The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The Ancient Greek word Hellas is the original word for Greece, from which the word Hellenistic was derived. At this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its peak in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, experiencing prosperity and progress in the arts, literature, architecture, mathematics and science, it is considered a period of transition, sometimes of decadence or degeneration, compared to the enlightenment of the Greek Classical era. The Hellenistic period saw the rise of New Comedy, Alexandrian poetry, the Septuagint and the philosophies of Stoicism and Epicureanism. Greek science was advanced by the works of the polymath Archimedes; the religious sphere expanded to include new gods such as the Greco-Egyptian Serapis, eastern deities such as Attis and Cybele and a syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism in Bactria and Northwest India.
After Alexander the Great's invasion of the Achaemenid Empire in 330 BC and its disintegration shortly after, the Hellenistic kingdoms were established throughout south-west Asia, north-east Africa and South Asia. The Hellenistic period was characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa; this resulted in the export of Greek culture and language to these new realms, spanning as far as modern-day India. However, these new kingdoms were influenced by the indigenous cultures, adopting local practices where beneficial, necessary, or convenient. Hellenistic culture thus represents a fusion of the Ancient Greek world with that of the Near East, Middle East, Southwest Asia; this mixture gave rise to a common Attic-based Greek dialect, known as Koine Greek, which became the lingua franca through the Hellenistic world. Scholars and historians are divided as to; the Hellenistic period may be seen to end either with the final conquest of the Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC following the Achean War, with the final defeat of the Ptolemaic Kingdom at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, or the move by Roman emperor Constantine the Great of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople in 330 AD.
"Hellenistic" is distinguished from "Hellenic" in that the first encompasses the entire sphere of direct ancient Greek influence, while the latter refers to Greece itself. The word originated from the German term hellenistisch, from Ancient Greek Ἑλληνιστής, from Ἑλλάς. "Hellenistic" is a 19th-century concept. Although words related in form or meaning, e.g. Hellenist, have been attested since ancient times, it was Johann Gustav Droysen in the mid-19th century, who in his classic work Geschichte des Hellenismus, coined the term Hellenistic to refer to and define the period when Greek culture spread in the non-Greek world after Alexander's conquest. Following Droysen and related terms, e.g. Hellenism, have been used in various contexts; the major issue with the term Hellenistic lies in its convenience, as the spread of Greek culture was not the generalized phenomenon that the term implies. Some areas of the conquered world were more affected by Greek influences than others; the term Hellenistic implies that the Greek populations were of majority in the areas in which they settled, but in many cases, the Greek settlers were the minority among the native populations.
The Greek population and the native population did not always mix. While a few fragments exist, there is no complete surviving historical work which dates to the hundred years following Alexander's death; the works of the major Hellenistic historians Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos and Phylarchus which were used by surviving sources are all lost. The earliest and most credible surviving source for the Hellenistic period is Polybius of Megalopolis, a statesman of the Achaean League until 168 BC when he was forced to go to Rome as a hostage, his Histories grew to a length of forty books, covering the years 220 to 167 BC. The most important source after Polybius is Diodorus Siculus who wrote his Bibliotheca historica between 60 and 30 BC and reproduced some important earlier sources such as Hieronymus, but his account of the Hellenistic period breaks off after the battle of Ipsus. Another important source, Plutarch's Parallel Lives although more preoccupied with issues of personal character and morality, outlines the history of important Hellenistic figures.
Appian of Alexandria wrote a history of the Roman empire that includes information of some Hellenistic kingdoms. Other sources include Justin's epitome of Pompeius Trogus' Historiae Philipicae and a summary of Arrian's Events after Alexander, by Photios I of Constantinople. Lesser supplementary sources include Curtius Rufus, Pausanias and the Byzantine encyclopedia the Suda. In the field of philosophy, Diogenes Laër
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, 27 kilometres from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of the hero Aeacus, born on the island and became its king. During ancient times Aegina was a rival of the great sea power of the era; the municipality of Aegina consists of the island of a few offshore islets. It is part of Attica region; the municipality is subdivided into the following five communities: Kypseli Mesagros Perdika Vathy The capital is the town of Aegina, situated at the northwestern end of the island. Due to its proximity to Athens, it is a popular vacation place during the summer months, with quite a few Athenians owning second houses on the island; the province of Aegina was one of the provinces of the Piraeus Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipalities Agkistri, it was abolished in 2006. Aegina is triangular in shape 15 km from east to west and 10 km from north to south, with an area of 87.41 km2. An extinct volcano constitutes two-thirds of Aegina.
The northern and western sides consist of stony but fertile plains, which are well cultivated and produce luxuriant crops of grain, with some cotton, almonds and figs, but the most characteristic crop of Aegina today is pistachio. Economically, the sponge fisheries are of notable importance; the southern volcanic part of the island is rugged and mountainous, barren. Its highest rise is the conical Mount Oros in the south, the Panhellenian ridge stretches northward with narrow fertile valleys on either side; the beaches are a popular tourist attraction. Hydrofoil ferries from Piraeus take only forty minutes to reach Aegina. There are regular bus services from Aegina town to destinations throughout the island such as Agia Marina. Portes is a fishing village on the east coast. Aegina, according to Herodotus, was a colony of Epidaurus, to which state it was subject, its placement between Attica and the Peloponnesus made it a site of trade earlier, its earliest inhabitants came from Asia Minor. Minoan ceramics have been found in contexts of c. 2000 BC.
The famous Aegina Treasure, now in the British Museum is estimated to date between 1700 and 1500 BC. The discovery on the island of a number of gold ornaments belonging to the last period of Mycenaean art suggests that Mycenaean culture existed in Aegina for some generations after the Dorian conquest of Argos and Lacedaemon, it is probable that the island was not doricised before the 9th century BC. One of the earliest historical facts is its membership in the Amphictyony or League of Calauria, attested around the 8th century BC; this ostensibly religious league included—besides Aegina—Athens, the Minyan Orchomenos, Hermione and Prasiae. It was an organisation of city-states that were still Mycenaean, for the purpose of suppressing piracy in the Aegean that began as a result of the decay of the naval supremacy of the Mycenaean princes. Aegina seems to have belonged to the Eretrian league during the Lelantine War, its early history reveals. It is stated on the authority of Ephorus, that Pheidon of Argos established a mint in Aegina, the first city-state to issue coins in Europe, the Aeginetic stater.
One stamped stater can be seen in the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris. It is an electrum stater of a turtle, an animal sacred to Aphrodite, struck at Aegina that dates from 700 BC. Therefore, it is thought that the Aeginetes, within 30 or 40 years of the invention of coinage in Asia Minor by the Ionian Greeks or the Lydians, might have been the ones to introduce coinage to the Western world; the fact that the Aeginetic standard of weights and measures was one of the two standards in general use in the Greek world is sufficient evidence of the early commercial importance of the island. The Aeginetic weight standard of about 12.3 grams was adopted in the Greek world during the 7th century BC. The Aeginetic stater was divided into three drachmae of 4.1 grams of silver. Staters depicting a sea-turtle were struck up to the end of the 5th century BC. Following the end of the Peloponnesian War, 404 BC, it was replaced by the land tortoise. During the naval expansion of Aegina during the Archaic Period, Kydonia was an ideal maritime stop for Aegina's fleet on its way to other Mediterranean ports controlled by the emerging sea-power Aegina.
During the next century Aegina was one of the three principal states trading at the emporium of Naucratis in Egypt, it was the only Greek state near Europe that had a share in this factory. At the beginning of the 5th century BC it seems to have been an entrepôt of the Pontic grain trade, which, at a date, became an Athenian monopoly. Unlike the other commercial states of the 7th and 6th centuries BC, such as Corinth, Chalcis and Miletus, Aegina did not found any colonies; the settlements to which Strabo refers cannot be regarded as any real exceptions to this statement. The known history of Aegina is exclusively a
Archaic Greece was the period in Greek history lasting from the eighth century BC to the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC, following the Greek Dark Ages and succeeded by the Classical period. The period began with a massive increase in the Greek population and a series of significant changes which rendered the Greek world at the end of the eighth century unrecognisable compared to its beginning. According to Anthony Snodgrass, the Archaic period in ancient Greece was bounded by two revolutions in the Greek world, it began with a "structural revolution" which "drew the political map of the Greek world" and established the poleis, the distinctively Greek city-states, ended with the intellectual revolution of the Classical period. The Archaic period saw developments in Greek politics, international relations and culture, it laid the groundwork for the Classical period, both politically and culturally. It was in the Archaic period that the Greek alphabet developed, that the earliest surviving Greek literature was composed, that monumental sculpture and red-figure pottery began in Greece, that the hoplite became the core of Greek armies.
In Athens, the earliest institutions of the democracy were implemented under Solon, the reforms of Cleisthenes at the end of the Archaic period brought in Athenian democracy as it was during the Classical period. In Sparta, many of the institutions credited to the reforms of Lycurgus were introduced during the period, the region of Messenia was brought under Spartan control, helotage was introduced, the Peloponnesian League was founded, making Sparta a dominant power in Greece; the word "archaic" derives from the Greek word archaios, which means "old". It refers to the period in ancient Greek history before the Classical; the period is considered to have lasted from the beginning of the eighth century BC until the beginning of the fifth century BC, with the foundation of the Olympic Games in 776 BC and the Second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC forming notional start and end dates. The Archaic period was long considered to have been less important and interesting than the Classical period, was studied as a precursor to it.
More however, Archaic Greece has come to be studied for its own achievements. With this reassessment of the significance of the Archaic period, some scholars have objected to the term "archaic", due to its connotations in English of being primitive and outdated. No term, suggested to replace it has gained widespread currency and the term is still in use. Much of our evidence about the Classical period of ancient Greece comes from written histories, such as Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. By contrast, we have no such evidence from the Archaic period. We have written accounts of life in the period in the form of poetry, epigraphical evidence, including parts of law codes, inscriptions on votive offerings, epigrams inscribed on tombs. However, none of this evidence is in the quantity. What is lacking in written evidence, however, is made up for in the rich archaeological evidence from the Archaic Greek world. Indeed, where much of our knowledge of Classical Greek art comes from Roman copies, all of the surviving Archaic Greek art is original.
Other sources for the period are the traditions recorded by Greek writers such as Herodotus. However, these traditions are not part of any form of history. Indeed, Herodotus does not record any dates before 480 BC. Politically, the Archaic period saw the development of the polis as the predominant unit of political organisation. Many cities throughout Greece came under the rule of autocratic leaders, called "tyrants"; the period saw the development of law and systems of communal decision-making, with the earliest evidence for law codes and constitutional structures dating to the period. By the end of the Archaic period, both the Athenian and Spartan constitutions seem to have developed into their classical forms; the Archaic period saw significant urbanisation, the development of the concept of the polis as it was used in Classical Greece. By Solon's time, if not before, the word "polis" had acquired its classical meaning, though the emergence of the polis as a political community was still in progress at this point, the polis as an urban centre was a product of the eighth century.
However, the polis did not become the dominant form of socio-political organisation throughout Greece in the Archaic period, in the north and west of the country it did not become dominant until some way into the Classical period. The urbanisation process in Archaic Greece known as "synoecism" – the amalgamation of several small settlements into a single urban centre – took place in much of Greece in the eighth century BC. Both Athens and Argos, for instance, began to coalesce into single settlements around the end of that century. In some settlements, this physical unification was marked by the construction of defensive city walls, as was the case in Smyrna by the middle of the eighth century BC, Corinth by the middle of the seventh century BC, it seems that the evolution of the polis as a socio-political structure, rather than a geographical one, can be attributed to this urbanisation, as well as a significant population increase in the eighth century. These two factors created a need for a new form of political organisation, as the political systems in place at the beginning of the Archaic period became unworkable.
Though in the early part of the Classical period the city of Athens was both culturally and politically dominant, i
A chariot is a type of carriage driven by a charioteer using horses to provide rapid motive power. Chariots were used by armies as transport or mobile archery platforms, for hunting or for racing, as a conveniently fast way to travel for many ancient people; the word "chariot" comes from a loanword from Gaulish. A chariot of war or one used in military parades was called a car. In ancient Rome and some other ancient Mediterranean civilizations, a biga required two horses, a triga three, a quadriga four; the chariot was a fast, open, two-wheeled conveyance drawn by two or more horses that were hitched side by side, was little more than a floor with a waist-high guard at the front and sides. It was used for ancient warfare during the Bronze and Iron Ages; the critical invention that allowed the construction of light, horse-drawn chariots was the spoked wheel. The earliest spoke-wheeled chariots date to ca. 2000 BC. The use of chariots peaked around 1300 BC. Chariots had lost their military importance by the 1st century AD, but chariot races continued to be popular in Constantinople until the 6th century.
Horses were introduced to Transcaucasia at the time of the Kura-Araxes culture, beginning about 3300 BC. During the Kura-Araxes period, horses seem to become quite widespread, with signs of domestication; the domestication of the horse was an important step toward civilization. An increasing amount of evidence supports the hypothesis, that horses were domesticated in the Eurasian Steppes 4000-3500 BC; the invention of the wheel used in transportation most took place in Mesopotamia or the Eurasian steppes in modern-day Ukraine. Evidence of wheeled vehicles appears from the mid 4th millennium BC near-simultaneously in the Northern Caucasus, in Central Europe; the earliest vehicles may have been ox carts. Starokorsunskaya kurgan in the Kuban region of Russia contains a wagon grave of the Maikop Culture; the two solid wooden wheels from this kurgan have been dated to the second half of the fourth millennium. Soon thereafter the number of such burials in this Northern Caucasus region multiplied; as David W. Anthony writes in his book The Horse, the Wheel, Language, in Eastern Europe, the earliest well-dated depiction of a wheeled vehicle is on the Bronocice pot.
It is a clay pot excavated in a Funnelbeaker settlement in Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship in Poland. The oldest securely dated real wheel-axle combination in Eastern Europe is the Ljubljana Marshes Wheel; the earliest records of chariots are the arsenal inventories of the palatial centres in Mycenaean Greece, as described in Linear B tablets from the 15th-14th centuries BC. The tablets distinguish between "assembled" and "dismantled" chariots; the latter Greeks of the first millennium BC had a cavalry arm, the rocky terrain of the Greek mainland was unsuited for wheeled vehicles. In historical Greece the chariot was never used to any extent in war; the chariot retained a high status and memories of its era were handed down in epic poetry. Linear B tablets from Mycenaean palaces record large inventories of chariots, sometimes with specific details as to how many chariots were assembled or not; the vehicles were used in games and processions, notably for races at the Olympic and Panathenaic Games and other public festivals in ancient Greece, in hippodromes and in contests called agons.
They were used in ceremonial functions, as when a paranymph, or friend of a bridegroom, went with him in a chariot to fetch the bride home. Herodotus Reports that chariots were used in the Pontic–Caspian steppe by the Sigynnae. Greek chariots were made to be drawn by two horses attached to a central pole. If two additional horses were added, they were attached on each side of the main pair by a single bar or trace fastened to the front or prow of the chariot, as may be seen on two prize vases in the British Museum from the Panathenaic Games at Athens, Greece, in which the driver is seated with feet resting on a board hanging down in front close to the legs of the horses; the biga itself consists of a seat resting on the axle, with a rail at each side to protect the driver from the wheels. Greek chariots appear to have lacked any other attachment for the horses, which would have made turning difficult; the body or basket of the chariot rested directly on the axle connecting the two wheels. There was no suspension.
At the front and sides of the basket was a semicircular guard about 3 ft high, to give some protection from enemy attack. At the back the basket was open, making it easy to dismount. There was no seat, only enough room for the driver and one passenger; the reins were the same as those in use in the 19th century, were made of leather and ornamented with studs of ivory or metal. The reins were passed through rings attached to the collar bands or yoke, were long enough to be tied round the waist of the charioteer to allow for defense; the wheels and basket of the chariot were of wood, strengthened in places with bronze or iron. They had from tires of bronze or iron. Due to the spaced spokes, the rim of the chariot wheel was held in tension over comparatively large spans. Whilst this provi
An aulos or tibia was an ancient Greek wind instrument, depicted in art and attested by archaeology. An aulete was the musician; the ancient Roman equivalent was the tibicen, from the Latin tibia, "pipe, aulos." The neologism aulode is sometimes used by analogy with rhapsode and citharode to refer to an aulos player, who may be called an aulist. There were several kinds of aulos, double; the most common variety was a reed instrument. Archeological finds, surviving iconography and other evidence indicate that it was double-reeded, like the modern oboe, but with a larger mouthpiece, like the surviving Armenian duduk. A single pipe without a reed was called the monaulos. A single pipe held horizontally, as the modern flute, was the plagiaulos. A pipe with a bag to allow for continuous sound, a bagpipe, was the askaulos. Though aulos is erroneously translated as "flute", it was a double-reeded instrument, its sound — described as "penetrating and exciting" — was more akin to that of the bagpipes, with a chanter and drone.
Like the Great Highland Bagpipe, the aulos has been used for martial music, but it is more depicted in other social settings. It was the standard accompaniment of the passionate elegiac poetry, it accompanied physical activities such as wrestling matches, the broad jump, the discus throw and to mark the rowing cadence on triremes, as well as sacrifices and dramas. Plato associates it with the ecstatic cults of Dionysus and the Korybantes, banning it from his Republic but reintroducing it in "Laws", it appears that some variants of the instrument were loud and therefore hard to blow. A leather strap, called a phorbeiá in Greek or capistrum in Latin, was worn horizontally around the head with a hole for the mouth by the auletai to help support the lips and avoid excessive strain on the cheeks due to continuous blowing. Sometimes a second strap was used over the top of the head to prevent the phorbeiá from slipping down. Aulos players are sometimes depicted with puffed cheeks; the playing technique certainly made use of circular breathing much like the Sardinian launeddas and Armenian duduk, this would give the aulos a continuous sound.
Although aristocrats with sufficient leisure sometimes practiced aulos-playing as they did the lyre, after the fifth century the aulos became chiefly associated with professional musicians slaves. Such musicians could achieve fame; the Romano-Greek writer Lucian discusses aulos playing in his dialogue Harmonides, in which Alexander the Great's aulete Timotheus discusses fame with his pupil Harmonides. Timotheus advises him to impress the experts within his profession rather than seek popular approval in big public venues. If leading musicians admire him, popular approval will follow. However, Lucian reports. In myth, Marsyas the satyr was supposed to have invented the aulos, or else picked it up after Athena had thrown it away because it caused her cheeks to puff out and ruined her beauty. In any case, he challenged Apollo to a musical contest, where the winner would be able to "do whatever he wanted" to the loser—Marsyas's expectation, typical of a satyr, was that this would be sexual in nature.
But Apollo and his lyre beat his aulos. And since the pure lord of Delphi's mind worked in different ways from Marsyas's, he celebrated his victory by stringing his opponent up from a tree and flaying him alive. King Midas was cursed with donkey's ears for judging Apollo as the lesser player. Marsyas's blood and the tears of the Muses formed the river Marsyas in Asia Minor; this tale was a warning against committing the sin of "hubris", or overweening pride, in that Marsyas thought he might win against a god. Strange and brutal as it is, this myth reflects a great many cultural tensions that the Greeks expressed in the opposition they drew between the lyre and aulos: freedom vs. servility and tyranny, leisured amateurs vs. professionals, moderation vs. excess, etc. Some of this is a result of 19th century AD "classical interpretation", i.e. Apollo versus Dionysus, or "Reason" opposed to "Madness". In the temple to Apollo at Delphi, there was a shrine to Dionysus, his Maenads are shown on drinking cups playing the aulos, but Dionysus is sometimes shown holding a kithara or lyre.
So a modern interpretation can be a little more complicated than just simple duality. This opposition is an Athenian one, it might be surmised that things were different at Thebes, a center of aulos-playing. At Sparta – which had no Bacchic or Korybantic cults to serve as contrast – the aulos was associated with Apollo, accompanied the hoplites into battle; the battle scene on the Chigi vase shows an aulos player setting a lyrical rhythm for the hoplite phalanx to advance to. This accompaniment reduced the possibility of an opening in the formation of the blockage. In this particular scene, the phalanx approaching from the left is unprepared and momentarily outnumbered four to five. More soldiers can be seen running up to assist them from behind. Though the front four are lacking a fifth soldier, they have the advantage because the aulete is there to bring the formation back together. An amphora from ca. 540-530 B. C. depicts H
Chariot racing was one of the most popular Iranian, ancient Greek and Byzantine sports. Chariot racing was dangerous to both drivers and horses as they suffered serious injury and death, but these dangers added to the excitement and interest for spectators. Chariot races could be watched by women. In the Roman form of chariot racing, teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes competed for the services of skilled drivers; as in modern sports like football, spectators chose to support a single team, identifying themselves with its fortunes, violence sometimes broke out between rival factions. The rivalries were sometimes politicized, when teams became associated with competing social or religious ideas; this helps explain why Roman and Byzantine emperors took control of the teams and appointed many officials to oversee them. The sport faded in importance in the West after the fall of Rome, it survived for a time in the Byzantine Empire, where the traditional Roman factions continued to play a prominent role for several centuries, gaining influence in political matters.
Their rivalry culminated in the Nika riots. It is unknown when chariot racing began, but It may have been as old as chariots themselves, it is known from artistic evidence on pottery that the sport existed in the Mycenaean world, but the first literary reference to a chariot race is one described by Homer, at the funeral games of Patroclus. The participants in this race were Diomedes, Antilochus and Meriones; the race, one lap around the stump of a tree, was won by Diomedes, who received a slave woman and a cauldron as his prize. A chariot race was said to be the event that founded the Olympic Games. In the ancient Olympic Games, as well as the other Panhellenic Games, there were both four-horse and two-horse chariot races, which were the same aside from the number of horses; the chariot racing event was first added to the Olympics in 680 BC with the games expanding from a one-day to a two-day event to accommodate the new event. The chariot race was not so prestigious as the foot race of 195 meters, but it was more important than other equestrian events such as racing on horseback, which were dropped from the Olympic Games early on.
The races themselves were held in the hippodrome. The single horse race was known as the "keles"; the hippodrome was situated at the south-east corner of the sanctuary of Olympia, on the large flat area south of the stadium and ran parallel to the latter. Until its exact location was unknown, since it is buried by several meters of sedimentary material from the Alfeios River. In 2008, Annie Muller and staff of the German Archeological Institute used radar to locate a large, rectangular structure similar to Pausanias's description. Pausanias, who visited Olympia in the second century AD, describes the monument as a large, flat space 780 meters long and 320 meters wide; the elongated racecourse was divided longitudinally into two tracks by a stone or wooden barrier, the embolon. All the horses or chariots ran on one track toward the east turned around the embolon and headed back west. Distances varied according to the event; the racecourse was surrounded by artificial banks for the spectators. The race was begun by a procession into the hippodrome, while a herald announced the names of the drivers and owners.
The tethrippon consisted of twelve laps around the hippodrome, with sharp turns around the posts at either end. Various mechanical devices were used, including the starting gates which were lowered to start the race. According to Pausanias, these were invented by the architect Cleoitas, staggered so that the chariots on the outside began the race earlier than those on the inside; the race did not begin properly until the final gate was opened, at which point each chariot would be more or less lined up alongside each other, although the ones that had started on the outside would have been traveling faster than the ones in the middle. Other mechanical devices known as the "eagle" and the "dolphin" were raised to signify that the race had begun, were lowered as the race went on to signify the number of laps remaining; these were bronze carvings of those animals, set up on posts at the starting line. In most cases, the owner and the driver of the chariot were different persons. In 416 BC, the Athenian general Alcibiades had seven chariots in the race, came in first and fourth.
Philip II of Macedon won an Olympic chariot race in an attempt to prove he was not a barbarian, although if he had driven the chariot himself he would have been considered lower than a barbarian. The poet Pindar did praise the courage of Herodotes of Thebes, for driving his own chariot; this rule meant that women could win the race through ownership, despite the fact that women were not allowed to participa
The cithara or kithara was an ancient Greek musical instrument in the lyre or lyra family. In modern Greek the word kithara has come to mean "guitar", a word which etymologically stems from kithara; the kithara was a professional version of the two-stringed lyre. As opposed to the simpler lyre, a folk-instrument, the kithara was used by professional musicians, called kitharodes; the kithara's origins are Anatolian. The barbiton was a bass version of the kithara popular in ancient Anatolia. In the Middle Ages, cythara was used generically for stringed instruments including lyres, but including lute-like instruments; the use of the name throughout the Middle Ages looked back to the original Greek kithara, its abilities to sway people's emotions. The kithara had a deep, wooden sounding box composed of two resonating tables, either flat or arched, connected by ribs or sides of equal width. At the top, its strings were knotted around the crossbar or yoke or to rings threaded over the bar, or wound around pegs.
The other end of the strings was secured to a tail-piece after passing over a flat bridge, or the tail-piece and bridge were combined. Most vase paintings show kitharas with seven strings, in agreement with ancient authors, but these mention that a skillful kitharode would use more than the conventional seven strings, it was played with a rigid plectrum held in the right hand, with elbow outstretched and palm bent inwards, while the strings with undesired notes were damped with the straightened fingers of the left hand. The kithara was the virtuoso's instrument known as requiring a great deal of skill; the kithara was played to accompany dance, epic recitations, rhapsodies and lyric songs. It was played solo at the receptions, national games, trials of skill; the music from this instrument was said to be the lyre for drinking parties and is considered an invention of Terpander. Aristotle said that these string instruments were not for educational purposes but for pleasure only; the cithara is said to have been the god of music.
Apollo is seen playing a cithara instead of a lyre. Kitharoidos, or Citharoedus is an epithet given to Apollo, which means "lyre-singer" or "one who sings to the lyre". An Apollo Citharoedus or Apollo Citharede, is a statue or other image of Apollo with a cithara. Among the best-known examples is the Apollo Citharoedus of the Vatican Museums, a 2nd-century AD colossal marble statue by an unknown Roman sculptor. Sappho is associated with music string instruments like the kithara and the barbitos, she was a woman of high social composed songs that focused on the emotions. A Greek mythology story goes that she ascended the steep slopes of Mount Parnassus where she was welcomed by the Muses, she wandered through the laurel grove and came upon the cave of Apollo, where she bathed in the Castalian Spring and took Phoebus' plectrum to play skilful music. The sacred nymphs danced while she stroked the strings with much talent to bring forth sweet musical melodies from the resonant kithara; the cithara is mentioned a number of times in the Bible.
Psalm 42 in the Latin Vulgate, says, "Confitebor tibi in cithara, Deus meus,", translated in the Douay-Rheims version as "To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp." The King James version renders this verse as "Yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God." The cithara is mentioned in other places in the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible, including Genesis 4:21, 1Kings16:16, 1Paralipomenon25:3, Job 30:31, Psalms 32:2, Psalms 56:9, Psalms 70:22, Psalms 80:3, Psalms 91:4, Psalms 97:5, Psalms 107:3, Psalms 146:7, Psalms 150:3, Isaiah 5:12, Isaiah 16:11, 1 Machabees 3:45, 1 Corinthians 14:7. Barbiton Cythara Citharede Gittern, instrument with etymological connection to Kithara Guitar Harp Kinnor Lyre Phorminx Pandura Zither Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Music of ancient Greece Maas, Martha. Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece. New Haven: Yale University Press. Bundrick, Sheramy D.. Music and Image in Classical Athens. New York: Cambridge University Press. Schlesinger, Kathleen.
"Cithara". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 6. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 395–397. "The Kithara in Ancient Greece | Thematic Essay". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History; the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2016-10-25. Hagel, Stefan. "Ancient Greek Music". Vienna, Austria: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Retrieved 2016-10-25. Peter Pringle demonstrates how a kithara worked "Ensemble Kérylos". A music group directed by scholar Annie Bélis, dedicated to the recreation of ancient Greek and Roman music and playing instruments rebuilt on archaeological reference. In its recording D'Euripide aux premiers chretiens: musique de l'antiquité grecque et romaine, the band plays both Roman and Greek Kitharas. Pictures of its instruments can be seen on their website: Ensemble Kérylos. "Photos"