Reconstructing Damon: Music, Wisdom Teaching, and Politics in Perikles' Athens

TitleReconstructing Damon: Music, Wisdom Teaching, and Politics in Perikles' Athens
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWallace, RW
Ancient AuthorsDamon Mus. (TLG 2232)
Number of Pages248 pp. ill.
PublisherOxford University Press

Fifth-century Athenian musical and political theorist Damon was the first to study music's psychological, behavioural, and political effects, profoundly influencing debates on music theory throughout antiquity. Considered by Isokrates to be the most intelligent Athenian of his age, Damon worked alongside Perikles during the most vibrant decades of Athens' democracy. Probably using fourth-century BC sources, Olympiodoros records that 'Damon taught Perikles the songs through which Perikles harmonized the city'. However, musical and political entanglements caused this teacher-theorist to be ostracized from Athens for ten years, at the height of Perikles' power.

Reconstructing Damon is the first comprehensive study of the most important theorist of music and poetic meter in ancient Athens, detailing his extensive influence, and providing the first systematic collection, translation, and critical examination of all ancient testimonia for him. In doing so, this volume makes an important contribution to a number of key fields, including classical Greek music and music theory, fifth-century philosophy (particularly the sophists), political history including the growth of democracy, and the life and career of Perikles. [,%20robert&lang=en&cc=gb#]


Sehepunkte 2016 16 (9) Umberto Bultrighini; Greek and Roman Musical Studies 2017 5 (2): 273–278 Tosca Lynch; BMCR 2018.06.07 Riccardo Vattuone

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