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.
At the beginning of the tenth century, Vulgarius wrote some poems for Pope Sergius III. One of these is set out in the shape of a psaltery and is followed by a short explanatory essay. This article reconstructs the cultural context of this pattern poem and sheds light on the presence and significance of music in this text. First, I shall address the visual appearance of this poem, since the shape of the text imitates a musical instrument. Secondly, I shall examine the textual content of the poem, which sings the praises of the Pope and ultimately reveals the true meaning hidden in the name ‘Sergius’. Subsequently, I shall examine the content of the explanatory essay, which clarifies the Boethian musical proportions on which the entire construction of the pattern poem is based. Finally, I shall address the political ‘double meaning’ of this poem, which seems to hide an invective against the Pope.
This paper focuses on the conservation of the lyre (chelys) of Grave 48, from the area between the so-called ‘Eriai’ Gates and the Dipylon. First, it describes the lifting of the lyre (sound box) from the ground and the recovery of the fragile plaques and fragments from the compact block of soil in the laboratory. Subsequently, it presents the extensive conservation work undertaken by the present writer and her team. Furthermore, it summarizes the conclusions of the X-Radiography and Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) examinations of the sound box and the string holder and provides information about the biochemistry, structure and decay of the tortoise shell. In conclusion, the collaboration between conservator and archaeomusicologist, during the remedial conservation treatment, was of great importance, and helped with the identification of the plaques and restoration of the lyre.
Taking issue with the Gorgias and its dismissal of fifth-century Athenian rhetoricians and statesmen, in his Reply to Plato in Defence of the Four (Or. 3) the imperial sophist Aelius Aristides finds himself dealing with Plato’s condemnation of New Music, which in the Gorgias had gone hand in hand with the censure of rhetoric. In a brilliant display of new musical ‘revisionism’ so far ignored by scholars, Aristides presents in a positive light the notorious new dithyrambist Philoxenus of Cythera, so that Plato’s influential criticism of New Music, and especially of its political implications, backfires. This paper provides a close analysis of Aristides’ new musical discussion, concentrating both on the sophist’s engagement with Platonic musical critique and on his use of anecdotal traditions about Philoxenus circulating under the Empire. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the history of New Music and its ancient, not always predictable, reception.
The fourteen papers delivered at a conference on Roman dance in June 2019 set about correcting the widespread idea that dance was marginal and held in low esteem in Rome. They elucidated different contexts in which dance was central, especially religion, the theatre, and private entertainments, and further topics included cultural interactions on the Italian peninsula, the diversity of practitioners, the political role of dance, and dance images in poetry. The conference showed not only that further study of Roman dance is necessary, but also that dance is a valuable tool that allows us to think about what we mean when we talk about ‘Roman’ culture.
Athenian elites of the late fifth century BC rebelled against aulos-playing as part of the school curriculum and launched a socio-cultural campaign against the instrument. Echoes of this ‘anti-aulos’ crusade reverberated in literature in the centuries to follow as motifs of hostility towards aulos music. Ovid (Fasti 6.657-710) and Propertius (2.30b) engage in this discourse, largely disregarding the motives of the Athenians for spurning the instrument; instead they embed the rejection myths in their poetical programmes in the context of their precarious relationship with Augustan authority. This paper argues that while both poets oppose the rejection of the doublepipes, they do so for entirely different reasons. Although the negative image of the aulos is present in Latin literary sources, it is largely disconnected from the substantial role of the instrument in Roman musical culture.