Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Rome’s Greek Musical Heritage

In: Greek and Roman Musical Studies
Andrew Barker University of Birmingham Birmingham United Kingdom

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Dionysius tells us that his main objective in writing the Antiquitates Romanae, his massive history of Rome, was to convince his fellow-Greeks that the Romans were by origin Greeks themselves, that in their customs they preserved central features of the noble Greek culture they had inherited, and that the people under whose regime the Greeks now lived were therefore not to be despised or resented as barbarians. This paper examines some of the allusions to music scattered through the text, considering the extent and nature of the support they give to this thesis, and asking whether there is anything to be learned from them about the characteristics of the culture which Dionysius regards as both admirable and essentially Greek, and which he represents as manifesting itself among the Romans from the earliest times and persisting among them to the present day.

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