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Headword: *mousourgoi/
Adler number: mu,1303
Translated headword: muse-laborers, singers
Vetting Status: high
[A term for] female harpists.[1] "The mousourgoi were barbarian women; their native name [was] barza.[2] And of these, some play the pipe, some pluck the five-stringed harp and some the seven-stringed; these same sing in accompaniment to their playing. The playing does not have a melody composed in accordance with the singing, as among the Greeks, but is such as to be a prelude to the singing.[3] And the singing used to stop when the king left off drinking; but whenever he commanded to pour, they again began to sing and to accompany."
"Arbazakios lived with so many [female] mousourgoi that neither he nor his accountants could count them. They knew the number of the soldiers, but the number of the hetairai[4] escaped the numbering of their hands. So they say the Persian Orontes said that the smallest of the fingers signified the number ten thousand and the number one, thus also they counted the hetairai in accordance with the myriad and the one."
Greek Original:
*mousourgoi/: ya/ltriai. ai( de\ mousourgoi\ ba/rbaroi h)=san gunai=kes: o)/noma au)tai=s e)pixw/rion ba/rza. kai\ tou/twn ai( me\n au)lou=sin, ai( de\ ya/llousi pentaxo/rdw|, ai( de\ e(ptaxo/rdw| yalthri/w|: ai( au)tai\ de\ kai\ prosa/|dousi tw=| yalmw=|. o( yalmo\s de\ ou) pro\s th\n w)|dh\n e)/xei pepoihme/non to\ me/los kaqa/per par' *(/ellhsin, a)ll' e)/stin oi(=os e)ndo/simos ei)=nai th=| w)|dh=|. kai\ lh/gonti me\n ou)=n tou= po/tou basilei= kai\ h( w)|dh\ cunepau/eto: o(po/te de\ e)gxe/ai keleu/seien, au)=qis h)/rxonto a)/|dein kai\ ya/llein. o( de\ *)arbaza/kios mousourgoi=s sune/zh tosau/tais, o(/sas ou)/t' e)kei=nos a)riqmei=n ei)=xen ou)/te oi( prosh/kontes logistai/. tw=n ga\r stratiwtw=n h)/|desan to\ plh=qos: tw=n e(tairw=n de\ kai\ to\n a)riqmo\n to\n e)k tw=n xeirw=n die/fugen. w(/sper ou)=n *)oro/nthn to\n *pe/rshn fasi\n ei)pei=n, o(/ti tw=n daktu/lwn o( mikro/tatos kai\ muri/a shmai/nei kai\ e(/na a)riqmo/n, ou(/tw ka)kei=noi ta\s e(tai/ras kata\ mona/da kai\ muria/da h)ri/qmoun.
After the initial glossing (on which see n. 1 below), the first paragraph of this composite entry comes from an unidentifiable source. The second = Eunapius fr.84 FHG (4.51); already more fully at alpha 3751 (q.v.).
[1] This glossing is very specific and implies that the headword (nominative plural) has been drawn from a particular context (unconnected, moreover, with what immediately follows). Of itself, the noun mousourgos does not presuppose women rather than men: note Hesychius mu1752, glossing it with o( au)lhth/s "the [male] piper"; and that selfsame entry, together with (e.g.) what follows here, reveals that other instruments besides the harp can be involved.
[2] This term, evidently non-Greek, is otherwise unattested.
[3] cf. epsilon 1183.
[4] The term hetairai, here and again below, has strong connotations of sexual companionship; cf. epsilon 3265, epsilon 3266, etc.
Keywords: biography; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; mathematics; military affairs; meter and music; women
Translated by: Nathan Greenberg ✝ on 4 April 2002@15:43:18.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added notes; augmented keywords; cosmetics) on 12 April 2002@05:51:13.
David Whitehead on 17 June 2002@10:13:37.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaking) on 27 May 2013@08:40:08.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; more notes) on 28 May 2013@03:34:39.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 1 March 2017@01:41:57.


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