Giambattista Vico speaks

At this point, we may contemplate the long time which must have passed before the pagan peoples, developing from a state of bestial native freedom through a long period of Cyclopean family discipline, were civilized enough to obey naturally the laws of their emerging civil states. From this, we may deduce the invariable property that a commonwealth will be happier than Plato’s ideal republic, if its fathers teach their children religious piety, and if its children admire their fathers as sages, revere them as priests, and fear them as kings. Such great divine force was necessary to reduce these grotesque and savage giants to civilized behavior! Since these early people could not express this force abstractly, they represented it concretely as a physical object, a cord. In Greek, this was called chorda, and in early Latin fides, whose primary and proper meaning is implied in the phrase fides deorum, the force or faith of the gods.

This chord was the earliest lyre or monochord, and by adding others, they fashioned the lyre of Orpheus. By playing this lyre, Orpheus sang the divine force of the auspices, and reduced the bestial Greeks to civilization. And Amphion too played the lyre as he raised the walls of Thebes with stones that moved at his song.

New Science, pp. 218-219 (Trans. David Marsh)

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