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Article

Warren Anderson, Thomas J. Mathiesen and Robert Anderson

[Aristophanēs]

(bc450 bce; dc385 bce). Greek dramatist. The chief poet of Athenian Old Comedy, he wrote more than 40 plays, of which 11 have survived.

Warren Anderson, revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

Of the works of Aristophanes’ first period (427–421 bce), the revised Clouds includes many references to music; the most noteworthy are the mockery of Damon for his concern with technicalities of metre (647ff) and a description (961ff) of ‘the old-fashioned education’ (hē archaia paideia) provided by the kitharistēs (not merely a teacher of the kithara but more properly a schoolmaster). The Knights (also from the first period) similarly shows a special concern with music. A criticism of grotesque Mimesis in drama leads to a parody of the Pythagorean theory of the soul as a harmonia (521ff, 531ff). There are also passages on lyra tuning and modality (989ff), and on the nomos orthios...

Article

Calvin Bower

[Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius]

(b Rome, c480 ce; d Pavia, c524 ce). Roman writer and statesman. He was born into one of the foremost patrician families of Rome; following the death of his father in 487 ce he was taken into the home of Symmachus, another patrician. Boethius learnt Greek philosophy and the liberal arts from Symmachus and married his daughter. Both men were colleagues in later senatorial struggles.

Boethius’s erudition in both the practical and speculative arts attracted the attention of Theodoric the Ostrogoth, then ruler of Italy. Through Cassiodorus, Theodoric requested Boethius’s aid in various matters, including the selection of a kitharode for Clovis, King of the Franks. Cassiodorus, writing in his official capacity as quaestor, repeatedly praised Boethius’s learning. Boethius became consul in 510, and in 522 was called to Ravenna to become Theodoric’s magister officium. In 523 Cyprian, Theodoric’s referendary, brought charges of treason against a senator, Albinus, and Boethius argued in Albinus’s defence. Boethius was himself then charged and imprisoned with Albinus in Pavia, and ultimately executed....

Article

Thomas J. Mathiesen

( fl 4th or early 5th century ce). Translator and commentator . His commentary on Plato's Timaeus (only to 53c) is dedicated to Hosius, long thought to be the bishop of Corduba (d 358). More recently, it has been proposed that the dedication is to a Milanese official of about 395 and that Calcidius was a Christian Neoplatonist active in Milan whose writings were known to St Ambrose. The earliest surviving manuscripts, F-Pn lat.2164 and VAL 293 (formerly 283), date from the early 9th century. Within the tradition of Christian Neoplatonism, Calcidius's commentary made the Timaeus generally (but imperfectly) available to the Middle Ages, although it does not seem to have been known to Macrobius or Isidore of Seville.

Calcidius departs from tradition (in his commentary on Timaeus, 35b) when he asserts that geometry rather than harmonics holds the fundamental position and is a substructure for the others (‘geometrica vicem obtinet fundamentorum ceterae vero substructionis’), but otherwise his commentary is derivative. Several short chapters (40–55; pertaining to ...

Article

Lawrence Gushee

revised by Bradley Jon Tucker

( fl Carthage, ?early 5th century). Latin writer . His only known work, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (formerly often called Satyricon because of its affinity to Menippean satire) in nine books, is a fantasy in which seven bridesmaids, one for each of the artes, decribe the arts they personify. From his own remarks it seems that he was a resident of Carthage and perhaps a lawyer by vocation, to judge from some idiosyncrasies of vocabulary and statements made in two separate places in his book. He is generally assumed to have lived before 439 ce, when Carthage was sacked by the Vandals.

Martianus’s main interest was to compile information on each of the liberal arts, couched in terms of an elaborate allegory. The direct sources for his discussions of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric are not known, but those for the quadrivial sciences are less obscure. His treatment of geometry is a geographic exercise drawn from Pliny and Solinus; that of arithmetic relies on Nicomachus and Euclid, although it is unlikely he consulted these sources directly; for astronomy, he is thought to have transmitted Posidonius through a Latin intermediary; as for music, the greater part of book 9 (Willis, §§936–95) is, with some rearrangements, deliberate or accidental omissions, and insertions of passages from other Greek or Latin sources, virtually a translation of ...

Article

Calvin Bower

[Flavius Cassiodorus Magnus Aurelius Senator]

(b Scylacium [Scylletium; now Squillace, Calabria], c485 ce; d Vivarium [now Stalleti], nr Scylacium, c580 ce. Roman statesman and writer. A member of an ancient patrician family, Cassiodorus was a representative of the Roman senatorial class who worked with Ostrogothic rulers in their administration of Roman government during the 6th century ce. He spent the early part of his life trying to preserve Greco-Roman cultural traditions even though the necessary institutions were crumbling at every hand. His Roman education in the liberal arts prepared him well, for shortly after 500 he entered public life, holding office for more than a third of a century during a stormy and dangerous period. His rhetorical flair won him favour with Theodoric the Ostrogoth, and in 506 he was made quaestor sacri palatii; in 514 he became consul, and when Boethius fell from favour in 523, Cassiodorus was appointed magister officiorum...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Arpinum [now Arpino], Jan 3, 106 bce; d Caieta [now Gaeta], Dec 7, 43 bce). Roman statesman, orator and man of letters. The hundreds of references to music in his writings (see Wille, 1967) include no comprehensive statement of theory; individual passages show that his usual eclecticism prevailed here as well. The Epicurean condemnation of music and of late Stoic musical theory by a philosopher well known to him personally, Philodemus of Gadara, influenced his thinking; nevertheless, he occasionally used Platonic and Stoic doctrines. He accepted the view of Democritus and Epicurus that music is one of the fine arts, not a pursuit necessary for life (Tusculan Disputations, i.25.62); at the same time, the musical culture of Hellenic Greece seemed to him admirable (ibid., i.2.4).

Cicero's orations usually referred to the place of music in private life and for forensic purposes treated it as a sign of dissolute tendencies; but his treatises on rhetoric show a lively awareness of the rhythmic and melodic elements that entered into oratorical technique. The influence of Cicero's oratorical theory is most directly seen in the ...

Article

Egeria  

James W. McKinnon

[Aetheria, Etheria, Eucheria]

(fl late 4th century ce). Pilgrim nun of Spain or Gaul. Her diary, containing a detailed description of ancient Jerusalem liturgy, survives in a single 11th-century manuscript copy, which was discovered at Arezzo by G.F. Gamurrini in 1884. He attributed the work to one St Silvia, sister of the Roman prefect, Rufinus – hence its earlier title ‘Peregrinatio Silviae’ – but it is now thought to be by a Spanish or Gallican nun, Egeria (the preferred spelling), mentioned by the 7th-century abbot Valerius. From references in the text to contemporary persons and events, liturgical historians have come to date the time of Egeria's pilgrimage to between 381 and 384.

The diary begins with remarks about Egeria's visits to eastern ecclesiastical centres such as Mount Sinai, Alexandria and Constantinople, but the bulk of the text consists in a description of the liturgy at Jerusalem. First the daily and weekly Offices are depicted in great detail, providing our best knowledge of the composite monastic and ‘cathedral’ Offices of the late 4th century. There follows, after a break in the manuscript, an account of special services throughout the liturgical year, beginning with the Epiphany and including the feast of the Presentation, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and its octave and Pentecost and its octave. The document breaks off during a description of the octave of ...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

(fl Rome and Alexandria, c200 ce). Greek physician and head of the sceptical school of philosophy during its final phase. His writings are divided into two major groups: the Outlines of Pyrrhonism, comprising three books summarizing sceptical doctrines and criticizing other philosophical systems, and Against the Professors, consisting of 11 books, the last five of which are sometimes known collectively as Against the Dogmatists. The first six books of Against the Professors present refutation of ta mathēmata, including grammar, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astrology and music. Initially (Against the Professors, i.8), Sextus intimates that he will criticize music, to which the sixth book, Against the Musicians, is devoted, by questioning the existence of its fundamental constituents, sound and time (phōnē, chronos). He does so in the latter half of his discussion (vi.29–51, ed. Greaves), employing the paradoxical methods of disproof developed by his predecessors to further their questing examination (...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

(fl Rhegium [now Reggio Calabria], c400 BC). Greek writer from the south-west coast of Italy. He was the author of a treatise (now lost) On the Ancient Poets and Musicians, a major source for portions of the Pseudo-Plutarch On Music. The musical writings of the philosopher known as Heraclides Ponticus may have been an intermediary source. Pseudo-Plutarch mentioned the author, title and contents of this treatise in On Music (1132e, 1133f, 1134d–f); at least a portion of the material on Terpander's supposed debt to Homer and Orpheus (1132f) and concerning Clonas and Archilochus (1133a) may also derive from Glaucus.

Glaucus's work apparently showed a practical concern with compositions and composer-poets; the latter he attempted to arrange in a sequence based on the line of succession from master to pupil. His familiarity with technical details recalls the expertise of Damon, his contemporary, and foreshadows that of Aristoxenus. Conjectures that he, like Aristoxenus, came from a family of musicians and was himself a professional have no support except his stress on the prior development of aulos playing and singing to aulos accompaniment. To be sure, this emphasis is strikingly evident. It provides a welcome counterbalance to the usual concentration on the kithara; moreover, it came at a time when the aulos had few champions but many attackers, among them ...

Article

[Federicus ]

(b Zadar, 1472; d Zadar, 1538). Croatian cosmographer, mathematician, astrologer and physicist. He is known particularly for his ingenious theory of ebb and flow. In 1507–8 he taught astrology and mathematics at the university of Padua and was later active as a physician in his own town. His ideas on music are contained in two published treatises: Speculum astronomicum terminans intellectum humanum in omni scientia (Venice, 1507), which includes a chapter ‘De musica integritate’, and De modo colegiandi, pronosticandi et curandi febres (Venice, 1528). He was not an original thinker and recapitulated some late-medieval ideas, mostly concerning neo-Pythagorean speculative numerology and the theory of musical ethos as conveyed by Boethius.

I. Supičić: ‘Glazba u djelu Federika Grisogona’ [Music in F. Grisogono's writings], Zbornik radova o Federiku Grisogonu, zadarskom učenjaku [Collection of essays on F. Grisogono, the scholar from Zadar] (Zadar, 1974), 143–9 S. Tuksar: ‘Federik Grisogono-Bartolačić (Federicus Chrisogonus): Pythagorean Cosmology and the Mysticism of Numbers’, ...

Article

Andreas Giger

(b c1215; d Viterbo, Sept 10, 1279). English theologian and scientist. He was a teacher of arts in Paris (c1237–45), noted for his extensive knowledge of Aristotle and for his numerous writings on subjects ranging from the liberal arts to religion. He later joined the Dominicans and was provincial prior of the order in England between 1261 and 1272. In 1273 he was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury and in 1278 was named Cardinal-Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina. His introduction to all sciences (including music), De ortu scientiarum (ed. A.G. Judy, London, 1976), was possibly written about 1250, some time between his entry into the Dominican order and the completion of his theological studies.

In De ortu scientiarum Kilwardby synthesized musical ideas by earlier scholars, especially Boethius, reinterpreting some aspects on the basis of the intensive reception of Aristotle’s works. The central problem of defining the essence of music and its relationship to the other sciences was not, however, resolved satisfactorily: typically for his time, the author wavered between a Neoplatonic interpretation of music as a mathematical science and an Aristotelian one based on principles of logic and empiricism. The increasing influence of Aristotle apparent in ...

Article

Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Gadara, 110–100 bce; d ?Herculaneum, 40–35 bce). Epicurean philosopher, poet and critic of music . Philodemus went to Italy in about 65 bce and remained there until his death. He was the author of a treatise On Music, extensive parts of which have survived in a series of fragments discovered in the Herculaneum papyri, buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 ce. Excavations beginning in the mid-18th century brought the first of the papyri to light, and attempts at a reconstruction of the treatise have been published since the end of the 18th century. In 1884 Johann Kemke established a text including additional material that had been discovered; he proposed that Philodemus's treatise was comprised of four books, the first of which was a doxography of the music theory of the Academy, the Peripatetics and the Stoics (including Diogenes of Babylon); the second (essentially lost) and third provided a fuller explanation of the theory of the Academy and the Peripatetics; and the fourth presented Philodemus's polemic against Diogenes and other Stoics. Until the 1980s Kemke's text was the basis for most modern scholarship, despite objections to his arrangement that were periodically raised on various grounds. With the later work of Rispoli, Neubecker and Delattre, however, Kemke's interpretation (and much of his text) has been largely supplanted. Delattre has proposed on papyrological and contextual grounds that all the fragments belong to the fourth book of Philodemus's ...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

( b Sarsina, Umbria, c 254 bce; d c 184 bce). Roman comic playwright . 20 of his comedies and a portion of another have survived, all fabulae palliatae (i.e. plays with Greek settings and costumes). They are free adaptations of Greek originals by Menander and other leading authors of the Athenian New Comedy (c330–270 bce), although none of Plautus's prototypes survives.

The abbreviations DV and C in the manuscripts of Plautus indicate the division of scenes into the two main categories of diverbium, spoken dialogue, and canticum, lines accompanied by a tibia player (tibicen). On average, nearly two-thirds of the play is occupied by canticum. There were apparently two varieties of canticum: the first was recitative, written in iambic, trochaic or anapaestic septenarii or octonarii (seven- or eight-feet lines); the second was lyric song in more intricate and variable metres, chiefly cretics, bacchics and ionics. Although a ...

Article

André Barbera

(fl second half of the 6th century bce). Greek philosopher and religious teacher. Born on Samos, he emigrated to Croton around 530 and later settled in Metapontum in southern Italy; both moves may have been caused by political or religious persecution. He believed in the transmigration of souls, established a bios (way of life), was probably a religious leader at Croton, and emphasized the numerical underpinnings of the natural world. An extreme version of Pythagorean doctrine holds that the physical world is a material working out (representation) of numerical truth, and that this truth is immediately and easily apprehended, albeit superficially, in elementary musical consonances.

Pythagoras’s teachings, prominently publicized by Philolaus (fl second half of the 5th century bce) and further promulgated by Archytas (fl first half of the 4th century bce), were well known to Plato and Aristotle, by whose time Pythagoras was already a legendary figure. During the 5th century the Pythagorean community split into a scientific branch (...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

[Marcus Fabius Quintilianus]

(b Calagurris, Spain, 30–35 ce; d Rome, after c94 ce). Roman orator and writer on rhetoric. He may have begun his studies in Spain; he completed them at Rome and there went on to gain both fame and wealth. In recognition of his remarkable skill at teaching rhetoric, he received a regular income from the imperial treasury, the first of his profession to be granted this honour. The literary testimonial to his gifts is the Institutio oratoria (completed c95 ce), a treatise in 12 books on the training of the ideal orator from earliest childhood to maturity. In this one surviving work the references to music form an unusual commentary, since they are based on wide reading and sympathetic interest rather than deep knowledge.

The recognition of a relationship between music and rhetoric goes back to earlier Roman writers such as Marcus Tullius Cicero, and beyond them to ...

Article

Terence  

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

[Publius Terentius Afer]

(b north Africa, c190 bce; d ?159 bce). Roman comic playwright. Only six plays survive, all fabulae palliatae (i.e. with Greek settings; see Plautus, Titus Maccius). Like Plautus, he adapted specimens of Greek New Comedy, but with far less lyric diversity (only 25 lyric lines out of 6000) and a heavy preponderance of spoken dialogue. The musical element was nevertheless more important than appears from the text; a considerable portion of the plays is recitative cantica, lines recited or intoned to an accompaniment on the pipes. (See Beare for a dissenting view.)

The didascalia (prefatory information) to each of Terence's works names a slave or freedman, Flaccus, as composer of the music (modi) and mentions the kinds of double reed pipe used. These are ‘equal’ in length, ‘unequal’, ‘right’, ‘left’ or, for one play, ‘Sarranian’. Commentaries by the 4th-century grammarian Aelius Donatus also specify them for each play, and identify equal pipes as Lydian and unequal as Phrygian, but the connections he suggested between these terms and the ethos or mood of the piece seem arbitrary and should be treated with caution (Wille, 169ff)....

Article

Thomas J. Mathiesen

( fl first half of the 5th century ce ). Latin writer . He is thought by some to have been the prefect in Spain (399–400 ce) or the proconsul in Africa (410 ce) cited in the Codex Theodosius but now identified with Theodosius, praetorian prefect in Italy in 430 ce. He was the author of a treatise comparing Greek and Latin verbs (De verborum graeci et latini differentiis vel societatibus), a commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis and a Saturnalia, the last two of which were dedicated to his son, Fl. Macrobius Plotinus Eustathius, city prefect in about 461 ce. Together with the writings of Boethius, Martianus Capella, Cassiodorus and Isidore , Macrobius’s commentary helped preserve and communicate ancient science and Neoplatonic theory in the Middle Ages. The Somnium Scipionis, with its dramatic language, images of the harmony of the spheres and observations about the nature and ascent of the soul, provided Macrobius with an ideal basis for commentary on such subjects as the classification of dreams, Pythagoras’s discovery of musical consonance and Pythagorean number theory, the nature of virtue, distinctions between mortality and immortality, the Neoplatonic hypostases, movements of the celestial and planetary spheres and their harmonious sound, and the superiority of Plato’s view of the soul over Aristotle’s. Derived in large measure from Porphyry’s commentary on the ...

Article

Lawrence Gushee

[Wilhelmus Hirsaugiensis ]

(b Bavaria; d Hirsau, July 4, 1091). Benedictine writer on music and astronomy . Wilhelm was educated in the monastery of St Emmeram, Regensburg, where his works are commonly believed to have been written. He was made abbot of the monastery of Hirsau in the Black Forest in 1069, actually assuming office two years later. Although not known as a composer, he was said by one early biographer to have corrected many errors in songs, presumably plainchant; he was thus a participant in the widespread attempts of that epoch to bring traditional chant into line with new modal theories. His major work on music is presented as a dialogue with his learned teacher, Otloh of St Emmeram, although the special advantages of that method of exposition are not exploited. Possibly the work was originally conceived in another form, then mechanically transformed into a dialogue. Two of the four manuscripts of the complete text present it as one book; the other two have it as two, but divided at different points. The texts, however, appear to be substantially the same....