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The Lesbians are quoted as the countrymen of Arion (of Methymna); there was a variant of the story (Lucian, Dial. Mar. 8) placing it in the Aegean, when Arion was returning to Methymna. For tyrants as patrons of art cf. App. XVI, § 3.

Arion's date is the end of the seventh century. Meyer (ii. 373) makes him as mythical as Orpheus or Marsyas, and Crusius (in P. W. s. v. 840) suggests that his name simply = ‘prizewinner,’ but his reality may be admitted, although the only poem attributed to him (Ael. H. A. xii. 45; Bergk, P. L. iii. 80, describing the miracle) is a forgery. H. is wrong in attributing the διθύραμβος to him; the word occurs in Archilochus (circ. 680-640, Crusius in P. W. s. v. p. 490), fr. 77 ἐξάρξαι μέλος Οἶδα διθύραμβον, οἴνῳ συγκεραυνωθεὶς φρένας.

Perhaps Arion elaborated the dithyramb and arranged it antistrophically for a chorus (cf. διδάξαντα); the invention of κύκλιοι χοροί is ascribed to him by the older authorities, e. g. Hellanicus (fr. 85; F. H. G. i. 57; but others assigned them to Lasus (ib.)). If this be so, the fact underlying H.'s view as to the origin of the dithyramb at Corinth would be that the choric Dionysus song developed in north Peloponnese (Crusius in P. W. ii. 841; cf. v. 67 n. for such choruses at Sicyon). So Pindar (Olym. xiii. 19) attributes the dithyramb to Corinth, although the scholiast to this passage says he attributed it elsewhere to Naxos and to Thebes; all these places were connected with Dionysus. Its proper subject was Διονύσου γένεσις (Pl. Leg. 700 B), but it was extended.

Arist. (Poet. 4, 1449 a) says tragedy begins ἀπὸ τῶν ἐξαρχόντων τὸν διθύραμβον (‘ἐξάρχειν δ. is practically a synonym for διδάσκειν δ.’ Bywater). Solon in ‘his elegies’ is quoted as saying τῆς τραγῳδίας πρῶτον δρᾶμα Ἀρίων εἰσήγαγεν (R. M. 1908, p. 150).

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    • Aristotle, Poetics, 1449a
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