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