previous next
[10]

As for the contests at Delphi, there was one in early times between citharoedes, who sang a paean in honor of the god; it was instituted by the Delphians. But after the Crisaean war, in the time of Eurylochus,1 the Amphictyons instituted equestrian and gymnastic contests in which the prize was a crown, and called them Pythian Games. And to the citharoedes2 they added both fluteplayers and citharists who played without singing, who were to render a certain melody which is called the Pythian Nome. There are five parts of it: angkrousis, ampeira, katakeleusmos, iambi and dactyli, and syringes. Now the melody was composed by Timosthenes, the admiral of the second Ptolemy, who also compiled The Harbours, a work in ten books;3 and through this melody he means to celebrate the contest between Apollo and the dragon, setting forth the prelude as anakrousis, the first onset of the contest as ampeira, the contest itself as katakeleusmos, the triumph following the victory as iambus and dactylus, the rhythms being in two measures, one of which, the dactyl, is appropriate to hymns of praise, whereas the other, the iamb, is suited to reproaches (compare the word "iambize"), and the expiration of the dragon as syringes, since with syringes4 players imitated the dragon as breathing its last in hissings.5

1 On the time, compare 9. 3. 4 and footnote.

2 The citharoedes sang to the accompaniment of the cithara, and their contests must have had no connection with those of the fluteplayers and the citharists, whose performance (of the Pythian Nome) was a purely instrumental affair.

3 If the text of this sentence is correct, Strabo must be referring to the melody played as the Pythian Nome in his own time or in that of some authority whom he is quoting, earlier compositions perhaps having been superseded by that of Timosthenes (fl. about 270 B.C.). But since the invention of the Pythian Nome has been ascribed to Sacadas (Pollux 4.77), who was victorious with the flute at the Pythian Games about three hundred years before the time of Timosthenes (Paus. 6.14.9, 10.7.4), Guhrauer (Jahrb. für Class. Philol., Suppl. 8, 1875-1876, pp. 311—351 makes a strong argument for a lacuna in the Greek text, and for making Strabo say that the melody was composed by Sacadas and later merely described by Timosthenes in one of his numerous works. Cp. also H. Riemann, Handb. der Musikgeschichte 1919, vol. i, pp. 63-65.

4 "Pipes."

5 "Pipings."

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 English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
load focus Greek (1877)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1919 AD (1)
270 BC (1)
hide References (6 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: