Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Classical Studies


Georgia Irby

Committee Members

William Hutton

James Armstrong


When ancient Greeks heard a melody played on an instrument or sung by a voice, what cultural assumptions and associations did they bring to that performance? My thesis is a synthesis of previous inquiry and occupies what I hope to be a middle ground between the theoretical conclusions of ancient Greek philosophy and the interaction of ancient Greek literature regarding the topic of music. I argue that a basic cultural understanding of the nature of music can be found where these two disparate bodies of text meet. To achieve this, I compare the way in which Plato discusses music in his dialogues, specifically his Timaeus, Republic, and Laws, to the ways by which music and musicians are presented in the earlier Homeric texts, specifically the Iliad, Odyssey, and the Homeric Hymn to Hermes; the similarities between the texts highlight what I believe to be the underlying cultural perceptions of music shared by Ancient Greeks.

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