But, as I said before, the introduction of this kind of music into this modest kind of entertainment is transferred to this place from the Cretic dance, of which he says in the eighteenth book of the Iliad, about the Making of the Arms—
A figured dance succeeds; such once was seenAnd then he adds to this—
In lofty Cnossus, for the Cretan queen
Form'd by Dædalean art; a comely band
Of youths and maidens bounding hand-in-hand;
The maids in soft cymars of linen dress'd,
The youths all graceful in the glossy vest.
Of those the locks with flow'ry wreaths enroll'd,
Of these the sides adorn'd with swords of gold,
That glittering gay from silver belts depend.1
Now all at once they rise, at once descend,Now among the Cretans, dancing and posture-making was a national amusement. On which account Aeneas says to the Cretan Meriones—
With well-taught feet; now shape in oblique ways
Confus'dly regular the moving maze.
Now forth at once too swift for sight they spring,
And undistinguish'd blend the flying ring.
Swift as thou art (the raging hero cries),2 [p. 297] And from this they call the hyporchemata Cretan
And skill'd in dancing to dispute the prize,
My spear, the destined passage had it found,
Had fix'd thy active vigour to the ground.
They call it all a Cretan air . . . .“But they who were called Laconistæ,” says Timæus, used to sing standing to dance in square figures." And altogether there were many various kinds of music among the Greeks: as the Athenians preferred the Dionysiac and the Cyclian dances; and the Syracusians the Iambistic figure; and different nations practised different styles. But Aristarchus not only interpolated lines which had no business there into the banquet of Menelaus, and by so doing made Homer make representations inconsistent with the system of the Lacedæmonians, and with the moderation of their king, but he also took away the singer from the Cretan chorus, mutilating his song in the following manner:—
The instrument is called Molossian . . . .
The gazing multitudes admire aroundSo that blunder of his in using the word ἐξάρχοντες is almost irremediable, as the relation cannot after that possibly be brought back so as to refer to the singer.
Two active tumblers in the centre bound;
Now high, now low their pliant limbs they bend,
And general songs the sprightly revel end.3