*Sigh* I wish I had the time and energy to get something up today. I don't. I started a new job two weeks ago and I am still adjusting my rhythm, energy levels, and time to my new situation. It's going to be absolutely fine, but I am now juggling four jobs along with this blog, my personal religious practice, and my personal life. Lots of people do this--not a big deal--but today I am just out of energy and inspiration. Would you please take this beautiful example of ancient Hellenic music as my offering for the day? I'll do better tomorrow.

This song is one of the earliest examples yet found of a complete musical composition from the ancient world. Although other songs have been found that pre-date 'The Song of Seikilos' by many centuries, they only survive in fragments.  It is a Hellenistic Ionic song in what is known as the 'Phrygian octave species'--2 ¼ ¼ 2 1 ¼ ¼ for those of you into music. The melody and the lyrics were found engraved on a tombstone, near Aidin, Turkey. The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around 100 AD, but the first century AD is the most probable guess.


The Seikilos epitaph melody, when translated to modern musical connotation, would look something like the above. The following is the Greek text (in the later polytonic script), along with a transliteration of the words which are sung to the melody, and a somewhat free English translation thereof:
Ὅσον ζῇς φαίνου
μηδὲν ὅλως σὺ λυποῦ
πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶ τὸ ζῆν
τὸ τέλος ὁ xρόνος ἀπαιτεῖ.
Hoson zēs phainou
mēden holōs sy lypou
pros oligon esti to zēn
to telos ho chronos apaitei.
While you live, shine
have no grief at all
life exists only for a short while
and time demands its toll.
Also on the tombstone is an indication that states in Greek: 'Εἰκὼν ἡ λίθος εἰμί.Τίθησί με Σείκιλος ἔνθα μνήμης ἀθανάτου σῆμα πολυχρόνιον'. It roughly translates to: 'I am a tombstone, an image. Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance'. For something that still exists two thousand years later, that statement proved very true.