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Bradley Hald


Thucydides’ History is deeply committed to the conventional correlation in Greek thought between sight and knowledge. In the Methodology chapters (1.20-3), the histo- rian grounds his investigative project in visual metaphor: it is a work that has been construc- ted ‘out of the most manifest evidence’, which promises to reveal the ‘least visible’ but ‘truest cause’ of this war. In contrast, Thucydides is suspicious of the epistemological value of hearing, repeatedly denigrating the ‘alluring’ sounds of poetic and hearsay accounts of Greek history. In this paper, I argue that this critique extends also to other sounds in the History, and that Thucydides’ anxieties over audition are directly related to the prob- lematic relation he sees between sound, knowledge, and emotion. While visual perception provides the normative pathway to cognitive evaluation and rational emotional response, sounds have the capacity to short-circuit the evaluative process by circumventing cognition and eliciting unmediated affective responses in hearing subjects.

Eleonora Rocconi

Martem Accendere Cantu: The Meaning of Music on the Battlefield

(on Phld. Mus. 4.LXVIII.33-40, LXIX.7-12 Delattres = P.Herc. 1578/17 N, 1575/18 N)

Spencer A. Klavan


This paper examines in detail an under-appreciated passage from Philodemus of Gadara’s On Music in order to elucidate several important controversies in Hellenistic musical philosophy. The Stoic Diogenes of Babylon claimed that the emotional impact of trumpet tunes can inspire soldiers to fight. But the Epicurean Philodemus believed that the meaningful words (λόγοι) which stimulate our actions are utterly distinct from meaningless musical sound (µουσική). Philodemus therefore framed an alternative theory in which trumpet calls on the battlefield function not as music but as a kind of makeshift language, using conventional signifiers to communicate instructions. I show how both philosophers’ views arise logically out of doctrines from their respective schools. I then argue that the trumpet’s dual status as both performance instrument and communications device makes it a natural philosophical flashpoint: it raises central questions about what music is, how it affects listeners, and whether it can convey meaning.

New Voices in Ancient Music

A Report on ‘The Graduate Workshop in Ancient Greek and Roman Music’ (Oxford, 28 June 2018)

Spencer A. Klavan, James Lloyd and Harry Morgan


This report provides a conspectus of the nine papers presented at ‘The Graduate Workshop in Ancient Greek and Roman Music’, held at the University of Oxford in June 2018. The workshop was organised with the intent of showcasing the innovative work of postgraduates in the field of ancient Greek and Roman music. Based around the themes of theory and practice, drama, and ritual, the papers reflect current areas of focus within the field and suggest promising avenues for further enquiry.

Theodora A. Hadjimichael


In this article I focus on the New Poet Kinesias and on the ways in which he was depicted, ridiculed, and criticized in our sources. I contextualize his depiction as a poetic and musical corrupter and as a thin and disabled individual within the criticism of the New Music in late fifth- and early fourth-century philosophical works, namely those by Plato and Aristotle, to argue that he was considered the poet who embodied the musicopoetic paranomia and the lack of orthotēs in the New Music. I also bring into my analysis a fragment from a speech of Lysias against Kinesias, where I focus on the accusations against the poet, in order to show that both his political actions (as described in the fragment and in Athenaeus who transmits the passage) and his experimentations with the chorus and with poetic performances were interpreted as a threat to the coherence and stability of the community.

Egert Pöhlmann


The tools for reading and writing, the writing tablets and the papyrus scroll, were inherited by Greece from the East together with the Phoenician alphabet. The oldest papyrus scroll and writing tablets with Greek text were found in the tomb of a musician in Daphne dated to 430 BC. After 700 BC writing tablets were ubiquitous in Greece. However, black figure vases do not depict them. The first writing tablet appears on a red figure kylix of the Euergides Painter from Vulci (520). The first papyrus scrolls appear, together with writing tablets and the lyre, on a kylix from Ferrara (c. 480-70). Papyrus scrolls, writing tablets, the lyre and aulos appear together on the famous Berlin kylix of Douris from Caere (480).

Dietmar Najock


The lost hormasia tables, as restored in my previous article, are modified in the present contribution by some corrections or improvements. The improved tables at least theoretically provide a refined system of accompaniment by two-note chords, essentially fifths or fourths, picked out of the latter part of the left hand row. Furthermore, this part can be used for playing a second voice in parallel fifths, fourths, seconds and thirds (or their octaves). The fourth section presents some comparable phenomena, both from medieval European theory and from old folklore which is likely to be rooted in Byzantine or even ancient music. A note on ancient ‘polyphony’ is added, together with some general remarks on the possibilities of restoring the lost tables.

The Sounds of War

Introductory Remarks

Sean Gurd and John Franklin


This paper serves as a brief introduction to a series of articles dedicated to the theme of the soundscapes of war in Classical Antiquity.