[321a] Now tragedy is a thing of ancient standing here; it did not begin, as people suppose, from Thespis or from Phrynicus, but if you will reflect, you will find it is a very ancient invention of our city. Tragedy is the most popularly delightful and soul-enthralling branch of poetry: in it, accordingly, we get Minos on the rack of verse,1, and thus avenge ourselves for that tribute which he compelled us to pay2 This, then, was the mistake that Minos made—his quarrel with us—and hence it is that, as you said in your question, he has fallen more and more into evil repute. For that he was a good
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1 This is the meaning most probably intended, from an imperfect understanding of ἐντείνειν ( “put some story into verse, or accompany it with music”) in Plato, Phaedo 60 D;Protag. 326 B. Minos was represented as a harsh despot in Euripides'Cretans, and probably in other lost plays.
2 The legend was that Minos defeated the Athenians in war and compelled them to send a regular tribute of seven youths and seven maidens to be devoured by the Minotaur in the Cretan labyrinth.
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