Now the system of playing the harp without any vocal accompaniment, was, as Menechmus informs us, first introduced by Aristonicus the Argive, who was a contemporary of Archilochus, and lived in Corcyra. But Philochorus, in the third book of his Atthis, says—-" Lysander the Sicyonian harp-player was the first person who ever changed the art of pure instrumental performance, dwelling on the long tones, and producing a very rich sound, and adding also to the harp the music of the flute; and this last addition was first introduced by Epigonus; and taking away the jejuneness which existed in the music of those who played the harp alone without any vocal accompaniment, he first introduced various beautiful modifications1 on that instrument; and he played on the different kinds of harp called iambus and magadis, which is also called συριγμός. And he was the first person who ever attempted to change his instrument while playing. And afterwards, adding dignity to the business, he was the first person to institute a chorus. And Menæchmus says that Dion of Chius was the first person who ever played on the harp an ode such as is used at libations to the honour of Bacchus. But Timomachus, in his History of Cyprus, says that Stesander the Samian added further improvements to his art, and was the first person who at Delphi sang to his lyre the battles narrated in Homer, beginning with the Odyssey. But others say that the first person who ever played amatory strains on his harp was Amiton the Eleuthernæan, who did so in his own city, whose descendants are all called Amitores. But Aristoxenus says that just as some men have composed parodies on hexameter verses, for the sake of exciting a [p. 1020] laugh; so, too, others have parodied the verses which were sung to the harp, in which pastime Œnopas led the way. And he was imitated by Polyeuctus the Achæan, and by Diodes of Cynætha. There have also been poets who have composed a low kind of poems, concerning whom Phænias the Eresian speaks in his writings addressed to the Sophists; where he writes thus:—“Telenicus the Byzantian, and also Argas, being both authors of low poems, were men who, as far as that kind of poetry could go, were accounted clever. But they never even attempted to rival the songs of Terpander or Phrynis.” And Alexis mentions Argas, in his Man Disembarked, thus—
A. Here is a poet who has gained the prizeAnd Anaxandrides, in his Hercules, says—
B. What is his style of poetry?
A. A noble kind.
B. How will he stand comparison
A. He's a whole day's journey better.
For he appears a really clever man.
How gracefully he takes the instrument,
Then plays at once. . . . .
When I have eaten my fill, I then incline
To send you off to sing a match with Argas,
That you, my friend, may thus the sophists conquer.