Crossing Borders: Musical Change & Exchange through Time

Publications of the ICTM Study Group on Music Archaeology, Vol. 2

Mythical Archetypes of Itinerant Musicians

Eleonora Rocconi

Greek people were embedded in a culture of mobility: musicians (and music) travelled the
Mediterranean, thus connecting widespread Greek communities with each other, while getting
to know other music cultures whose musical idioms they often documented, sometimes even assimilated or, conversely, rejected. This phenomenon is widely attested by archetypal models in myth, as well as by literary, historical, epigraphic and archaeological records of realia.
This chapter aims at illustrating the importance of the archetypal models of the ‘wandering musician’ in Greek antiquity, focusing on two mythical figures (Thamyris and Arion) who, travelling and crossing geographic and cultural borders of the ancient Mediterranean, shaped and fictionally ‘created’ the musical idioms of the Hellenic tradition

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