Musica, catarsi ed eunomía. I Pitagorici in Magna Grecia e l'uso terapeutico del peana.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

As well as the development of philosophic and scientific thought, and the rise of new political systems in some poleis, the presence of pythagorean communities in Magna Graecia seems to have had influence also on religion –for instance, as far as Apollo’s cult is concerned- and on music.I propose a reflection on music-therapy among the Early Pythagoreans, in particular for what concerns their use of paeans for healing, as it is clear for instance from Iamblichus’ De Vita Pythagorica (§ 110: the “group katharsis” in spring) and from Porphyry’s Vita Pythagorae (§ 32). The paean, which stands out in tradition also as the musical genre intended to soothe wrath -in particular divine wrath, as we can see for instance in the verses of the Iliad (I, 472-474) where the word is first attested-, proves to be an efficacious cure as far as mental excitement and unbecoming behaviours are concerned. A passage from Apollonius the Paradoxographer’s Historia mirabilis (§ 40 = Aristox. fr. 117 Wehrli) is very interesting as for the therapeutic use of paeans. This evidence concerns Aristoxenus and his account -in a biography of the dityrambic poet Telestes- of a very strange behaviour of women in Locri and Rhegium, who rushed outside the city walls as they heard somebody calling them while they were eating. An oracle consulted for this odd kind of ekstasis prescribed that “twelve “spring paeans” a day for sixty days” should have been sung, so that this event would be the αἴτιον of the paeanographic tradition in Magna Graecia. A study of the social and religious context of this evidence -together with the evidence concerning the Pythagoreans-, might offer interesting elements both as far as the paean is concerned (the relationship of this musical genre with Apollo’s cult and the ritual katharsis, as well as its spread–in particular within the doric regions- and its contexts), and as for the relationship between madness and music.
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationLa fortuna della Schola Pythagorica. Leggenda e contaminazioni.
Pages259-288
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameCollana Esprit, 21

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