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Headword: Anabolas
Adler number: alpha,1810
Translated headword: overtures
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the preludes.[1] "I want to take up new overtures."[2] Or the beginnings of hymns.[3] Homer [says]: "now playing the lyre he began the prelude singing beautifully."[4] And Aristophanes [says]: "they flew gathering up overtures."[5] He is speaking about the souls of the dithyramb teachers.
Greek Original:
Anabolas: ta prooimia. kainas anabolas thelô labein. ê tas archas tôn aismatôn. Homêros: êtoi ho phormizôn aneballeto kalon aeidein. kai Aristophanês: xunelegont' anabolas potômenai. peri psuchôn legôn dithurambodidaskalôn.
The headword, extracted from the first quotation given, is the accusative plural of the feminine noun a)nabolh/. For this sense of it see LSJ s.v., II.1.
[1] cf. already alpha 1799.
[2] Aristophanes, Birds 1385 (see web address 1). In the "new dithyramb" at the end of the 5th Century BC in Athens (delta 1029, OCD(4) p.978 [in 'Music §4'], and references below) this word refers to stanzas sung by the cyclic choir (kappa 2647) without the responsion of strophe/antistrophe, now judged old-fashioned, to accompany their dance (see Dunbar). As Düring points out (p.185), a)nabolai/ "stands for the new dithyramb as a whole." The long fragment of Persians of Timotheus (tau 620), edited by Wilamowitz and now by J. Hordern (The Fragments of Timotheus of Miletus, 2002), is then to be regarded as an example. Aristophanes parodies this style in Birds 1373-1409, with examples of strange metre and extraordinary epithets.
[3] cf. alpha 2208.
[4] Homer, Odyssey 1.155 (web address 2).
[5] Aristophanes, Peace 830 (web address 3). Aristophanes here attaches to the noun an absurd adjective endiaerianerinhxe/tous (epsilon 1174).
Anderson, W.D. Music and Musicians in Ancient Greece (1994) pp.126-34
Barker. = pseudo-Plutarch, De Musica, translated in A. Barker (ed.) Greek Musical Writings I: The Musician and his Art (1984) pp. 204-57, esp. notes, pp.236-40
Dunbar = Aristophanes, Birds, ed. N. Dunbar (1995) pp. 660-73
Düring, I. "Studies in musical terminology in 5th. Century literature," Eranos 43 (1945) 176ff.
Pickard-Cambridge, A.W. Dithyramb, Tragedy and Comedy, 2nd. Edn. rev. T.B.L. Webster (1962) 38ff.
West, M.L. Ancient Greek Music (1992)
Zimmermann, B. Dithyrambos (Hypomnemata 98, 1992), esp. ch.7 "Der neue Dithyrambos" (117-36)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; meter and music
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 5 October 2000@11:12:53.
Vetted by:
Robert Dyer (Slightly expanded entry to take into account other entries on the same word, and the modern theories of its meaning (collected by Dunbar). Added bibliography. Slight cosmetics.) on 19 November 2001@07:05:24.
Robert Dyer (Added reference to Düring and Timotheus. Raised status) on 3 March 2002@10:48:15.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 28 July 2002@08:42:03.
Elizabeth Vandiver (Added italics) on 30 September 2005@20:10:34.
Catharine Roth (updated links) on 29 October 2011@23:14:15.
David Whitehead (added primary note and another keyword; cosmetics) on 30 October 2011@05:45:47.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes) on 17 December 2013@12:41:46.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 30 July 2014@05:48:58.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 15 December 2014@15:31:12.


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