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Locusts, Grasshoppers and Cicadas as Muses

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Different Ways of Visualising Insect Music in Antiquity

image of Greek and Roman Musical Studies

The music of the τέττιξ and the ἀκρίς is a prominent topos in ancient literature, especially in Hellenistic poetry. However, the musical ability of these insects is also depicted in ancient art and could be distinguished in three categories: first, artists realistically represent the stridulatio; second, they show the juxtaposition of animal and instrument, and third, the anthropomorphized insects playing instruments like human musicians. The last option in particular reminds one of the equation of the cicada with both the Muses and the Hellenistic poet himself.

Affiliations: 1: Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Department of Classical Archaeology florian.leitmeir@uni-wuerzburg.de

10.1163/22129758-12341302
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2017-08-10
2018-07-19

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