Epigonion – Ancient Greek Harp (24 strings)
This is a replica of an Epigonion, an ancient Greek harp-like musical instrument invented by a legendary musician and inventor: Epigonus of Ambracia. An Epigonion was an ancient stringed instrument mentioned in Athenaeus (183 AD). It is made almost solely by wood, and it was played during the antiquity as the modern harp is played today.
According to ancient sources, Epigonion was during the antiquity the instrument with the largest number of strings (Polydeuces). The LUTHIEROS Epigonion has 24 strings, and it is an ideal instrument for introducing modern musicians to the ancient musical heritage.
Epigonion may owe its name to the fact that it was played “on the knee” (in ancient Greek: “epi gonu”). Its alternative name is Psaltery, which derives from the ancient Greek ψαλτήριον (psaltērion): a “stringed instrument, psaltery, harp”, a name that comes from the verb ψάλλω (psallō), “to touch sharply, to pluck, pull, twitch”. It was invented by Epigonus of Ambracia, a Greek legendary musician, who was admitted to citizenship at Sicyon as a recognition of his great musical ability and of his having been the first to pluck the strings with his fingers, instead of using a plectrum.
Juba II, king of Mauretania, who reigned from 30 B.C., said that Epigonus brought the instrument from Alexandria and played upon it with the fingers of both hands, not only using it as an accompaniment to the voice, but introducing chromatic passages, and a chorus of other stringed instruments, probably citharas, to accompany the voice. Epigonus was also a skilled citharist who was playing without a plectrum but only with his bare hands.
Historic Accuracy & Playability
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^ A seated bride playing instrument. Terracotta lebes gamikos (round-bottomed bowl with handles and stand used in weddings) ca. 430–420 B.C. Attributed to the Washing Painter.
< A seated bride playing instrument. Terracotta lebes gamikos (round-bottomed bowl with handles and stand used in weddings) ca. 430–420 B.C. Attributed to the Washing Painter.
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 Epigonion is made exclusively using natural materials available during the antiquity. All parts are made of quality wood with great musicality, while the tuning pegs are made by ebony and mulberry wood, the bottom part of the strings are attached to animal skin, 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.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 102, 244, pl. 84a, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Beazley, John D. 1963. Attic Red-figure Vase-painters, Vols. 1 and 2, 2nd ed. p. 1126, no. 1, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Beazley, John D. 1971. Paralipomena: Additions to Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters and to Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters [2nd edition]. p. 453, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Sgourou, Marina. 1994. "Attic Lebetes Gamikoi." Ph.D. Diss. p. 281, fig. R42. University of Michigan.
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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).
Epigonion – Ancient Greek Harp (24 strings)