Lyre

(The). That of Terpander and Olympus had only three strings; the Scythian lyre had five; that of Simonides had eight; and that of Timotheus (3 syl.) had twelve. It was played either with the fingers or with a plectrum. The lyre is called by poets a “shell,” because the cords of the lyre used by Orpheus (2 syl.), Amphion, and Apollo, were stretched on the shell of a tortoise. Hercules used boxwood instead.

Amphion built Thebes with the music of his lyre, for the very stones moved of their own accord into walls and houses.

Arion
charmed the dolphins by the music of his lyre, and when the bard was thrown overboard one of them carried him safely to Taenarus.

Hercules
was taught music by Linus. One day, being reproved, the strong man broke the head of his master with his own lyre.

Orpheus
charmed savage beasts, and even the infernal gods, with the music of his lyre.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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