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Music in Arcadia

Now, seeing that the Arcadians as a whole have a
The reasons of the barbarity of the Cynaethans. Their neglect of the refining influences of music, which is carefully encouraged in the rest of Arcadia.
reputation for virtue throughout Greece, not only in respect of their hospitality and humanity, but especially for their scrupulous piety, it seems worth while to investigate briefly the barbarous character of the Cynaethans: and inquire how it came about that, though indisputably Arcadians in race, they at that time so far surpassed the rest of Greece in cruelty and contempt of law.

They seem then to me to be the first, and indeed the only, Arcadians who have abandoned institutions nobly conceived by their ancestors and admirably adapted to the character of all the inhabitants of Arcadia. For music, and I mean by that true music, which it is advantageous to every one to practice, is obligatory with the Arcadians. For we must not think, as Ephorus in a hasty sentence of his preface, wholly unworthy of him, says, that music was introduced among mankind for the purpose of deception and jugglery; nor must the ancient Cretans and Spartans be supposed to have introduced the pipe and rhythmic movement in war, instead of the trumpet, without some reason; nor the early Arcadians to have given music such a high place in their constitution, that not only boys, but young men up to the age of thirty, are compelled to practise it, though in other respects most simple and primitive in their manner of life. Every one is familiarly acquainted with the fact that the Arcadians are the only people among whom boys are by the laws trained from infancy to sing hymns and paeans, in which they celebrate in the traditional fashion the heroes and gods of their particular towns. They next learn the airs of Philoxenus and Timotheus, and dance with great spirit to the pipers at the yearly Dionysia in the theatres, the boys at the boys' festival, and the young men at what is called the men's festival. Similarly it is their universal custom, at all festal gatherings and banquets, not to have strangers to make the music, but to produce it themselves, calling on each other in turn for a song. They do not look upon it as a disgrace to disclaim the possession of any other accomplishment: but no one can disclaim the knowledge of how to sing, because all are forced to learn; nor can they confess the knowledge, and yet excuse themselves from practising it, because that too among them is looked upon as disgraceful. Their young men again practise a military step to the music of the pipe and in regular order of battle, producing elaborate dances, which they display to their fellow-citizens every year in the theatres, at the public charge and expense.

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