Greek Lyric


Testimonia Vitae Atque Artis

1 Suda Λ 139 (iii 236 Adler)

Λάσος, Χαρβίνου, Ἑρμιονεύς, πόλεως τῆς Ἀχαίας, γεγονὼς κατὰ τὴν νη´ Ὀλυμπιάδα, ὅτε Δαρεῖος ὁ Ὑστάσπου. τινὲς δὲ τοῦτον συναριθμοῦσι τοῖς ζ´ σοφοῖς ἀντὶ Περιάνδρου. πρῶτος δὲ οὗτος περὶ μουσικῆς λόγον ἔγραψε καὶ διθύραμβον εἰς ἀγῶνα (διθυραμβώδεις ἀγωγὰς Garrod) εἰσήγαγε καὶ τοὺς ἐριστικοὺς εἰσηγήσατο λόγους.




life and work

1 Suda, Lasus

Son of Charbinus1; from Hermione, a city of Achaea; born in the 58th Olympiad (548/544 b.c.), when Darius, son of Hystaspes, was born.2 Some number him among the Seven Wise Men in place of Periander.3 He was the first to write a treatise on music,4 to make the dithyramb competitive5 and to introduce wrangling arguments.6

  • 1Diogenes Laertius 1. 42 says ‘son of Charmantides or of Sisymbrinus or, according to Aristoxenus (fr. 86 Wehrli), of Chabrinus’.
  • 2Hdt. 1. 209 implies that Darius was born c. 549, Ctesias implies 557.
  • 3See Diog. Laert., loc. cit, who cites Hermippus’ list of 17 sages who at various times were included in the list.
  • 4Martianus Capella 9. 352 says L. ‘made public’ his views on the tripartite division of music; it is possible that the division into sound, rhythm and words goes back to L.
  • 5Suda K 2646 says L. was the first to establish the circular choruses (of the dithyramb); see also testt. 3, 5. Acc. to the Parian Marble the first dithyrambs were sung (in Athens) by a chorus of men in 509/8 b.c., the victor being Hypodicus of Chalcis. With Garrod’s emendation of the text there is no mention of competition: ‘L. introduced dithyramb-style rhythms.’
  • 6See testt. 10, 11.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lasus-testimonia.1991