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Singing to the Wind. The Power of Music in Two Simonidean Quotations (Him. Or. 47.117 and Plut. Quaest. Conv. 722b-c)


This paper focuses on a passage of Himerius’ Oration 47 (Simon. fr. 251 Poltera = 535 PMG + p. 157 SLG), where Simonides is cited for a song that leads a ship with favourable winds, and on a passage in Plutarch’s Quaestiones Convivales (722b–c) quoting a Simonidean fragment (17 Poltera = 595 PMG) on the propagation of sounds through still air. I argue that they both can be linked with the Argonautic myth of Orpheus. In fact, the former might have some connections with the myth of Oreithyia and Boreas, parents of Zetes and Kalaïs, involved in the Argonautic expedition; moreover, it has some similarities with a fragment from Euripides’ Hypsipyle (752g Kannicht) representing Orpheus on the Argo. The latter fragment, in its turn, seems to refer to Orpheus’ encounter with the Sirens, and to presuppose common assumptions that were later examined and better developed by Aristotle and his school.