Telestes and the ‘five-rodded joining of strings’

TitleTelestes and the ‘five-rodded joining of strings’
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsBarker, A
Ancient AuthorsAthenaeus Soph. (TLG 0008)
JournalClassical Quarterly

Athenaeus (637a) records these lines from the dithyramb Hymenaios, along with a number of other snippets of poetry, in the course of an inconclusive discussion about the characteristics of the instrument (if it is an instrument) called the magadis. Athenaeus had good reasons for being puzzled; the word first appeared in Greek, so far as we know, in the seventh century b.c., and its sense was already a matter of some doubt in the fourth. As to this particular fragment, even Telestes' original audience might be forgiven some bafflement in the face of the third line, on which I shall initially focus here. What can be meant by ‘the five-rodded joining of the strings’? []


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