By Nick SajakApril 14, 2018 6:22pmI was reading about a “Greek Instrument” in a book recently.
The book described the instrument as a “greek device for playing the lyre”.
It was apparently invented by an Athenian musician in the first century B.C. There is no doubt that this instrument was a very ancient instrument, as a large number of texts attest to its existence.
It’s not clear whether the instrument was played by a person, a band, or a group of musicians.
In addition to the lyres, the instrument also had a lyre-playing flute, the stave of the lyric lyre, a flute with a harp in it, a stringed instrument, a bow, and a shield for protection.
But there is no record that the instrument is mentioned anywhere in the ancient Greek literature.
Why would someone invent a musical instrument, if they weren’t going to use it?
This question was posed to me when I read about this instrument.
I was curious, so I did a little digging.
One thing I found was that the ancient Greeks used a number of instruments that were also very ancient instruments.
Among these are the “Klopas”, which are the bows and the lyrae of the Greek harp, and the “Circea” (aka the “Achaemenid” or “Old Babylonian”) instrument, which was invented by a Mesopotamian king called Nimrod in the 7th century B, according to a website about ancient Babylon, called The Ancient World of Nimrod.
You can find other examples of ancient musical instruments in the Ancient Greek literature, too.
Here’s an example from one of the most famous ancient Greek plays.
This piece is called “The Bacchae”, which means “The Song of the Bacchals”, and it was written in the 4th century BCE.
As the piece is performed, the performer plays a flutes instrument and a flagello of wood.
He holds the flute in his right hand, and sings a long line with his left hand.
Some scholars say the “Bacchae” was originally a play on words that had a reference to the Trojan War, which took place in Greece between 397 and 411 BCE.
(The name Bacchaeus was originally derived from the Greek word for Trojan.)
This is a modern version of the play, called the “Ballets of the Greeks” or the “Symphonies of the Athenians”.
Here are some other examples.
These are some examples of the musical instruments that ancient Greeks had.
Pole and harp.
A bow and shield.
Barrows, also known as “bow and arrow”.
(Photo: Courtesy of www.welshmusic.com)But it turns out that these instruments were very ancient in ancient Greece, too, even though they weren, by and large, not played by the ancient inhabitants of that part of the world.
Ancient Greeks made the use of these instruments very well, too!
A great deal of the classical music that they played is found in the classical plays of the period known as the Second Temple Period, between about 600 and 300 BCE.
In the Second-Temple Period, the Greeks began playing music composed for the lyrias, the “music of the flutes”, which is a musical device that was first recorded in the 5th century.
Since the lyrie was invented in the First Temple Period (around 300 BCE), the first lyre that the Greeks made use of was a fluted lyre.
Its first use was in the 2nd century BCE, when it was used by a king named Demetrius.
From then on, they continued to use this instrument, sometimes using it for the entire length of the performance.
For example, in the Greek play “On the Peloponnesus” from the 441 BCE, the flutist is called a “dune-player” in the performance because he plays his lyre while standing in a shallow dune.
Another example is the play “In the Labyrinth of the Cyclops”, which was written by the Athenian writer Xenophon in the year 576 BCE.
In the performance, the musician plays an old flute and harpsichord, as well as a lyra and a harpsicord, which he uses as his accompaniment.
Then the fluter is played.
We have seen a few examples of these flutes, too; the one in the “Lyrics of the Lydians” (5th century BC) is a flutiste, the other in the play of “On a Rock” (4th century) is called the fluit