Marsyas (märˈsēəs) [key], in Greek mythology, Phrygian satyr. He found the flute that Athena had invented but had thrown away. He became so skillful with the instrument that he challenged the lyre-playing Apollo to a contest. Apollo accepted on the condition that the victor might do as he would with the vanquished. The Muses, acting as judges, awarded the contest to Apollo. Apollo promptly flayed Marsyas for his presumption. The river Marsyas sprang from his blood or from the tears of his mourners. Among the many statues depicting this event is the Flaying of Marsyas, in the Villa Albani, Rome.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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