previous next

But some people raise a question how, as the magadis did not exist in the time of Anacreon (for instruments with many strings were never seen till after his time), Anacreon can possibly mention it, as he does when he says—
I hold my magadis and sing,
Striking loud the twentieth string,
But Posidonius asserts that Anacreon mentions three kinds of melodies, the Phrygian, the Dorian, and the Lydian; for that these were the only melodies with which he was acquainted. And as every one of these is executed on seven strings, he says that it was very nearly correct of Anacreon to speak of twenty strings, as he only omits one for the sake of speaking in round numbers. But Posidonius is ignorant that the magadis is an ancient instrument, though Pindar says plainly enough that Terpander invented the barbitos to correspond to, and answer the pectis in use among the Lydians— [p. 1015]
The sweet responsive lyre
Which long ago the Lesbian bard,
Terpander, did invent, sweet ornament
To the luxurious Lydian feasts, when he
Heard the high-toned pectis.
Now the pectis and the magadis are the same instrument, as Aristoxenus tells us, and Menechmus the Sicyonian too, in his treatise on Artists. And this last author says that Sappho, who is more ancient than Anacreon, was the first person to use the pectis. Now, that Terpander is more ancient than Anacreon, is evident from the following considerations:—Terpander was the first man who ever got the victory at the Carnean1 games, as Hellanicus tells us in the verses in which he has celebrated the victors at the Carnea, and also in the formal catalogue which he gives us of them. But the first establishment of the Carnea took place in the twenty-sixth Olympiad, as Sosibius tells us in his essay on Dates. But Hieronymus, in his treatise on Harp-players, which is the subject of the fifth of his Treatises on Poets, says that Terpander was a contemporary of Lycurgus the law-giver, who, it is agreed by all men, was, with Iphitus of Elis, the author of that establishment of the Olympic games from which the first Olympiad is reckoned. But Euphorion, in his treatise on the Isthmian Games, says that the instruments with many strings are altered only in their names; but that the use of them is very ancient.

1 The κάρνεια were a great national festival, celebrated by the Spartans in honour of Apollo Carneius. under which name he was worshipped in several places in Peloponnesus, especially at Amyclæ, even before the re- turn of the Heraclidæ. It was a warlike festival, like the Attic Boedromia. The Carnea were celebrated also at Cyrene, Messene, Sybaris, Sicyon, and other towns.—See Smith's Diet. Ant. in voc.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Kaibel)
load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: