Myrtilus, Testimonia and Fragments

LCL 514: 374-375

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The Poets of Old Comedy


1 Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca XX p. 186.9 (Heylbut)

σύνηθες ἐν κωμῳδίᾳ παραπετάσματα δέρρεις ποεῖν οὐ πορφυρίδας. Μύρτιλος ἐν Τιτανόπασι.

2 Σ Aristophanes Birds 1490

οἱ ἥρωες δὲ δυσόργητοι καὶ χαλεποὶ τοῖς ἐμπελάζουσι γίνονται . . . διό μοι δοκοῦσι καὶ οἱ τὰ ἡρῷα παριόντες σιγὴν ἔχειν, ὡς Μυρτίλος ἐν Τιτανόπασί φησίν.



Fragments Love-Gods

Although Eros in the singular is the child of Aphrodite and the god of love, vases depicting amorous encounters show scenes with several winged love gods. Hence a chorus of such deities would not be greatly surprising. We know the play only from the mention in the Suda (T 1), which Kaibel considered a gloss explaining a love theme in Titan-Pans.


A splendid calyx crater in the British Museum (ARV2 601.23, c. 460) shows dancers dressed as Pans performing before an aulos player, and there is a possibility that such a chorus might have been substituted on occasion for a satyr chorus. But what were Titan-Pans? Hesychius (τ 971) says that “Titan” is a slang word for “paederast,” and elsewhere (π 339) describes Pans as “those very keen on sex,” but what sort of chorus are we to imagine and how costumed? Perhaps they were a hybrid race, the result of unions between Pan(s) and female Titans. F 2 might imply that the Skēnē represented their shrine.

1 It was customary in comedy to use leather hangings, not purple, so Myrtilus in Titan-Pans.

2 Heroes can get angry and upset with people who get too close . . . that is why I think that people who pass by the shrines of heroes keep silence, as Myrtilus says in Titan-Pans.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.myrtilos-testimonia_fragments.2011