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Headword: Orthiasmatôn
Adler number: omicron,573
Translated headword: (of) words of rising tone
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] of words of threat [sc. in rising tone]; or of boasts with shouting; or of songs, in respect to the citharodic "steep-rising" style.
Also [sc. attested is the phrase] 'steep-rising style': Timotheus the piper once piped the style called 'the steep-rising of Athena' and so amazed Alexander with his melodies (songs?) that, in the middle of listening to them, Alexander leapt to his arms. [They say that] he said that the royal pipe music should be just like that. Timotheus, urgently invited, traveled to visit him.
Greek Original:
Orthiasmatôn: anataseôs rhêmatôn: ê tôn meta boês kompôn: ê tôn melôn: paroson orthios nomos kitharôidikos. kai Orthios nomos: Timotheos ho aulêtês êulei pote tês Athênas ton orthion nomon kaloumenon kai es tosonde exeplêtten Alexandron tois melesin, hôs metaxu kai akousanta aïxai epi ta hopla. ton de phanai, hoti toiauta chrê einai ta basilika aulêmata. ho de Timotheos anelêluthe pros auton, spoudêi metapemptos genomenos.
The headword, in the genitive plural (as direct object of a verb of hearing), is taken from Aristophanes, Acharnians 1042, and is the only use of this neuter noun known to us. The first part of the entry is taken from the scholia to the line. It is important as evidence for the sense of o)/rqios as 'sharply rising in a shrill tone' of tension and anger. The noun a)na/tasis (also used of the acute or rising accent) and the verb a)natei/nw from which it is derived denote the same tone of speaking that rises upwards in tension, either of threat or of boasting. See LSJ entries at web address 1, web address 2, and web address 3.
For the well-known o)/rqios no/mos, 'steep-rising style', see also omicron 575, omicron 574, alpha 1701, alpha 1122, chi 171, and cf. West 352-53 note 119. See also omicron 585, with a pun of Aristophanes on its similarity to o)/rqrios 'dawn' of a cock's cry.
West describes the nomos of Athena as 'probably a standard item in the Panathenaic musical contests' (West 216 and note 65). It was in the enharmonic genus and the Phrygian mode (ps.-Plut. De musica 1133ff., 1143B-C; Plato, Cratylus 417E). It was, however, according to West, probably in 'something like dactylo-epitrite', for it is identified in the scholia to Euripides, Orestes 1384, with the "chariot" nomos (a(rma/teios no/mos), a dactylic rhythm. There is here, then, an unexplained contradiction of the usual hypothesis of the rhythm on which the "steep-rising" nomos was based (see omicron 575).
The story of Timotheus the piper does not illustrate the "steep-rising" citharodic style, under discussion here. Rather, it is discussed as a piper style at chi 171. Timotheus' encounter with Alexander (sc. the Great) also appears at tau 620 and alpha 1122 (cf. Dio Chrysostom, Or. 1.6ff.; Anna Comnena, Alexias p.4.1; Eustathius, Commentary on the Iliad 11.11). If this is Timotheos of Miletus, tau 620, he was apparently a piper before he became a citharode (i.e. someone who sang his compositions in accompaniment to his playing of the cithara). For the Milesian's life and works, see OCD(4) 1484 'Timotheus(1)'; RE 6A (1937) 1331-37; T.H. Janssen Timotheus, Persae (1984); West 361ff.; Greek Lyric, ed. D.A. Campbell (Loeb edn., 1993), vol. 5. 70-121; J. Hordern, The Fragments of Timotheus of Miletus (2002). However, West p. 361 points out that the performing days of the Milesian, born c.450, can hardly have extended very far into the fourth century. Synchronicity with Alexander is impossible: T. of Miletus and T. the piper are homonyms from different eras.
Pseudo-Plutarch, De Musica, translated in A. Barker (ed.) Greek Musical Writings I: The Musician and his Art (1984)
West, M.L. Ancient Greek Music (1992)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; meter and music; religion
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 30 May 2002@13:16:54.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 12 September 2002@05:51:55.
David Whitehead (modified latter part of note; more keywords; cosmetics) on 8 April 2010@07:30:56.
David Whitehead (small adjustments) on 10 July 2013@09:29:42.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 19 August 2013@23:32:07.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 2 August 2014@10:10:12.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 15 December 2014@15:39:25.
David Whitehead (coding) on 20 May 2016@04:09:15.


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