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As this custom, then, exists with reference to this goddess, Xenophon the Corinthian, when going to Olympia, to the games, vowed that he, if he were victorious, would bring her some courtesans. And Pindar at first wrote a panegyric on him, which begins thus:—
Praising the house which in th' Olympic games
Has thrice borne off the victory.1
But afterwards he composed a scolium2 on him, which was sung at the sacrificial feasts; in the exordium of Which he turns at once to the courtesans who joined in the sacrifice to Venus, in the presence of Xenophon, while he was sacrificing to the goddess himself; on which account he says—
O queen of Cyprus' isle,
Come to this grove!
Lo, Xenophon, succeeding in his aim,
Brings you a band of willing maidens,
Dancing on a hundred feet.
And the opening lines of the song were these:—
O hospitable damsels, fairest train
Of soft Persuasion,—
Ornament of the wealthy Corinth,
Bearing in willing hands the golden drops
That from the frankincense distil, and flying
[p. 918]
To the fair mother of the Loves,
Who dwelleth in the sky,
The lovely Venus,—you do bring to us
Comfort and hope in danger, that we may
Hereafter, in the delicate beds of Love,
Reap the long-wished-for fruits of joy,
Lovely and necessary to all mortal men.
And after having begun in this manner, he proceeds to say—
But now I marvel, and wait anxiously
To see what will my masters say of me,
Who thus begin
My scolium with this amatory preface,
Willing companion of these willing damsels.
And it is plain here that the poet, while addressing the courtesans in this way, was in some doubt as to the light in which it would appear to the Corinthians; but, trusting to his own genius, he proceeds with the following verse—
We teach pure gold on a well-tried lyre.
And Alexis, in his Loving Woman, tells us that the courtesans at Corinth celebrate a festival of their own, called Aphrodisia; where he says—
The city at the time was celebrating
The Aphrodisia of the courtesans:
This is a different festival from that
Which the free women solemnize: and then
It is the custom on those days that all
The courtesans should feast with us in common.

1 Pind. Ol. 13.

2 A σκολιὸν was a song which went round at banquets, sung to the lyre by the guests, one after another, said to have been introduced by Terpander; but the word is first found in Pind. Fr. lxxxvii. 9; Aristoph. Ach. 532. The name is of uncertain origin: some refer it to t e character of the music, νόμος σκολιὸς, as opposed to νὁμος ὄρθιος; others to the ῥυθμὸς σκολιὸς, or amphibrachic rhythm recognised in many scolia; but most, after Dicæarchus and Plutarch, from the irregular zigzag way it went round the table, each guest who sung holding a myrtle-branch, which he passed on to any one he chose.—Lid. & Scott, Gr. Lex. in voc.

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