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Headword: Mesomêdês
Adler number: mu,668
Translated headword: Mesomedes
Vetting Status: high
Of Crete, a lyric poet, lived in the time of Hadrian,[1] whose freedman he was and a very special friend. Accordingly he wrote in praise of Antinous, who was Hadrian's boy-friend;[2] [he also wrote] various other songs.
"When Antoninus[3] searched for the monument of Sulla[4] and repaired it, he raised a cenotaph for Mesomedes who had written citharoedic nomoi;[5] for the one [i.e. Mesomedes] because he was learning to play the kithara; for the other [i.e. Sulla] because he esteemed his cruelty."[6]
Greek Original:
Mesomêdês, Krês, lurikos, gegonôs epi tôn Adrianou chronôn, apeleutheros autou kai en tois malista philos. graphei oun eis Antinoon epainon, hos ên Adrianou paidika: kai alla diaphora melê. hoti Antôninos to tou Sullou mnêmeion anazêtêsas epeskeuase, tôi te Mesomêdei tôi tous kitharôidikous nomous grapsanti kenotaphion echôse: tôi men hoti kai kitharôidein emanthanen: ekeinôi de hoti tên ômotêta autou ezêlou.
Besides the specialised bibliography listed below, see generally Nicholas Horsfall in OCD(4) s.v.
Mesomedes’ extant works include six Hymns (in honour of the Muse, the Sun, Nemesis, Mother Nature, Isis, and the Adriatic sea), three Descriptions (e)kfra/seis: two of a sundial, one of a sponge), two beast-related Songs (To a swan and To a mosquito) and two Epigrams in the Greek Anthology (14.63, 16.323). As well as the bibliography below see also the website for Ancient Greek Music at the Commission for Ancient Literature of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (web address 1), which includes sound files of Mesomedes’ extant fragments. See also M.L. West, Ancient Greek Music (Oxford 1992) 280-281, 303-308.
[1] Roman emperor 117-138 (alpha 527).
[2] See under alpha 527, nu 518, pi 858.
[3] a.k.a. Caracalla, Roman emperor 211-217 (alpha 2762).
[4] sigma 1337.
[5] See generally nu 473.
[6] This material = Cassius Dio 77.13.7.
Bowie, E.L., 'Greek Poetry in the Antonine Age', in Russell D.A., Antonine Literature, Oxford 1990, pp. 53-90 (pp. 85-90 on Mesomedes)
Heitsch, E. (ed.), Die griechischen Dichterfragmente der römischen Kaiserzeit, I, Göttingen 1961, pp. 24-32
Phillips, B., 'Greek Music', The Musical Quarterly 5.4 (1919) pp. 578-613
Pöhlmann, E., Denkmäler altgriechischer Musik, Nuremberg 1970
Vetter, W., 'Mesomedes, Kitharöde des 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. aus Kreta', RE XV 1 (1931) p.1103
Whitmarsh, T., 'The Cretan lyre paradox: Mesomedes, Hadrian and the poetics of patronage', in Borg B. (ed.), Paideia: the world of the second sophistic, Berlin 2004, pp. 377-402
Winnington-Ingram, R.P., 'Ancient Greek Music: A Survey', Music & Letters 10.4 (1929) pp. 326-345
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: architecture; biography; chronology; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; meter and music; poetry; politics; rhetoric
Translated by: Ioannis Doukas on 14 May 2007@18:50:43.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; modified keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 15 May 2007@03:40:55.
Catharine Roth (betacode cosmeticule) on 15 May 2007@10:37:50.
David Whitehead (augmented primary note) on 17 July 2008@03:42:39.
David Whitehead (another keyword; tweaking) on 16 May 2013@08:28:10.
David Whitehead on 9 August 2014@08:36:44.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 3 January 2015@00:11:51.
David Whitehead (coding) on 18 May 2016@03:32:48.


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