Aglaopheme [1:48] 4.2Mb


A moody little piece with numerous embedded musical (and other) jokes which the listener is invited to identify. Three are pretty obvious, one is tricky and two are downright fiendish.

ΑΓΛΑΟΦΗΜΗ was of course one of the three Sirens who lured people to their watery demise upon the rocks that surrounded the island situated between Aeaea and the rock of Scylla. Homer (by committee, by author or by Simpson) didn't actually name any of them, their appellations being devised some distance after the event by other writers keen to impart a back-story onto their favourite parts of the epic, almost in a Wiki-like way where anyone who is good enough gets to add to the narrative after the event. The later authors couldn't decide how many Sirens there were, but Eustath decided there were two, being Aglaopheme and her sidekick, Thelxiepeia (or Θελξιέπεια) but there are other variants. None of the writers that came after could agree where they lived, and nor could they agree even what they looked like. One writer gave them wings (which they happily got when they asked for them so they could fly away from would-be suitors and remain pure, which makes one wonder how these suitors ever got to their island), one made them beautiful, one made them hideous and one other made them reptiles. The story also runs that they threw themselves into the sea to be transmogrified into rocks once they fell foul of the Argonauts who were unmoved by their song.

All in all, a bit of a mystery. But then again as Edgar Allan once wrote, 'What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among the women, although puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture'. Well, here is my conjecture.