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PUBLIC GAMES OF GREECE.                  45
exercises. Sparta also had a special building for musical purposes. Theodore of Samos erected the Skias, a building for musical uses, in the market place. Sparta was in fact, the cradle of Grecian music.
In the early days, songs were learned and transmitted down, from mouth to mouth. Hom­er's poems were preserved in this manner for five hundred years. In Sparta however, they first began to crystallize into form and regularity. Yet strange to say, Sparta gave birth to no musi­cians of eminence, even though she was so long the arbiter, and director of Grecian musical taste.*
Terpander of Lesbos, one of the founders of Greek music, came early to Sparta. He is reported to have gained the prize at the first musical con­test of the Carneian games, B. c. 676, and is said to have studied in Egypt, but he certainly could not have done so before his first advent in Sparta, for Egypt was at that date still closed to foreigners, and had even guards set to prevent the landing of strangers by the sea.
Terpander gained the Pythian crown four times in succession, and was the most famous poet-musician of his time. His fame spread through all Greece, but it was especially in Sparta that he won renown, for his high, manly and earnest strains awoke a sturdy and manly response in the bosoms of the rugged Spartans. It is probable however that at the first visit to Sparta, his songs were not






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III