Arion in Wikipedia

Arion (Ancient Greek: Ἀρίων, gen.: Ἀρίωνος) was a legendary[1] kitharode in ancient Greece, a Dionysiac poet credited with inventing the dithyramb: "As a literary composition for chorus dithyramb was the creation of Arion of Corinth,"[2] The islanders of Lesbos claimed him as their native son, but Arion found a patron in Periander, tyrant of Corinth. Although notable for his musical inventions, Arion is chiefly remembered for the fantastic myth of his kidnapping by pirates and miraculous rescue by dolphins, a folktale motif.[3] Herodotus (1,23) says "Arion was second to none of the lyre- players in his time and was also the first man we know of to compose and name the dithyramb and teach it in Corinth". However J.H. Sleeman observes of the dithyramb, or circular chorus, "It is first mentioned by Archilochus (c 665 BC) . . . Arion flourished at least 50 years later . . . probably gave it a more artistic form, adding a chorus of 50 people, personating satyrs . . . who danced around an altar of Dionysus. He was doubtless the first to introduce the dithyramb into Corinth".[4] Arion is also associated with the origins of tragedy: of Solon John the Deacon reports: "Arion of Methymna first introduced the drama [i.e. action] of tragedy, as Solon indicated in his poem entitled Elegies".[5]...

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Arion in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

(Ἀρίων). 1. An ancient Greek bard and great master on the cithara, was a native of Methymna in Lesbos, and, according to some accounts, a son of Cyclon or of Poseidon and the nymph Oncaea. He is called the inventor of the dithyrambic poetry, and of the name dithyramb. (Hdt. 1.23; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. 13.25.) All traditions about him agree in describing him as a contemporary and friend of Periander, tyrant of Corinth, so that he must have lived about B. C. 700. He appears to have spent a great part of his life at the court of Periander, but respecting his life and his poetical or musical productions, scarcely anything is known beyond the beautiful story of his escape from the sailors with whom he sailed from Sicily to Corinth. On one occasion, thus runs the story, Arion went to Sicily to take part in some musical contest. He won the prize, and, laden with presents, he embarked in a Corinthian ship to return to his friend Periander. The rude sailors coveted his treasures, and meditated his murder. Apollo, in a dream, informed his beloved bard of the plot. After having tried in vain to save his life, he at length obtained permission once more to seek delight in his song and playing on the cithara. In festal attire he placed himself in the prow of the ship and invoked the gods in inspired strains, and then threw himself into the sea. But many song-loving dolphins had assembled round the vessel, and one of them now took the bard on its back and carried him to Taenarus, from whence he returned to Corinth in safety, and related his adventure to Periander. When the Corinthian vessel arrived likewise, Periander inquired of the sailors after Arion, and they said that he had remained behind at Tarentum; but when Arion, at the bidding of Periander, came forward, the sailors owned their guilt and were punished according to their desert. (Hdt. 1.24 ; Gellius, 16.19; Hyg. Fab. 194; Paus. 3.25.5.) In the time of Herodotus and Pausanias there existed on Taenarus a brass monument, which was dedicated there either by Periander or Arion himself, and which represented him riding on a dolphin. Arion and his cithara (lyre) were placed among the stars. (Hygin. l.c. ; Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. 8.54; Aelian, Ael. NA 12.45.) A fragment of a hymn to Poseidon, ascribed to Arion, is contained in Bergk's Poetae Lyrici Graeci, p. 566, &c. 2. A fabulous horse, which Poseidon begot by Demeter; for in order to escape from the pursuit of Poseidon, the goddess had metamorphosed herself into a mare, and Poseidon deceived her by assuming the figure of a horse. Demeter afterwards gave birth to the horse Arion, and a daughter whose name remained unknown to the uninitiated. (Paus. 8.25.4.) According to the poet Antimachus (apud Paus. l.c.) this horse and Caerus were the offspring of Gaea; whereas, according to other traditions, Poseidon or Zephyrus begot the horse by a Harpy. (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1051; Quint. Smyrn. 4.570.) Another story related, that Poseidon created Arion in his contest with Athena. (Serv. ad Virg. Georg. 1.12.) From Poseidon the horse passed through the hands of Copreus, Oncus, and Heracles, from whom it was received by Adrastus. (Paus. l.c. ; Hesiod. Scut. Here. 120.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

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