Lyre of Har Meggido (King David)
“Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.” – 1 Samuel 16:23
This is a replica of the ancient lyre of Meggido Har, played by King David himself and named after the ancient city of Meggido (aka Armageddon) sit atop a hill in the Jezreel Valley in what is today northern Israel. Careful excavations of 26 layers of debris have revealed that the area has been occupied for about 6000 years and that the city has been destroyed by wars and natural disasters many times, and then rebuilt.
King David has been depicted by artists as playing an extraordinary variety of instruments including a number of harps of decidedly medieval European design, as well as Greco-Roman lyres (lyres of the Greek god Apollo) that can be seen on the coins of first-century Roman-occupied Judea. The image appears on one of the famous “Megiddo ivories” that were excavated by archaeologist Gordon Loud, at what are believed to be the remains of a Late Bronze Age royal palace. The illustration is etched onto a sliver of a hippopotamus tooth, and probably adorned the lid of a box or some other decorative item. Since the hippo is found in the waters of the Upper Nile River, in Egypt, this piece shows the enormous range and influence of Egyptian culture throughout the Middle East in that period.
LUTHIEROS Lyre of Har Meggido has 10 strings, and it is ideal for anyone willing to learn how to play an ancient string musical instrument, as it provides more than a full octave. With the use of harmonics and other advanced playing techniques, a 10-strings lyre can produce three to four full octaves, along with the sharps!
The Late Bronze Age covers a period from roughly 1600 to 1200 B.C. which puts this piece very close to the time of the biblical King David, who is believed to have lived sometime around 1000 B.C. As most people know, according to the Old Testament, David was a musician, singer, and purportedly writer of many of the Psalms. He was said to have played a 10-string lyre (“kinnor” in Hebrew) which is exactly the type of instrument we see in the Megiddo ivory. The figure playing the lyre is dressed in the manner of a Canaanite, not an Egyptian, and is playing an instrument with 10 strings.
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^ A female lyre player in ancient Egypt. This facsimile painting copies a detail of entertainers in a banquet scene in the tomb of Djeserkaraseneb at Thebes. Shown here is a group of female musicians who entertain the guests. Original ca. 1400–1390 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.
< A female lyre player in ancient Egypt. This facsimile painting copies a detail of entertainers in a banquet scene in the tomb of Djeserkaraseneb at Thebes. Shown here is a group of female musicians who entertain the guests. Original ca. 1400–1390 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.
Bringing Ancient Artifacts Back to Life
To handcraft premium ancient-replicas with a focus to the modern musician, you have to research a lot, analyze hundreds of ancient depictions, build a lot of prototypes, test them with great musicians, etc.
And all of these, to conclude to meaningful compromises that have to be made, that are both deeply justified and make sense in terms of usability/playability. All in all, our ultimate goal is to serve the modern musician, and to bring ancient artifacts back to life as fully functional musical instruments.
Manufactured at the premises of the ancient Europos (Northern Greece) by a family of musicians and luthiers, the LUTHIEROS Lyre of Har Meggido is made exclusively using natural materials available during the antiquity. All parts are made of quality wood with great musicality, the tuning pegs are made by ebony and mulberry wood, while the plectrum is manufactured by wood.
This ancient artifact was evolved to become a modern musical instrument ready to be used by both amateur and professional musicians. For all the minor (but very important) alterations, top-notch technologies were used during the prototyping phase (such as 3d Modeling and rapid prototyping) as part of University-based research by members of LUTHIEROS family. Key collaborations include the International Hellenic University and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Egyptian Wall Paintings: The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Collection of Facsimiles, adapted from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 36, no. 4 (Spring, 1979).
Koumartzis et al. (2015). A New Music Instrument from Ancient Times: Modern Reconstruction of the Greek Lyre of Hermes using 3D Laser Scanning, Advanced Computer Aided Design and Audio Analysis. Journal of New Music Research. 44. 324-346.
Wilkinson, Charles K. and Marsha Hill 1983. Egyptian Wall Paintings: The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Collection of Facsimiles. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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"All of these beautiful lyres, lovingly hand-crafted by Luthieros are indeed, divine artifacts, reintroduced into the modern world… " - Michael Levy, a world-renowned lyre player. Read his extended review here.
"Electric guitars are very often provided with vibrato, tremolo or whammy bars. That concept was in fact invented by the ancient Greeks twenty four hundred years ago. Kithara was a musical instrument very popular during the Golden Age of Ancient Greece. This is a reproduction that was made by the Greek master luthier Anastasios Koumartizis of Luthiers Music Instruments." - Peter Pringle, a professional Canadian musician, and well-known ancient instruments player. Watch his extended video review here.
"Can't be happier with my lyre! Learning how to play this amazing piece of art! The lyre has amazing finishes and you can feel it's made with love and skilfull hands." - Jaume Gual Bennàssar, Balearic Islands, Spain (verified review through Etsy.com).
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"It’s handcrafted with such care and the materials are fine and well chosen. It arrived to us safely all the way from Greece and we were able to track it all the way so we always knew what was happening." - Rachel Loeb, Los Angeles, U.S.A. (verified review through Etsy.com).
"Amazing company! I was very skeptical about ordering an instrument online but it was packaged very safely and arrived in such a timely manner! Luthieros also has some of the best communication skills I've ever encountered with a company, I had many questions that were all answered with great detail shortly after I asked them." - Batherus Batherus, New York, U.S.A. (verified review through Etsy.com).
"The Koumartzis familia have been making replicas of ancient Greek instruments for many years, used by famous lyre players. They also contribute to their musical passions through research and collaborations." - Ancient History Encyclopedia. Read the extended tribute here.
"My ancient Kithara, handcrafted by Luthieros Music Instruments, is for me a very interesting challenge. As an instrument is both old and new. It carries a history of many centuries and at the same time_ it is a very modern challenge that requires a creative approach to musical archetypes. After many experiments […] I discover that this instrument has but many extensions and features that are not noticeable at first glance. The construction is both sturdy and thin, and made of quality woods, which are eclectic, stylish and durable." - Ross Daly, a professional world musician of Irish descent.
"Absolutely fantastic! A truly wonderfully crafted instrument. I can’t put it down. It feels wonderful to play and is transporting me back in time." - Sarah Tilsley, West Sussex, U.K. (verified review through Etsy.com).
Lyre of Har Meggido (King David)