(1855)]]Arion was a legendary kitharode in ancient Greece, a Dionysiac poet credited with inventing the dithyramb. The islanders of Lesbos claimed him as their native son, but Arion found a patron in Periander, tyrant of Corinth. Although notable for his musical inventions, Arion is chiefly remembered for the fantastic myth of his kidnapping by pirates and miraculous rescue by dolphins, a folktale motif.The dolphin's love of music and of humans was proverbial among Greeks (Euripides, Electra 435f; for the folktale motif, see Stith Thompson, Motif Index of Folk Literature (Bloomington IN) 1955-58) s.v. B300-B349, and B473, B767.
Kidnapping by pirates
According to a digression in Herodotus' account of the Lydian empire under the MermnadsHerodotus, Histories I.23-24., occasioned simply by the appearance of the name of Periander, Arion attended a musical competition in Sicily, which he won. On his return trip from Tarentum, avaricious sailors plotted to kill Arion and steal the rich pri