Abstract Pöhlmann (41/2017)

As a rule, ancient Greek lyrics with musical notation are only transmitted by papyri (from the 3rd century BC) and inscriptions (from the 2nd century BC), while the Alexandrian libraries edited only the texts of ancient Greek lyrics. Notation was used exclusively by musical professionals. Therefore, the medieval manuscripts transmit Greek music only exceptionally, as part or supplement to treatises on music theory, as it happened in the case of Mesomedes. The remains of the oeuvre of Mesomedes are transmitted by four branches: The first of them is a supplement to a byzantine treatise on music theory by a certain Dionysius. It transmits three prooemia and two hymns with musical notation. The second consists in a codex unicus (Ottobonianus, 13-14th century AD), which transmits eight poems without notation but with metrical, rhythmical and musical scholia, which attest for the lost notation of three poems. The poems in the Ottobonianus are excerpts from a collection called “The Music”, which is also the source of instructions for tuning the cithara, the “Hormasia”. The third branch is represented by the Greek Anthology, which transmits two poems of Mesomedes without notation. The fourth branch is an inscription of Courion (2nd century AD) with a Hymn to Antinous without notation, the authorship of which is debated. All poems of Mesomedes are linked with each other by showing the same preponderance of anapaestic metra, apocrota and paroemiaci. Moreover, the two former branches are linked by the musical notation and the hints to lost melodies, respectively, as well as the scholia on metrics and rhythmics of the poems, which are Aristoxenean. This is evidence enough for the existence of a collection of selected poems by Mesomedes, compiled in late antiquity and including melodies and learned scholia, and its use as source of the first and second branch, to which perhaps also the poems included in the Greek Anthology belong, while the Hymn to Antinous stands apart.