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104                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
He instituted games in his own honor, entitled the Neronia, which were celebrated in imitation of the Greek sacred games, every fifth year; at these games he had introduced contests of flute and organ-players; he was too impatient to wait until the allotted interval should have expired, but ordered that the games should be celebrated in advance of their accustomed time, and placed his name on the list of musical competitors;* the Senate sought to avert such a disgrace, by offering to decree the victory to him, without requiring him to compete, but Nero answered, that he stood in no need of favor or protection; that he depended entirely upon himself and upon his own merits; that he would fairly enter the lists, and that the decision should come from the judges.f When his name was called, he came on in his regular turn, attended by a suite of high military officials, one of whom bore his harp. After taking his place he announced that he would sing the story of Niobe; this he did, and kept it up for hours, but at the conclusion he (suddenly changing from singer to emperor) deferred the awards of the judges for one year, as this afforded him an opportunity to appear again in that time.
The people gave on this occasion immense applause, but whether they we^-e most pleased by the music, or by the novelty of the whole affair, is doubtful.
Suet. Nero, XXI. t Tacitus, Bk. XXL






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