The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Aidin, Turkey (not far from Ephesus). The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100.
Also on the tombstone is an indication that states:
I am a tombstone, an icon. Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance.
While older music with notation exists (for example the Delphic Hymns), all of it is in fragments; the Seikilos epitaph is unique in that it is a complete, though short, composition.
The following is a transliteration of the words which are sung to the melody, and an English translation:
Hoson zēs, phainou
Mēden holōs sy lypou;
Pros oligon esti to zēn
To telos ho chronos apaitei
While you live, shine
Don't suffer anything at all;
Life exists only a short while
And time demands its toll.
Here is performed by the music group : SAVAE
ΥΓ. Θερμές ευχαριστίες στον καθηγητή Κ. Κωνσταντουλάκη για την κοινοποίηση του παραπάνω συνδέσμου.