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The great king also has a palace in Celaenae, a strong place, on the sources of another river, the Marsyas, at the foot of the acropolis. This river also flows through the city, discharging itself into the Maeander, and is five-and-twenty feet broad. Here is the place where Apollo is said to have flayed Marsyas, when he had conquered him in the contest of skill. He hung up the skin of the conquered man, in the cavern where the spring wells forth, and hence the name of the river, Marsyas. Xenophon Anabasis

Marsyas, Louvre (see also image below)

In Greek mythology, Marsyas (Μαρσύας) was a satyr who challenged Apollo to a contest of music. Marsyas was an expert player on the double reed pipe known as the aulos. He found the instrument on the ground where it had been tossed by its inventor Athena, after the other gods made sport of how her cheeks bulged when she played. Since the contest was judged by the Muses, Marsyas naturally lost and was flayed alive in a cave near Calaenae in Phrygia for his hubris to challenge a god. His blood turned into the river Marsyas.

In the art of later periods, Marsyas is often seen with a flute, pan pipes, or even bagpipes. Apollo is shown with his lyre, or sometimes a harp, viol, or other stringed instrument. The contest of Apollo and Marsyas is seen as symbolizing the eternal struggle between the Apollonian and Dionysian aspects of human nature.

A copy of a work of Myron, Marsyas desirous of picking up the aulos thrown away by Athena.

Apameia, Athena and Marsyas,

Athena and Marsyas by Myron , The Flaying of Marsyas (Hellenistic) Another version

Marsyas, Louvre

Flaying of Marsyas, Titian, 1570/76.

The Flaying of Marsyas , Domenichino and assistants

Apollo and Marsyas, Luca Giordano

Apollo flaying Marsyas, Jakob Jordaens

Marsyas Flayed by the Order of Apollo, Carle Van Loo


The myth of Apollo and Marsyas in the art of the Italian Renaissance: an inquiry into the meaning of images, Edith Wyss

The Displaying of Marsyas (A Powerpoint Presentation)

Harrison and Marsyas

Greek Mythology

Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece

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