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Ancient Greece: Song of Seikilos

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Published on Sep 6, 2008

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.

Seikilos carved the song on a grave pillar in dedication to his wife.
The Grave was discovered in 1883, near Aydin in Turkey. Archaeologists believe it dates between 200 BC and AD 100.

Seikilos also inscribed a poem on the gravestone, it reads:

"Hoson zēs, phainou
Mēden holōs sy lypou;
Pros oligon esti to zēn
To telos ho chronos apaitei."

In English:

"As long as you live, shine,
Let nothing grieve you beyond measure.
For your life is short,
and time will claim its toll."

From the Atrium Musicae de Madrid directed by Gregorio Paniagua, recorded in 1979.

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