Agias, the musician, said that “the styrax, which at the Dionysiac festivals is burnt in the orchestras, presented a Phrygian odour to those who were within reach of it.” Now, formerly music was an exhortation to courage; and accordingly Alcæus the poet, one of the greatest musicians that ever lived, places valour and manliness before skill in music and poetry, being himself a man warlike even beyond what was necessary. On which account, in such verses as these, he speaks in high-toned language, and says—
My lofty house is bright with brass,although it would have been more suitable for him to have had his house well stored with musical instruments. But the ancients considered manly courage the greatest of all civil virtues, and they attributed the greatest importance to that, to the exclusion of other good qualities. Archilochus accordingly, who was a distinguished poet, boasted in the first place of being able to partake in all political undertakings, and in the second place he mentioned the credit he had gained by his poetical efforts, saying,—
And all my dwelling is adorn'd, in honour
Of mighty Mars, with shining helms,
O'er which white horsehair crests superbly wave,
Choice ornament for manly brows;
And brazen greaves, on mighty pegs suspended,
Hang round the hall; fit to repel
The heavy javelin or the long-headed spear.
There, too, are breastplates of new linen,
And many a hollow shield, thrown basely down
By coward enemies in flight:
There, too, are sharp Chalcidic swords, and belts,
Short military cloaks besides,
And all things suitable for fearless war;
Which I may ne'er forget,
Since first I girt myself for the adventurous work—
But I'm a willing servant of great Mars,And, in the same spirit, Aeschylus, though a man who had [p. 1001] acquired such great renown by his poetry, nevertheless pre- ferred having his valour recorded on his tomb, and composed an inscription for it, of which the following lines are a part:—
Skill'd also in the Muses' lovely art.
The grove of Marathon, and the long-hair'd Medes;
Who felt his courage, well may speak of it.