The boeotian nome

Citharodic νόμoς Boιώτιoς is attributed to legendary Terpander, therefore, everything we are told about the nomes of Terpander (archaic simplicity, seven-parted structure, narrative subject, epic meter, address to the gods) can be applied to it. Aristophanes (Ach. 14) testifies its performance at the citharodic contests in the 5th cent. BC, and Posidippus (58 Austin — Bastianini), at the gatherings of girls, probably in a religious context, in the 3rd cent. BC, which implies the (initially) ritual character of the nome. Since it was agonistic, it is plausible that νόμoς Boιώτιoς was a general type of composition and not only a definite piece ‘of Terpander’. Its peculiarity is referred to by Sophocles (fr. 966): it began slowly and calmly, but then became more and more intense (which probably means performing crescendo and accelerando). The name “Boeotian” needs explanation. Its interpretation, on the base of Aristophanes, as ‘a song about a calf’ is unacceptable. The notion of a melodic style typical of Boeotia seems to contradict the idea of the authorship of Terpander who originated from Lesbos. Perhaps this nome was first ascribed to Terpander due to the general resemblance to other archaic citharodic nomes, and only later the contradiction was realized and reflected on. Zenobius (2. 65) associates the name “Boeotian” with a subject from Boeotian mythical history, namely the myth of Oedipus. Possibly the generic name was inherited from just one nome which was considered as composed by Terpander and had a peculiar feature of increasing tension. This peculiarity was challenged by imitators and thus became the basis of a new kind of nome. In this case the nome which served as a model could have a Boeotian musical colour or a Boeotian mythical subject, but the imitations may not have preserved these features.

pdf_icon Almazova Nina A. “The boeotian nome”.pdf