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On this page: Melanippus – Melanopus – Melanthius



Xenophon, who makes Aristodemus give him the first place among dithyrambic poets, by the side of .Homer, Sophocles, Polycleitus, and Zeuxis, as the chief masters in their respective arts (Xenoph. Mem. i. 4. §. 3), and by Plutarch, who mentions him, with Simonides and Euripides, as among the most distinguished masters of music (Non poss. suav. viv. sec. Epic. p. J095, d.). He did not, however, escape the censures which the old comic poets so often heap upon their lyric contemporaries, for their corruption of the severe beauties of the ancient music. Pherecra,tes places him at the head of such offenders, and charges him with relaxing and softening the ancient music'by increasing the chords of the lyre to twelve (or, as we ought per­haps to read, ten: see Ulrici, Gesch. d. Hellen. Dichtkunst9\o\. ii. p. 605,n. 104),and thus paving the way for the further licences introduced by Cinesias, Phrynis, and Timotheus (Plut. de Mus. p. 1141; eomp. Meineke, Frag. Com. Grace, pp. 326—335). According to Aristotle, he altogether abandoned the antistrophic arrangement, and introduced long preludes (€o\a.i\ in which the union, which was anciently considered essential, between music and the words of poetry, seems to have been severed (Aristot. Khet. iii. 9). Plutarch (or the author of the essay on music which bears his name) tells us that in his flute-music he subverted the old arrangement, by which the flute-player was hired and trained by the poet, and was entirely subordinate to him (De Mus. I. c.) ; but there is ' probably some mistake in this, as the fragment of Pherecrates, which the author quotes in confirm­ation of his statement, contains not a word about flute-music, but attacks only the alterations in the lyre; while, on the other hand, Athenaeus cites a passage from the Marsyas of Melanippides, which seems to show that he rejected and despised flute-music altogether (Athen. xiv. p. 616,e.).

According to Suidas, Melanippides wrote lyric songs and dithyrambs. Several verses of his poems are still preserved, and the following titles, Marsyasy Persephone > The Danaids^ which have misled Fabricius and others into the supposition that Melanippides was a tragic poet, a mistake which has been made with respect to the titles of the dithyrambs of other poets. The fragments are collected by Bergk (Poet. Lyr. Graec. pp. 847— 850). We learn from Meleager (v. 7) that some of the hymns of Melanippides had a place in his Garland: vapKHTffois re Top&v MevaAiTTTr/Sou gjkvov vilvwv.

(Fabric. Bibl. Gh-aec. vol. ii. pp. 129,130; Ulrici, Hellen. Dichik. vol. ii. pp. 26, 141, 590—593; Schmidt, Diatribe in Dithyramb, pp. 77—85, who maintains the distinction of Suidas, and attempts to distinguish between the extant fragments of the two poets.) [P. S.]

MELANIPPUS (MeArffnrTTos). 1. A son of Agrius, was slain by Diomedes. (Apollod. i. 8. § C ; comp. oeneus.)

2. A son of Astacus of Thebes, who, in the attack of the Seven on his native city, slew Tydeus and Mecisteus. His tomb was shown in the neighbourhood of Thebes on the road to Chalcis. (Aeschyl. Sept. 409 ; Apollod. iii. 6. § 8; Herod. v. 67; Paus. ix. 18. § 1.)

3. A son of Theseus and Perigune, and father of loxus. (Paus. x. 25. § 2; Plut. Thes, 8.)

4. A son of Ares and Tritaea, the daughter of Triton. (Paus. vii. 22. § 5.)


5. One of the sons of Priam. (Apollod. iii. 12. §5.)

6. A youth of Patrae, in Achaia, who was in love with Comaetho, a priestess of Artemis Tri- claria. As the parents on both sides would not consent to their marriage, Melanippus profaned the temple of the goddess by his intercourse with Comaetho. The goddess punished the two offenders with instantaneous death, and visited the whole country with plague and famine. The oracle of Delphi revealed the cause of these calamities, and ordered the inhabitants to sacrifice to Artemis every year the handsomest youth and the handsomest maiden. (Paus. vii. 19. § 2.) A seventh mythical personage of this name is mentioned by Homer. (//. xv. 547, 576.) [L. S.]

MELANIPPUS (MeAawTTTros), a youth of Agrigentum, who, having been treated with in­ justice by Phalaris, proposed to his friend Chariton to form a conspiracy against the tyrant. Chariton, alarmed .for the safety of Melanippus, urged him to say nothing to any one of his intention, and promised to devise a fitting opportunity for the enterprise. Having then resolved to take the whole risk upon himself, he attempted the life of Phalaris, and, being apprehended, was put to the torture, which he bore resolutely, refusing to con­ fess that he had any accomplices* Melanippus hereupon came to Phalaris and avowed himself the instigator of the design, and the tyrant, struck with their mutual friendship, spared the lives of both on condition of their leaving Sicily. (Ael. V. H. ii. 4.) [E. E.]

MELANOPUS (MeAcSt/cyTros), a son of Laches, the Athenian general, was one of three ambassadors (the other two being Glaucias and androtion) who were sent to remonstrate with Mausolus, king of Caria, on his attempt to subject to himself the islands on the eastern coast of the Aegean. On their way they fell in with and captured a mer­ chant ship of Naucratis, which was brought into the Peiraeeus, and condemned by the Athenians as an enemy's vessel., The prize-money, however, was retained by Melanopus and his colleagues ; and, when the time drew near at which they would have to surrender it on pain of imprison­ ment, Timocrates proposed a law exempting public debtors from that penalty on their giving security for payment. A prosecution was hereupon insti­ tuted against Timocrates by Diodorus and. Eucte- mon (private enemies of Androtion) ; and for them Demosthenes wrote the speech, still extant, which was delivered by Diodorus in jb. c. 353. Before the trial came on, Melanopus and his colleagues paid the money. In the speech against Timocrates Melanopus is mentioned as having been guilty of treason, of embezzlement, of misconduct in an em­ bassy to Egypt, and of injustice towards his own brothers. (Dem. c. Tim. p. 740.) [E. E.]

MELANOPUS (MeAcw/«7roy), of Cyme, a poet of the mythical period, whom Pausanias places between Olen and Aristaeus, is said by that author to have composed a hymn to Opis and Hecaerge, in which he stated that those goddesses came from the Hyperboreans to Delos before Achaeia. (Paus. v. 7. §. 4. s. 8.) In some of the old genealogies Melanopus was made the grandfather of Homer. (Procl. and Pseudo-Herod. Vit. Horn.) [P. S.]

MELANTHIUS (MeAe^os), also called Me-lantheus, a son of Dolius, was a goat-herd of Odys­seus, sided with the suitors of Penelope, and was

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