The Ancient Library

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plague, and composed the factions of the citizens, who were at enmity with each other. (Paus. I. c.; Pint. Lycurg. 4 ; Ephorus, ap. Strab. x. pp. 480, 482 ; Sext. Empir. adv. ffitet. ii. p. 292, Fabric.; Aelian. V. H. xii. 50.) At Sparta he became the head of a new school (kcctda-raffis) of music, which appears never afterwards to have been supplanted, and the influence of which was maintained also by Xenodamus of Cythera, Xenocritus of Locris, Po-lymnestus of Colophon, and Sacadas of Argos. (Plut. de Mus. I. c.) These matters will be exa­mined more fully presently; but the brief outline just given is necessary for the understanding of the chronological investigation which follows.

In studying the early history of Greek lyric poetry, nothing would be more desirable, if it were possible, than to fix the precise dates of the musicians and poets who contributed to its deve­lopment ; that so we might trace the steps of its progress, in relation to the time they occupied, the social state of the people amongst whom they were made, and the order in which they followed from one another. It must, however, be confessed that, after all the labour which scholars have bestowed on the subject, there is an uncertainty, generally to the extent of half a century, and in some cases more, respecting the dates of the earliest poets, while the more important point of their relative order of succession and their distance from each other in time is beset with great difficulties. These remarks apply most strongly to Thaletas, the va­rious dates assigned to whom, by ancient and mo­dern writers, range over a period from before the time of Homer down to the year b. c. 620.

How uncertain, and even fabulous, were the tra­ditions followed by the generality of the ancient writers respecting the date of Thaletas, is manifest from the statements of Suidas, that he lived before the time of Homer, of Demetrius Magnes (ap, Diog. Lae'rt. i. 38), that he was " very ancient, about the time of Hesiod and Homer and Lycur-gus," and of the many other writers, who make him contemporary with Lycurgus, and even an elder contemporary. In nearly all the accounts, above referred to, of the removal of Thaletas to Sparta, he is said to have gone thither at the in­vitation of Lycurgus, who used his influence to prepare the minds of the people for his own laws ; while some even speak of him as if he were a legislator, from whom Lycurgus derived some of his laws. (Sext. Empir. I. c.; Arist. Pol. ii. 9. § 5, ii. 12.) These accounts, which Aristotle (/. c.) condemns as anachronisms, can easily be explained. The influence of music upon character and manners was in the opinion of the ancients so great, that it was quite natural to speak of Ter-pander and Thaletas as fellow-workers with the great legislator of the Spartans in forming the character of the people ; and then such statements were interpreted by later writers in a chronological sense ; for similar traditions are recorded of Ter-pander as well as of Thaletas. [terpander.] Moreover, in the case of Thaletas, the supposed connection with Lycurgus would assume a more probable appearance on account of his coming from Crete, from whence also Lycurgus was supposed to have derived so many of his institutions ; and this is, in fact, the specific form which the tradition assumed (Ephor. ap. Strab. x. p. 482 ; Plut. Lycurg. 4), namely, that Lycurgus, arriving at Crete in the course of his travels, there met with Thaletas,


who was one of the men renowned in the island for wisdom and political abilities (em t£v vofjufy-fjL^vcDV e/ce? ffotyoov Kal iro\iTiK&v\ and who, while professing to be a lyric poet, used his art as a pretext, but in fact devoted himself to political science in the same way as the ablest of legislators

Treironrifjievov, zpytp Se atrep ol Kpdriffroi twv vo/JLoOeTWV ftiairpa.TT6iui.evov). Add to this the great probability that later writers mistook the sense of the word vo^oi in the ancient accounts of Thaletas; and his association with Ly­curgus is explained. It is not worth while to discuss the statement of Jerome (Chron. s. a. 1266, b. c. 750), who says that Thales of Miletus (pro­bably meaning Thales of Crete, for the philoso­pher's age is well known) lived in the reign of Romulus. Perhaps this may only be another form of the tradition which made him contemporary with Lycurgus.

The strictly historical evidence respecting the date of Thaletas is contained in three testimonies. First, the statement of Glaucus, one of the highest authorities on the subject, that he was later than Archilochus. (Plut. de Mus. 10, p. 1134, d. e.) Secondly, the fact recorded by Pausanias (i. 14. § 4), that Polymnestus composed verses in his praise for the Lacedaemonians, whence it is pro­bable that he was an elder contemporary of Polym­nestus, and therefore older than Alcman, by whom Polymnestus was mentioned. (Plut. de Mus. 5, p. 1133, a.) Thirdly, in his account of the second school or system (/caTa0Ta(ns) of music at Sparta, Plutarch tells us (de Mus. 9, p. 1134, c.) that the first system was established by Terpander; but of the second the following had the best claim to be considered as the leaders (|UaAt(7Ta aiTiav %x.ovaiv riyefJLovss yevearOaL), Thaletas, Xenodamus, Xeno­critus, Polymnestus, and Sacadas; and that to them was ascribed the origin of the Gymnopaedia in Lacedaemon, of the Apodeixeis in Arcadia, and of the Endymatia in Argos. This important tes­timony is very probably derived from the work of Glaucus. Lastly, Plutarch (de Mus. 10, p. 1134, e.) mentions a vague tradition, which is on the face of it improbable, and which is quite unworthy to be placed by the side of the other three, that Tha­letas derived the rhythm called Maron and the Cretic rhythm from the music of the Phrygian flute-player Olympus (e/c yap ttjs 'OAu^tnrov auAi]-(T6cos ®a.\j)Ta,v (paalv €^eipyda6ai raura* the con­text shows that Plutarch here deserts his guide, Glaucus, and sets up against him the traditions of other writers, we know not whom).

Now, from these testimonies we obtain the results, that Thaletas was younger than Archilo­chus and Terpander, but older than Polymnestus and Alcman, that he was the first of the poets of the second Spartan school of music, by whose in­fluence the great Dorian festivals which have been mentioned were either established, or, what is the more probable meaning, were systematically ar­ranged in respect of the choruses which were per. formed at them.

These conditions would all be satisfied by sup­posing that Thaletas began to flourish early in the seventh century B. c., provided that we accept the argument for an earlier date of Terpander than that usually assigned to him [terpander]. To escape from the difficulty as Clinton does (F. //. vol. i. s. a. 644), by making Terpander later than

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