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Musicam Diis curae esse.

The gods care for music

CVIII.

Locrensis posuit tibi delphice Phoebe cicadam
Eunomus hanc, palmae signa decora suae.
Certabat plectro Sparthyn commissus in hostem,
Et percussa sonum pollice fila dabant.
Trita fides rauco coepit cm stridere bombo,
Legitimum harmonias & vitiare melos:
Tum citharae argutans suavis sese intulit ales,
Quae fractam impleret voce cicada fidem.
Quaeque allecta, soni ad legem descendit ab altis
Saltibus, ut nobis garrula ferret opem.
Ergo tuae ut firmus stet honos, sancte, cicada,
Pro cithara hic fidicen aeneus ipsa sedet.[1]

Phoebus, god of Delphi, Locrian Eunomus set up this cicada in your honour, an appropriate symbol of his victory. He was competing in the lyre contest against his rival Sparthys and the strings resounded as he plucked them with the plectrum. A worn string began to buzz with a hoarse rattle and spoil the true melody of the music. Then a sweet-voiced creature, a cicada, flew chirping onto the lyre to supply with its song the broken string. Recruited to follow the rules of musical sound, it flew down from the high glades to bring us aid with its chirping song. Accordingly, so that the honour due to your cicada, o holy god, may last undiminished, on top of the lyre she sits here herself, a minstrel in bronze.

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COMMENTARIA.

Eunomus Locrensis praestantissimus Ci-
tharoedus invitus ab Aristone ad Musicale
certamen provocatus, & cm inter certan-
dum Eunomo chordarum una rupta defecis-
set, ideoque dissona fer harmonia effecta,
protinus Cicada (in ea enim regione suavis-
sim cantant, & in Aristonis patria omnino
silent & mutae sunt, teste Plinio lib. 11. cap. 27. &
Strabone lib. 6.) supervolans adstitit, & resonan-
ti stridore vocis defectum supplevit, adeoque
ut Eunomus victor declaratus fuerit, qui de-
inceps Apollini Citharam cum Cicada aenea
insidenti, in honorem obtulit, ut legitur apud
Strabonem dicto libro 6. Geographiae Quin
Deus verus noster omnipotens, Musicis lau-
datur instrumentis, ut passim in sacra pagina
praesertim apud Prophetam, in mille locis.
laudate Dominum in sono tubae, in
Psalterio & Cythara, in Tympa-
no & Choro, in chordis.
Cymbalis, & Or-
gano, &c.

Notes:

1. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 6.54. See Strabo, Geography 6.1.9 for the story of Eunomus and the statue he set up at his home town of Locri commemorating this incident in the song contest at the Pythian Games (celebrated near Delphi, in honour of Apollo, Artemis and their mother Leto); also Erasmus, Adagia 414, Acanthia Cicada.


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