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MARSYAS was a Phrygian god, whose name has passed into Greek mythology. It is hardly possible to discover the real basis of the legends, as their original form has been so much altered. Marsyas was the god of a small river which rose in a cave in the agora of Celaenae, and flows into the Maeander. In this cave was hung a hide, which according to the story was the skin of Marsyas suspended there by Apollo. When Athene threw away her flute, Marsyas found it, a subject represented by the sculptor Myron. Proud of his skill, Marsyas challenged Apollo with his lyre. Midas the Phrygian king, appointed judge in the contest, preferred the flute-player, and got his ass's ears in reward for his stupidity. The contest and the punishment of Marsyas, who was flayed alive by Apollo, were frequent subjects for Greek art, both vase-painting and sculpture. There can be little doubt that this account has been very much altered from its native Phrygian form by the Attic comic poets, with whom Marsyas was a favourite character. With regard to the Phrygian god it is difficult to say more than that he and Silenus and Midas are associated in legend with Dionysus, and that he must therefore belong to the cycle of legends of Cybele (see Preller, Gr. Mythol., i. 508). The flute was the favourite instrument in the worship of the goddess. Sacrifices were offered by the people of Celaenae to Marsyas, and he helped them against the Galatians (Paus., x. 30). A statue of Marsyas was erected in the Roman Forum and in other towns, and is said to have been a symbol of liberty.