On the symbolic role assumed by mythical musicians (e.g. Marsyas, Olympus, Orpheus, Thamyris) in the debate on music in the second half of the fifth century BC, with particular attention to them in the fragments of New Musicians (Melanipp. PMG 758 and 766, Tim. PMG 791.221–4, Telest. PMG 805 and 806). Timotheus and the other exponents of the New Music tried to construct distant and authoritative models for their way of making music by projecting back onto those ancient ‘colleagues’ key features of their style, namely poikilia, inventiveness and virtuosity.
This contribution is meant to shed light on how ancient Greek music theorists structure argumentations and address their readership in order to be understandable, effective and persuasive. On the one hand, some of the most important treatises, e.g. Ptolemy’s Harmonics (with Porphyry’s Commentary) and what remains of Archytas’ and Theophrastus’ works, are taken as case studies; on the other hand, the paper deals with some argumentative patterns recurring in harmonics demonstrations, especially with reference to the usage of everyday life experience as evidence supporting acoustic and harmonic theories.
This paper discusses an issue relevant to the history of the Greek hexameter, that is, the female and oracular origins of the so-called heroic verse, which, according to Plutarch in De Pythiae oraculis (402d), was first heard in Delphi at the shrine of Earth. I am going to look at two hexametric poetesses ante Homerum, Phemonoe and Herophile. My analysis unfolds in three steps, and focuses on several passages in Pausanias’ book on Delphi and Phocis – our most important source for the oracular and female inception of hexameter. Firstly, in addressing the attribution of the invention of hexameter to Phemonoe, I dwell on the characterization of her hexametric oracular song as aeidein as well as on the notion of the hexameter as a product of technē (‘craft’). Secondly, I discuss why Phemonoe and Herophile can be deemed to have authored epos ante Homerum. Finally, I examine oracular silence as the very source of the oracle-myth surrounding the female invention of the hexametric verse.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, as scholars have demonstrated, can be read in dialogue with Roman pantomime dance, and the tale of Echo and Narcissus is one of its most ‘pantomimic’ episodes. While others have focused on the figure of Narcissus in this vein, I turn instead to Echo, whose vocal mimicry can be seen as a mirror of the pantomime’s art, and whose juxtaposition with Narcissus seems emblematic of the body-voice relationship in pantomime. Echo’s desire for Narcissus engages with an existing lyric tradition of depicting the relationship between singing voice and dancing body in erotic terms. In such situations, the desire is fulfilled if the performers are both singing and dancing, uniting body and voice in performance. The thwarted union of Echo and Narcissus, however, embodies instead the dynamics of pantomime: the subordination or absence of the voice in favor of the body, and the connection created between dancer and audience.
The De musica of Aristides Quintilianus, an author and music theorist unknown apart from this treatise, presents several tantalizing claims about the relationship between dance and the three sciences of mousikē: i.e., harmonics, metrics, and, most importantly, rhythmics. Elliptical as his remarks on dance may be, if they are taken together with his treatment of the musical phenomena as essentially governed by systēmata, both a technical discourse around dance can be elicited from the evidence as well as the philosophical and aesthetic reasons why such a discourse was so modestly developed in comparison with the three sciences attending to musical phenomena. I conclude that the theorist considers the dancing body to be only minimally conformable to the systēmata imposed on bodies by the Platonic demiurge’s art, almost as a leimma unassimilable to the perfections of musical order, and yet somehow orderly enough to be treated according to their proportional order.
The terms ‘orientalizing’ and ‘orientalization’ have been employed to describe an art historical style, historical period, and process of cultural interaction between East and West within the early first-millennium BCE Mediterranean. With particular focus on Etruria and Italy, this historiography explores the Orientalist framework at the heart of ‘orientalizing’ terms while outlining how modern political movements and ideologies of nationalism and colonialism have influenced interpretations of ‘orientalizing.’ By showing the political viewpoints underlying the origins of the term and the ways in which these positions have continued to shape modern interpretations of the effects of eastern imported objects, ideas, and practices in Etruria, this work argues that the term ‘orientalizing’ should no longer be used. Instead, the period should be fit into existing chronological periodizations, and the process of cultural change should be interrogated outside of an Orientalist discourse.