The lyre of King David – Har Meggido
“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
The “Lyre of Har Megiddo” is an instrument etched onto an ivory plaque that was discovered by archaeologist Gordon Loud in the excavations of a royal palace in the ancient city of Megiddo (aka Armageddon) in Israel, dating to the 2nd Millennium BCE, circa 1200 BCE (currently on display in the Rockerfeller Museum in Jerusalem).
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.
Manufactured at the premises of the ancient Europos (Northern Greece) by a family of musicians and luthiers, the “Lyre of Meggido” is made of (and only) natural materials available during the antiquity. This ancient artifact was evolved to become a modern music instrument ready to be used by both amateur and professional musicians (for example, a modern tuning method was chosen instead of the ancient hard-to-use one). For all the minor (but very important) alterations, latest technologies were used during the prototyping phase (such as 3d Scanning and 3d Modeling).
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.
With Each Order You Will Receive
In the unlikely event of defects in materials or workmanship.
A detailed report about the materials, the exact dimensions, and manufacturing details, signed by our master luthiers, Anastasios and Jordan Koumartzis.
Worldwide delivery with package tracking at any given time.
40+ ancient melodies
A premium book with 40+ ancient melodies that survived throughout the millennia.
Ancient lyre music album
A music album packed with ancient lyre's recordings by some of the most talented lyre players around the world, featuring authentic ancient melodies and modern compositions.
Tuning and maintenance guide
A thoughtful leaflet with guidelines for how to tune and maintain properly your unique and priceless musical instrument.
A pack of extras
Including an extra set of nylon strings (to let yourself experiment with your new instruments without worrying about snapping a string or two), a wooden plectrum and a unique hand-strap (in Greek: “τελαμών”).
Plus small gifts
Extra small gifts to say "thank you" for making it possible to handcraft our next unique musical instrument...
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.
This lyre has 10 strings (combination of gut and nylon strings, another set of nylon strings are included too). The soundbox is made by cedar wood shaped to produce a rich sound, the arm and the crossbars are made by palisander (type of rosewood) wood, the tailpiece, the tuning keys and the bridge by ebony and maple wood, the sound-board by cedar wood, and the plectrum by wood. The lyre’s height is 59 cm with 62 cm width, while its soundbox dimensions are 31 x 21 x 8 cm.
Along with every lyre, a handbook is provided including all the different ancient Greek scales (for tuning the lyre) in the Aristoxenian tradition such as the Mixolydian, the Phrygian, the Dorian etc. What’s more, the oldest music melodies that had survived are also included such as the Hellenistic “Seikilos Epitaph” (2.000 years old, the oldest known complete melody of the human kind), and further descriptions regarding what modes were used in the antiquity for evoking specific feelings such as sorrow, happiness, bravery etc. Last, a full-color 68-page book (in the form of a .pdf file) will be given, with more than 100 photos, describing the research behind our lyres and the whole design process.
Since the beginning of 2015, every Luthieros lyre comes with a wooden plectrum, an extra set of nylon strings and a unique hand-strap (in Greek: “τελαμών”). A premium package, for a premium and authentic music instrument! A beautifully handmade premium wooden case for storing and moving around the instrument is also available here.
The lyres available for purchase are very limited. Needless to say that no animals were harmed…
|Number of strings||
Cedar wood, palisander (rosewood), ebony, maple wood, bronze.
59 x 62 x 8 cm
31 x 21 x 8 cm
Minor alterations might be present in the final instrument (regarding the color or the kind of wood that was used for smaller parts) that you will receive in comparison with our website's images. For this reason, every Luthieros musical instrument is undoubtedly unique.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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).
"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).
"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).
"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).
A 2-minutes look to an on-going R&D project: The Lyre 2.0 Project
Hear how our ancient lyres sound: Professional and amateur musicians around the world play, compose and experiment with our full range of ancient musical instruments. Be inspired by them by hearing audio recordings and watching them playing ancient melodies!
Learn how to play a lyre-like instrument: Michael Levy, one of the most renowned ancient lyre players around the world, put together a course of 11 video lessons (available online at our website). No matter if you are a complete amateur or a professional music player, you can play the lyre following Michael's steps.
Learn how to play an advanced string ancient Greek instrument, the cithara of the Golden Age (with a vibrato & tremolo feature): Michael Levy put together for us 11 video lessons (available online at our website).
Don't hesitate to ask: Luthieros team is proud for its great reputation in terms of customer service and customer satisfaction. If you need further clarifications or need someone to guide you to the perfect musical instrument for your personal needs, here is how to get in touch with us: Get in touch with Luthieros team
Dozens of music stringed instruments around the world are direct descendants of the ancient Greek lyre: gue (Scotland), rote (England), crwth (Wales), hearpe (Germanic or Anglo-Saxon lyre), giga (Norway), talharpa (Estonia), jouhikko (Finland), knar (Armenia), lutnia (Poland), kinnor (Israel), sarangi (Nepal), sammu or tanbura or zami or zinar (Iraq, Arabian peninsula, Yemen), barbat or ektara (Pakistan), ektara (India and Bangladesh), nares-jux (Siberia), chang (Iran), kissar or tanbura or simsimiyya (Egypt, Sudan), begena or dita or krar (Ethiopia), endongo or ntongoli (Uganda), kibugander or litungu or nyatiti or obokano (Kenya) and litungu (Tanzania).
This is a must-have item to accompany your ancient musical instrument, in order to store it properly and be able to move it around without worrying that you will harm it in any way. These top-quality handcrafted wooden cases will protect your musical instrument against any small or moderate impact or humidity (by far the most common causes of instruments' malfunctions).
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Every one of our handmade wooden cases is crafted from scratch to meet the dimensions of our musical instruments.
We use natural wood for the case, along with durable foam for top-notch protection.
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The lyre of King David – Har Meggido