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Music and the MusesThe Culture of Mousike in the Classical Athenian City$
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Penelope Murray and Peter Wilson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242399.001.0001

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Damon of Oa: A Music Theorist Ostracized?

Damon of Oa: A Music Theorist Ostracized?

(p.249) 9 Damon of Oa: A Music Theorist Ostracized?
Music and the Muses

Robert W. Wallace

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the evidence for the career of Damon of Oa, music theorist and friend of Pericles, who was said to have been ostracised for his dangerous activities. It defends that tradition, arguing that music and politics were intimately connected in 5th-century Athens. The sources suggest that Damon developed what was later called the ethos theory of music which believed in the power of music to influence character and behaviour. Given the centrality of mousike in 5th-century Athenian society, it is entirely plausible that a theorist who emphasised music's potential to change or disturb the social order might be perceived as a threat.

Keywords:   Damon, Pericles, music, mousike, ethos

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