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|The Seikilos Epitaph. His song is in the bottom half of the inscription, taking up all but the final existing line.|
Since the early 1900s scholars have debated Seikilos's true purpose in creating the memorial, because the abbreviation of the name "Euter" can mean different things. It could be a patronym, as in "Seikilos son of Euterpes", or a reference to the Muse Euterpe, goddess of song and elegiac poetry. These readings suggest the Epitaph was not a tombstone but an example of a votive column, which were installed in Ancient Greek cemeteries to commemorate personal triumphs (such as a victory in a music competition) and thank the appropriate deities. This could help explain why Seikilos took the very unusual step of "self-publishing" his tune here. Grave and votive column inscriptions were meant to draw attention from passersby and spread a person's fame.