Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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9.3.10

There was anciently a contest held at Delphi, of players on the cithara, who executed a pæan in honour of the god. It was instituted by Delphians. But after the Crisæan war the Amphictyons, in the time of Eurylochus, established contests for horses, and gymnastic sports, in which the victor was crowned. These were called Pythian games. The players [Note] on the cithara were accompanied by players on the flute, and by citharists, [Note] who performed without singing. They performed a strain (Melos), [Note] called the Pythian mood (Nomos). [Note] It consisted of five parts; the anacrusis, the ampeira, cataceleusmus, iambics and dactyls, and pipes. [Note] Timosthenes, the commander of the fleet of the Second Ptolemy, and who was the author of a work in ten books on Harbours, composed a melos. His object was to celebrate in this melos the contest of Apollo with the serpent Python. The anacrusis was intended to express the prelude; the ampeira, the first onset of the contest; the cataceleusmus, the contest itself; the iambics and dactyls denoted the triumphal strain on obtaining the victory, together with musical measures, of which the dactyl is peculiarly appropriated to praise, and the use of the iambic to insult and reproach; the syringes or pipes described the death, the players imitating the hissings of the expiring monster. [Note] 9.3.11

Ephorus, whom we generally follow, on account of his exactness in these matters, (as Polybius, a writer of repute, testifies,) seems to proceed contrary to his proposed plan, and to the promise which he made at the beginning of his work. For after having censured those writers who are fond of intermixing fable with history, and after having spoken in praise of truth, he introduces, with reference to this oracle, a grave declaration, that he considers truth preferable at all

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times, but especially in treating subjects of this kind. For it is absurd, he says, if, in other things, we constantly follow this practice, but that when we come to speak of the oracle, which of all others is the most exempt from deception, we should introduce tales so incredible and false. Yet immediately afterwards he says, that it is the received opinion that Apollo, by the aid of Themis, established this oracle with a view to benefit the human race. He then explains these benefits, by saying, that men were invited to pursue a more civilized mode of life, and were taught maxims of wisdom by oracles; by injunctions to perform or to abstain, or by positive refusal to attend to the prayers of petitioners. Some, he says, suppose, that the god himself in a bodily form directs these things; others, that he communicates an intimation of his will to men [by words]. 9.3.12

And lower down, when speaking of the Delphians and their origin, he says, that certain persons, called Parnassii, an indigenous tribe, anciently inhabited Parnassus, about which time Apollo, traversing the country, reclaimed men from their savage state, by inducing them to adopt a more civilized mode of life and subsistence; that, setting out from Athens on his way to Delphi, he took the same road along which the Athenians at present conduct the procession of the Pythias; that when he arrived at the Panopeis, he put to death Tityus, who was master of the district, a violent and lawless man; that the Parnassii having joined him informed him of Python, another desperate man, surnamed the Dragon. Whilst he was despatching this man with his arrows, they shouted, Hie Paian; [Note] whence has been transmitted the custom of singing the Pæan before the onset of a battle; that after the death of the Python the Delphians burnt even his tent, as they still continue to burn a tent in memorial of these events. Now what can be more fabulous than Apollo discharging his arrows, chastising Tityi and Pythons, his journey from Athens to Delphi, and his travels over the whole country? If he did not consider these as fables, why did he call the fabulous Themis a woman, and the fabulous dragon a man, unless he intended to confound the provinces of history and fable. His account of the ætolians is similar to this. After having

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asserted that their country was never ravaged at any period, he says, that at one time it was inhabited by ætolians, who had expelled the Barbarians; that at another time, ætolus, together with the Epeii from Elis, inhabited it; [that ætolus was overthrown by the Epeii,] and these again by Alcmæon and Diomedes.

I now return to the Phocians. 9.3.13

Immediately on the sea-coast, next after Anticyra, [Note] and behind [Note] it, is the small city Marathus; then a promontory, Pharygium, which has a shelter for vessels; then the harbour at the farthest end, called Mychus, [Note] from the accident of its situation between Helicon [Note] and Ascra.

Nor is Abæ, [Note] the seat of an oracle, far from these places, nor Ambrysus, [Note] nor Medeon, of the same name as a city in Bœotia.

In the inland parts, next after Delphi, towards the east is Daulis, [Note] a small town, where, it is said, Tereus, the Thracian, was prince; and there they say is the scene of the fable of Philomela and Procne; Thucydides lays it there; but other writers refer it to Megara. The name of the place is derived from the thickets there, for they call thickets Dauli. Homer calls it Daulis, but subsequent writers Daulia, and the words they who occupied Cyparissus, [Note]
are understood in a double sense; some persons supposing it to have its name from the tree of the country, but others from a village situated below the Lycoreian territory.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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