A “lyric poetry” is a specific poetic genre used to express the poet’s inner feelings in order to make the reader empathize with him. It is called “lyric” because of the fact, during ancient Greek times, poetic compositions were often accompanied by the sound of the lyre, a stringed instrument.

But does everybody know where it comes from?

People are used to considering the lyre as the instrument played by Apollo, but it was not actually invented by him.

According to the myth, the one who really invented the lyre was Hermes, who found a turtle in a cave and killed it; after that, he made the instrument out of the animal’s shell. 

So, how did the lyre end up in Apollo’s hands?

Hermes had stolen Apollo’s cows, so, in order to pay off Apollo, he decided to offer him the lyre.

Something about this myth is true though: at first the lyre was really made out of the shell of a turtle.

Something interesting about how instruments were seen during ancient Greek days is that there was a huge contrast between the lyre and the aulos, a wind instrument: the lyre, which was associated to Apollo, was considered superior and more elegant because it represented harmony and rationality, while the aulos, which was associated to Dionysus, was considered inferior.

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Laura Carroccio


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