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Most writers have mentioned the Attic Scolia; and they are worthy also of being mentioned by me to you, on account of the antiquity and simple style of composition of the authors, and of those especially who gained a high reputation for that description of poetry, Alcæus and Anacreon; as Aristophanes says in his Daitaleis, where we find this line—
Come, then. a scolium sing to me,
Of old Alcæus or Anacreon.
Praxilla, the Sicyonian poetess, was also celebrated for the composition of scolia. Now they are called scolia, not because of the character of the verse in which they are written, as if it were σκολιὸς (crooked); for men call also [p. 1109] those poems written in a laxer kind of metre σκολιά. But, “as there are three kinds of songs” (as Artemo of Cassandra says in the second book of his treatise on the Use of Books), “one or other of which comprehends everything which is sung at banquets; the first kind is that which it was usual for the whole party to sing; the second is that which the whole party indeed sang, not, however, together, but going round according to some kind of succession; the third is that which is ranked lowest of all, which was not sung by all the guests, but only by those who seemed to understand what was to be done, wherever they might happen to be sitting; on which account, as having some irregularity in it beyond what the other kinds had, in not being sung by all the guests, either together or in any definite kind of succession, but just as it might happen, it was called σκολιόν. And songs of this kind were sung when the ordinary songs, and those in which every one was bound to join, had come to an end. For then they invited all the more intelligent of the guests to sing some song worth listening to. And what they thought worth listening to were such songs as contained some exhortations and sentiments which seemed useful for the purposes of life.”

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