Of these the first is etymologically correct (except that it should rather be " stitcher of verse "); the second was suggested by the fact, for which there is early evidence, that the reciter was accustomed to hold a wand in his hand - perhaps, like the sceptre in the Homeric assembly, as a symbol of the right to a hearing.3 The first notice of rhapsody meets us at Sicyon, in the reign of Cleisthenes (600-560 B.C.), who " put down the rhapsodists on account of the poems of Homer, because they are all about Argos and the Argives " (Hdt.
He tells us that the law required the rhapsodists to recite " taking each other up in order (E v7roXip,GEcos E.r/)e ijs), as they still do."
2.2), who applies it to the rhapsodists (` Op p15at pa1rrcm, EirEwz' aot501).
On this a scholiast says that the name "Homeridae " denoted originally descendants of Homer, who sang his poems in succession, but afterwards was applied to rhapsodists who did not claim descent from him.
It is not certain indeed that the practice of reciting a long poem by the agency of several competitors was ancient, or that it prevailed elsewhere than at Athens; but as rhapsodists were numerous, and popular favour throughout Greece became more and more confined to one or two great works, it must have become almost a necessity.