Lyres vs. Liars

Strabo, Geography 1.2.3:

Eratosthenes says that the poet aims entirely at persuasion, not at education. On the other hand, the ancients said that poetry was originally a kind of philosophy, leading us to life from childhood and teaching us character, emotion, and deeds through the pleasure it gave us. But people of our time say that the poet is the only wise person. For this reason, the cities of the Greeks educated their children through poetry first, not for the sake of the pleasant amusement to be gained from it, but for the sake of moral instruction. Even the musicians teaching them to play the harp or lyre or flute pretend to be involved in this virtue: for they say that they are educational and instructive of character.

ποιητὴν γὰρ ἔφη πάντα στοχάζεσθαι ψυχαγωγίας, οὐ διδασκαλίας. τοὐναντίον δ᾽ οἱ παλαιοὶ φιλοσοφίαν τινὰ λέγουσι πρώτην τὴν ποιητικήν, εἰσάγουσαν εἰς τὸν βίον ἡμᾶς ἐκ νέων καὶ διδάσκουσαν ἤθη καὶ πάθη καὶ πράξεις μεθ᾽ ἡδονῆς: οἱ δ᾽ ἡμέτεροι καὶ μόνον ποιητὴν ἔφασαν εἶναι τὸν σοφόν. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ τοὺς παῖδας αἱ τῶν Ἑλλήνων πόλεις πρώτιστα διὰ τῆς ποιητικῆς παιδεύουσιν, οὐ ψυχαγωγίας χάριν δήπουθεν ψιλῆς, ἀλλὰ σωφρονισμοῦ: ὅπου γε καὶ οἱ μουσικοὶ ψάλλειν καὶ λυρίζειν καὶ αὐλεῖν διδάσκοντες μεταποιοῦνται τῆς ἀρετῆς ταύτης: παιδευτικοὶ γὰρ εἶναί φασι καὶ ἐπανορθωτικοὶ τῶν ἠθῶν..

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