The myth of Arion of Methymna is narrated by some sources including the Histories of Herodotus. The young composer was the first to write dithyrambs, original forms of tragedy, and was not inferior to anyone in his time. After a long stay with Periander of Corinth, his desire was to reach Italy and Sicily.
Here, after accumulating considerable wealth, he wanted to return to Corinth, but only aboard a Corinthian ship, in which he embarked from Taranto.
During the voyage he was betrayed by the sailors who wanted to get rid of the musician and rob him of the goods he was carrying. Arion expressed the desire to play his cithara for the last time, singing along to the melody, before being thrown into the sea.
Everything happened as agreed with the Corinthian crew but a dolphin rushed to the poet’s aid, taking him on its back to Cape Tenaro.
After reaching Corinth and informing Periander of what had happened, the King decided to wait for the traitorous sailors to return, who, at the sight of Arion, confessed their evil deed. After his miraculous rescue, the poet offered a monument as a votive gift depicting a man riding a dolphin, to be placed on the promontory of Cape Tenaro.