Marsyas, in Greek mythology, according to different traditions, a satyr or a peasant of Phrygia, son of Hyagnis, (Eagrus, or Olympus. A flute, which Minerva had thrown awray in disgust at seeing the distortion of her features, as she played it, reflected in the water, was picked up by Marsyas. The breath of the goddess, having once filled it, caused it still to emit the most beautiful strains whenever he blew through it. He challenged Apollo to a musical contest, and played the flute while Apollo played the lyre. The latter triumphed only by adding his voice to the music of his instrument. The condition was that the victor should do what he pleased with the vanquished, and Marsyas was bound to a tree and flayed alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas in Phrygia, an affluent of the Meean-der; and his flute or flutes (for, according to some, he played on the double flute), being borne down this river, were thrown on shore mar Sicyon, and there dedicated to Apollo in his temple. The legend is supposed to have reference to the contest between the citha-nedic and aulcedic styles of music.
Marsyas is made by some the inventor of the flute.