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date: 25 February 2021

Damon(2)locked

, Athenian sophist and musicologist
  • Andrew Barker

Extract

Damon (2) Athenian sophist, musicologist and children’s music-teacher, a member of *Pericles’ (1) circle of intellectuals, mentioned admiringly but perhaps ironically in *Plato (1)’s dialogues. He is credited with some musical innovations, but is best known for ideas about music’s social and political influence and the ethical effects of various rhythms, mentioned in Plato, Resp. 3 and 4. Despite the imaginative reconstructions of Lasserre and others, there is no reliable evidence that he analyzed the harmoniai, or that there was ever an identifiable school of ‘Damonians’ dedicated to an ‘ethos theory’ of music. There are only very fragile grounds for attributing to him the ‘ancient scales’ described in *Aristides Quintilanus, De mus. 1 or ideas found in De mus. 2.

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