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There was anciently a contest held at Delphi, of players on the cithara, who executed a pæan in honour of the god. It was instituted by Delphians. But after the Crisæan war the Amphictyons, in the time of Eurylochus, established contests for horses, and gymnastic sports, in which the victor was crowned. These were called Pythian games. The players1 on the cithara were accompanied by players on the flute, and by citharists,2 who performed without singing. They performed a strain (Melos),3 called the Pythian mood (Nomos).4 It consisted of five parts; the anacrusis, the ampeira, cataceleusmus, iambics and dactyls, and pipes.5 Timosthenes, the commander of the fleet of the Second Ptolemy, and who was the author of a work in ten books on Harbours, composed a melos. His object was to celebrate in this melos the contest of Apollo with the serpent Python. The anacrusis was intended to express the prelude; the ampeira, the first onset of the contest; the cataceleusmus, the contest itself; the iambics and dactyls denoted the triumphal strain on obtaining the victory, together with musical measures, of which the dactyl is peculiarly appropriated to praise, and the use of the iambic to insult and reproach; the syringes or pipes described the death, the players imitating the hissings of the expiring monster.6

1 κιθαοͅῳδοὶ played on the cithara, accompanying it with words.

2 κιθαοͅσταὶ played on the cithara alone.

3 μέλος.

4 νόμος.

5 σύριγξ

6 Groskurd and Meineke propose emendations of the text of this passage. The translation is rather a paraphrase.

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