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MUSIC OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 101
better religious music than had formerly obtained. In one of his letters, he says: " I deem no study more worthy of attention than good music. I desire that you select from among the population of Alexandria certain well born lads, who shall be supplied each with two Egyptian artabai per month, besides rations of corn, wine and oil, and be provided also with clothes by the comptroller of the treasury. The boys are to be chosen for a definite time according to their voice. Should any give promise of further abilities to reach a high degree in the science of music, let them be informed that we propose to offer to such, very substantial rewards. That the minds of these lads will, independently of our encouragement, be benefited by that cleansing power which perfect music exerts, we may rest assured on the authority of those who in past times have laid down excellent regulations on the subject. So much for the new choristers. As for those now under the instruction of the music master Dios-curus, make them act here all the more diligently to their practice. Since we are prepared to assist them in whatever way they may choose. "*
This beautiful scheme was frustrated by the death of its great originator, about two years afterward.
But among all the Roman Emperors, none was a more passionate virtuoso, and devotee of skillful music than that incomprehensible monster, Nero We shall enter into considerable detail regarding
t Letters of Julian, No. 56.