were derived from the Helen of Stesichorus. [250] One of those things was perhaps the image of Helen singing hymns to her lura. In view of Stesichorus’ debt to kitharôidia, however, we might further speculate that a citharodic exemplar, localized in Sparta, stood behind his lyric Helen. [251]

Although no literary trace of the lyric Dioscuri exists outside of Idyll 22, Attic vase painting offers a possible reflex of the theme, significantly in close connection to the image of a citharode. On the shoulder of a red-figured hydria from c. 430–420 BCE the Kadmos Painter has depicted a scene of theoxenia, a sacred feast set by mortals for the divinized Dioscuri, who are shown approaching on horseback a column-framed hall in which a table covered with offerings and a couch have been prepared for them. [252] Propped upright against cushions on the couch are two identical lyres, looking somewhat like anthropomorphized prefigurations of the twins who will notionally recline there to play them. While the lyres and couches in an interior setting imply sympotic music making, the painter has depicted in the foreground of the image the characteristically unsympotic figure of a bearded citharode in full skeuê, playing a grand concert kithara and wearing an ankle-length, elaborately decorated robe and a victory wreath. A brightly checked cloth hangs from the back of the kithara, as we see in many images of festival agônistai. The precise relation of this citharode to the represented setting of the theoxenia is unclear. The inscription that runs above his head, komos, is not much help; it merely indicates that the citharodic music celebrates the triumphant return of the twins. Are we to think that he is a mythical figure contemporary with the Dioscuri, prepared to entertain them at this idealized, exemplary theoxenia? Paul Veyne has made the interesting argument that the musician is Tyndareus, the twins’ father. [253] If so, his depiction in citharodic costume would seem to reflect a tradition that kitharôidia was a Tyndarid family affair (recall Helen’s lyric panache). Or are we looking at a snapshot of an actual theoxenia festival, and is this a real-life citharode providing musical entertainment for the notionally visiting divinities, presumably by singing their own kleos to them? [254] In either case, the constellation of citharode, Dioscuri, and the lyres that “sit in” for them must reflect the implication of the brothers in citharodic poetry, and possibly their occasional characterization in that poetry as practitioners of kitharôidia.

11. Heracles kitharôidos

It is possible that the figure of Heracles kitharôidos existed solely as a visual expression of themes in Peisistratean Kulturpolitik. Alternatively, it could be the artists’ visual conflation of medium and message—Heracles imagined as one of the citharodes who sing his kleos in Peisistratean Athens. But a specific poetic counterpart to the image, also responsive to the tyrant’s interests, and also localized at the Panathenaia, is entirely conceivable. [258] Besides an intriguing reference in Theocritus Idyll 24.109–110 to Heracles’ being taught to play the “box-wood phorminx,” i.e. the kithara, by the Eleusinian priest Eumolpus—here called the son of Philammon of Delphi, a conspicuous citharodic pedigree—there is, however, no explicit trace of a poetic account of Herakles kitharôidos in the literary record. We find no indication that it appeared in the Heracles epics attributed to Peisander of Rhodian Cameirus or Panyassis of Halicarnassus (although it may have appeared somewhere in either or both). Indeed, on fifth-century Attic vessels it is the amousia of Heracles that is illustrated, in scenes in which the young hero assaults his lyre teacher, Linus. [259] But the Theocritean clue, to which we will return below, is significant; we think of Theocritus’ analogous recovery in Idyll 18.24 of recondite citharodic lore, namely the submerged tradition in which the Dioscuri were figured as citharodes. And we might expect that, just as the citharodic Heracles disappears from the visual record shortly after the fall of the tyrants, so might the corresponding poetic accounts also fade from performers’ repertoire, more gradually perhaps, but still leaving few traces, after the demise of the tyrants’ cultural-political program. [260]

The iconographical record shows beyond doubt that citharodes were performing prominently at the Panathenaic agônes under the Peisistratids; indeed, the vase painters based the visual character of their Heracles upon these real-life musicians. [261] If we do posit a poetic source for the Heracles kitharôidos images, then the nomic texts sung by the Panathenaic citharodes would be a logical place for it to have been elaborated—the citharodes were themselves singing Heracles after their own image, and thus embedding a heroic exemplar for their own art within their songs. [262] Rhapsodes were, after all, mostly, if not entirely, focused on reciting the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey at the festival, as per the policy of Hipparchus himself. This left the citharodes free to perform episodes from the rich store of Heraclean narratives, among which the ad hoc scene of the hero’s citharodic performance may have been inserted. But at what point? Mount Olympus, after the hero’s apotheosis, seems unlikely. [263] The allusion to Eumolpus as Heracles’ music teacher points to the story of the hero’s initiation into Eleusinian cult, which Eumolpus was said to have overseen; the initiation episode was in turn subordinated to the larger epic narrative of Heracles’ journey to the Underworld (katabasis) to fetch Cerberus. But the scene depicted by the artists is itself clearly not an initiation, nor is it a lesson with Eumolpus, nor is there any hint of the Underworld. It is rather a proto-Panathenaic agonistic occasion of some sort, on which Heracles plays the part of a virtuoso competitor. I would propose instead that the scene is set shortly after the Gigantomachy, in which both Athena and Heracles, the latter expertly deploying his mighty bow, played critical roles in assuring the gods’ victory. A relevant textual witness to traditions about the aftermath of that battle is Euripides Heracles 179–180. Amphitryon recalls how Heracles, “after piercing the Giants through the sides with his winged arrows, sang in a revel (kômos) with the gods the kallinikos song” (Γίγασι πλευροῖς πτήν᾽ ἐναρμόσας βέλη | τὸν καλλίνικον μετὰ θεῶν ἐκώμασεν). First, we may note the strong possibility of a muted allusion to the lyric Heracles in Euripides’ use of ἐναρμόσας, a participle from the verb ἐναρμόζειν, which means ‘to fix in, pierce’, but which has also distinct applications to the musical phenomena related to harmonia ‘tuning, mode’. At Aristophanes Knights 989, for instance, the verb (in the middle voice) describes the tuning of the lyre.

Indeed, on a number of vases from the same period that sees the clustering of images of Heracles kitharôidos, Heracles is depicted playing either the lyre or the auloi in the midst of a high-spirited kômos, surrounded by satyrs (who had assisted Dionysus in fighting the Giants); sometimes other gods are present as well. [267] Heracles’ more restrained performance as agonistic kitharôidos represents an occasionally ad hoc variation of the kallinikos kômos, a stylized formalization of its exuberant, free-form musical energy. [268] A citharodic Gigantomachy localized in Peisistratean Athens is a logical source for this shift in musical setting and characterization. In such a musico-poetic performance tradition the theme of Heracles kitharôidos would function as a sort of self-aggrandizing mise en abyme. Citharodes sing a Gigantomachy, whose heroic protagonist in turn sings to the kithara not a simple kallinikos, but a more poetically refined and musically elaborate commemoration of his exploits alongside the gods—that is, he sings his own Gigantomachy. And inasmuch as that song symbolizes the restoration of cosmic order within the represented world of myth, its reenactment, as it were, implies that the real-life citharodic song that frames it might have an analogous symbolic effect in the Athenian here-and-now. [269] Further, the ordering interventions of hero and citharode may have been thought to echo the sociopolitical “harmony” guaranteed by the tyrants, who identified themselves with Heracles and were, of course, the primary patrons of civic mousikê. [270] That patronage prominently included the Panathenaic citharodic agôn, for which Heracles’ auto-epinician citharodic turn before Athena likely served as aition. [271]

This latter scenario would be of a piece with the aetiological account of the Panathenaia as a whole that is recorded in Aristotle fr. 637 Rose, according to which the festival was founded “following the slaying of the Giant Asterios by Athena.” [272] Gloria Ferrari has made compelling arguments that the popularity of other scene types featuring Athena and Heracles on sixth-century Attic vases specifically reflects the currency of this foundation legend in the years following the reorganization of the Panathenaic festival in or around 566 BCE. [273] Her interpretation of the significance of the common scene of a striding, spear- and shield-equipped Athena on Panathenaic amphorae parallels the interpretation of Heracles kitharôidos that was offered above: “[I]t illustrates an aition of the Festival with an image, not of the battle, but of the goddess’ victory dance, which becomes, in turn, the aition of the pyrrhic competition,” that is, the agôn in the purrikhê, the armed dance. [274] A still more direct parallel is provided by a red-figured Panathenaic-shaped amphora by the Nikoxenos Painter, on which an armed Athena appears playing the kithara before a flaming altar placed between two cock-topped columns, traditional markers of a Panathenaic setting (Plate 11); a mortal agonistic citharode is represented on the reverse. Athena is usually depicted as an eager supporter of Heracles kitharôidos. Her appearance here as kitharôidos surely represents a variation on the Heraclean theme, and probably carries the same aetiological significance vis-à-vis the Panathenaic citharodic agôn as the musical Heracles does. [275] Since the amphora was produced around 500 BCE, not long after the fall of the Peisistratids, the image might reflect a reactionary turning away, at least on the part of some Panathenaic performers and audience members, from the tyrannical musical and festal politics with which the figure of Heracles kitharôidos was closely associated. It is now the divine patroness of the democratic city as a whole who models and founds the citharodic contest at her own festival. [276]

While there are many preserved visual representations of scenes from the Gigantomachy, poetic fragments, testimonia about composition and performance, and authorial attributions are lacking. It goes unmentioned in Homer and in the Hesiodic Theogony. The very elusiveness of an epic Gigantomachy could be a consequence of its status as a predominantly citharodic tradition, which, although widely diffused in performance—we can presume that citharodes sang versions of this Panhellenically appealing story at festivals across Greece, adding locally relevant elements such as the proto-Panathenaic Heracles kitharôidos where appropriate—nevertheless escaped uniform textualization and written transmission. [277] Besides the implicit evidence of Heracles kitharôidos already discussed, Attic vase painting may provide other indications that citharodes sang the Gigantomachy in sixth-century Athens, and continued to do so into the fifth century as well. A black-figured neck amphora from a painter of the Leagros Group, produced under the Peisistratids, has on one side a citharode mounting the bêma before a seated judge and standing spectators; on the reverse, Athena is shown about to deliver the coup de grâce to a kneeling Giant, either Enkelados or Asterios. [278] This latter image may be an illustration of the song the citharode will sing when he begins his performance. [279] Similarly, on one side of the neck of a red-figured volute krater by the Altamura Painter (London E 469, c. 470 BCE), a victorious citharode is depicted, attended by two Nikai; the body of the krater is taken up entirely by scenes from the Gigantomachy, which might illustrate the subject of the citharodic song. Alternatively, however, the Gigantomachies on both vases could allude more broadly to the Panathenaia itself, at which we may presume the depicted citharodes perform. [280]

12. Heracleia and Hesiodica

Attic iconography points to the citharodic setting of other Heraclean adventures, but, again, the evidence, such as it is, involves the problematic assumption that a mythical scene on one side of a vase visualizes the subject of the song a singer is depicted singing on the other. An amphora of Group E from 550–540 BCE has on the reverse a citharode standing between two cock-topped columns, which, despite the absence of a bêma, suggest that the performance is set at the Panathenaia. On the obverse, Heracles battles the Nemean lion, a tableau also centered between two columns. This image could be intended as a metaphorical expression of the competitive struggle that the agonistic citharode endures, or it could more generally refer to the Heraclean propaganda of the Panathenaia’s tyrannical patrons. But it could, not necessarily to the exclusion of these possible meanings, reflect the theme of the citharode’s song. [284] A somewhat later red-figured amphora by the Andokides Painter (c. 525–520 BCE) similarly pairs an image of Heracles’ bout with the Lion opposite a scene of an aulodic performance, an arrangement that might also indicate that the aulode is singing the hero’s exploits. [285] An Archaic tradition of Heraclean aulôidia at mousikoi agônes is suggested too by Pausanias, who says that in Thebes the sixth-century Arcadian aulode Echembrotus dedicated a bronze tripod to Heracles that he had won “singing for the Greeks melodies and elegies” at the Pythian agôn of 586 BCE (10.7.6). [286]

There were mousikoi agônes, including both kitharôidia and rhapsôidia, attached to the Mouseia festival at Helicon, which were reorganized by the city of Thespiae in the Hellenistic period. [297] As the reorganization suggests, however, the agônes must have boasted a longer prehistory. Inscriptional evidence shows that the contests were changed through the third-century BCE reorganization from thematic (cash and valuables prizes) to stephanitic, so it is reasonable to assume that musical agônes had previously been held at the festival, perhaps going back as far as the Archaic period. [298] The Mouseia, or its festal predecessor, is then one possible site at which citharodic and rhapsodic Hesiodica may have been performed side by side and exerted mutual influence upon one another. The Shield, however, has been persuasively connected to the performance context of the Theban Herakleia (or Iolaeia), another Boeotian festival that could have featured citharodic as well as rhapsodic renditions of “Hesiodic” texts. [299] Boeotia, although famous for star auletes such as Pronomus and Antigeneidas, must also have been an important region for kitharôidia. Plutarch attests to the overwhelming popular enthusiasm for kitharôidia at the Thespian Erotideia festival (Dialogue on Love 749c). We may presume that similar excitement attended the citharodic events at the Thespian Mouseia as well. The city of Orchomenus hosted the Charitesia festival, whose citharodic agônes are attested by second-century BCE inscriptions, but must have been established considerably earlier; the Amphiaraia at Oropus included a citharodic contest in the Classical period. [300] And Thebes was a city built, after all, on the citharodic music of Amphion. There too, as at Helicon, Linus received hero cult (Pausanias 9.29.9). Indeed, the city’s cultivation of lyric song dates back to the Mycenaean period. A Linear B tablet attests to the official role of lyre players in Theban palatial culture. [301]

Amphion’s lyric construction of the Theban walls was narrated too in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, introduced, presumably, into a section on Amphion’s mother, Antiope. [304] The attractive suggestion has been made that a dactylic sequence appearing in a catalogue of mythical lyre singers by Nicomachus (Excerpts 1), ἑπταπύλους τὰς Θήβας ᾠκοδόμησεν ‘he constructed seven-gated Thebes’, may be a partial verse from a Hesiodic Amphion episode. [305] Again, we might posit a citharodic source or parallel for this narrative. There is a relevant passage in the Protesilaus of Anaxandrides, a poet of Middle Comedy, which describes the performance of an Athenian citharode, Cephisodotus of Acharnae, at the lavish wedding ceremony of the Athenian general Iphicrates and the daughter of the Thracian king Cotys in 380 BCE:

καὶ κιθαρίζειν
Κηφισόδοτον τὸν Ἀχαρνῆθεν,
μέλπειν δ’ ᾠδαῖς
τοτὲ μὲν Σπάρτην τὴν εὐρύχορον,
τοτὲ δ’ αὖ Θήβας τὰς ἑπταπύλους
τὰς ἁρμονίας μεταβάλλειν.

And Cephisodotus of Acharnae played the kithara and sang in his songs now of Sparta with its broad dancing places, now of Thebes again, the seven-gated, modulating the modes.

Anaxandrides Protesilaus fr. 42 K-A

There seem to be two layers of humor here. The first is extramusical. The citharode’s switching between Spartan and Theban themes, and between harmoniai ‘modes’, is surely a “reference to the Spartan seizure of the [Theban] Kadmeia in 382 and its liberation in 379 B.C.” [
306] The second likely involves a jab at the harmonically mercurial style of the “new kitharôidia” practiced by Cephisodotus (τὰς ἁρμονίας μεταβάλλειν). While we know nothing else of Cephisodotus, Anaxandrides names two other, better-attested performers at the wedding: Antigeneidas, the famously innovative Theban aulete, and Argas, who is mentioned, alongside one Telenicus of Byzantium, by the late-fourth-century BCE Peripatetic scholar Phaenias as a composer of μοχθηρὰ ᾄσματα ‘worthless songs’ that paled in comparison with the classic nomoi of Terpander and Phrynis. [307] Apparently, then, Argas was a citharode, and a notably progressive one at that—by contrast to his nomoi, even those of the once controversial Phrynis are classics. Cephisodotus must have also been a distinctly “new” citharode to be placed in this company. The themes of the songs through which Anaxandrides has him cycle seem to be, however, classic ones; this is presumably part of the joke. One song is devoted to Σπάρτην τὴν εὐρύχορον ‘Sparta with its broad dancing places’; the phrase has an epic weight that evokes Archaic Terpandrean kitharôidia, which was fundamentally tied to Sparta (cf. the praise of Sparta’s Δίκα εὐρυάγυια ‘Justice who goes along the wide avenues’ in Terpander fr. 5 Gostoli = PMG p363). The other celebrates Θήβας τὰς ἑπταπύλους ‘Thebes the seven-gated’, which recalls the dactylic ἑπταπύλους τὰς Θήβας that we read in Nicomachus. The phrase may be a shorthand reference to a well-known nomic text dealing with Amphion’s foundation of the city, a theme with relevant political symbolism in light of the liberation of Thebes from Spartan occupation in 379 BCE.

A fragment from Sophocles’ Thamyras suggests that citharodes sang, in lyric hexameters, the sort of genealogical poetry we see assembled in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women:

ἐκ μὲν Ἐριχθονίου ποτιμάστιον ἔσχεθε κοῦρον
Αὐτόλυκον, πολέων κτεάνων σίνιν Ἄργεϊ κοίλῳ.
She had at her breast a son by Erichthonius,
Autolycus, plunderer of many goods in hollow Argos.

Sophocles Thamyras fr. 242

The nursing woman is Philonis, mother, with Hermes (here called Erichthonius), of the master thief Autolycus and, with Apollo, of the citharode Philammon, and so the paternal grandmother of Thamyris, son of Philammon. [
308] Thamyris is almost certainly singing these hexameter lines, which perhaps belong to one of the citharodic nomoi mentioned by another character in the play (fr. 241). Like Hermes in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, who sings to the lyre a hymnic account of his own birth from Zeus and Maia (57–61), Sophocles’ Thamyris sings his own prestigious genealogy. We find this same parentage detailed in the Catalogue of Women:

Sophocles may simply have adapted hexameter poetry on Thamyris’ family from the rhapsodic Catalogue tradition for the kithara, which he himself supposedly played onstage in the role of Thamyris (or which he at least may have mimed playing). [
310] But it is as likely that he drew upon a separate citharodic tradition of heroic genealogy, in particular, the genealogies of mythical musicians, that was variously reflected as well in the Hesiodic Catalogue. As we have repeatedly seen in the preceding review of the possible material developed in the citharodic nomos, citharodes seem to have liked to sing about kitharôidia and its practitioners, not exclusively, of course, but often enough to constitute a pattern. Sophocles would thus have had his mythical citharode singing poetry of the sort that his dramatic audience heard integrated into the nomoi of contemporary citharodes, where genealogies framed narratives or provided digressions within them. [311] With a twist, of course: this citharodic hero celebrates in song his own glorious descent from Apollo and Philonis (whose relationship with Hermes, the inventor of the lyre, redounds significantly to his glory as well) and then, we should presume, through Philammon and the Parnassian nymph Argiope. [312] Again, compare Hermes in his Homeric Hymn: the first divine lyre singer sings what is recognizably a citharodic humnos about himself. We might detect a trace of such genealogizing in the Persians of Timotheus. In the closing section of this nomos, the sphragis, Timotheus praises “Orpheus, son of Calliope,” and imagines “Aeolian Lesbos” (Λέσβος Αἰολία) as the mother of Terpander, who “bore him (γείνατο), destined for fame, in Antissa” (221–228). [313] We will examine in more detail citharodes’ biographical commentary on their predecessors in Part III.

The existence of a citharodic version of Heracles’ katabasis, his quest to retrieve Cerberus from Hades, or at least some parts of the story, is suggested by Theocritus Idyll 24.109–110, lines that I have already argued reflect the Hellenistic poet’s awareness of Archaic traditions of Heraclean kitharôidia in general: “And he made him a singer and shaped both his hands to the boxwood phorminx, Eumolpus, son of Philammon” (αὐτὰρ ἀοιδὸν ἔθηκε καὶ ἄμφω χεῖρας ἔπλασσε | πυξίνᾳ ἐν φόρμιγγι Φιλαμμονίδας Εὔμολπος). Idyll 24, the Little Heracles, concerns the early life of Heracles, and, in the passage from which these lines are drawn (103–134), Theocritus assembles a wide range of traditional accounts about the training of the young hero, in warcraft as well as in arts and letters. Theocritus was, however, unlikely to have found an earlier account in which an adolescent Heracles took lessons in kitharôidia from Eumolpus—the “boxwood phorminx” is surely an archaizing description of the kithara he plays in Archaic Attic vase painting. [314] Multiple literary and Classical iconographical sources have it that Linus was Heracles’ music teacher, and not a teacher of the kithara, but of the tortoise-shell lyre, the proper instrument for an aristocratic youth (e.g. Apollodorus 2.4.9). Their lessons were known, as early as the fifth century BCE, to have been famously unsuccessful, ending in the violent death of Linus. Theocritus instead has Linus teaching Heracles to read (105–106). [315] I suspect that he may have replaced Linus with Eumolpus and the lyre with the kithara to flatter the interest in kitharôidia maintained by his Ptolemaic patrons. [316] But this does not mean he invented these details ad hoc.

We have already examined the figure of Heracles kitharôidos both as a character in a citharodic Gigantomachy and as a sociopolitically resonant symbol of the Peisistratean investment in the citharodic culture of the Panathenaia. While it is possible that Theocritus knew a version of Heracles’ early life in which Eumolpus was merely a doublet of Linus, no more than a kitharistês, this seems unlikely, given the prominence of their encounter at Eleusis. Theocritus’ poem, I suggest, refracts rather an Archaic narrative about the training of Heracles by Eumolpus in kitharôidia that was once attached to the story of the katabasis. Such a narrative would not only have provided a satisfying back story to the hero’s triumphant citharodic turn in the Panathenaic Gigantomachy, it also would have forged, under the sign of the tyrants, as it were, an effective mythical link between the festal, musical, and cultic spheres of Athens and Eleusis, where the figure of Eumolpus and his sacred music had long been enshrined, as the Homeric Hymn to Demeter attests (154, 474–475). [320] Citharodic accounts of Orpheus’ katabasis, which were probably circulating contemporaneously in sixth-century BCE Athens, may have inspired this narrative—Heracles prepares for his journey to the Underworld by learning, Orpheus-like, to play the kithara. [321] Some now-unknown role of the lyre (or kithara), perhaps administered by the priestly clan of the Eumolpidai, the descendants of Eumolpus, in the real-world initiation rituals of the Eleusinian Mysteries may also (or alternatively) lie behind it. It is true that in sixth-century vase paintings of the katabasis Heracles is not shown with a kithara, but it is also important to note that there are no images at all of Heracles with Eumolpus; the musical component of the story may have extended only through the initiation episode.

It may be the case that the meeting of Heracles and Eumolpus was first invented by citharodes in Peisistratean Athens, and indeed that the poem in which it took place was originally a citharodic text. That text may have been a dedicated account of the katabasis (such an account, economically told, could easily suit the scope of a nomos), or it may have been a “flashback” sequence in a citharodic Gigantomachy, explaining how Heracles had, during a previous adventure, become skilled in kitharôidia. Alternatively, we might imagine that the citharodes adapted an older rhapsodic Heraclean katabasis, yet perhaps put their own spin on it by elaborating the role of kitharôidia in the initiation episode. In any case, Theocritus’ description of Eumolpus as the son of Philammon is worthy of note. Eumolpus is usually made the son of the Orpheus-like Musaeus; Theocritus has chosen to follow instead a more “recondite source.” [322] Again, that source is likely to have been, ultimately, citharodic. The affiliation to Philammon, one of the legendary early victors of the citharodic agôn at Delphi, takes the “good singer” Eumolpus out of the strictly mystic-cultic context of Eleusis, in which he and his music were typically situated (cf. Homeric Hymn to Demeter 475–479), and positions him and, by extension, his student Heracles in the grand history of agonistic kitharôidia. Eumolpus was said too to have been a victor at the citharodic agôn (Suda s.v. Εὔμολπος), a tradition that would seem to be connected to that which makes him Philammon’s son, a full-fledged citharode. Conversely, Philammon, presumably after the example of his son, was made a mystagogue. Pausanias 2.37.3 reports the claim that Philammon established the Eleusinian-style mysteries of Demeter at Lerna, a place, it may be noted, with significant Heraclean associations. [323]

13. Theseus in Kitharôidia?

On one side of a red-figured column krater by the Harrow Painter (Harvard 1960.339; c. 480–470 BCE) Theseus is shown in the company of his father, Poseidon, along with Amphitrite, Nereus, and a Nereid. The scene recalls, not without significant variations, however (most conspicuously the presence of Poseidon on the krater), the undersea meeting between Theseus and Amphitrite that is described in a contemporary choral song composed for performance on Delos, Bacchylides Dithyramb 17 (lines 97–116). Webster has suggested that the youthful citharode who is depicted on the other side of the vessel is meant to be singing a solo rendition of that same choral song (“an Athenian revival … of foreign choral poetry”). [324] He explains the image’s marked divergences from the Bacchylidean narrative as reflective of a separate Theseus epic, also familiar to the vase painter, which, he imagines, had been circulating in Athens since the last quarter of the sixth century. I would propose an alternative scenario. The citharode on the column krater is singing not a citharodic version of the choral dithyramb, but an episode from the longer-established epic Theseid itself, which, I suggest, was known in Athens predominantly through citharodic rather than rhapsodic performances, and which was likely to have influenced Bacchylides’ song. [325] The argument has long been made, based on the sudden proliferation of Theseus scenes in the late sixth century, that a poetic cycle of Theseus myths, in which the hero was cast as an Attic Heracles, and related visual representations of it were encouraged by the Alcmaeonids, the aristocratic clan opposed to the Peisistratean regime, and in particular by the Alcmaeonid Cleisthenes, who guided the democratic reform of Athens after the fall of the tyranny. [326] If it is true that the Peisistratids’ self-serving promotion of Heraclean mythos manifested itself at the citharodic agônes of the Panathenaia, as the Heracles kitharôidos scenes strongly suggest, it is then conceivable that a “rival” citharodic Theseid might also have gained a foothold in the agônes, perhaps through the influence of the Alcmaeonids. [327] It is worth noting in this respect that Theseus, like Heracles, was in one tradition attributed the institution of the Panathenaia (Plutarch Life of Theseus 24.3). Others have argued that it was the tyrants who encouraged the creation of a Theseid and the vase paintings related to it. [328] If so, it is still likely that a Peisistratean Theseid was formalized and performed foremost by the citharodes; after all, Hipparchus had the rhapsodes busy reciting Homer.

It is significant that in Archaic iconography Theseus is conspicuously associated with the lyre. On the François Vase (c. 570–560 BCE) the hero assumes the role of the Apollonian kitharistês, leading, in splendid chiton and mantle, the choral victory dance after the slaying of the Cretan Minotaur. [329] On the roughly contemporary Chest of Cypselus Theseus was reportedly depicted with a lyre, standing by Ariadne, who holds a crown (Pausianias 5.19.1); the hero’s lyric skill no doubt added to the glamour which attracts Ariadne to him. [330] In other images, a bystander holds the lyre while Theseus is shown fighting the Minotaur in the labyrinth, as if keeping it in reserve until he is ready to take it up and play, thus marking the restoration of order after the death of the monster (compare Heracles’ citharodic turn after the Gigantomachy). On a black-figured cup from the later sixth century BCE, Theseus slays the Minotaur while Athena stands behind him holding a lyre, which is clearly labeled lura, a detail that indicates the instrument played a prominent role in the hero’s story. [331] A still later expression of the lyric Theseus image, on a calyx krater by the Kadmos Painter from around 420 BCE (Syracuse 17427), has Theseus (or perhaps a companion) holding a lyre as he boards a ship, probably either bound for or departing from Crete. (Note that it is from this ship that, during the voyage from Athens to Crete, Theseus will make his dive, the likely subject of the citharode’s song on the krater of the Harrow Painter.) [332]

Collectively, such images suggest two things: first, that in the poetic sources on which the images presumably drew, Theseus was figured as an accomplished lyre player; second, that Theseus’ lyre also alludes to the performance medium of those sources, which were themselves lyric, viz. a citharodic Theseid. [333] We have seen a similar theme emerge in the preceding review of possible citharodic epics, that of the “lyric hero,” a textually embedded, stylized reflection of the citharodic performer. There can be no doubt that Theseus’ lura—he is never shown with the concert kithara—is the “sign of the well-bred, καλὸς κἀγαθός prince.” [334] Athenian elites who regarded the lyric Theseus in text and image would surely have seen in him a heroic validation of their own investment in lyric mousikê, as they did in the phorminx-playing Achilles. But the aristocratic connotations of the hero’s lyre—an instrument at home above all in the elite symposium and schoolroom—need not be exclusive of an iconic allusion to the citharodic setting of the hero’s deeds and the citharodes who performed it, nor should we imagine any ideologically informed contrast in play between Heracles’ kithara and Theseus’ lura. Ideological distinctions between these instruments, which involved elites’ anxieties about populism and professionalism, only came to pass in the later fifth century (cf. Part I.10). In Archaic and early Classical Athens, large-scale festival kitharôidia and aristocratic lyric culture kept relatively close company, as we will see in Part IV. Indeed, it is possible that the Harrow Painter’s young citharode is a member of the Athenian elite, the Athenian hero’s glorious dive being perhaps not only the subject of his song, but also a mythical model for his success in the agônes.

14. A Summary of Sections 5–13

Sixth- and fifth-century audiences of kitharôidia could expect to hear citharodes singing in their nomoi selected episodes from the Iliad and Odyssey. By the fifth century the citharodes’ Homer probably sounded quite a bit like the rhapsodes’ standardized Panhellenic Homeric text, and was perhaps in some cases an adaptation of it. But a wide range of epic-heroic material attributed to “other poets,” as Heraclides puts it, was also on offer. Under the umbrella of “other poets” we could imagine a store of heroic saga drawn from the Trojan Cycle as well as from traditions not strongly connected to it, such as Heraclean and Thesean epic. The expanse of material covered by Stesichorus, whose works, I argue, represent a choral engagement with kitharôidia, reflects the diversity of the citharodic repertoire. Certain “Hesiodic” narrative and genealogical poetry was created or adapted by the citharodes as well. While it may seem that I have cast the net too wide in search of possible content for the Archaic and Classical citharodic nomos, it is probably the case that the net has not been cast nearly wide enough. It is conceivable that any oral epic tradition, Panhellenic or local, had a citharodic as well as a rhapsodic manifestation. What rhapsodes, uninhibited by the formal, temporal, and musically technical demands of the nomos, could do that citharodes could not, however, was to cultivate in and across performances sophisticated, long-form narrative expressions of epic traditions that yet transcended any one performance occasion, “sewing together” discrete episodes into coherent, sequentially arranged oral texts, whose monumental status encouraged their evolution into, and fixation as, written works. [335] Citharodes treated much of the same traditional material as the rhapsodes, but their poetic treatments did not rise above the level of the discrete episode or episodes that could be fitted into the set framework of the nomos. Their medium discouraged the emergence of an extra-occasional, monumental textualization of such episodes. The logic of kitharôidia was essentially defined and delimited by performance; the itinerant citharode’s poetic repertoire was a collection of associated yet nonetheless discrete narrative episodes (or condensed, “epyllic” sequences of episodes), each one suitable for a single performance occasion. Further, these pieces were presumably open to considerable textual manipulation in performance, depending on place and occasion. As such, written traces of citharodic poetry are predictably few, and what there may have been in the way of scripted texts was most likely eclipsed by those drawn from the rhapsodic tradition.

Another factor behind the lack of preserved texts from the early citharodic nomoi, as well as the lack of detailed post-Classical testimonia about their contents, is the rise to prominence of a new style of kitharôidia as practiced by the likes of Timotheus of Miletus at the end of the fifth century BCE. As we will see in greater detail in Part IV, the “new nomoi” were organic, autonomous works, with text and music composed and fitted together exclusively by the citharode-poet. The creative recombination-in-live-performance of traditional melodic and poetic elements that belonged to the earlier generation of nomoi faded from practice, and with it, to a wide extent, the texts that had been developed by the citharodes for oral delivery and perhaps in some cases even set in writing. When citharodes reperformed a new nomos of Timotheus, they basically reproduced the work as originally composed and performed, making some variations in the language, no doubt, but probably only minor ones (melodic variation and innovation may have been more common). The citharodic repertoire from the fourth century BCE on consisted largely of these newer “classics,” in definitive, often scriptural form, just as fourth-century dramatic companies, for instance, had in their repertoire definitive (if not entirely authentic) written texts of tragic works. The melodies and the textual material of the Terpandrean nomos, while conceivably still maintained in some culturally conservative places such as Sparta (and even there probably not for too long after the fifth century BCE), fell into silence.

15. Pollux on Nomic Form

Wilamowitz argued that, although the older nomoi would have been structured in a simple tripartite form, the Polluxian schema does apply to the more elaborate “new” Timothean nomos. [337] Indeed, our lengthy fragment of the latter portion of Timotheus’ Persians contains a concentrated narrative section that could correspond to the omphalos—Wilamowitz suggests that the original narrative in the omphalos of the new nomos took the place of the “borrowed” epic piece that formed the centerpiece of the Terpandrean nomic practice—followed by a sphragis section in which Timotheus addresses his audience in propria persona, identifying himself and talking about his music and his career, and capped by a brief epilogue, a final prayer to Apollo. Not enough of the earlier part of the nomos has survived for us to say whether the arkha, metarkha, and the rest are clearly articulated sections, nor do we have any good sense of what exact form and character these sections might have had in the piece were they there. Is the katatropa, for example, or the metakatatropa for that matter, a purely instrumental passage, or does it characterize the sung text in some way, in terms of meter or content or both? [338] One hexameter line preserved from the beginning of Persians (PMG 788) might belong to the arkha and, if so, would indicate that one aspect of the function of this section would be to introduce the theme of the nomos—a kind of secondary proemial function integrated directly into the nomos. But beyond that we remain in the dark.

Without going further into this fruitless debate, I would make two broad observations prompted by the Polluxian testimony about the psychology and pragmatics of the citharodic performance event. First, the names of the first five of the seven parts recorded by Pollux all contain metaphors or images of spatiality, describing a sense of progressive movement or traversal in the cognitive experience of the citharodic nomos in performance. The terms seem to mark relative stages on a cognitive map that correspond to a sort of notional journey on the “pathway of song,” the oimê. The citharode traverses a set course of musico-poetic space in his performance, and the audience follows along. [340] Inasmuch as this metaphoric of spatial movement makes more substantial, vivid, physically “real” the invisible temporality of the musical abstract, we may connect it with the emphasis on the visuality and athleticism of citharodic performance—citharodes do move their bodies, vividly and expressively, during their performances. [341] Second, we might connect the multipartite articulation of the nomos with its regular status as a competition piece. That is, alongside the evaluative criterion of aesthetic pleasure and admiration produced by the execution of the nomos as a whole, the proper observation of the various segments of the nomos could have served as a sort of “compulsory element” in the performance, allowing the judges a more nuanced and objective formal basis for comparing the tekhnê of citharodes working with different musico-poetic content. [342] (For example, how did this citharode’s execution of his metarkha compare to that one’s?) We should think here of one possible musical-performative application of the non-musical meaning of the word nomos (‘law, custom’). This is a form that requires its players to “go through the motions,” as it were, conforming to the contours of a traditional, deep structure, regardless of the contingent content that fills it out. [343] Suetonius remarks that not even an earthquake stopped Nero from singing his nomos to the end during his performance in Naples (Nero 20.1). While this detail from one point of view neatly epitomizes Nero’s crass self-absorption—he has no concern for the safety and welfare of the audience—from another it reflects his respect for the compulsive force exercised by nomic form.


[ back ] 1. See discussion and further examples in West 1981:122. In Lucian The Uncultured Book Collector 9 a nervous citharode breaks three strings during his prelude because he applies the plêktron too forcefully.

[ back ] 2. See Nagy 1990b:31–33 for the ritual “markedness” of song. See too the brief discussion of the practical function of the aulete’s proaulion in Aristotle Rhetoric 3.14.1414b19–24. Aristotle emphasizes the importance of establishing harmonic and thematic continuity between prelude and the main composition. Also relevant are the remarks on preluding in European classical music traditions in Goertzen 1996.

[ back ] 3. For the preludial theme of musical seduction, cf. Alcman PMG 27, a request to the Muse to “put desire,” himeros, in the humnos; Homeric Hymn 10.5 (the singer asks Aphrodite to grant him an ἀοιδὴ ἱμερόεσσα ‘song that stirs desire’); Hesiod Theogony 104.

[ back ] 4. On Democritus of Chios, see Wilamowitz 1903:96n3, who thinks Democritus was a citharode. If so, his critique of the dithyrambist should not indicate that certain contemporary citharodes, including Democritus, did not also perform elaborate anabolai; his specific focus on their use in dithyramb indeed suggests that they did. A spirit of competitiveness likely informs the comments, as Democritus was himself a notorious innovator (Aristophanes fr. 930, Eupolis fr. 91 K-A).

[ back ] 5. The term prooimion appears first in Stesichorus (probably), Pindar, and Aeschylus, who uses the contracted form phroimion (e.g. Agamemnon 31, 829, 1216); see Koller 1956:187–194 on its history. Later, prooimion could be used as an umbrella term for introductory musical material. Anonymous Seguerianus Art of Rhetoric 4 uses prooimion to cover both the instrumental anabolê, which the author calls anakrouma (cf. Lucian The Uncultured Book Collector 9), and sung prelude; similarly, Plato Laws 722d conflates sung prelude and instrumental prelude (anakinêsis) under the term prooimion.

[ back ] 6. Cf. Clay 1996b:494–495 on the coincidence of humnos and prooimion; in Philostratus Life of Apollonius of Tyana 4.39 the citharodic prooimion is called a humnos. As Clay notes, however, humnos could also be used more generally for ‘song’ of any genre.

[ back ] 7. For the proemial idea of “beginning from” a god, see Odyssey 8.499, Pindar Nemean 5.25. Cf. Ford 1992:41–43, with previous bibliography, on the spatialized semantics of oimê, which specifically means ‘theme for heroic song’, as ‘path of song’. From an early point the word was conceptually assimilated to (h)oimos ‘path’ (Hymn to Hermes 451). In Callimachus Hymn to Zeus 78 citharodes are thus designated as those who “know well the ways (oimoi) of the lyre.” Cf. too Quintilian 4.1.2–3. On the sense of pro– in prooimion, see Nagy 1996:63: “[T]he pro-oímion is literally the front, or, better, the starting end of the song.” Cf. Koller 1956:191. Nagy, however, argues for understanding oimê as the ‘thread of song’, based upon a “verb-root meaning ‘sew’,” which would play into a wider metaphoric of songmaking as weaving.

[ back ] 8. Thus Weil and Reinach 1900:19n45; van Groningen 1955:191; Koller 1956, who defends the “singability” of hexameter verse (164–165) and argues the priority of citharodic to rhapsodic prooimia; Bowra 1961:23; Pavese 1972:237. (Beware Böhme 1953:44, who argues that the long Homeric Hymns are citharodic nomoi rather than prooimia. This entails, among other problems, a misleading confusion between prooimia and nomoi.)

[ back ] 9. Another source cited in the same commentary, preserved in P.Oxy. 2737 fr. 1 i 19–27 (= SLG 6), says that the phrase derives from the works of Alcman, who composed lyric prooimia to choral songs in Sparta. It would not be surprising if the same phrase recurred in the prooimia of choral accompanists, the citharodes, and the rhapsodes, as all three media are intrinsically related. The poetic imbrication of lyre, singer, and swan has a long history, finding early material expression in the Minoan-Mycenaean swan-neck kitharai. See Vorreiter 1975, with Egyptian parallels.

[ back ] 10. Cf. Gostoli 1990:54; van Groningen 1955:187.

[ back ] 11. See above all Laws 722d: καὶ δή που κιθαρῳδικῆς ᾠδῆς λεγομένων νόμων καὶ πάσης μούσης προoίμια θαυμαστῶς ἐσπουδασμένα πρόκειται (“Indeed, there are before us prooimia, wondrously elaborated, to the compositions of citharodic song called nomoi, and of every type of music.”) Prooimia are explicitly “marked” here as citharodic. Cf. Republic 531d, 532d, with Koller 1956:183–184.

[ back ] 12. Cf. Nagy 2002:36–69, who uncovers allusions to Panathenaic rhapsodic performance practice in the Timaeus.

[ back ] 13. Socrates’ expression of θαῦμα, wonder and admiration, at the prooimion recalls the phrase προoίμια θαυμαστῶς ἐσπουδασμένα ‘prooimia wondrously elaborated’ in Laws 722d. We are reminded that prooimia, although functionally subordinate to the song proper, were nevertheless themselves objects of aesthetic appreciation, able to be enjoyed and criticized independently of the song proper. There is a relevant anecdote in Athenaeus 8.350a. The citharist Stratonicus, while listening in Byzantium to a performance by a citharode who “sang well the prooimion, but blundered the rest of the performance” (τὸ μὲν προοίμιον ᾄσαντος εὖ, ἐν δὲ τοῖς λοιποῖς ἀποτυγχάνοντος), stood up and announced to the audience that he would give a thousand drachmas to whoever could “reveal the man who sang the prooimion.”

[ back ] 14. For the phraseology cf. Homeric Hymns 25.3 and Hesiod fr. 305.2 M-W; Koller 1956:165. See Böhme 1970:133; Maas and Snyder 1989:31.

[ back ] 15. For self-reference and self-promotion in the Homeric Hymns, see e.g. 3.166–176; 21.3–4, 25.2–5; 30.18; 6.19–20, where the rhapsode prays for victory in the present agôn. Cf. Wilamowitz 1903:91–92; Bowra 1961:23; Korzeniewski 1974:38; Nagy 1990a:54. The closing section of the citharodic nomos, the sphragis, likewise offered the citharode an opportunity to speak in propria persona—closing arguments, as it were. The “I” of the sphragis, the “signature” of the poet, however, may have been more personal and less generic than that of the prooimion.

[ back ] 16. This prooimion is lost. The attempt of Hansen 1990 to identify the anonymous “Prayer to the Fates” (PMG fr. adesp. 1018b) as the Persians prologue is unconvincing; cf. Hordern 2002:127.

[ back ] 17. Plutarch Lycurgus 21 has epic-Ionic Μοῦσα; Arrian Tactica 44.3 has Laconian Μῶσα, which Gostoli prints. Both forms are, however, “authentic” variants in terms of the evolution of the citharodic performance tradition. Because I assume that these lines were meant to be sung first of all in Sparta (although subsequent diffusion was likely; see below), I hesitate to translate ἔνθα as ‘there’, which potentially complicates the situation of the text’s performance within Sparta, preferring instead the relative ‘where’. Cf. Homeric Hymn to Apollo 147, discussed below.

[ back ] 18. Pindar fr. 199 S-M, probably from a choral work performed in Sparta (at the Carneia?), reworks this traditional citharodic text, or some variant iteration of it. Cf. Janni 1965:93; Gostoli 1990:141, although her alternative hypothesis that “Terpander” and Pindar were independently drawing on “motivi tradizionali della poesia e dell’ etica spartana” is not compelling. It was, after all, the ancient Terpandrean citharodic poetry that first and famously articulated those motifs. Pindar is implicitly augmenting his praise of Spartan culture by taking a hypotext from that prestigious tradition, so fundamentally associated with Sparta’s early history.

[ back ] 19. Calame 1997:203, following analyses of Jeanmaire 1939 and Brelich 1969. Further bibliography in Calame 1997:202n347. See too Robertson 2002:36–74.

[ back ] 20. On the synecdoche of αἰχμά ‘spear’ for martial valor, see Gostoli 1985. If we accept the attractive theory of Robertson 2002:70–72, that the Carneia was originally called the Kraneia (hiera), meaning ‘Spear (rites)’, because the young warriors at the festival carried spears of cornel wood (kranon), then the “spear of the neoi” would take on still richer local resonance.

[ back ] 21. Clay 1996b:493. The formula appears in Aristophanes Clouds 595 (ἀμφί μοι αὖτε Φοῖβ’ ἄναξ, a parody) and Euripides Trojan Women 511–513, by way of making allusion to citharodic performance. See Gostoli 1990:129–130 for further examples.

[ back ] 22. On the meter (four dactyls with closing iambic sequence), see van Groningen 1955:189, who argues, perhaps rightly, that ἀειδέτω was originally scanned as ᾱϊδέτω, thus yielding a hexameter; West 1982:130. Gostoli 1990:129, following Gentili 1977:35–37 (= 1995:38–41; cf. Danielewicz 1990:136), analyzes the line as kat’ enoplion, an alcmanic + reizianum, which in her view would liken it to Stesichorean metrical patterning. See, however, reservations in Campbell 1993b:71.

[ back ] 23. Suda s.v. ἀμφιανακτίζειν. Gostoli 1990:49–50 collects the testimonia on the terms amphianaktes and amphianaktizein. Euripides alludes to the stereotypical use of amphi anax in citharodic prooimia to Apollo when in his Antiope he has Hermes, the first divine citharode, address Amphion, the first mortal citharode, as Ἀμφίων ἄναξ ‘lord Amphion’ (fr. XLVIII.97 Kambitsis). Cf. Wilson 1999/2000:446n72, who suggests that the allusion serves to foreshadow ironically Amphion’s future antagonism with Apollo. I discuss below (Section 9.ii) the proemial use of amphi in a hexameter inscription (PMG 938e) on a red-figured cup by Douris.

[ back ] 24. For αὖτις/αὖτε as ‘encore’, the audience’s injunction to repeat a performance “from the top,” see Xenophon Symposium 9.4; cf. Homeric Hymns 31.1. At Stesichorus fr. 193.9, δεῦρ’ αὖτε θεὰ φιλόμολπε ‘come hither once more goddess who loves choral song and dance (molpê)’, αὖτε is used in the context of a choral proem. A two-line proemial invocation of Zeus in spondaic pentameters attributed to Terpander thematically imbricates its own performative function as “this beginning (arkha) of humnoi” with the eternally inceptive status of Zeus, the “beginning of everything” (fr. 3 Gostoli, Ζεῦ πάντων ἀρχά, πάντων ἁγήτωρ, | Ζεῦ, σοὶ πέμπω ταύταν ὕμνων ἀρχάν ‘Zeus beginning of everything, leader of everything, Zeus, to you I send this beginning of song’).

[ back ] 25. Cf. Wilamowitz 1903:91–92. See Capponi 2003 on the reenacted “I” in the Homeric Hymns; Nagy 1996:61 on the rhapsode as mimetically “recomposed performer” of Homer.

[ back ] 26. Cf. Gostoli 1990:127.

[ back ] 27. See Nagy 1990a:38–40 and Collins 2001 on rhapsodic reperformance of Homer. The scant remains of the Terpandrean texts collected in Gostoli 1990 show lexical and dialectal variants that could reflect creative variation in the performance tradition rather than “mistakes” in textual transmission.

[ back ] 28. A separate proemial text, also with musical notation (1a), is transmitted along with 1b. See Bowie 1990a:85. It is an apostrophe to the Muse in two iambic tetrameters (or four dimeters) and Ionic dialect: “Sing, Muse dear to me, and lead off my song (molpê), and let the breeze from your groves stir my thoughts.” The term molpê often denotes choral song and dance; this prooimiom might thus have prefaced a choral performance. See Wilamowitz 1921:606 and Whitmarsh 2004:383–385 for possible choral scenarios. Wilamowitz detected another prooimion in the first (spondaic) six lines of poem 2, the Hymn to Helios (1921:604). Wilamowitz 1903:97 doubts Mesomedes’ authorship of the prooimia, viewing them rather as anonymous products, late but formally “traditional,” of living citharodic practice, to which Mesomedes has simply set his own music.

[ back ] 29. Transcription and analysis in West 1992:303–304. The piece is notated in the Lydian tonos ‘key’, although it sounds in the Dorian octave species, which may correlate with the old Dorian harmonia ‘mode’. See Solomon 1984:250–251. If so, this modal setting would be a traditional stylistic element. Clement Miscellanies 6.748 says that one of the Terpandrean prooimia, the stately fr. 3 Gostoli, to Zeus, was sung in the Dorian mode. A couple of late sources characterize the Lydian harmonia as especially proper to kitharôidia (Proclus ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320b.21, Michael Psellus [?] On Tragedy 5). Westphal (see Severyns 1938:162), however, would read Aeolian (= Hypodorian; see Heraclides of Pontus ap. Athenaeus 14.625a on the equivalence) for Lydian in Proclus, as the Aeolian/Hypodorian mode is closely associated with the citharodic nomos in “Aristotle” Problems 19.48, which calls the Hypodorian μεγαλοπρεπὲς καὶ στάσιμον ‘magnificent and stable’ and thus most suited to kitharôidia. Cf. Rutherford 1995:357n17.

[ back ] 30. Strabo cites the lines completely in Ionic dialect. Page and Gostoli “restore” presumably earlier Doric-Aeolic forms in the first verse of the fragment. But there is no reason to believe that Ionicisms were imposed on citharodic proemial texts only in their late (and limited) written transmission. The incursion of Ionic elements into an Aeolic fundament likely goes back to the intersection of epic kitharôidia and Ionic rhapsôidia on Archaic Lesbos and in the Aeolis; cf. West 2002b:217–218. Bergk’s thoroughgoing Laconization of the text (e.g. νέως ὕμνως) constitutes nothing less than a reinvention of Terpander as parochial Spartan poet in the mold of Alcman.

[ back ] 31. Wilamowitz 1903:64n1 assumes that the verses are a late “forgery” inspired by such claims.

[ back ] 32. This is not to say that certain citharodes, at least, could not have made explicit the modernizing rhetoric implicit in these lines. Discussion in Part III.5.

[ back ] 33. My reading owes something to West 1971:307–308, although his conclusions are different from mine.

[ back ] 34. Or, ‘I will shift now to the rest of the song’, the rendering of Nagy 1990b:353–354 and 359. Nagy follows Koller 1956:177 in taking humnos as referring to “the totality of performance.”

[ back ] 35. Strabo 13.2.4; “Plutarch” On Music 30.1141c; Pliny Natural History 7.204.

[ back ] 36. The noun kithara makes an exceptional appearance, and its first, in an elegiac hymn included in the Theognidea (773–782) and probably composed around 480 BCE. The poet, whom West 1992:18n22 tentatively identifies as the Megaran Philiadas, calls on Apollo to protect the polis of Megara from the invading Medes, “so that the people (laoi), in festive high-spiritedness (euphrosunê), when spring comes, may send you glorious hecatombs, taking pleasure in the kithara (terpomenoi kitharêi) and in the lovely feast and the choruses and cries of paeans around your altar” (776–779). The poet is likely describing the festival of Apollo Pythaieus, which offered athletic games (scholia ad Pindar Nemean 3.147), choral performances, and, as the marked use of kithara in the poem seems to indicate, a contest of kitharôidia. (The participle terpomenoi might be meant to evoke the spirit of the model agonist, Terpander himself.) Local tradition had it that Apollo helped the hero Alcathous rebuild the walls of Megara—the Theognidean poem opens by invoking the myth (773–774)—and the music of the god’s kithara, like that of Amphion’s at Thebes, was significantly involved in the construction. Pausanias 1.42.2 says that the stone on which Apollo placed his instrument still makes the sound of a kithara string when struck with a pebble; cf. “Vergil” Ciris 107–109, Ovid Metamorphoses 8.15–16. Could the kitharôidia at the festival have been thought to commemorate the civic (re-)foundation of Megara by Apollo kitharôidos? (The aetiology propounded by Pausanias, that Apollo momentarily “put down” his kithara on the stone so he could help Alcathous erect the walls by hand, sounds like a late rationalization of the magical, Orphic/Amphionic power of lyric music to bring the city into being; we detect in it the underlying theme that the stones themselves are animated by the god’s music (cf. Cordano 1994:426n35). (Similarly, the story in Philostratus On Heroes 11.10 that the walls of the Lesbian city of Lyrnessos echo the sound of Orpheus’ lyre may also “echo” a lyric foundation.) The Theognidean hymn resembles, rhetorically and formally, a citharodic humnos, but its elegiac meter, combined with its length, points away from public citharodic performance and toward the symposium.

[ back ] 37. Cf. Nagy 1990b:88–90, and discussion below.

[ back ] 38. Cf. Dyer 1975:121, arguing that ἡμεῖς in Homeric Hymn to Apollo 174 includes “Homer and all the Homeridae.”

[ back ] 39. Even if they maintain the fiction that they are functionally preludial. See Nagy 1990a:54–55.

[ back ] 40. Koller 1956, followed in part by Nagy 1990b:353–361. Calame 1997:49–53 is a helpful complementary discussion. Choral citharists are depicted on a number of Geometric vases; see e.g. Maas and Snyder 1989:19, fig. 5b, 20, fig. 7a, 22, fig. 11. The instrument played by these accompanists is the four-stringed phorminx, which would give way to the heptatonic kithara of the Archaic citharodes and the more complex musical settings enabled by it.

[ back ] 41. Cf. Calame 1997:50.

[ back ] 42. See Nagy 1990b:356–357 on the “stylized prooemia in Pindar.” But cf. n49 below on Apollo’s (literary) non-singing.

[ back ] 43. Cf. Bowra 1961:23–25; Nagy 1990b:357. In a stylized fashion, the Chian aoidos who addresses the chorus of Delian Maidens in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, a rhapsodic prooimion (Thucydides 3.104.4–5), assumes the traditional persona of the Alcman-type citharist who sings solo prooimia to the maiden chorus he accompanies (165–176; cf. Bethe 1914–1927[I]:49). The Hymn thereby acknowledges its own origins as lyric prooimion to choral song, and the rhapsode his “citharodic” lineage. The “traffic in praise” between chorus and singer articulated in the Hymn indeed finds a significant correlation in Alcman PMG 38, in which such praise is scripted by the poet for the chorus to sing: ὅσσαι δὲ παῖδες ἁμέων ἐντί, τὸν κισαριστὰν αἰνέοντι ‘and all the younger girls among us praise the kitharistês’. A newly reconstructed Sappho poem (fr. 58), in Aeolic distichs, similarly locates Sappho in the role of singing citharist addressing the girls she accompanies; the poem is (or imitates) a lyric prooimion. If West’s supplement, or something like it, is correct, Sappho directs the girls (paides) to “be zealous for” (σπουδάσδετε], 2) the φιλάοιδος λιγύρα χελύννα ‘song-loving, clear-sounding tortoise-shell lyre’ that she presumably plays—shades of Alcman PMG 38 and the Hymn. Further, Sappho’s dramatization of her geriatric infirmities recalls the laments about aging in Alcman fr. 26. Needless to say, these self-referential comments should not be taken as autobiographical statements. The conceit of the singers’ weakened limbs in both texts—Sappho (5–6) and Alcman (1–2) can no longer dance—must thematize the fact that the citharist typically moves less actively than the choral dancers he accompanies. (But some dance gestures were likely typical; the quasi-orchestic movement of early citharodes bears the traces of them. Cf. Part I.17.) In Odyssey 8.262 Demodocus sings and plays ἐς μέσον ‘in the middle’ of the dancers around (ἀμφί) him (Apollo Mousagêtês also stands ἐν μέσαις in Pindar Nemean 5.23; cf. further examples in Calame 1997:36).

[ back ] 44. Cf. Bowra 1961:24–25. Cf. McKay 1974, who thinks that the line comes from a wedding song, and that the speaking names belong to generic caricatures of a husband and wife. It is possible that Alcman humorously metaphorizes the performative relationship between citharist and chorus as a marriage.

[ back ] 45. Cf. Clay 1996b:498, who compares Stesichorus fr. 241 to the “stringing together of hymns” in rhapsodic performance. Proemial stacking is implicit too in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo: the blind Chian’s proemial humnos to Delian Apollo is taken up by the proemial humnos to Apollo sung by the Delian Maidens (158).

[ back ] 46. Cf. Bethe 1914–1927(I):49.

[ back ] 47. For the eidological theories, see Rutherford 1994/1995.

[ back ] 48. On parallels with the musical culture on Archaic Lesbos, famous for its paeans and its kitharôidia, see Part III.11. We may note that Arion of Methymna operated both as an itinerant, agonistic solo citharode and as the first choregete of dithyramb in Corinth (Herodotus 1.23), although it is unclear whether he was imagined to have accompanied his dithyrambic choruses with the kithara or with the aulos, the instrument that accompanied the Classical Athenian dithyramb. Koller 1962 argues for the former, although the aulos was certainly used in Lesbian songmaking (Sappho fr. 44.24; Alcaeus fr. 307b). But it is true that Corinthian, Laconian, and Attic vase paintings of the Archaic period show the lyre or kithara in Dionysiac quasi-choral or comastic contexts. See Stibbe 1992 on the Laconian musical iconography; he makes the good point that kitharai and auloi easily coexisted “in der Welt der Komasten und Satyroi” (143).

[ back ] 49. As the iconographical and literary record suggest, at both Delphi and on Delos Apollo Mousagêtês was earlier and better established than Apollo kitharôidos (cf. Solomon 1994:44–45). The priority of the former figure reflects the historical secondariness of kitharôidia to choral performance. It may be that as a consequence of Apollo’s relatively early “subordination” to the choral Muses he is not made to sing in Archaic poetry. Calame 1997:50n126 observes that, even as a choral kitharistês, Apollo is never explicitly described as singing prooimia, but only as playing anabolai; the Muses alone sing. The case in visual depictions is different, however; the earliest image of lyric Apollo shows him singing along with the Muses (Melian amphora from third quarter of the seventh century BCE; Athens NM 911, Maas and Snyder 1989:42, fig. 2). And in later fifth-century poetry Apollo kitharôidos does sing, e.g. Euripides Ion 897–906.

[ back ] 50. Cf. Koller 1956:161; Nagy 1990b:376, who contrasts this scene with the respectful encounter between the blind Chian, “Homer,” and the Deliades in Homeric Hymn to Apollo 165–176. “Homer” is able to engage with the “local quasi-Muses, the Deliades,” yet also detach from them as “a Panhellenic personality.”

[ back ] 51. Wilson 2009, which the author was kind enough to share with me prior to its publication, offers some intriguing speculation on the recuperation of Thamyris by citharists as a model exponent of their voiceless tekhnê. Cf. Cillo 1993:216, 241. Citharistic appropriation of Thamyris would likely have been a later Classical development, in times when “critical research” into early musico-poetic tekhnê was hitting its stride with Glaucus of Rhegium and then the Peripatetics (see Zhmud 2006:26, 76). We could perhaps detect the cunning hand of the fourth-century citharist Stratonicus of Athens, who elsewhere brings Homer into the critical discourse of the music of his time (Athenaeus 8.350a, 8.351c).

[ back ] 52. On the punishment of Thamyris, see Brillante 1991:431–432, 449. For the idea that blindness could exempt a performer from agonistic kitharôidia, see Pausanias 10.7.3, where Homer is said not to have competed in the Pythian agôn because “even though he had learned how to play the lyre, his learning was of no use to him thanks to the accident that befell his eyes.” Pausanias himself discounts the story about Thamyris’ blinding by the Muses, and believes instead that his blindness, like Homer’s, was caused by disease (4.34.1).

[ back ] 53. [τ]ὸν θρασὺν ἐς μολπὴν ἄφθογγον νῦν μ’ ἐς ἀοιδήν | λεῦσσε. τί γὰρ Μούσαις εἰς ἔριν ἠντίασα; | [π]ηρὸς δ’ ὁ Θρῆξ Θάμυρις φόρμιγγι πάρημαι· | ἀλλὰ, θεαί, μολπῆς δ’ ὑμετέρης ἀίω (XX Gow-Page). It is unclear whether the statue to which Honestus added his poem is the same one that Pausanias reports seeing in the Valley of the Muses, which shows Thamyris blind (tuphlos) and “grasping his broken lura.” If so, then we might translate φόρμιγγι πάρημι as ‘I sit beside my phorminx [which lies broken on the ground?], blind’. Cf. Roesch 1982:140–142. Another reading: In view of the phrase ἄφθογγον νῦν μ’ ἐς ἀοιδήν ‘voiceless now in song’, it is possible that with the Iliadic adjective πηρός Honestus alludes to its interpretation by Aristarchus to mean “lame of song” (τῆς ᾠδῆς πηρόν), that is, “dumb.”

[ back ] 54. See the discussion of Honestus and the Thespian epigrams in Gutzwiller 2004:11–13. Honestus’ work elsewhere reveals his interest in recondite themes of early poetic and musical history (e.g. VIII Gow-Page, on the invention of satyr drama in Sicyon; III and VI, learned meditations on the foundation of Thebes by Amphion’s lyre versus its destruction to the sound of the aulos).

[ back ] 55. Brillante 1991:444–445. Roesch 1982:138–142 argues plausibly that the Thamyrists were charged with overseeing the hero cult of Thamyris. For the appropriateness of Thamyris’ cult in the shrine of the Muses, see Nagy 2005: “The sacred space assigned the hero in hero cult could be coextensive with the sacred space assigned to the god who was considered the hero’s divine antagonist” (87). Linus, who, like Thamyris, was punished by a divinity (Apollo) for his superhuman citharodic talents, also received hero cult in the Valley of the Muses (Pausanias 9.29.6; cf. Calame 1996:45). At least by the time of the reorganization of the Mouseia festival in the third century BCE, and probably earlier, Hesiod was honored as well with hero cult at Helicon. See Calame 1996:48–54; cf. Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004:52.

[ back ] 56. Bonnet 2001:55 imagines the Thamyrists to be a “compagnie d’artistes vraisemblablement chargée de l’organisation des fêtes en plus spécifiquement cultuelles qui avaient lieu dans le sanctuaire.”

[ back ] 57. Koller 1956:203–206 credits the development of the longer humnoi to Ionian rhapsodes, who, he thinks, correspondingly expanded the diegesis of the prooimion to shape the narrative form of hexameter heroic epic itself. But why should citharodes, who, after all, sang hexameters as well as other melic rhythms (cf. Koller 1956:163), not have taken a role in either of these developments? Koller rationalizes, “Die Begleitung durch Kithara wurde überflüssig, ja störend, sobald das Prooimion nicht mehr Einleitung zur Kitharodie war” (206). This rationalization entails a broader flaw in Koller’s reconstruction, his totalizing (and technically inaccurate) identification of choral lyric with kitharôidia. Koller seems not to recognize that the latter form was as robust and ambitious a solo medium as rhapsôidia, nor does he take into proper account the internal evidence in Homeric epic for the singing of heroic saga to the lyre by the bard. It seems logical that citharodes would have played a major part in expanding the parameters of the prooimion to make long hymns, as well as in elaborating narrative epê in the nomos. Cf. Wilamowitz 1903:87; Nagy 1990b:359.

[ back ] 58. E.g. Wilamowitz 1913:238; West 1971:309; cf. Nagy 1990b:362, contra. Athenaeus 1.15d calls the Phaeacian song-and-dance show a huporkhêma, which was a performance mode (rather than a fixed song genre) that involved the orchestic mimesis of events narrated in a sung text, but whose exact form and occasion remain uncertain. Huporkhêmata do not seem to have always involved a “mute” chorus (Athenaeus 14.631c). See Calame 1997:80n217 on the vagueness of the term. Nagy 1990b:351–353 and Mullen 1982:13–17 propose performance scenarios. While the Iliad and Odyssey stage other scenes of phorminx players accompanying choruses, in none is it clear that the dancers are “mute,” and, in many, the presence of the word molpê, which typically indicates combined song and dance, strongly suggests choral singing (see survey of passages in Barker 1984:19–32). For instance, at Odyssey 1.155, Phemius, acting as choral kitharistês, “struck up on the phorminx a beautiful song” (~ 8.266), which precedes the μολπή τ’ ὀρχηστύς ‘song and dance’ that the suitors crave (1.152), and presumably help produce. Phemius also acts as kitharistês of a singing chorus in 23.133–152, leading the μολπῆς τε γλυκερῆς καὶ ἀμύμονος ὀρχηθμοῖο ‘sweet song and blameless dance’ (145). In Iliad 18.567–572 a boy sings to the phorminx the Linus Song, and a chorus “follows,” stamping feet, singing (molpê), and shouting. In this case, the Linus Song might constitute a prooimion to the choral molpê. Cf. Hesiod fr. 305 M-W: “Linus … whom all mortal singers and citharists bewail at festivals and choral performances; they call on Linus as they begin and as they leave off (arkhomenoi de Linon kai lêgontes).” The language of “beginning” and “leaving off” evokes the prooimion; cf. Böhme 1970:430n3. Linus himself is called a kitharistês by Clement of Alexandria Stromateis 1.4.25; Heraclides of Pontus makes Linus one of the original citharodes (fr. 157 Wehrli).

[ back ] 59. D’Alfonso 1994:42–44 notes that the Odyssean text gives no sure indication that the Phaeacians dance while Demodocus sings. She proposes that first the dancers dance (262–265), then Demodocus sings (266–366), then expert dancers dance once more (370–384). Her reading is tendentious to be sure, but her point that the terpsis felt by Odysseus and the gathered Phaeacians after Demodocus’ song is described in purely aural terms is entirely valid; there is no mention of visual pleasure in the dance, as there is at 264–265 and 382–384. The choral background is overshadowed by the foregrounded citharode.

[ back ] 60. See the insightful discussion of the language and meaning of this passage in Ford 1992:115–116.

[ back ] 61. The appearance of Thamyris in the Iliad offers us a different perspective on proto-citharodic performance. Discussion above in this section; cf. Section 8 below.

[ back ] 62. Fr. 157 Wehrli = “Plutarch” On Music 3.1132a. Heraclides also claims that Philammon “was the first to establish choruses at the temple of Delphi,” making him a sort of double of Chrysothemis: both performed as kitharistês and as kitharôidos (cf. FGrH 3 F 120 = scholia MV ad Odyssey 19.432).

[ back ] 63. As Koller 1956:166 argues.

[ back ] 64. See Pausanias 9.30.2; cf. 10.7.2; Plato Republic 10.600d, Ion 531a. Nicocles FGrH 376 F 8 calls Hesiod the first rhapsode, no doubt because of the iconic transfer of the staff in the Theogony.

[ back ] 65. Pausanias 9.31.4 makes the surprising claim that the inhabitants around Helicon have a tradition that Hesiod composed nothing other than the Works and Days. Could this rejection of the Theogony have been prompted, at least in part, by the rhapsodic implications of the Dichterweihe scene of the proem, which might have contradicted the localized citharodic persona of Hesiod? Pausanias mentions too that the locals do not accept the ten-line proem to the Works and Days as authentic. It is curious to note in this regard that in Plutarch Sympotic Questions 736e, one of the classicizing characters, Erato, performs a lyric rendition (πρὸς τὴν λύραν) of the Works that begins (τὰ πρῶτα) with line 11; the proem is passed over. The same Erato later sings to the lyre “the Hesiodic verses about the birth of the Muses” (743c)—a citharodic version of the prooimion to the Theogony? For a full discussion of the local consecration of the Works and Days at Helicon, see Calame 1996.

[ back ] 66. And perhaps “Orphic” ones as well. For the possible absorption of Orphic cosmo-theogonic material into the hymnic repertoire of professional citharodes by the fifth century BCE, see Part III.8. The hymnic cosmogony and theogony that Apollonius of Rhodes has Orpheus sing in Argonautica 1.496–511 may reflect to some extent the “Orphic” content of real citharodes’ proemial hymns.

[ back ] 67. Wilson 1999/2000:441, following Wilamowitz, argues that Euripides fr. 911 N (“Golden wings are about my back and the winged sandals of the Sirens fit me, and I will go on high to the vast aether to visit Zeus”) “may preserve part of the khoros’ reaction to their first experience” of kitharôidia, and that, further, this language evokes the (high-flying) ethos and aesthetic of the New Music. The superimposition of archaic and modern, mythical and contemporary is entirely Euripidean. The time-warp effect would be underlined if Amphion were attired in the costume of a contemporary citharode, as fr. IX.3 suggests: Zethus tells Amphion, “You are conspicuous by your womanly appearance” (γυναικομίμῳ διαπρέπεις μορφώματι), a possible allusion to the elaborate skeuê worn by the actor portraying Amphion.

[ back ] 68. The relative brevity of Timotheus’ nomic prooimia is suggested by Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Τιμόθεος, who says that Timotheus composed 8,000 lines of nomoi and 1,000 lines of “pronomia.” The exact numbers of lines cannot be accurate, but their differential is nonetheless telling. On pronomia, see Hordern 2002:10.

[ back ] 69. See discussion of Brussich 1990, who dates the hymn to 397–395 BCE; the performance could have taken place at the Great Artemisia. Wilamowitz 1903:80n4 imagines that the priests of Ephesus made the hymn a permanent feature of cultic performance there, to be continually reperformed “an den Festtagen von Kitharoden.” Hordern 2002:101, however, thinks that Macrobius misunderstands the poem of Alexander.

[ back ] 70. Cinesias shouts, “May you have a daughter like that!” PMG 778 = Plutarch On Superstition 10.

[ back ] 71. Cf. Whitmarsh 2004:383. Suda s.v. Μεσομήδης mentions a now-lost ἔπαινος εἰς Ἀντίνοον (Praise of Antinous), composed for Hadrian’s deified beloved. This song was probably a humnos; the “εἰς … titular element,” as Whitmarsh points out (p381), suggests as much.

[ back ] 72. West 1986. Unlike the through-composed score of the Mesomedes hymns, each verse of this hymn was sung to the same melody.

[ back ] 73. Nagy 1990b:88; cf. Smyth 1900:lviii–lix. Nagy cites Alcman PMG 40, “I know the nomoi of all the birds,” in which nomoi makes the best sense as a reference to birdsong, a “localized melodic idiom” (cf. PMG 39).

[ back ] 74. On the likelihood that the source is Heraclides, see Barker 1984:211n42. The term tasis has the specific meaning ‘pitch’ (so Barker 1984:211 translates it). But Heraclides seems to be using tasis here in a more general sense, to cover not only pitch (the range of notes characteristic of each nomos), but also rhythm and tuning (or harmonic mode, harmonia). Thus my noncommittal “arrangement.” Cf. Wilamowitz 1903: “τάσις … die Spannung und Stimmung sowohl der Saiten wie der Stimme, oder, wie es in einem andern Auszuge heisst, Sangesweise, Tonart und Takt” (89); Bartol 1998:305.

[ back ] 75. Damon remains an enigmatic figure. Our impression of him is inevitably skewed due to his appropriation by Plato and his followers to give “scientific” authority to their prescriptively conservative sociology of musical practice. Anderson 1955:94–95 makes the argument that Damon was not the musical conservative Plato was, i.e. his statements about music are to be taken as descriptive, not prescriptive. Wallace 2004, however, argues that Damon may have at least been perceived by the Athenians as intervening in the musical politics of city, and was ostracized as a result.

[ back ] 76. Cf. Fleming 1977:223; Barker 1990:53–55; Borthwick 1994:22; especially Bartol 1998.

[ back ] 77. Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320b closely resembles the account in “Plutarch” (perhaps derived from Heraclides of Pontus or an earlier historian of music, Glaucus of Rhegium), although it adds that Arion of Methymna “considerably augmented” (οὐκ ὀλίγα συναυξῆσαι, 320b7) the nomos. This could reflect the fact that some traditional nomoi were attributed to this semi-legendary later-seventh-century citharode, made famous by his mention in Herodotus 1.24; cf. Herington 1985:20. Suda s.v. Ἀρίων says that he composed both aismata ‘songs’ and two books of prooimia. The former may refer to Arion’s Corinthian dithyrambs (Herodotus 1.23), but the latter claim could indicate that some citharodes attributed their prooimia to Terpander’s younger countryman. More likely, Proclus (or his source) is merely speculating that Arion made significant contributions to the repertoire. Of course, the statement in “Plutarch” is reductive. Anonymous citharodes must have experimented to some degree with nomic forms before Phrynis.

[ back ] 78. But we have no real evidence of this practice for kitharôidia. On the Panathenaic Rule determining rhapsodic performance at the Panathenaia, see n147 below. Of course, citharodes would have gravitated to certain texts for their nomoi based on the local circumstances of performance; such considerations could constitute in some cases a de facto prescription or censorship.

[ back ] 79. For the term “horizon of expectations” (Erwartungshorizont), defined broadly as the conventional set of cultural and generic expectations that meet a work at the historical moment(s) of its reception, see Jauss 1982:3–45. Cf. the remarks in McClary 1991: “Genres and conventions crystallize because they are embraced as natural by a certain community: they define the limits of what counts as proper musical behavior” (27).

[ back ] 80. Cf. Smyth 1900:lviii–lx (“Nome and law alike were distinguished by a prescribed and well defined character”); Koller 1956:173–177; Zimmermann 1993:46; Bélis 1995:1056n99.

[ back ] 81. “Aristotle” Problems 19.28 seems to connect nomos qua melodic pattern to nomos in its sociopolitical sense without any explicit reference to the citharodic nomos: before people knew writing, they would sing their laws (nomoi) so as not to forget them. However, we may detect an implicit reference to kitharôidia in the last sentence of this Problem: “Therefore people gave the same name to the first of their later songs that they had given to their first songs” (καὶ τῶν ὑστέρων οὖν ᾠδῶν τὰς πρώτας τὸ αὐτὸ ἐκάλεσαν ὅπερ τὰς πρώτας). The weak wordplay on prôtos ‘first’ has caused some confusion, but the writer may mean by “the first of their later songs” the citharodic nomos—“first” is used qualitatively (“most important”) rather than temporally (cf. Barker 1984:198n58). By the time the Problems were written, nomos was used in its musical sense more of contest pieces than “tunes” in general, and the citharodic nomos was the most prominent member of the former group.

[ back ] 82. Apollo was even made the inventor of citharodic nomoi (Etymologicum Magnum 607.1). Severyns 1938:137 contends that Proclus wrote not Nomimos but Nomios, which is an epithet of Apollo elsewhere attested (but cf. Gostoli 1990:108 for keeping Nomimos). Nomios alternatively means ‘god of Law’ (Cicero On the Nature of the Gods 3.23.57, with Severyns 1938:139) and ‘Pasturer’, a reference to Apollo’s service to Admetus (e.g. Callimachus Hymn to Apollo 47–49). Servius ad Vergil Georgics 3.2 registers the pastoral and conflates the legal and musical meanings: “[Apollo] is called Nomius either ἀπὸ τῆς νομῆς, i.e. from pasturing, or ἀπὸ τῶν νόμων, i.e. from the law of strings (a lege chordarum).” Euripides in the Alcestis seems to make a similar musical/legal/pastoral pun, evoking an image of “Pythian Apollo of the lovely lura” (570) Orphically charming animals with his kithara “in the nomoí ‘pasture lands’” of Admetus (574, with Pierson’s ἐν νομοῖς for received ἐν δόμοις). One might hear in nomoí too the nómoi ‘rules’ prescribed for Apollo by Admetus.

[ back ] 83. ὁ νόμος … διὰ τὸν θεὸν ἀνεῖται τεταγμένως καὶ μεγαλοπρεπῶς καὶ τοῖς ῥυθμοῖς ἀνεῖται καὶ διπλασίοις ταῖς λέξεσι κέχρηται. I follow the text (which is problematic), translation, and analysis of Severyns 1938:45, 156–157. “Aristotle” Problems 19.48 observes that the Hypodorian mode is “most citharodic” because it is “magnificent and stable.” Cf. n29 above.

[ back ] 84. Cf. Rutherford 1995:360–361. Rutherford argues, with some merit, that the nomos has taken the place of the choral paean in post-fifth-century eidographical accounts; Proclus’ incorrect classification of the nomos as a song in honor of the gods reflects this confusion. But that does not necessarily mean that the conservative (“Apollonian”) tenor that late writers ascribe to the nomos is misapplied. Paean and nomos were already conceptually linked in the generic imaginary of the fifth century BCE, as Timotheus Persians 202–205 strongly suggests; cf. Part IV.11.iv. On nomos and dithyramb, see Power 2011 (forthcoming).

[ back ] 85. Barker 1984:255; cf. 250n263: “The poets provided the word, with its general ambience: it was the music historians who took it over and converted it into a technical term.” Cf. West 1992:216.

[ back ] 86. Sophocles perhaps puns on the etymology of the hero’s name, which “is evidently related to the old Aeolic word θάμυρις meaning ‘assembly, gathering of the people’” (West 1999b:376, following Durante 1976:195–202, who conjectures a hereditary group of Thamyrids, ‘i cantori delle riunioni festive’; cf. Nagy 1979:311 on the agonistic implications of θάμυρις). The musical and political may thus be already intertwined at the very inception of the Thamyris myth: he is a cosmically endowed lyre singer, capable of mustering a political community into being through his music. Fleming 1977 argues persuasively that the musical and political meanings of nomos are made to overlap in Aeschylus’ Oresteia, so much as to constitute a thematic motif running through the trilogy.

[ back ] 87. Cf. Bergk 1883:240. I suggest too that in this passage Herodotus is playing on the double sense of nomos as song genre and law. The Corinthian sailors who would rob and kill Arion are drawn to his nomos by the sheer hêdonê ‘pleasure’ it brings them, but their lawlessness makes them immune to its “lawfulness.” The sociomusical ineffectiveness of Arionic kitharôidia in this context is highlighted by the fact that Herodotus has Arion play the Orthios nomos to his hostile audience. This nomos was known also as the Terpandreios nomos, and it is tempting to think that Herodotus assigned this nomos to Arion in part for its Terpandrean associations (cf. Suda s.v. ἀμφιανακτίζειν, with Gostoli 1990:49–50). Arion’s surely skillful, yet socially inert rendering of this nomos, his failure to bring order to the anomian Corinthian sailors, who can only experience selfish pleasure, would thus resonate against the idealized image of Terpander in Sparta harmonizing the community with his song.

[ back ] 88. On the Polukephalos nomos see “Plutarch” On Music 7.1133e, where it is said that Pratinas of Phlius, roughly contemporary to Pindar, also mentions this nomos, attributing it to the younger Olympus. Even if this nomos is a playful invention of Pindar (or Pratinas)—the title might allude to the multitudes thronging the Pythian games, where the Puthikos nomos was the name of the most famous auletic contest piece, and could be what the victor, Midas, really played there—my point still stands. Pindar does, however, use nomos to mean simply ‘melodic idiom’ at Nemean 5.25, where Apollo leads the Muses in singing “all sorts of nomoi.” There the idealized divine performance is universal in scope, encompassing every melodic idiom.

[ back ] 89. E.g. “Plutarch” On Music 4.1132d; Barker 1984: “Reputedly the most ancient and certainly the most respected class was the kitharodic” (250).

[ back ] 90. Cf. Fleming 1977:224.

[ back ] 91. Thus Nagy 1990b:88–89. On the specific harmonic innovations attributed to Terpander, formulated in the theoretical terms of later Classical musicology, see “Plutarch” On Music 28.1140f; “Aristotle” Problems 19.32. Cf. Barker 2001.

[ back ] 92. Carneian agôn: Hellanicus FGrH 4 F 85 ap. Athenaeus 635e, with Sosibius FGrH 595 F 3 for the dating. For the katastasis, see “Plutarch” On Music 9.1134b, with Barker 1984:214n65; Gostoli 1990:XIV, 71–72, 84–85.

[ back ] 93. Cf. Gostoli 1990:77, 106; van Wees 1999:7–8. Solon supposedly sang his laws (Plutarch Solon 3.5), a tradition that conflates in practical terms his poetic and political activities, which of course were conceptually and intellectually coterminous. On the vexed relationship between Tyrtaeus’ elegiac Eunomia and the Spartan “Great Rhetra,” see now van Wees 1999, who argues that a hexameter line attributed to Tyrtaeus by Bergk (ἁ φιλοχρηματία Σπάρταν ὀλεῖ, ἄλλο δὲ οὐδέν ‘The love of money will destroy Sparta, nothing else’, Diodorus Siculus 7.12.6) belongs rather, because of its mixed Doric-Ionic dialect, to a citharodic nomos attributed to Terpander and sung by Lesbian citharodes in Sparta (p4). The practice of singing laws in pre-literate Archaic communities is elsewhere attested, and, in some cases, probably has some historical basis in early Indo-European culture. “Aristotle” Problems 19.28 claims that the primitive Thracian Agathyrsi still (in the fourth century BCE) sing their laws—living proof of the old ways. At Hesiod Theogony 66–67 the chorus of the Muses sings the nomoi ‘ordinances’ of the gods. Gostoli 1990:106 lists further examples; see too Franklin 2004:244. Martianus Capellus 9.926 claims that “the laws of many Greek cities and public decrees used to be recited to the lyra.” This is likely a generalization of the tradition recorded by Clement that has Terpander singing laws, but it could reflect the broader (ancient) perception that kitharôidia served to maintain law and order in the polis.

[ back ] 94. See the relevant testimonia in Gostoli 1990:16–28.

[ back ] 95. For the attribution of this testimony to Heraclides, see Gostoli 1990:92–93.

[ back ] 96. Pindar Nemean 4.13–16 imagines the victory song (humnos), reperformed in a monodic, sympotic context, as sung to the same tune (tode melos) it has in its choral form. In practice, many lyric texts could have been set to new music in reperformance, as indeed texts themselves were recomposed (cf. Fabbro 1992; Currie 2004:53). But Cratinus fr. 254 K-A indicates that even drunken symposiasts were usually careful to sing poems to their original tunes.

[ back ] 97. Cf. Vetter 1936: “By nomoi we should understand not actual musical works of art, but rather merely melodic patterns (Muster) for the epic performance of the citharode” (col. 786). Sophocles fr. 966 suggests that nomoi had characteristic arcs of expressive intensity: “When someone sings the Boeotian nomos, leisurely (skholaion) at first, but then intensely (entonon).”

[ back ] 98. See Griffith 1990:188–189 for this tension in dramatic contests. Specific details about the musical setting of the Terpandrean nomos are few and hardly reliable. Late sources claim that the Lydian or Hypodorian (i.e. Aeolian) modes were typical of kitharôidia (see n29 above), but these could represent mere assumptions based on Terpander’s Lesbian/Aeolic origins, and the proximity, geographical and cultural, of Lesbos to Lydia. Cf. Reinach 1903:82n1. “Aristotle” Problems 19.48 observes that the Hypodorian mode is “most citharodic” because it is “magnificent (megaloprepes) and stable.” That a tone of megaloprepeia ‘magnificence’ characterized early kitharôidia seems entirely probable, but we should also remember that our post-fifth-century musicological sources are almost all ideologically motivated to romanticize the dignified simplicity of archaic music as a tonic to the decadent excess of the New Music of Timotheus et al. The claim probably made by Aristoxenus ap. “Plutarch” On Music 20.1137e that the music of the kithara employed the chromatic genus “from the start” is surely incorrect. (The genus is the intervallic division of the base tetrachord in each harmonia; there were three, diatonic, enharmonic, and chromatic. The chromatic genus is generally viewed as being later than the enharmonic, but Aristoxenus tendentiously places the former before the latter.) As Barker 1984:225n132 notes, Aristoxenus likely has in mind not the fixed chromatic genus per se, but khroai, harmonic “colorings” that deviate from normal scalar intervals, which came into fashion with the New Music of the fifth century.

[ back ] 99. Dyer 1997:86.

[ back ] 100. Cf. West 1992:216–217. Quotation from The New Harvard Dictionary of Music s.v. Rāg(a). See too Gerson-Kiwi 1980:182–210 for the analogous role of rule-bound creative improvisation in Middle Eastern classical music: “Playing in the cultured regions of the Orient means continual re-creation at the moment of performing, and learning to play means learning to compose” (202).

[ back ] 101. On the history of the idea of the permanent musical “work of art” in the Western tradition, see Goehr 2007. Although she overlooks the nomos, her characterization of the processual aspect of ancient Greek mousikê is apposite, if perhaps too reductive of the general picture: “Musical activities of Antiquity were expressive performances rather than productive or mechanical ones. Their expressive potential was directed toward producing not a physical construction or product but the activity or performance itself” (124).

[ back ] 102. “Performers”: Wilamowitz 1903:103.

[ back ] 103. Wilamowitz 1903:81n3; cf. Hordern 2002:10; also Veyne 1978 for diaskeuai as remakings of Classical dramas.

[ back ] 104. “Plutarch” On Music 4.1132d lists seven Terpandrean nomoi. There are the Boeotian and the Aeolian nomoi (regional affiliation); the Trokhaios (rhythmic) and Oxus (tessitural); the Tetraoidios (“Four-songed”: structural/harmonic); the Terpandreios and the Kêpiôn, said to be named after a disciple of Terpander, who at On Music 6.1133c is associated with the development of the concert kithara. (Wilamowitz 1903:90n1 argues that the Kêpiôn actually took its name from a cropped hairstyle called the kêpos ‘garden’, which some formal or sonic feature of the nomos conceptually evoked; one wishes he had gone into more detail in making this argument.) Pollux Onomasticon 4.65 lists eight canonical nomoi. His eighth nomos is the famous Orthios, probably named after its high pitching rather than its meter (cf. Barker 1984:251). Whether the individual titles given by Heraclides and Pollux are totally “authentic” is moot. See the debates about their relative historicity in Barker 1984:250–255 and Gostoli 1990:XVI–XVIII. The important point is the generic one: the old citharodic nomoi were not titled after their poetic content.

[ back ] 105. The sole reference to a citharodic Puthikos nomos is in Plutarch’s version of the Arion story, where it seems to be a figment of the writer’s literary imagination. Plutarch’s telling of the tale is radically different from Herodotus’ in its religious sensibility, its explicit emphasis on the piety of Arion and Apollo’s divine guidance. Arion conceives the idea to give his shipboard performance “through a kind of divine impulse,” and when he does sing (the Puthikos nomos, instead of Herodotus’ Orthios nomos), he does so piously, to request the sôtêria ‘salvation’ of himself, the ship, and the sailors (Banquet of the Seven Sages 18.161c). The Orthios nomos, however, may have been especially at home in Apollonian contexts. The Terpandrean proemial invocation of Apollo, PMG 697 (fr. 1) = fr. 2 Gostoli, was closely associated with the Orthios. See testimonia in Gostoli 1990:49–50.

[ back ] 106. Nagy 1979:98 shows that the verb epaineô ‘praise’ is the “technical word used by rhapsôidoi for the notion of ‘recite Homer’.” Cf. Nagy 2002:27–28. The agent noun epainetês is used of the rhapsode Ion twice in Plato Ion, 536d3, 542b4. Plutarch’s application of it to Terpander reflects the tradition that citharodes sang Homer to the kithara.

[ back ] 107. Homer the Cymean: Ephorus of Cyme ap. Vita Plutarchea 1.8–11. Ephorus may be the Suda’s source too for the Cymean Terpander (although not necessarily his inventor); this fourth-century historian may have related accounts of Terpander’s activity in Sparta (cf. Kiechle 1963:200). The Cymean birthplace may, however, belong to an alternative tradition that makes Terpander a descendant of Hesiod, whose father was from Cyme; cf. Welcker 1865:142; Wilamowitz 1903:88n2.

[ back ] 108. On the Sicyonian anagraphê, see Jacoby FGrH II B Kommentar, p443 and III B 550 Kommentar, p536. Cf. Gostoli 1986:112n19 and Griffin 1982:160.

[ back ] 109. As Barker 1984:207 notes, the title of Heraclides’ treatise could have been simply Collection of Musicians (literally, Collection of Those in Music) or even Collection of Facts about Music. I prefer to retain Jacoby’s supplemental <εὐδοκιμησάντων>.

[ back ] 110. In line with his treatment of Homeric myth as history Heraclides identifies Phaeacia as Corcyra. Cf. Aristotle fr. 512 Rose.

[ back ] 111. Russo 1999: “‘Lyrical dactyls’ is a more accurate equivalent to ἔπη in this context, since it suits the realities of Stesichorus’ metrical forms” (346). Cf. Bowra 1963:145–146; Gentili 1995:39n78. On the triadic structure of Stesichorus’ songs, see Suda s.v. τρία Στησιχόρου, with D’Alfonso 1994:21–40, who emphasizes the orchestic function of the triad.

[ back ] 112. Arguments and bibliography condensed in Gostoli 1998.

[ back ] 113. Gentili 1995.

[ back ] 114. Gostoli 1990:129. Gentili 1995:39–40 also points out that fr. 3 Gostoli = PMG 698, a two-verse fragment from a Terpandrean prooimion, is in a spondaic pentameter that accords rhythmically with the Stesichorean pentameter. The meter occurs also in the parodos of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (106), which perhaps shows the influence of the citharodic nomos; cf. n119 below.

[ back ] 115. See West 1971:309. The Suda entry is impossible to take literally. “Stesichorus the citharode” is mentioned alongside an “Aeschylus the aulete” as victim of the robber and murderer Hicanus. The story is of a type with that of Arion and the sailors or Ibycus and the bandits (Suda s.v. Ἴβυκος). But there must be some kind of witty “point” to this story that has been lost. Surely we are to think that this Aeschylus is the Aeschylus (who spent time in Sicily) and this Stesichorus is the Stesichorus. But no one would argue that Aeschylus was an aulete. One reading of this anecdote is that both Aeschylus and Stesichorus have undergone “downgrades” from the status of poet or melopoios to that of itinerant professional musician. The poet of aulodic tragedy becomes, fittingly, an aulete, and the poet of citharodic choral poetry becomes a kitharôidos. The testimony of Philodemus On Music 1, fr. 30.31–35, p18 Kemke (= PMG 281c), is also liable to misinterpretation. In it Stesichorus is figured as a solo singer-to-the-lyre who sings a “song of exhortation” during a period of internal hostilities in an unnamed city. His melos brings the two factions to peace. I would suggest that in the narrative economy of the anecdote, the sociopolitical complexity of Stesichorus’ choral interventions in Himera is simplified to the iconic image of the monodic performer harmonizing the community with his song. Terpander in stasis-torn Sparta, whom Philodemus mentions in the same passage, is the obvious model; cf. Nagy 1990b:428.

[ back ] 116. Choral Stesichorus: Burkert 1987:51; Burnett 1988; Nagy 1990b:362, 422; D’Alfonso 1994; Cingano 1990, 1993, and 2003. Stesichorus kitharôidos: Wilamowitz 1913:238; Pavese 1972:243; Herington 1985:19–20; Gostoli 1998; Russo 1999; Barker 2001. Willi 2008:76–82 is a convenient summary of the debate over Stesichorean performance (Willi is himself a “choralist”). Note that in the article that energized the “monodist” movement, West 1971, West, implicitly acknowledging Stesichorus’ status as a melopoios, initially does not commit to calling Stesichorus a citharode: “[O]ne reason for [Heraclides’] bringing in Stesichorus … might be that he was thought to be, not indeed a ‘citharode’, for a ‘citharode’ sang other people’s verse, even in Terpander’s time, but something analogous, a singing poet” (309); on p311, however, Stesichorus is called a citharode with no hedging. Gostoli 1998 argues that Stesichorus was primarily a solo citharode, but that, like Arion, who composed dithyrambs, he “potesse comporre anche canti propriamente corali” (152). While I agree in principle that Stesichorus worked in multiple media, I would argue that khorôidia was his primary medium—the triadic nature of the fragments strongly suggests this—and that occasional monodic lyric, although not full-blown citharodic nomoi, was secondary. Such was the case for other melopoioi, we assume, such as Pindar, Bacchylides, and Simonides. Cf. Cingano 1990:209–211; Davies 1988 (although the distinction between chorality and monody seems to me to have been more fundamentally recognized in antiquity than Davies would have it). Burnett 1988:139n108 speculates that the erotic songs attributed to Stesichorus were intended for solo performance; a sympotic context seems likely.

[ back ] 117. Herington 1985:19–20.

[ back ] 118. Stesichorean lyric may assume a localized perspective, but always with a stylized, self-conscious tenor, as if “in the process of making a bid for Panhellenic status” (Nagy 1990b:422). See further Burnett 1988 on the interactions of Panhellenic and local perspectives in the choral performance culture of Archaic Magna Graecia. Burkert 1987 offers a vivid reconstruction of the Panhellenic enterprise behind Stesichorus’ choral activity. Kleitias, the painter of the sixth-century BCE François Vase, may have known Stesichorus’ songs and alluded to him by labeling the Muse otherwise named Terpsikhorê ‘she who delights in the chorus’ as Stêsikhorê. See Stewart 1983:56.

[ back ] 119. According to a scholion to Frogs 1282, the first-century BCE scholar Timachidas of Rhodes said that Aeschylus’ specific model was the Orthios nomos. But we should be wary about taking Aristophanes’ claim too literally, and trying to reconstruct the exact metrical profile of a Terpandrean nomos from either the parody presented by Euripides/Aristophanes in Frogs or from the parodos of Agamemnon itself (as Wilamowitz 1903:101–102 almost does), although both do show a preponderance of lyric dactyls, which is what we might expect from the nomos, in particular the Orthios (“Plutarch” On Music 7.1133f). Cf. Fraenkel 1918:321–323 = 1964:202–204 on the Aeschylean combination of dactyls and iambics, which we see also in PMG 697 (fr. 1) = fr. 2 Gostoli; on the spondaic “Terpandrean” meter of Agamemnon 106, cf. n114 above. Despite superficial semblances, Aeschylean songs, like Stesichorean ones, are triadic and more metrically diverse than the stichic nomoi (cf. Danielewicz 1990:141). What Aeschylus took from the citharodes, I believe, was less a consistent rhythmical patterning and more a grand, expansive manner of heroic narration, as well as a general tone of stateliness and magnificence, megaloprepeia, the quality that was ascribed to the old nomos (“Aristotle” Problems 19.48; cf. Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320b17). For audiences accustomed to the punchy, labile new nomoi of Phrynis and Timotheus, as the spectators of Frogs were, the style of both the old nomoi and Aeschylean melic seemed slow and monotonous, an impression emphasized by Euripides’ incessant “refrain” of phlattothratto, imitating a strummed kithara, repeated after each sung verse. Thus Dionysus asks Aeschylus whether he got his ἱμονιοστρόφου μέλη ‘rope-hauler’s songs’—these being proverbially boring and repetitive—“from Marathon,” a place lost in time, its associations with the “old days” firmly fixed in the Athenian imagination (1296–1297; I remain unconvinced by Borthwick 1994:23–25 that the expression evokes the patter of fairground hustlers). There may be a reference too to the Herakleia festival at Marathon, which probably hosted a citharodic agôn, as an inscription on a pelike by the Epimedes Painter suggests (Plate 13); perhaps the contest maintained a conservative ethos. Cf. Dover 1993:349. Aristophanes, however, has Aeschylus present his borrowings from kitharôidia as, in their own time, an innovation in Athenian tragedy (1298–1300). Aeschylus certainly knew Stesichorean poetry; perhaps he emulated too Stesichorus’ choral emulation of kitharôidia.

[ back ] 120. See Burkert 1979:54–56 for the probable validity of Hippostratus’ notice, which finds remarkable support in the archaeological record: the remains of a sixth-century statue base inscribed with the name of its dedicator, Cynaethus, presumably the celebrated rhapsode.

[ back ] 121. The arguments here for a choral reception of kitharôidia are complemented by Cassio 2005:20–21, who argues that the Lesbian citharodes profoundly influenced the Aeolic-based dialectal composite of choral melic poetry on the mainland and in the West. Bowra 1961:82–83 argues for the influence of Arion on Stesichorus, but specifically in the former’s role as a dithyrambic choral composer.

[ back ] 122. Pindar mentions only a “Locrian,” but a scholion to Olympian 10.17 specifies that this is Xenocritus. One would like to know more about Xanthus, a melopoios—his provenance, date, and his specific genre(s)—from whose treatments of the Oresteia and Heracles saga Stesichorus supposedly borrowed, according to the Peripatetic scholar Megaclides (ap. Athenaeus 12.512e = PMG 229). It could be that Xanthus was, like Xenocritus, a choral poet from Magna Graecia. Cf. West 1992:338; Bowra 1961:82.

[ back ] 123. Cf. Burnett 1988:130–131. A fragment from the Oresteia (PMG 210), in which a plural singing subject, probably indicative of a chorus, refers to damômata ‘hymns composed for public delivery by choruses’ that are sung in a “Phrygian melos,” suggests an auletic accompaniment, since the Phrygian harmonia was most closely associated with the aulos. (Olympus was a Phrygian.) Alternatively, the fragment could exemplify Stesichorus’ borrowing of auletic styles for his choral lyric. I follow the interpretation of damômata in Smyth 1900:266.

[ back ] 124. This passage from On Music is controversial, since at 4.1132d, probably drawn from Heraclides, it is asserted that citharodic nomoi are older than aulodic ones. Weil and Reinach 1900:21 thus emend aulôidia to aulêtikê, while Gostoli 1990:74 suggests that Glaucus refers to Archilochus rather than Terpander. But we maintain consistency within the textual farrago of On Music only at the risk of distorting Glaucus’ actual views. At 5.1132f we read that “aulodic poets” lived before Orpheus himself, a contention that is immediately contradicted at 1133a, where it is said, perhaps again by Heraclides, that Terpander lived before Clonas, the first composer of aulodic nomoi. The former claim has been attributed to Alexander Polyhistor (FGrH 273 F 77), but it likely represents a reiteration of the chronology proposed first by Glaucus.

[ back ] 125. On the aulodic/auletic Orthios nomos, see “Plutarch” On Music 10.1134d, Pollux Onomasticon 4.71, and scholia ad Aristophanes Acharnians 16; cf. Barker 1984:253.

[ back ] 126. Cf. Barker 1984:214n66, 215n75; West 1992:336.

[ back ] 127. See Barker 2001 for some interesting speculation on these matters. Cf. n123 above on the Phrygian modal setting of the Oresteia.

[ back ] 128. Cf. Bowra 1961:242.

[ back ] 129. “Aristotle” Problems 19.15 offers clear evidence for an essential distinction between stichic nomos and choral responsion: “Why were nomoi not composed antistrophically, while other songs, those for choruses, were? Is it because nomoi were pieces for competitors, and since they were able to perform imitatively and to sustain lengthy exertions, their song became long and multiform? Like the words, then, the melodies followed the imitation in being constantly varied” (trans. Barker 1984:192). As Barker 1984:192n16 recognizes, the writer of the Problem must have the old nomoi in mind, even if the emphasis on imitation (mimêsis) and verbal/melodic variation as determining factors in the development of the nomos reflects the aesthetic of the later Classical nomos.

[ back ] 130. As I discuss below, however, there are some minor traces in the textual record of the traditional citharodic narratives sung in nomoi. The case with the traditional prooimia ascribed to Terpander is different from that of the nomoi. These shorter texts, which had a more formally reified status than the nomoi, may have enjoyed reperformance after the Terpandrean nomoi themselves had ceased to be performed, and were more likely to have been textually circulated (even if in non-Alexandrian, “unofficial” versions). See Wilamowitz 1903:91–92; Nagy 1990b:359.

[ back ] 131. See Gostoli 1990:97–98 for the probably Heraclidean sourcing. On the relevant ethnomusicological notion of “song loss,” see Nettl 1983:350–351.

[ back ] 132. The lengthy allusion to Stesichorean song, including his Oresteia (PMG 210), at Aristophanes Peace 775–796, from a choral ode, could suggest a familiarity not only with the poetry, but also with the music of Stesichorus. Classical Athenian symposiasts were still singing Stesichorean songs (Eupolis frs. 148 and 395 K-A; scholia ad Aristophanes Wasps 1222; Ammianus Marcellinus 38.4). These were probably shorter, monodic pieces, but adapted excerpts from the lengthy choral pieces should not be ruled out. Eupolis fr. 148 indeed names Stesichorus alongside two melopoioi best known for choral works, Simonides and Alcman. For monodic lyric reperformance of choral melic, see discussion in Nagy 1990b:107.

[ back ] 133. Cf. Hordern 2002:29. For Timotheus’ emulation of Phrynis, see Aristotle Metaphysics 1.993b15.

[ back ] 134. As West 1981:124 puts it, “In the 8th century the bard always ‘sang’, and normally accompanied himself on the four-stringed phorminx. The spread of the cithara in the following century caused a schism. Some adopted it, and evolved a more elaborate, heptatonic style of vocal melody to go with it. Others … persevered in the traditional style. [These, who would become rhapsodes] retained the loyalty of the public interested in the narrative rather than in musical virtuosity.” I would disagree, however, with West’s contention that hexameter kitharôidia was historically anterior to a “separate style of lyric epic, mainly dactylic but not in regular hexameters,” such as we see reflected in Stesichorean lyric (125). As Gentili 1995:38–40 demonstrates, the latter was likely the older style, from which the homo-rhythmic hexameter evolved (cf. Nagy 1990b:439–464).

[ back ] 135. The Orthios nomos, traditionally linked with the “irregular” dactylic PMG 697, could have been another.

[ back ] 136. Cassio 2005:21n27 reviews earlier, ultimately unnecessary attempts to make sense of the testimony, which include inserting μόνον ‘only’ after μή ‘not’, or removing the μή.

[ back ] 137. See Nagy 2002 on this process. The standardizing influence of rhapsôidia on kitharôidia is detectable too in the dialectal composite evident in the proemial fragments attributed to Terpander, a mixture of Aeolic, Laconian, and epic-Ionic elements, sometimes apparent within variants of the same line (e.g. the first hexameter of PMG p363 = fr. 4 Gostoli, with discussion in Gostoli 1990:XLIII–XLVI). Cf. Nagy 1990b:418; Cassio 2005:20–21.

[ back ] 138. As Wilamowitz 1884:353 observed, “Um 500 [BCE] sind alle Gedichte von Homer; um 350 [BCE] sind von Homer im wesentlichen nur noch Ilias und Odyssee.” Cf. West 1999b:372n23. For Aristotle, the poems of the Epic Cycle—he names the Cypria and the Little Iliad—were non-Homeric (Poetics 23–24.1459a37–b16).

[ back ] 139. Cf. Barker 1984:300n208; Pavese 1972:247. It is tempting to connect Stesander’s Homerizing kitharôidia to the Samian tyrant Polycrates, whose vigorous patronage of Homeric rhapsôidia played a key role in his imperially ambitious cultural politics, which included Delphi as well as Delos in its purview (evidenced by his “Delian-Pythian games” on Delos). See Burkert 1979:59–61; Aloni 1989. Apuleius Florida 15.6–12 describes a statue of a youthful citharode that was supposedly dedicated by Polycrates (a Polycrate tyranno dicata) in the temple of Hera on Samos. In Apuleius’ time, the story went that the statue represented Bathyllus, one of Anacreon’s beloveds. This identification is suspect, but the statue’s Archaic antiquity may well have been real. If so, such a conspicuous dedication might reflect Polycrates’ interest in kitharôidia.

[ back ] 140. Cf. Wilamowitz 1903:87n2 and Fraenkel 1918:323 = 1964:204, who argues that Alcman “in der Tradition der lesbischen, ‘terpandrischen’ Kitharodie” at Sparta, sang epic episodes to the kithara. Alcman’s treatment of the Sirens episode here recalls the evocation of the Sirens qua competitive chorus in his first Partheneion, PMGF 1.95–97.

[ back ] 141. On the dynamic interplay between rhapsodic and citharodic production, cf. Bethe 1914–1927(II):378.

[ back ] 142. Cf. Pavese 1998:64, who speaks of early citharodic verse as “heterometric ‘ma non troppo’.”

[ back ] 143. “Desperate theory”: Herington 1985:180. Athenaeus or his source presumably had access to texts of Homer containing more such anomalous verses than do ours. Could some of these verses have been drawn from a citharodic performance tradition? For instance, a variant of Iliad 19.189, μιμνέτω αὖθι τέως ἐπειγόμενός περ Ἄρηος, analyzable as a hemiepes plus an enoplian colon, resembles exactly a line of Stesichorus that occurs in a longer sequence of lyric hexameters, αὐτίκα μοι θανάτου τέλος στυγεροῖο γένοιτο (PMGF 222b.213; cf. discussion in Steinrück 2005:484–485). Given Stesichorus’ affiliation with the citharodic tradition, the resemblance is highly suggestive. Rather than viewing the variant as a vestigial trace of pre-Homeric melic epê that has been innocently preserved in the metrically normalized rhapsodic tradition, it might be better construed as a reflex of Homeric kitharôidia in the Classical period that has worked its way into written transmission.

[ back ] 144. On the tyrants and the rhapsodes, see the indispensable studies of Aloni 1984, 1989, and 2006; cf. Davison 1955, Shapiro 1993.

[ back ] 145. Herington 1985:20.

[ back ] 146. Thus Wilamowitz 1920:314.

[ back ] 147. The Panathenaic Rule is attributed to the Peisistratid Hipparchus in “Plato” Hipparchus 228b–c; cf. Lycurgus Against Leocrates 102. Diogenes Laertius 1.57 attributes it to Solon. Definitive commentary in Nagy 1996:80–82 and 2002:9–16. For Nagy the rule is a fictional reflex, projected onto early lawgiver figures, of a traditional principle of equal distribution of Homeric poetry amongst Panathenaic rhapsodes. Compare my comments on the etymological fiction that the citharodic nomos was so called because of the official “rules” imposed upon its musical execution (Section 4 above). For more historicist views on the Panathenaic Rule, see Davison 1955, who proposed the term; Skafte Jensen 1980:145–149.

[ back ] 148. Nagy 1996:82.

[ back ] 149. For the image, see Gropengiesser 1977:583, with discussion; Maas and Snyder 1989:50, fig. 14d. Maas and Snyder discuss the “unusual” aspects of the instrument, its large size and the knobs on its crossbar (p37); both are features of the kithara.

[ back ] 150. Along with the Sirens, the Polyphemus episode is the only iconographical representation of the Odyssey before the middle of the sixth century BCE (see Snodgrass 1998:130). Timotheus composed a nomos called Cyclops (PMG 780–783). Could it have been his fresh take on a much longer-standing citharodic engagement with this narrative?

[ back ] 151. Gropengiesser 1977:607–610.

[ back ] 152. Schefold 1992:257. On a black-figured neck amphora by the Painter of Munich 1410 (ABV 319, 10), the obverse shows a citharode in performance, the reverse shows Ajax with the body of Achilles, perhaps the theme of the citharode’s song. On an amphora by the Andokides Painter (Louvre G 1; c. 525 BCE), an image of a citharode playing atop a bêma is paired with a scene of Athena and Hermes watching two dueling warriors, one holding a Boeotian shield, the other a shield painted with a scorpion. Cf. Webster 1972:161. This scene, like the first, is probably from the Cycle. See discussion below.

[ back ] 153. It would be enlightening to know the relative prize amounts awarded to citharodes and rhapsodes in Athens. Unfortunately, the fourth-century BCE inscription IG II2 2311 recording prize amounts for Panathenaic victors does not include prizes for rhapsodes (the prize for the winning citharode is the highest of the categories listed). Some have speculated that rhapsodic prizes were recorded in a now-missing top piece of the inscription (lines 1–3); if so, the initial placement would probably reflect that their prestige and value were greater than those of the citharodes. But we cannot be at all sure of this (cf. Shear 2003:91; Davison 1958:37, who is doubtful). We may note that at the Artemisia in Euboea first prize in rhapsôidia was only 120 drachmas, versus 200 in kitharôidia (IG XII ix 189). Plato Ion 530d suggests that winning Panathenaic rhapsodes received a golden crown, perhaps equal in value to the crown won by citharodes, but, curiously, Ion is made to say that he “deserves to be crowned with a gold crown by the Homeridai.” This is probably meant figuratively—I am so talented a rhapsode that the Homeridai themselves would give me a golden crown—but could he mean that representatives of the Homeridai acted as judges at the Panathenaia, and perhaps even as underwriters of the rhapsodic contest? This could explain the absence of civically funded prizes for rhapsodes in IG II2 2311. Cf. Allen 1907:135 on the Ion passage: “The Sons of Homer then have a position which authorises them to reward persons who honour their parent. They are not private individuals.”

[ back ] 154. Shapiro 1993 discusses the paucity of representations. Depictions of citharodes also far outnumber those of auletes and aulodes. See Vos 1986.

[ back ] 155. Shapiro 1992:73.

[ back ] 156. Burkert 1987:211–212 has posited an analogous rivalry between “old epic singers” and the choral lyric epic of Stesichorus, which, possessing “a more emotional, even larmoyant appeal” with its music and dance components, “swept the lonely singer from the marketplace.” In turn, Burkert reasons, rhapsodes rose to prominence at the agônes by exploiting the “power of the spoken word,” the pleasures of narratives cohesively authored by Homer. Stesichorean “oratorium” was in turn eclipsed. There is a pleasingly Hegelian logic to this elegant arrangement, but it is flawed in its reductive diachronism and neglect of the historical role of the citharodes. It was the citharode and the rhapsode together who put the old phorminx-playing aoidos out of business (if we wish to put it that way; cf. the formulation of West 1981:124), and who evolved in synchrony. As was argued above, Stesichorus represents a choral reception of an already developed citharodic tradition of mythic-epic narrative. But that reception was too specialized and too late a phenomenon—even if it did, as seems likely, have the Panhellenic exposure Burkert would confer upon it—to have inspired the rhapsodic invention of Homer. Rhapsodes may have tightened their hold on a fixed version of “Homer,” however, in response to the ongoing professional threat posed by the musical charms of the citharodes, and perhaps to a lesser degree those of epic choral lyric as well.

[ back ] 157. Cf. Herington 1985:14.

[ back ] 158. See Martin 2001:24 on this passage.

[ back ] 159. Fr. 144 Fortenbaugh and Schütrumpf = scholia ad Odyssey 3.267. Demetrius identifies Demodocus as the unnamed aoidos appointed by Agamemnon to watch over Clytemnestra, who is referred to at Odyssey 3.267. After his exile by Aegisthus, Demodocus would have found his way to Scheria and the court of Alcinous. Demetrius makes Demodocus the pupil of one Automedes of Mycenae, who composed epê about “the battle of Amphitryon against the Teleboans and between Cithaeron and Helicon.” Automedes himself was student of Perimedes of Argos, who taught also Licymnius of Bouprasion, Sinis the Dorian, Pharidas of Laconia, and Probolus the Spartan. Demetrius has uncovered a whole secret history of pre-Homeric Peloponnesian kitharôidia; the focus on Sparta and Laconia reflects Demetrius’ interest in the political prestige enjoyed by the art there. Cf. Wilson 2004:269–271. Licymnius of Bouprasion is an intriguing figure. Nestor speaks of competing in games in Bouprasion for the dead king of the Elians, against whom he had waged war (Iliad 23.629–631; 11.669–761). Was Licymnius perhaps an aoidos character embedded in Pylian heroic tradition, unearthed and transformed into an agonistic citharode by Demetrius?

[ back ] 160. See Gostoli 1986:105–107 on the relevant music scholarship available to Demetrius.

[ back ] 161. Eustathius Commentary on the Iliad 14.482 van der Valk; cf. Athenaeus 14.620b (= frs. 55A and B in Fortenbaugh and Schütrumpf).

[ back ] 162. Wilson 2004:271–272 imagines rhapsodes being compelled by Demetrius to sing Homer to the “noble lyre.” Perhaps, but I would imagine the lyre (or kithara) to be played by accompanists rather than by the performers themselves, or else we would expect our sources to call the Homeristai citharodes. Nagy 1996:156–190 sees a stronger continuity between the Homeristai and the rhapsodic Homeridai and the Panathenaic rhapsodic tradition, arguing, however, that by the Imperial period, the Homeristai had developed a full-blown mimetic, spectacular approach to Homeric performance. Cf. Collins 2001:153–155, 2004:207–213.

[ back ] 163. Cf. Ford 1992:97 for the Thamyris tale’s offering a “negative aition for the ‘normal’ epic competitions of the eighth century.”

[ back ] 164. Compare the hendiadys of Hesiod Theogony 95: ἄνδρες ἀοιδοὶ καὶ κιθαρισταί ‘singer men and kithara players’. Cf. n14 above.

[ back ] 165. For Ford 1992:97, Thamyris “stands for preceding poets, and his contest shows that mere temporal earliness is not enough to guarantee a strong transmission of song if the Muses are not honored.” Martin 1989:229–230 sees in Thamyris’ journeying from Oechalia an allusion to the Sack of Oechalia, an older epic rival to the Iliad: “When Homer says that a poet returning from Oikhalia was deprived of his art, he can hardly be more explicit: this is a claim that the Herakles tradition is faulty, that it suffered a break in historical transmission from the event itself. By contrast, Homer in Book 2 makes it clear that his narrative has a continuity with the past which is guaranteed by Homer’s own contact with the Muses (2.484–86)” (230). Cf. Martin 2001:30.

[ back ] 166. Wilson 2009 (cf. n51 above) comes to a somewhat similar conclusion. I would approach, however, the representations of the Thamyris myth as determined not by individually abstracted generic forces, “a clash between two musical traditions that expressed themselves ultimately in different generic performance-types of hexameter epic and kitharodic lyric” (p58), but as rhetorical expressions of the professional rivalry, with its full course of institutional and practical causes and effects, between the practitioners of those performance-types, rhapsodes and citharodes.

[ back ] 167. For the cultic-ritual recuperation of the Thamyris myth at Thespiae, see Section 3 above. For citharists’ adoption of the “mute” Thamyris as mythical exemplar, see Cillo 1993:216, 241; Wilson 2009:77–78. Plato Ion 533b–c refers to citharists’ providing exegetical accounts of Thamyris.

[ back ] 168. The attribution of the Orthios nomos appears in a gloss in the Lexis Herodotou A ad Herodotus 1.24 (Latte and Erbse 1965:197). Dorian harmonia: Pliny Natural History 7.207; Clement Stromateis 1.16.76; Eustathius Commentary on the Iliad 297.38 van der Valk (ad 2.594). See discussion in Wilson 2009:58n48.

[ back ] 169. There may have been active attempts to valorize Thamyris’ challenge to the Muses, refuting its stigma of hubris: Suda s.v. Θάμυρις μαίνεται records a proverb, “Thamyris is mad,” which is used of someone who appears to act irrationally, yet in reality is acting kata sunesin ‘with full understanding’.

[ back ] 170. Quotation from Ford 1992:96n9.

[ back ] 171. For Thamyris at Andania, see n323 below. Pseudepigrapha: West 1983.

[ back ] 172. And the related iconographical rendering of Thamyris as a concert citharode. See Cillo 1993:215 and discussion in my Part I.6.iii. Cillo argues that the “giovane e bel Trace” provided an apposite model for younger competitors at the Panathenaia, as it is typically youthful musicians who are depicted with the Thracian or Thamyris kithara (238); cf. Maas and Snyder 1989:146. The bulk of these may be boy or young adult citharists, appropriately so, in light of traditions that made Thamyris a “voiceless” citharist (see n51 above). The bell krater by Polion of three men costumed as satyrs playing Thamyris kitharai and labeled “Singers at the Panathenaia” (New York 25.78.66) suggests to me, however, that the instrument (and its namesake) had broader appeal among the agônistai than the preserved iconography indicates. Maas and Snyder loc cit. note two representations of older players, who may be citharodes. Wilson 2009:76–77 argues that his boldness made Thamyris an icon for the iconoclastic New Musicians.

[ back ] 173. Our sources, all post-fifth-century, were themselves probably only vaguely aware of the full extent of the early citharodes’ poetic repertoire, as the practice of nomic composition had by their time changed from the old Terpandrean epic to the newer Timothean dramatic style. One would like to know whether Classical citharodes actively attributed non-Homeric poetic material to Terpander, or whether Heraclides’ claim that Terpander set his own epê to music is merely his own catch-all way of describing non-Homeric, “other” citharodic poetry.

[ back ] 174. See now Burgess 2004, with previous bibliography.

[ back ] 175. For the synthetic reductiveness of late accounts of the Cycle, see Burgess 2001:22–35; cf. Dué 2002:27, on the fluidity and multiformity of the oral Archaic Cycle, and Holmberg 1998.

[ back ] 176. See West 1973:191, 2002b. Aloni 1986 and Dué 2002:59–60 consider possible refractions of the Lesbian tradition in the Iliad. For a review of scholarship on the Aeolic phase, with a view to both Homer and Lesbian kitharôidia, see now Cassio 2005:13–19; cf. Bowie 1981:49–60

[ back ] 177. West 2002b:217–218.

[ back ] 178. West 2002b:218, following in part Liberman 1999:xiv. Liberman posits that Ionian epic held a certain sociocultural cachet that Lesbian aristocrats such as Alcaeus and Sappho would have prized above any (“lower status,” West) local tradition. But I would note here that Sappho fr. 106 shows that Sappho, at least, held the Lesbian Singers in high regard.

[ back ] 179. Cf. West 1973:191.

[ back ] 180. Bowie 1981:10–14 singles out Old Smyrna, an Aeolic city close to Lesbos that fell to Ionians at the end of the eighth century BCE, as a crucial site of interaction between Aeolic and Ionian traditions. Our earliest representation of a seven-stringed kithara is on a sherd from Old Smyrna (Maas and Snyder 1989:42, fig. 1), which points to the early flourishing of citharodic culture there. For Lesbos itself, we might imagine that the federated sanctuary of Messon (modern-day Mesa) was the site of Pan-Lesbian festival mousikoi agônes at which Sappho and Alcaeus could hear rhapsodes and citharodes performing side by side. See Nagy 1993; Dué 2002:60. Cf. Cassio 2005:19 for epic-lyric traffic on Lesbos.

[ back ] 181. West 1973:191. Cf. Nagy 1974:118–139.

[ back ] 182. A similar conclusion might be reached about the humnoi of Alcaeus and Sappho. West 2002b:217 observes that the “parallelisms are such that we must at least say that the melic and the hexameter hymns [the Homeric Hymns] stand in a common tradition.” But rather than conjecture scenarios of one form’s exclusive influence on the other, we should factor in the mediating role of the citharodic humnos, which served as common model to both rhapsodes and the Lesbian melopoioi.

[ back ] 186. Despite the (to us) questionable auspiciousness of the mythic subject. See Lardinois 2001:79–80, with previous bibliography in 80n21.

[ back ] 187. Although Sappho is most often depicted with the amateur’s barbitos in Attic iconography, which reflects the primarily elite, sympotic contexts in which her songs were reperformed in Athens, she may occasionally have been portrayed with a kithara in later-sixth-century BCE imagery. See Yatromanolakis 2001:161n16. It is possible, however, that “quasi-citharodic” poems such as fr. 44 prompted the assimilation of Sappho to the image of the concert citharode. Although it is very late, it is worth noting too a passage in Himerius Oration 9, in which the orator imagines that Sappho “went to the bridal chamber after the agônes” (εἰσῆλθε μετὰ τοὺς ἀγῶνας εἰς θάλαμον). As Nagy 2007a:252 argues, “[T]he reference to the agônes ‘contests’ in which she supposedly competes seems to be a playful anachronistic allusion to the monodic competitions of kithara-singers at the festival of the Panathenaia. It is as if Sappho herself were a monodic singer engaged in such public competitions.” Himerius’ intriguing collocation of Sapphic hymeneal poetry and citharodic agônes could be a distant echo of a much earlier mentality of reception surrounding fr. 44 and similar poems, in which Sappho’s identity as a wedding singer is implicitly conflated with her virtual citharodic identity. It is significant that some of Sappho’s wedding poems seem to have been partly composed in hexameters, e.g. frs. 105 and 106, with its reference to the Lesbian citharodes (cf. Part III.11n174). Could these fragments perhaps come from solo lyric prooimia to epithalamic choral songs? If so, Sappho’s reference to citharodes in fr. 106 would conceivably have underlined the quasi-citharodic nature of the performance of the proemial lyric dactyls. (Perhaps the dactylically cast fr. 44 was also performed as a prooimion to an epithalamic choral song.) An important point, however, should be made. It seems unlikely to me that Sappho’s songs would have been routinely performed by Archaic and Classical citharodes at major festivals of the Classical period such as the Panathenaia (cf. Nagy 2007a:243 and 2004). Unless we conjecture long medleys, the relative brevity of Sapphic songs (as well as those of Alcaeus and Anacreon) would not have lent them to filling out the structural framework of the citharodic nomos. As for Pindaric (Nagy 2007a:235–236, 243) and Stesichorean (Herington 1985:20; Shapiro 1992:69) choral songs, they are longer, but we lack any evidence that these strophic compositions were adapted to normally stichic nomoi by early Classical citharodes. Medley-style performances of old lyric songs may, however, have been a feature of post-Classical citharodic culture; cf. Part I.11.iin244.

[ back ] 188. On political ties between Thebe and Lesbian Mytilene, see Aloni 1986:51–67.

[ back ] 189. West 1973:189–190, 2002b:210; Nagy 2007b:36–37; Dué 2002.

[ back ] 190. Cf. Minchin 2001:121 on the evocative power of such objects, including the lyre of Achilles; also, Gernet 1981:73–111.

[ back ] 191. See Leaf 1912:242–243, 397–399 and Burgess 2001:151–152, who discusses the relation of these accounts to the Cyclic Cypria. Cf. Nagy 1979:140–141 on traces of these local accounts in the Iliad: “This emphasis on Achilles is especially striking in the case of Lesbos; the Iliad says that Achilles himself captured all Lesbos (IX 129, 271), and the significance of such a heroic deed seems to have less to do with the epic fate of nearby Troy and far more to do with the here-and-now of a Homeric audience in the eighth or seventh century B.C.” (I would underline, however, the critical role of the properly citharodic audience on Archaic Lesbos.) Dué 2002:63–64 offers further discussion and bibliography.

[ back ] 192. Stories about Achilles’ youthful lessons in lyre playing with the Centaur Cheiron surely figured into the elaboration of an Achilles lurikos, although at a later time they became ideologically paradigmatic for the lyric enculturation of aristocratic youths. Indeed, the Iliad’s iconic image of Achilles singing to the lyre would, by the fifth century BCE, become detached from the professionals who originally propagated it and was adopted as a symbol of elite antagonism to musical professionalism, with its connotations of effeminacy and ethical turpitude. As early as Pindar Pythian 4 (462 BCE), the skilled amateur aristocrat Damophilus plays a daidalea phorminx at a symposium (296). Cf. “Plutarch” On Music 40.1145e–1146a; Plutarch On the Fortune of Alexander 331d; Dio Chrysostom 2.28–31. See discussion in Veneri 1995. A Roman reflex of this aristocratic appropriation of “Achilles’ lyre” is to be found in the Praise of Piso 163–177, in which Piso’s Achilles-like amateur dedication to the lyre is (implicitly) set against the professional ambitions of Nero.

[ back ] 193. On the implicit assimilation of lyric Achilles to Apollo, see Nagy 2007b:37–38.

[ back ] 194. Nagy 1996:72–73, with Ford 1992:115n31. On the “diachronic skewing” involved in such envisioning of epic lyric performance as rhapsodic, see Nagy 2003:39–48.

[ back ] 195. Rocchi 1980 is a useful discussion of narratives involving the lyre of Achilles, but it treats them as socioculturally abstracted emanations of “Greek myth” rather than sourcing them to actual performance traditions.

[ back ] 196. See Burgess 2001:152.

[ back ] 197. Lyrnessos and Thebe were significantly confused. Aeschylus fr. 267 makes Lyrnessos the home of Andromache; Dictys of Crete Chronicle of the Trojan War 2.17 makes Eëtion king of Lyrnessos.

[ back ] 198. Follett 2004:235 suggests that Lyrnessos may have been associated with Antissa (“in the neighborhood of Antissa”) in the source from which Philostratus is drawing.

[ back ] 199. The extent in On Heroes to which Achilles and Trojan epic are “lyricized” is remarkable. Philostratus describes a young Achilles studying the lyre with Cheiron and praying to Calliope to grant him musical skill (45.6–7); at Troy, Achilles composes a lyric song called “Palamedes,” presumably on the lyre taken from Lyrnessos (33.36); a post-mortem Achilles and his wife Helen on the White Island “sing their desire for one another, Homer’s epê about Troy, and Homer himself” (54.12). Philostratus includes a representation of such a song in 55.2–3, a hymn to Echo, which is a condensed lyric “echo” of the kleos of Homeric epic. The song is short—it is indeed praised for its brevity, which Philostratus’ Phoenician interlocutor views as proper to lyric songs (55.4)—and thus seemingly suited to an intimate sympotic context rather than a citharodic one (cf. 45.7; 54.12). On such elitist reclamation of lyric Achilles see n192 above. But Philostratus is nevertheless elaborating on an older performance tradition in which Achilles was fundamentally associated with the lyre, and that tradition was likely to have been maintained by the citharodes. Indeed, the insistence of the Phoenician that “it is sophon ‘a mark of taste and skill’ not to stretch out these matters [epic narrative] in lyric songs or to perform them in extended fashion” has a tendentious ring to it, suggesting that Philostratus knows that Homer had been so performed to the kithara (Philostratus was, it should be noted, a native of Lemnos, close to Lesbos). It could even be that citharodic settings of Homer had come back into style in his day. Achilles Tatius, a rough contemporary, describes a wealthy girl singing to a kithara a scene from Iliad 16, the “fight between the boar and the lion” (Leucippe and Cleitophon 2.1); the setting is domestic, but it could reflect the fashion in the public performance culture.

[ back ] 200. Although there is a possibility that Terpander was mentioned in the anagraphê: Gostoli 1990:99. Pliny Natural History 7.204 records a difference in opinion about the inventor of the cithara (some say Amphion, others Orpheus, others Linus), which could be rooted in the divergent regional traditions I am positing.

[ back ] 201. Lesches was also said to hail from Pyrrha (scholia to Aristophanes Lysistrata 155; IG XIV 1284 i 10 = Tabula Iliaca A (Capitolina) p29 Sadurska). Other poets, including Homer, Thestorides of Phocaea, and Cinaethon of Sparta, were attributed the composition of the Little Iliad (scholia ad Euripides Trojan Women 822). On the Homeric attribution in particular, see Nagy 1990b:78.

[ back ] 202. See Holmberg 1998: “The Little Iliad appears to share many incidents and episodes with both the Aethiopis and the lliou Persis; this coincidence has led a number of scholars to conclude that the Aethiopis, the Little Iliad, and the Iliou Persis were originally one undifferentiated poem called the Little Iliad” (466). Pausanias’ attribution to Lesches (whom he mistakenly calls Lescheos), son of Aeschylinus of Mytilene, of the Iliou Persis that inspired the murals of Polygnotus in the Cnidian Lesche (club house) at Delphi suggests that Lesches (i.e. the Little Iliad tradition) was as closely associated with narratives of the sack as Arctinus was (10.25.5). I would note the obvious similarity between the word leskhê ‘club house’ and the name Leskhês. This is probably coincidental, but it is possible that the latter was somehow derived from the former—Lesches was the poet whose work Polygnotus famously illustrated in the Cnidian Lesche; biographical details (such as the name of his father, Aeschylinus) were fleshed out later.

[ back ] 203. Nagy 1990b:76.

[ back ] 204. Cf. already Flach 1883:189.

[ back ] 205. On the dialect forms, see Bravo 2001:82, quoting Martin Peters (per litteras), who notes that Aeolic σελάννα could originally have occupied the place of Doric σελάνα.

[ back ] 206. Bravo 2001:83.

[ back ] 207. A related argument is made in West 1971: “[C]ould [Clement’s] source have used a citharode’s text?” (308n3). (But West 2002b:218n46, arguing that Lesches “composed his epic in Ionic, not Lesbian,” does not mention the possibility.) Cf. Nagy 1990b:77, who speaks of an “Ionic layer … superimposed on the arguably Aeolic traditions represented by Lesches of Mytilene.” Even if Bravo’s theory were correct, it would still be possible that the learned fabricator of an Aeolic Little Iliad (or at least of this one verse) was trying to recreate textually what he knew to be the citharodic prehistory to the rhapsodic Little Iliad. Similarly, when the Peripatetic scholar Dicaearchus of Messana (fr. 90 Wehrli) and Zopyrus of Magnesia (FGrH 494 F 3) claim that the Iliad should be “read in Aeolic dialect” (ap. Vita Romana 32.25 Wilamowitz), they may have in mind the recovery of a notionally “original” citharodic Iliad.

[ back ] 208. Another non-Ionic form probably appears in line 5 of the fragment, ἄιξαν (for ἤιξαν); cf. Bravo 2001:60.

[ back ] 209. See Bravo 2001:69 for other metrical oddities in the fragment.

[ back ] 210. Cf. West 1971:308 and Palumbo-Stracca 1994:121, 126–128.

[ back ] 211. On the verse as a pastiche cf. Palumbo-Stracca 1994:124–125; Ford 2003: “Hence, though the school scroll on the Douris cup … is inscribed with words that may be construed as an awkward hexameter, they may simply be a melange of two incompatible epic incipits” (25). Cf. Euripides Trojan Women 511, discussed below.

[ back ] 212. Diehl 1936; cf. Beazley 1948:338.

[ back ] 213. See the résumé in Gerber 1997:238–239. Citharodic Sacks had a parallel in (or may have inspired) treatments of the same themes in the contemporary agonistic medium of aulôidia ‘singing to the aulos’. Athenaeus 13.610c says that Sacadas of Argos composed an Iliou Persis (the text is corrupt, but we should read Σακάδα τοῦ for the MSS σακατου, as Casaubon first realized). Sacadas, active in the early sixth century BCE, produced melê for choruses, but, more probably, this Iliou Persis was a monodic elegy fitted to the framework of an aulodic nomos, a genre for which Sacadas was also known, and which was typically performed by aulodes at mousikoi agônes (“Plutarch” On Music 8.1134a; Sacadas himself was a three-time Pythian victor). Cf. Bowie 2007:53.

[ back ] 214. I observe the punctuation of Biehl’s Teubner text (1970), which makes Μοῦσα καινῶν ὕμνων into a single noun phrase.

[ back ] 215. See Kranz 1933:254 on the influence of the New Music on this stasimon. Croally 1994:245 offers a less culturally specific (vis-à-vis later-fifth-century Athens) reading: “The newness of what the chorus say consists in two points. First, their song now compares unfavourably with the happy songs which were being sung in Troy before its destruction (529–30, 544ff.); second, this treatment of war is quite different from epic treatments because it is seen almost entirely through the eyes of women.” Of course, from the most basic point of view, the chorus’ song is a kainos humnos because no one has ever before sung of the fall of Troy.

[ back ] 216. The inscription is presented and discussed in Ma 2007:232–245. “Citharodic dithyramb” was a Hellenistic phenomenon, and probably rare, perhaps even exclusive to the repertoire of Demetrius of Phocaea; cf. Part IV.9. On Demetrius, see Stephanis 1988, no. 636.

[ back ] 217. Cf. Part IV.12. Although we may speculate too that the Timothean Nauplios (PMG 785) itself represented a continuity with Classical citharodic Nostoi.

[ back ] 218. Cf. West 1973: “The Aeolian colonists who settled around Lesbos were the obvious people to transmit this Thessalian mythology to the Ionians” (189).

[ back ] 219. See West 2005:40 on the mystery shrouding the early history of the Argonautica (“we cannot identify any Argonautica of this period [seventh century] that was available to later readers”).

[ back ] 220. West 2005:46–47 argues compellingly for a seventh-century Argonautic Orpheus, whose role in the tradition seems already well established by the sixth century. In addition to the Sicyonian Monopteros image discussed below, there are poetic reflections. Ibycus, whose songs treated Argonautic material (PMG 292, 301, 309), mentions an ὀνομάκλυτον Ὀρφήν ‘famous Orpheus’ in PMG 306, presumably from an Argonautic narrative. Simonides PMG 567 describes a singer, probably Orpheus on board the Argo, charming birds and fish with his song. Other fragments of Simonides confirm that he treated the quest for the Fleece in various poems (PMG 540, 544–548, 568, 576). I would argue that Ibycus, who probably spent time in Cleisthenic Sicyon (Barron 1964:224, Griffin 1982:57–58), and Simonides received their Argonautic myth from the citharodes, adapting it for choral performance. Cf. discussion of Pindar Pythian 4 below.

[ back ] 221. See La Coste Messelière 1936:82–95; Griffin 1982:57; Parker 1994; and Knell 1998:22–23 on the dating and planning of the Monopteros, with the bibliographies compiled in the latter two; cf. too Neer 2007:245–246, who reaffirms the building’s Sicyonian rather than Sicilian (as some have argued) identity. Vojatzi’s view (1982:42) that Orpheus holds a khelus-lyre does not fit the visual profile of the instrument held by Orpheus; it is clearly a square-based kithara. On the probable death of Cleisthenes shortly before or in 560/59, see Barron 1964:226.

[ back ] 222. See Herington 1985:83–84; Irwin 2005b:288. Cingano 1985 argues that the rhapsodic poem Cleisthenes objected to was the Thebais, which at an early time was assigned to Homer, but Irwin does well to remind us of potentially objectionable Argive content in the Trojan Cycle as well.

[ back ] 223. See the related arguments in Böhme 1953:15–19; 1991:130–131; Schefold 1992:184.

[ back ] 224. See Robert 1920:416n6, followed by Vojatzi 1982:44, with further bibliography.

[ back ] 225. See Power 2004 for more on the role of kitharôidia in the cultural politics of Cleisthenic Sicyon. Traces of either traditional doubling or rivalry (or both) between Orpheus and Philammon appear in Hermesianax fr. 7 Powell, transposed to the erotic register. The Hellenistic poet makes Argiope (or Agriope) the wife of Orpheus (1–2), but that name is otherwise given to the nymph with whom Philammon conceived Thamyris (Conon FGrH 26 F 1 [7]; Pausanias 4.33.3; Apollodorus 1.3.3). Even if this is an innovation of Hermesianiax, it most likely reflects a preexisting tension between the two proto-citharodes. Dio Chrysostom 77/78.19–20 says that Orpheus would be happy above all to have his music praised by Philammon, which would also seem to speak to some rivalry between them. Note that a “haughty” Orpheus, more mystagogue than performing musician, did not participate in the Pythian agônes according to local Delphian accounts, while Philammon and his son Thamyris were celebrated early victors there (Pausanias 10.7.2). There are possible intimations here of a divide between an Aegean-Aeolic (Orphic) and a “mainland” citharodic tradition, the latter encompassing Delphic musical culture. Given that an Orpheus kitharôidos was known in Archaic Sicyon, it is curious, however, that he seems to go unmentioned by the Sicyonian anagraphê, which provided information for the “mainland” citharodic catalogue of Heraclides of Pontus. But it is unclear to what extent or in what sense the anagraphê (datable to the late fifth century BCE: Griffin 1982:159) reflected a Cleisthenic musico-cultural agenda. Cf. Power 2004:430–432. For the possibility that Terpander’s Pythian victories were mentioned in the anagraphê, see Gostoli 1990:99. Elsewhere Heraclides acknowledges Orpheus as “the greatest of all mortals in the tekhnê of kitharôidia” (scholia ad Rhesus 346 = fr. 159 Wehrli).

[ back ] 226. Gropengiesser 1977:607–610.

[ back ] 227. Cf. West 2005:45–46. Meuli 1975:593–676 argues that the Sirens episode, which motivated Orpheus’ inclusion in the epic, belonged to the earliest stages of Argonautic mythos, and antedated the Odyssean episode.

[ back ] 228. For monodic performance, see Davies 1988:56, with further references.

[ back ] 229. At the end of Pythian 4, Pindar imagines Damophilus, a political dissident recalled from exile by Arcesilas, “raising his wondrously wrought (daidalea) phorminx”—note the redemptive allusion to the daedalic phorminx that Achilles plays while still alienated from King Agamemnon (Iliad 9.186–187)—at a peaceful, rift-healing symposium, held significantly by the spring of Apollo, god of civic order, and attended by the now-friendly King Arcesilas and his elite political peers, the sophoi politai (294–297). Of course, Damophilus was no professional citharode; the sympotic context rather points to a monodic reperformance of the choral ode (cf. Nemean 4.13–16; Olympian 1.15–19), which here, given the length of Pythian 4, may be more of a notional conceit than an actual prospect. But the connection between lyric music and political stability may reflect wider beliefs held by the Cyreneans about the harmonizing potential of Apollonian kitharôidia. See further discussion immediately below.

[ back ] 230. The idea of Orpheus as “father of songs” finds a significant echo in a citharodic nomos of Timotheus, Persians, in which Orpheus is said to have first “begotten” (ἐτέκνωσεν, 222) the “tortoise-shell lyre with its intricate music.”

[ back ] 231. Braswell 1988:257.

[ back ] 232. Bibliography on the Cyrenean Carneia is collated in Dougherty 1993:119n27; cf. too Malkin 1994:143–168. Ceccarelli and Milanezi 2007 consider tragic and dithyrambic contests in Cyrene. Tarentum, an ancient Spartan colony, also celebrated a Carneia, which presumably featured citharodic agônes on the model of the Spartan Carneia. Significantly, Tarentum is the last stop on Arion’s travels in Magna Graecia, as related in Herodotus 1.24.2. Might we see this as a reflex of a Tarentine effort to attract westward the Lesbian Singers famously hosted at the Spartan Carneia? Tarentum in later years must have become an important center of kitharôidia. The star citharode Nicocles (third century BCE) was Tarentine, as is the fictional Evangelus, who tries to compete at Delphi in Lucian The Uncultured Book Collector 8–11. For the citharodes Lycon (second century BCE) and Heracleides (first century BCE) of Tarentum, see Stephanis 1988, nos. 1082 and 1570.

[ back ] 233. Cf. Marshall 2000. Pindar accentuates Arcesilas’ own musical skill (Pythian 5.114).

[ back ] 234. On the choral performance of Pythian 5 at the Carneia, see Krummen 1990:97–116. At Pythian 5.102–103 it is said that Apollo khrusaôr should be invoked “in the aoida of young men,” who are presumably the chorus singing the present song. The epithet probably means ‘of the golden lyre’ as well as ‘of the golden sword’; in fr. 128c.12 S-M Pindar mentions Ὀρφέα χρυσάορα, and here the epithet must refer to Orpheus’ lyre. Cf. Ceccarelli and Milanezi 2007:197n23. The epithet thus posits another implicit link between Pindar’s epinician and the citharodic culture of the Carneia.

[ back ] 235. Cf. Part I.8.iiin171. On Hadrian’s interest in the early culture of Cyrene, see Boatwright 2002:177.

[ back ] 236. Cf. Bowra 1961:120, who suspects the influence of the Stesichorean Games for Pelias on the Chest. But if the Chest does date to the time of Cypselus (before Stesichorus’ floruit), or even if it was produced somewhat later, citharodic hypotexts may well be at issue instead. Periander’s engagement of Arion signals a broader Corinthian interest in kitharôidia.

[ back ] 237. Cf. Dale 1954:90.

[ back ] 238. Choruses likely did perform at the Spartan Carneia, but we have no explicit testimonia for them, as we do for the Hyacinthia and Gymnopaidiai festivals, whose choruses were renowned (see Calame 1997:202–204). There is, however, iconographical evidence for mixed-gender choral dancing at the Tarentine Carneia (see Ceccarelli and Milanezi 2007:200, fig. 19b); for Cyrene, see Callimachus Hymn to Apollo 85–87. The mention of “Carneius, a Trojan” in Alcman PMG 52, perhaps from a choral song, is also worth noting.

[ back ] 239. Thus Hardie 2005:14, who speculates that mousopoloi was an “East Greek coinage applied to professional musicians.”

[ back ] 240. Cf. Binney 1905:99. Euripides’ emphatic reminder of the organic, vital origins of the lyre in the periphrasis “seven-toned mountain tortoise” (ἑπτάτονος ὀρεία χέλυς) is thematically appropriate to the consolatory rhetoric for Alcestis, whose death will provide “life” for song. Similarly, the tortoise’s death is musically redeemed: though voiceless in life, it emits a voice after death as the lyre (Homeric Hymn to Hermes 37–38; Sophocles Ikhneutai 300; Nicander Alexipharmaca 560–563). See the discussion of the silent tortoise/speaking lyre paradox in Borthwick 1970 and Svenbro 1992.

[ back ] 241. Laronde 1987:140 for reperformance of the Alcestis (he reproduces images of the funerary reliefs on 138–139, plates 36–37); for dithyrambic performance, see Ceccarelli and Milanezi 2007, especially 198–203.

[ back ] 242. Thus Sens 1997:94, who sees a “special literary point” in the “association of poet and honorands.”

[ back ] 243. Sens 1997:23 discusses echoes between the Dioscuri and the Ptolemies. See Part I.8 above for the Ptolemies as patrons and practitioners of kitharôidia.

[ back ] 244. Helen’s musical talents are better attested than those of her brothers. She was imagined in Spartan cult as a chorus leader of young girls (Aristophanes Lysistrata 1296–1321; cf. Calame 1997:191–192), and the mention of Artemis and the choral setting of Idyll 18 as a whole recall that role. It is possible that the girls (parthenikai, 2) who notionally sing Idyll 18 are recalling the days when Helen served as lyric accompanist (kitharistês) to their chorus (cf. Sappho fr. 58), and sang the humnoi that prefaced their choral songs. But Theocritus may as well envision a solo lyric performance, a transcendent extension of Helen’s “prima donna” role in the choral dance (on which cf. Nagy 1990b:345). For the transformation of kitharistês into kitharôidos, see Section 3 above.

[ back ] 245. See Griffiths 1979:86–91; cf. Hunter 1996:163.

[ back ] 246. Cf. the remarks on the lyric Achilles above, the citharodic Heracles below. The musical skill of the Dioscuri, married to their martial and athletic prowess, might also have heroically validated the lyric enthusiasms of Spartan aristocrats (cf. Alcman PMG 41, with Plutarch Lycurgus 24), perhaps even their occasional participation in the Carneian citharodic agônes alongside the professional Lesbian singers. Aristotle Politics 8.1341a33–34 supplies the relevant information that, around the time of the Persian Wars, a Spartan khorêgos himself played the aulos for his chorus, which may be indicative of a wider dabbling by non-professionals in musical contests in early Sparta. Cf. Wilson 2000:131.

[ back ] 247. The twins in Athens: Pausanias 1.18.1; Plutarch Life of Theseus 31–33. See Shapiro 1989:149–154.

[ back ] 248. Dioscuri on Lesbos: Shields 1917:78–79.

[ back ] 249. Hunter 1996:52–57 discusses the intertextual play between Idyll 22 and the (rhapsodic) Homeric Hymn (33) to the Dioscuri. Leutsch 1856:342 thought that a hymnic invocation preserved in Dionysius of Halicarnassus On Composition 17, ὦ Ζηνὸς καὶ Λήδας κάλλιστοι σωτῆρες ‘O finest saviors, born of Zeus and Leda’ (fr. dub. 9 Gostoli), was from a Terpandrean composition. The attribution to Terpander was prompted by the spondee-heavy meter, classified by Dionysius as a Molossian, which is loosely similar to fr. 3 and fr. dub. 8 Gostoli, the latter of which was called Terpandrean by Bergk also because of its spondaic make-up. See West 1982:55–56 and Gostoli 1990:151. Perhaps the verse did belong to a citharodic humnos, but there is no way to be sure; the meter is not a reliable guide.

[ back ] 250. Cf. Hunter 1996:149–151.

[ back ] 251. For the possibility that Stesichorus was active in Sparta, see Bowra 1961:106–115.

[ back ] 252. Plovdiv, Departmental Archaeological Museum 298; Maas and Snyder 1989:74, fig. 7, with their comments on p57. The connection between the hydria and Idyll 22.24 was first made in Chapouthier 1935:134n3.

[ back ] 253. Veyne 2000:11, who also argues that the unidentified woman shown standing across from the citharode with her arms raised in surprise or delight is Leda. What Veyne is essentially arguing is that the Kadmos Painter is imagining the original theoxenia, the twins’ once-upon-a-time homecoming to Sparta.

[ back ] 254. This seems to be the interpretation of Maas and Snyder 1989:226n23. Cf. Chapouthier 1935:133–134, who thinks that the musician is a priest and the woman a priestess. Veyne 2000:11–12 notes parallels for the performance of theoxenic music meant to entertain “feasting” gods. If the Kadmos Painter is showing us a “real” theoxenia, it is still unclear whether it is set in Sparta or Athens. There was a festival for the Dioscuri at Athens, the Anakeia, but we know nothing about its musical aspects (Parker 1996:97; 2005:157). A Spartan setting is possible: Burn 1987:25 argues that later-fifth-century vases with Spartan-themed paintings were commissioned by pro-Spartan Athenian aristocrats.

[ back ] 255. Cf. Boardman 1978a:16. For a more politically oriented reading of the composition of the Argo metope, see Neer 2007:245–246.

[ back ] 256. Heracles’ posture and gesture—stepping up to the bêma, tuning the kithara—are typical of citharodes/citharists on late Archaic and early Classical vases; cf. the identical schema on an early-fifth-century pelike by the Pan Painter (New York, Solow Art and Architecture Foundation; Bundrick 2005:167, fig. 98).

[ back ] 257. Boardman 1975:10–11; cf. 1972:69. (Boardman oddly suggests, however, that the images refer to the Homeric recitals, by which he must mean the rhapsodic recitals, in Athens.) Schauenburg 1979 follows up, demonstrating in detail the iconographical derivation of the Heracles kitharôidos scenes from those of mortal agonists shown competing at the Panathenaia. Cf. Kotsidu 1991:113–115, with the helpful bibliography provided at p216nn29–33; Shapiro 1992:69; Bundrick 2005:160–161.

[ back ] 258. Cf. Beazley 1964: “This new conception of Herakles must be due to a poem that has not come down to us, in which he was depicted as not only brave … but the friend of the Muses as well” (76). Cf. Schauenburg 1979:75. Dugas 1944 had earlier conjectured the vase painters were illustrating “an episode from the life of Heracles” in which the hero sang to the kithara for his divine audience (62). This would seem to presume a poetic tradition. Dugas’ theory that this episode reflected a Pythagorean interest in the lyre is interesting (70), but ultimately unconvincing. The glamorous agonistic citharode is far from the meditative realms of the Pythagorean. And although Heracles is shown on some later-sixth-century vessels playing the lyre or barbitos, he generally does so in exuberant comastic milieux—again, territory not conducive to deep Pythagorean speculation.

[ back ] 259. E.g. a red-figured cup by Douris from c. 480 BCE, on which Heracles bludgeons Linus with a stool (Munich, Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek 2646; Bundrick 2005:73, fig. 44). The story of the attack is variously related in late literary sources, e.g. Aelian Historical Miscellanies 3.32, in which Heracles stabs Linus with his plêktron; Apollodorus 1.14.2, 2.63.4; Diodorus Siculus 3.67 (Linus bludgeoned with the lyre itself); Pausanias 9.29.9. Cf. discussion in Bundrick 2005:72–74.

[ back ] 260. Heracles kitharôidos continues to make rare appearances, however, in late Classical (on one Apulian vase) and Imperial iconography; see Schauenburg 1979:53. Also notable is a fragment from a red-figured vessel of around 430 BCE that shows a youth holding a kithara and mounting a bêma in front of a shrine of Heracles (Bucharest 03207; CVA Bucharest 1, plate 32, 1). The image could refer to the mousikoi agônes at the Herakleia in Marathon (cf. n119 above), where perhaps the memory of the citharodic hero was kept alive. In any case, we would expect that citharodes competing at the Herakleia would sing Heraclean narratives.

[ back ] 261. Cf. Schauenburg 1979: “Ohne Zweifel ist das Schema des Herakles auf dem Bema von den Bildern mit Agonen Sterblicher abzuleiten, die, wenn lokalisierbar, mit den Panathenäen zu verknüpfen sind” (73). Bundrick 2005:160 notes apropos of the Panathenaic localization of Heracles kitharôidos that Hermes, who is often depicted alongside Athena in Heracles’ audience, may, as Hermes Agoraios, “serve to set the scene in the Athenian Agora, which may have been the locale for the mousikoi agones” in the sixth century BCE.

[ back ] 262. For Heracles as a model of the athleticism involved in citharodic performance, see Part I.18.

[ back ] 263. Cf. Dugas 1944:62.

[ back ] 264. In Pindar Pythian 1.13–14 the noisy, grotesque Giants are made to exemplify all that is irreconcilable with the cosmically stabilizing lyric music of Apollo and the Muses, which is perfectly in tune with the Olympian divine order (1–12).

[ back ] 265. Likewise, the comparison of Odysseus as he strings his bow to a lyre singer implicitly figures him as Apollo, enforcing law and order in an inharmonious Ithaca. Apollonian intimations are only strengthened since Odysseus’ revenge is set against the backdrop of the festival of Apollo (Odyssey 20.275–278, 21.267–228, 338). Cf. Wilson 2004:270. On the structural and symbolic relation between Apollo’s bow and lyre, see Monbrun 2001, with n269 below. On Heracles’ quiver as a visual reminder of his aristeia in the Gigantomachy, see Mackay 1995:293.

[ back ] 266. On the kallinikos song in Heraclean myth and cult, see Lawler 1948.

[ back ] 267. Examples and discussion in Schauenburg 1979:54–55.

[ back ] 268. The two variant forms of celebration are linked on a privately owned amphora discussed in depth in Schauenburg 1979 (figs. 1–2 on p50). The obverse shows Heracles kitharôidos stepping onto the bêma along with Athena, who plays the auloi—the image clearly is meant to prefigure the mousikoi agônes of the Panathenaia; the reverse, only partly preserved, shows a comastic scene, with a lyre-playing Hermes leading a procession of Dionysus and silens.

[ back ] 269. Like Heracles kitharôidos, Apollo slays an earth-born monster (the Pythian serpent) with his bow and later celebrates his victory with the phorminx (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 356–374, 514–519). This sequence of events, god battles monster/god celebrates new order with music, was represented in compressed form in the auletic and citharistic Puthikos nomos performed at Delphi (Pollux Onomasticon 4.84; Strabo 9.3.10; cf. West 1992:212–214). At Athens, a Heracles-focused Gigantomachy narrative, capped by the hero’s musical performance, was perhaps presented in a nomic framework modeled on these Pythian nomoi. Cf. Bundrick 2005:161 on the possible rivalry between Pythia and Panathenaia: “One could even say that Herakles in a sense usurps Apollo’s position; might the depictions of Herakles proclaim Athens as a new rival to Delphi in in the realm of mousikoi agones?” In one tradition, Apollo sang a citharodic song to celebrate Zeus’ victory over the Titans, a direct parallel to Heracles kitharôidos in the Gigantomachy (Seneca Agamemnon 332–334; cf. West 2002a:116n28 for related passages, and n277 below on the Titanomachy).

[ back ] 270. Irwin 2005a:82 speculates on the political subtext of a Peisistratean Gigantomachy: it might have alluded to Peisistratus’ definitive victory over his Alcmaeonid-led elite opponents at the Battle of Pallene. Thracian Pallene was also known as the site of the final defeat of the Giants (Diodorus Siculus 4.15). The Giant-slayer Heracles would thus figure Peisistratus in his fight against the hubristic elite of Athens. Indeed, Gigantomachy scenes become more common in the later 540s, after the Battle of Pallene; cf. Watrous 1982:165.

[ back ] 271. Heracles was also made the founder of the athletic agônes at Olympia (see sources and bibliography in Nagy 1990b:119n16)—a significant precedent for his connection to the Panathenaia. The performance of the kallinikos song was traditionally associated with Heracles as exemplary Olympic victor (Pindar Olympian 9.1–4, alluding to Archilochus fr. 324W) as well as Giant-slayer. Cf. Lawler 1948:254; Ferrari 1994/1995:222.

[ back ] 272. For the aetiological link between Gigantomachy and Panathenaia, see Pinney 1988:471; Schefold 1992:55–56; Shear 2001:31–37. Scenes from the battle were woven into the peplos presented to Athena at the Panathenaic festival.

[ back ] 273. Pinney 1988 and Ferrari 1994/1995, in which she links the scene type of Athena and Heracles in a chariot to the kallinikos kômos. This latter article is critical of the theory of Boardman (cf. Boardman 1972, 1975) that the vase painters took their cues from Peisistratean propaganda in producing images of Heracles. For Ferrari, it is simply Heracles’ connection to the Panathenaia that motivates the images. As she notes, however (225–226), the Peisistratids maintained a keen interest in the festival, and, even if Peisistratus himself played no part in the reorganization of 566 (but this is uncertain; cf. Herington 1985:85–86), the Heraclean agenda of the tyrants conspicuously overlapped with the artists’ celebration of the festival’s charter myth, the currency of which in turn notably coincided with the tyrants’ reign. Certainly, Heracles kitharôidos appears only at a point when the Peisistratids had been long established in power; it is thus difficult not to see in this figure a deliberate fusion of the glamour and prestige of festival, tyrant, and agonistic citharode.

[ back ] 274. Pinney 1988:471, citing testimony of Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 7.27.7 that links Athena to the armed dance and the Gigantomachy. Parker 2005:257n19 is skeptical of the interpretation, presumably because Athena is not explicitly depicted in a dance posture. An aetiological reading of Heracles kitharôidos is obviously less problematic in this respect.

[ back ] 275. For Athena as a model aulete, cf. n268 above.

[ back ] 276. Cf. Bundrick 2005:164.

[ back ] 277. Vian 1952:184–222 reconstructs the narrative of a seventh-century BCE epic Gigantomachy, but does not speculate about performance medium. I note the attribution of a citharodic Titanomachy to Thamyris that is recorded by Heraclides of Pontus (ap. “Plutarch” On Music 3.1132a–b)—Titanomachies and Gigantomachies were often conflated, as Vian shows.

[ back ] 278. London 1926, 6–28.7. See Maas and Snyder 1989:75, fig. 11, with discussion on p61.

[ back ] 279. This is suggested by Webster 1972:161; cf. Shapiro 1989:41–42, who identifies the Giant as Enkelados.

[ back ] 280. Cf. Webster 1972:161–162; Bundrick 2005:168. While the scene of the citharode’s victory on the Altamura Painter’s krater could well be the Panathenaia, it is notable that Triptolemus, mythical priest of Demeter at Eleusis, is depicted opposite the citharode on the neck of the vessel. Might the citharode have been a competitor at the Eleusinia festival, which, certainly in the third century BCE, and probably earlier, included musical as well as athletic and equestrian contests. See Parker 2005:210, 328; Simms 1975; on the antiquity of the festival, Aelius Aristides Panathenaicus 13.189.4–5; on its athletic games, Pindar Olympian 9.99, 13.110, Isthmian 1.57, with Kyle 1987:47.Of course, the inclusion of Triptolemus might allude to a separate victory at the (less prestigious) Eleusinia; thus the two Nikai surrounding the citharode.

[ back ] 281. See Shapiro 1989, pl. 22 b and c, with discussion on p46; cf. Shapiro 1993:98.

[ back ] 282. Martin 1989:229–230.

[ back ] 283. On the rhapsodic Sack of Oechalia, see Burkert 1972.

[ back ] 284. Cf. Shapiro 1992:65. For plates of both sides of the amphora (San Antonio 86.134.40), with interpretive discussion, see Picon and Shapiro 1996:86–89. See now Stansbury-O’Donnell 2006:89–127 for the concurrent depiction of performance and theme of performed song in Archaic vase painting.

[ back ] 285. Basel BS 491; cf. Shapiro 1992:67, with fig. 45; Schauenburg 1961, figs. 1 and 2. The fight with the lion would make suitable material for a nomos on the model of the Puthikos, in which Apollo’s slaying of the serpent was represented. Lachmann 1929 observes remarkable structural and narrative-mimetic similarities between a programmatic Tunisian flute piece describing a battle with a lion, which was still performed by Bedouin musicians in the early twentieth century, and the Puthikos nomos. Cf. West 1992:213n53.

[ back ] 286. Cf. discussion in West 1974:4–5. Bowie 1986:34 discusses the possibility of Heraclean elegiac-aulodic narrative poetry by Archilochus. A calyx krater by Euphronius (Louvre G 103; c. 510–500 BCE) has a concert scene on the obverse, with an aulete, named Polykles, mounting the bêma before an audience; on the reverse, Heracles wrestles Antaeus, perhaps the mimetic subject of Polykles’ instrumental auletic nomos. Cf. Webster 1972:49; Shapiro 1989:42–43 (who notes that a Polykles is also depicted as a citharode on a contemporary oinochoe, Villa Giulia 20839–40); Bundrick 2005:163–164.

[ back ] 287. See Robertson 1969 for Stesichorean influence on images of the Geryon encounter; on the Cycnus as model for Attic vase paintings of the battle between Cycnus and Heracles, see Shapiro 1984:524.

[ back ] 288. Cf. Brize 1980:28–29 for the argument that both Stesichorus and the artists were influenced by preexisting oral traditions, not only of Heraclean saga, but also Trojan narrative.

[ back ] 289. On traces of rhapsodic performance in the text of the Shield, see Martin 2005:166–167; Janko 1986:39–40.

[ back ] 290. On the “pulp epic” qualities of the rhapsodic Shield, see Martin 2005. One thinks of the “pulpiness” of our one preserved text of a citharodic nomos, the Persians of Timotheus, with its baroque descriptions of violent combat and the lurid suffering of the defeated. Such excess is largely attributable to the sensationalist aesthetic of the New Music in general, but it may as well have been an extension of certain preexisting tendencies in the texts of the Classical nomos.

[ back ] 291. Bowra 1961:80. Cf. Janko 1986:59 on competing variants of the Cycnus narrative in the early sixth century BCE. As Janko and Bowra (80–81) both demonstrate, there were at least two significant differences between the Stesichorean Cycnus and our Shield (in the former, Heracles initially retreats from Ares and Cycnus is said to make a shrine to Apollo from the skulls of travelers; neither of these details is to be found in the latter). These divergences could be explained as Stesichorus’ creative innovations on the myth as recounted in the Shield, but we might also conjecture that Stesichorus was following an altogether separate version of the Cycnus-Heracles battle. We may also note that in sixth-century Attic vase painting the battle is depicted in ways that are distinct from the Shield narrative (see Shapiro 1984). Again, we could explain the divergences as the vase painters’ creative interpretations of the myth, or we might imagine a separate musico-poetic (citharodic?) source of inspiration for the images.

[ back ] 292. Chamaeleon mentions Archilochus, Mimnermus, and Phocylides as other poets who were sung, but with these aulodic performance is probably at issue. On the citharodic performance of Hesiod, see too Koller 1956:165; Böhme 1970:135–138. Nagy 1990b:27–28, who is interested in distinguishing modes of performance for “poetry” and “song,” however, would discount Chamaeleon’s testimony as a retrojection of post-Classical musical settings of rhapsodic or recited verse onto an earlier time.

[ back ] 293. So Stesichorus was made a son or grandson of Hesiod (Philochorus FGrH 328 F 213; Cicero Republic 2.20; Tzetzes Life of Hesiod 18). Cyme was also said to be Homer’s native city, so his supposed birth there might rather speak to Terpander’s Homeric affiliations; cf. n107 above.

[ back ] 294. Invention of kithara: “Plutarch” On Music 6.1133c; Douris FGrH 76 F 81; nomos: Pollux Onomasticon 4.65.

[ back ] 295. The name Capion is attested in Boeotian inscriptions; see Vollgraff 1901; cf. Flach 1883:207n1. However, Wilamowitz 1903:90n1 thinks that the name Cepion/Capion derives from the nomos called the kêpiôn; cf. n104 above.

[ back ] 296. Cf. Calame 1996:54 and passim for the myth-historical ties between Helicon and the citharodically seminal regions of Pieria and Thrace. On Pierus of Pieria as a mediating figure between the citharodic cultures of Pieria and Helicon, see Pausanias 9.29.2.

[ back ] 297. On the musical contests of the Hellenistic Mouseia, see Bonnet 2001.

[ back ] 298. Cf. Jamot 1895; on the reorganization, see now Knoepfler 1996. Lamberton 1988:496–497 argues that the musical contests of the Mouseia (as well as the cult of Hesiod) were established by the Thespians only in the Hellenistic period, since the archaeological record yields no definitive traces of earlier activity at the site. But this view seems too extreme (cf. Calame 1996:51–52, 54; Veneri 1996:81n30). We may note, for instance, that Pausanias 9.30.1 mentions statues of the Muses there by Classical sculptors such as Strongylion and Cephisodotus; these could be later dedications imported from elsewhere (as was Myron’s Dionysus, dedicated by Sulla), but they could as well have been original installations.

[ back ] 299. On text-internal evidence for Theban performance of the Shield, see Janko 1986:48, who puts forward the Herakleia/Iolaeia as the site of the poem’s first performance. Larsen 2007:51 speaks of the Shield more generally as an “archaic Boiotian literary production and … a potentially important source for the Boiotian collective in the archaic period.” Of course, Herakleia festivals proliferated across Classical Greek cities, so Heraclean kitharôidia, despite any local factors, would have been a supralocally mobile and marketable commodity.

[ back ] 300. Charitesia: documentation in Schachter 1981:140–144; an Athenian citharodic victor is attested at the fourth-century BCE Amphiaraia (IG VII 414).

[ back ] 301. Aravantinos 1996, with Franklin 2006a:56, who speculates that lyric accounts of Amphion’s construction of Thebes could be grounded in the Mycenaean musical culture of the city.

[ back ] 302. Scholia D to Iliad 6.131; cf. West 2002a:126–128.

[ back ] 303. Pausanias 9.5.8 mentions another epic in which Amphion was treated, the Minyas, but there it is Amphion’s punishment in Hades, for “insulting” Leto, Apollo, and Artemis (presumably in connection with his wife, Niobe); the Minyas also mentioned the underworld punishment of the hubristic Thamyris (cf. 4.33.7). Pausanias 4.33.7 names as author of the Minyas Prodicus of Phocaea, an Ionian city on the southern edge of the Aeolis. If the Minyas that Pausanias knew came out of a firmly Ionian rhapsodic tradition, then the negative representation of the citharodes could reflect the sort of anti-citharodic attitude that implicitly informs the representation of Thamyris in Iliad 2.594–600. But perhaps the traces of a properly “metacitharodic” rivalry are preserved in the Minyas, an antagonism between “mainland” traditions of kitharôidia, whose mythical exponents include Theban Amphion and Delphian/Thracian Thamyris, and an Eastern Aeolic one, headed by Orpheus. We may note the near-Aeolic provenance of Prodicus. There are indirect indications that the Minyas presented Orpheus in a favorable light. First, a katabasis of Orpheus was attributed to a Prodicus of Samos, probably the same as the Phocaean (Clement Stromateis 1.21.131; see Robertson 1980:281). The attribution might be based upon the presence of Orpheus in the Minyas. Second, in Pausanias’ description of Polygnotus’ Nekyia painting in the Cnidian Lesche, which he thinks was influenced in part by the Minyas (10.28.2), we read that Orpheus was depicted in Greek garb singing to his kithara for an appreciative audience of prestigious heroes, while Thamyris was pictured nearby, blind and abject, standing above his broken kithara (10.30.6–9). Polygnotus obviously intended to draw out a contrast between the two, and Martin 2001:30 reasonably speculates that an older poetic rivalry lay behind it. Again, I would contend that that rivalry, as expressed in both the painting and the Minyas that perhaps influenced it, was specifically between traditional schools of kitharôidia. (Plato Republic 620a also mentions Orpheus and Thamyris side by side in an account of the Underworld, but here the undertones of rivalry are muted: the soul of Orpheus assumes the life of a swan, Apollo’s bird, that of Thamyris the life of a nightingale, a bird whose song was appropriately associated with sorrow and lament.) Polygnotus depicted Thamyris too in the Stoa Poikile in Athens, but not, it seems, in the Underworld; there the influence was said to be the Thamyras of Sophocles (Life of Sophocles 24).

[ back ] 304. Frs. 181, 182 M-W. According to Palaephatus On Unbelievable Tales 41 (= fr. 182 M-W) Hesiod said that Amphion and Zethus together built the walls (ἐτείχισαν) with the kithara, but we cannot be certain whether this means the brothers were both represented as citharodes in the Catalogue, or this is merely the mythographer’s tendentious or mistaken reading (he claims rather improbably that both were star citharodes, κιθαρῳδοὶ ἄριστοι). Amphion’s marriage to Niobe was also treated in the Catalogue (fr. 183 M-W).

[ back ] 305. Franklin 2003:303.

[ back ] 306. Webster 1953:30.

[ back ] 307. Phaenias fr. 10 Wehrli by way of Athenaeus 14.638c. On Antigeneidas and Argas, see West 1992:367 and 372.

[ back ] 308. Hermes as Erichthonius: Etymologicum Magnum s.v. Ἐριχθόνιος.

[ back ] 309. The Catalogue also treated Thamyris’ encounter with and punishment by the Muses (fr. 65 M-W), presumably in the course of the same genealogical narrative to which fr. 64 M-W belongs.

[ back ] 310. See Wilamowitz 1903:101.

[ back ] 311. Cf. Martin 2005:173–175 for the integral relationship between catalogue and narrative in rhapsôidia.

[ back ] 312. On Argiope cf. n225 above. Others made Thamyris’ mother a Muse (e.g. Scholia D ad Iliad 10.435).

[ back ] 313. For the conceit of Lesbos as mother, cf. Persians 234–235, where Timotheus says that Miletus “nurtured” him; cf. Hordern 2002:243. The text of lines 223–224 of Persians is corrupt, but it likely included an honorific for Calliope, such as κόρας | Διός ‘daughter of Zeus’ (M.L. West’s exempli gratia supplement, recorded by Hordern 2002:241). It is notable too that Orpheus is assigned a metaphorically paternal role vis-à-vis the lyre that he invents: “he begot (ἐτέκνωσεν) the lyre of intricate music” (221–222).

[ back ] 314. Cf. Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica 1.538–540 for the synonymy of phorminx and kithara (here describing the instrument of a proto-citharodic Orpheus). The epithet “boxwood” is likely also a stylized touch of the archaic. Philostratus Imagines 1.10 describes a primitive lura, made before the days when fancy materials such as ivory were used, as partially constructed from boxwood. Cf. Hunter 1996:141n9.

[ back ] 315. In an anonymous epigram cited at Alcidimas Odysseus 24, Orpheus is said to have taught (ἐξεδίδαξεν) Heracles. Presumably the subject of instruction was reading and writing rather than music, as Orpheus in the epigram is said to have first discovered writing. Cf. Linforth 1931; 1941:15–16.

[ back ] 316. On the likely Ptolemaic context of Idyll 24, see Griffiths 1979:94–95.

[ back ] 317. Further sources discussed in Robertson 1980:275–276; cf. Boardman 1975:6–7. The earliest preserved account would seem to be Pindar fr. dub. 346 S-M. See Lloyd-Jones 1967. Heracles’ battle with the Centaurs may itself have been the subject of citharodic song. In the Orphic Argonautica, Cheiron, engaged in a musical contest with Orpheus, takes the battle as his theme (415–418). This poem is late Imperial, but it evinces a familiarity with song traditions much older (cf. Nelis 2005).

[ back ] 318. Lloyd-Jones 1967:226–228. Robertson 1980 argues that the initiation episode was included in the Hesiodic Aegimius, which may in fact have been the case. But this view little affects arguments for a sixth-century Athenian katabasis epic featuring Eumolpus.

[ back ] 319. Boardman 1975:10; cf. Parker 1996:98.

[ back ] 320. On the Eleusinia festival at Eleusis, which likely included mousikoi agônes from an early point, see n280 above. Note that the krater of the Altamura Painter discussed there includes references to two citharodic victories, possibly at the Panathenaia and the Eleusinia, in significant conjunction with scenes of the Gigantomachy and of Eleusinian Triptolemus—perhaps a legacy of Peisistratean musical/festal politics.

[ back ] 321. On Archaic citharodic treatments of Orphic myth, see Part III.8. Lloyd-Jones 1967:228 tentatively suggests that the Heraclean katabasis was related in an epic circulated under the name of Musaeus, the “Attic Orpheus,” who represents “a link between Orpheus and the Eleusinian cult.” Cf. Graf 1974:146. In the sixth century BCE a collection of oracles went under his name (Herodotus 7.6.3), but Musaeus’ musico-poetic persona and his connection to Eumolpus (his son) and Eleusis were more fully developed only in the later fifth century: West 1983:39–41. Musaeus is depicted as a full-fledged concert citharode in the company of his wife Deiope, his infant son Eumolpus, the Muses, and Aphrodite on a late-fifth-century pelike by the Meidias Painter (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 37.11.23). In Diodorus Siculus 4.25.1 it is Musaeus, the son of Orpheus (and father of Eumolpus), who initiates Heracles—presumably a secondary tradition. In light of the connection between Heracles kitharôidos and the Gigantomachy, it is interesting that Diodorus also records a tradition in which Musaeus assists the gods against the Giants (5.71.3).

[ back ] 322. Gow 1952:432. On the various parentage assigned to Eumolpus and the late rationalizing construction of multiple Eumolpi, see Williams 1994:140–141. It is to be noted that in one genealogical tradition Eumolpus was said to be son of Poseidon and Chione, whose name is also an alternative name of Philonis, the mother of Philammon.

[ back ] 323. For Eleusinian influence on the Lernaean Mysteries, see Farnell 1907:200. Wilson 2009:54 speculates that Thamyris, brother of Eumolpus from their father Philammon, was connected to the mystery cult at Messenian Andania (which was linked with another key place-name of Heraclean myth, Oechalia, in this case located in the Peloponnese rather than Thessaly). Again, the model for Thamyris at Andania would likely be Eumolpus at Eleusis. In the later fifth and fourth centuries Eleusis itself diversified its roster of prestigious lyric poet-founders, integrating, alongside Eumolpus, Musaeus and then Orpheus into its early myth history, and incorporating a body of texts (not necessarily citharodic or lyric) ascribed to them into its sacred poetic canon. See Graf 1974; West 1983:1–44, 281.

[ back ] 324. Webster 1972:162; cf. Gentili 1954.

[ back ] 325. One might presume that Theseus’ underwater dive to the halls of Poseidon was a popular episode from the epic-citharodic Theseid, and was thus taken up by Bacchylides. (One depiction of the episode, on a cup by Onesimos [Louvre G 104, c. 500–490 BCE], predates Bacchylides 17, as Webster 1972:162 notes.) For the probable reliance of Bacchylides 18 on a Theseid, see Mills 1997:20–21. An earlier choral lyric reworking of the Theseid narrative may be Simonides’ treatment of the Cretan adventure, of which we have, however, only one line (PMG 550). The Theseids referred to in Aristotle Poetics 8.1541a19–21, Plutarch Life of Theseus 28.1, and scholia ad Pindar Olympian 3.50b seem to be later written epics. Such a poem is ascribed to a fourth-century BCE poet, Nicostratus, by Diogenes Laertius 2.59.

[ back ] 326. See Sourvinou-Inwood 1971:97–100, Webster 1972:82–86, Neils 1987:143–151, Parker 1996:85, and Mills 1997:19–29 for further bibliography and discussion of the content and political status of the sixth-century Theseid.

[ back ] 327. This is not to say, however, that citharodic treatments of Theseus myth, certainly of the Cretan adventure (which is the only Thesean subject of Attic vase painting before around 510 BCE), are necessarily younger than those dealing with Heracles. Cf. Shapiro 1989:144–149, who argues that Theseus was seen as an Athenian national hero already in the time of Solon. Indeed, the figure of Heracles kitharôidos may be derived from a longer-established figure of lyre-playing Theseus (cf. Mills 1997:24n99), already attested on the François Vase, which antedates the first reign of Peisistratus. (Theseus’ lyric identity may in turn have been inspired by the phorminx-playing of Achilles.) See the following note.

[ back ] 328. Thus Shapiro 1989:146, with previous bibliography. In favor of this view is the report in Plutarch Life of Theseus 20 that Hereas of Megara (FGrH 486 F 1) said that Peisistratus tampered with the texts of Hesiod and Homer to bolster the image of Theseus. But cf. Parker 1996:85n73, who observes that “one can … deny Pisistratus’ responsibility for the postulated Theseis and still acknowledge that he may have taken some interest in the hero (why should he not?).” Walker 1995:35–47 argues against a strong Theseus-Peisistratus connection.

[ back ] 329. Florence 4209; Maas and Snyder 1989:50, fig. 14c. For debates over the scene’s setting—Delos or Crete—see Mills 19997:17n63 and Shapiro 1989:146–147 and 1991:125–126, whose own theory that the hand-holding group of youths led by Theseus is not a chorus seems improbable.

[ back ] 330. Cf. Shapiro 1991:127.

[ back ] 331. Munich 2243; Shapiro 1991:127, fig. 6; cf. Maas and Snyder 1989:85 for discussion of relevant fifth-century images. Shapiro 1989:147n37 lists other scenes in which a bystander holds the lyre.

[ back ] 332. The Kadmos Painter also produced an elaborate image of the dive (Bologna 303).

[ back ] 333. Cf. Maas and Snyder 1989: “Theseus … seems to have acquired his association with the lyre through accounts (now lost) of this scene [the victory celebration on Delos]” (38). Callimachus presumably knew such accounts, including perhaps the citharodic one I am conjecturing here. In his Hymn to Delos 312–313, a victorious Theseus plays kitharistês to a kuklios khoros on the island: ἐγειρομένου κιθαρισμοῦ | κύκλιον ὠρχήσαντο, χοροῦ δ’ ἡγήσατο Θησεύς ‘as the music of the lyre (or kithara) was raised, they danced in circular formation, and Theseus led the chorus’. According to Hyginus Astronomica 2.6, the constellation called Lyra was said to belong to a proximal constellation sometimes identified as Theseus, because Theseus “had learned to play the lyre.” Hyginus quotes a verse of Anacreon, ἀγχοῦ δ’ Αἰγείδεω Θησέος ἐστὶ λύρη ‘near Theseus son of Aegeus is a lyre’ (fr. 99, Bergk 1882). If Anacreon the Archaic poet is the author, constellations are not at issue. We might expect the line instead to come from a monodic lyric setting of Theseus’ Cretan adventure, perhaps as known from a currently circulating citharodic Theseid. We should think above all of the vase paintings of bystanders holding the lyre in close proximity (ἀγχοῦ) to Theseus as he fights the Minotaur. Anacreon’s engagement with the lyric Theseus could support arguments for a Peisistratid patronage of a Theseid (Anacreon was famously employed by Hipparchus), but it could as well postdate the tyrants. We know from vase paintings that Anacreon continued to be active in Athens during the decade following the expulsion of Hippias in 510 BCE (cf. Hutchinson 2001:259–260), the same period in which the iconographical record sees a spike in Theseus images. Anacreon was close to the family of Critias (Plato Charmides 157e; scholia ad Aeschylus Prometheus Bound 128). The long survival of his statue on the Acropolis, dedicated in the 440s, perhaps by Pericles, which represented him playing the lyre or barbitos (Pausanias 1.25.1), indicates that he had ingratiated himself with the post-Peisistratean aristocratic powers-that-be in democratic Athens, including the Alcmaeonids. Pausanias says that the statue was located immediately alongside that of the Alcmaeonid Xanthippus, father of Pericles, and a passage in Himerius suggests that Anacreon had praised Xanthippus in one of his songs (Oration 39.10, with Bowra 1961:301–302). Ridgway 1999 argues against a relationship between Xanthippus and Anacreon and would date the statue to the fourth century BCE, but see Zanker 1995:22–31, who argues that the statue represented an ethically and politically correct, distinctly Periclean refashioning of the poet’s decadent image; cf. Shapiro 1996:218. Voutiras 1980:77–91 suggests rather that the statue’s erection was undertaken by anti-Periclean oligarchs. Cf. Wilson 2003b:193–194, who speculates on the role of the oligarch Critias. Simonides’ treatment of Thesean narrative (PMG 550) might similarly date from the years after his engagement by the tyrants.

[ back ] 334. Shapiro 1991:126.

[ back ] 335. On rhapsôidoi as those who “sew together (rhaptein) songs” into a monumental text, see Nagy 1996:65–112.

[ back ] 336. See Gostoli 1990:XXIII for a bibliography of the relevant scholarship. The Puthikos nomos also existed in a citharistic version.

[ back ] 337. Wilamowitz 1903:96–98. Cf. van Groningen 1955.

[ back ] 338. Gostoli 1990:XXV notes the possibility that there was rhythmic responsion between arkha and metarkha and katatropa and metakatatropa. But this is purely speculative, not at all guaranteed by the “responsive” terms. In fact, “Aristotle” Problems 19.15 specifically indicates that nomoi were composed without responsion.

[ back ] 339. Westphal 1869:75; further bibliography in Gostoli 1990:XXIVn90.

[ back ] 340. I would note that, although epilogos in the Polluxian schema contains no clear spatial sense, Aelius Dionysius calls the concluding section of the nomos the exodion, a term that does belong to the metaphorical realm of travel and movement (Attic Lexicon 76). Cf. Wilamowitz 1903:98.

[ back ] 341. It is coincidentally notable that the most rigorously formalist, “nomic” composer of the twentieth century, Iannis Xenakis, whose quest to express spatiality as well as temporality through musical sound is well known, composed a work for solo cello called Nomos Alpha (1966), divided into 24 discrete sections, and clearly inspired by the ancient nomos. Xenakis, who trained as an architect under Le Courbusier, was concerned to treat in his music a “conception of time as a representation of physical space, and musical material as a representation of matter”—not a bad way, perhaps, to describe the spatial sectioning of the citharodic nomos in performance (Cody 2002).

[ back ] 342. Cf. Griffith 1990:188–189, with 202n15.

[ back ] 343. Cf. Barker 1984:249.