Kinyras: The Divine Lyre

  Franklin, John Curtis. 2016. Kinyras: The Divine Lyre. Hellenic Studies Series 70. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.


Κυπρογενῆ Κυθέρειαν ἀείσομαι ἥ τε βροτοῖσι
μείλιχα δῶρα δίδωσιν, ἐφ’ ἱμερτῷ δὲ προσώπῳ
αἰεὶ μειδιάει καὶ ἐφ’ ἱμερτὸν θέει ἄνθος

—with eternal gratitude for Glynnis, Sylvan, and Helen

Kinyras has deep roots on Cyprus. He came to the island, I argue, in the Late Bronze Age, when he had already begun to outgrow his musical roots as a Divine Lyre. Already by Homer’s time Kinyras had taken on kingship, metal-working, and other typical industries to become the central Cypriot culture-hero. While all Classicists know the metamorphosis of his daughter Myrrha in Ovid, and some may recall brief allusions by Homer, Alkman, Tyrtaios, and Pindar, Kinyras has remained quite obscure otherwise. For the sources, though rich, are widely scattered; Kinyras, like Cyprus, was on a distant horizon of Greek culture.

From an Aegean perspective, that is. That the situation was different on Cyprus itself is shown by a few precious inscriptions, traces of insular traditions collected by Classical and Hellenistic historians and ethnographers, and (indirectly) a rich body of music iconography. I have even been able to show, I believe, that Kinyras persisted as a figure of folklore down into the sixteenth century. [1] Any Cypriot today will tell you at least that Kinyras was an ancient king of Paphos and familiar of Aphrodite. To be sure, this owes more than a little to the renewed prominence he enjoyed in the early twentieth century, when Cypriot intellectuals promoted the island’s ancient cultural heroes as worthy counterparts to great figures of the Greek past, and ideas of ‘Eteocypriot’ identity were encouraged by the British. [2] In this environment Loïzos Philippou (1895-1950), a polymathic lawyer and journalist from Paphos—with which region Kinyras is most prominently connected in ancient sources—founded in the 1930s a Kinyras Club which “contributed to the development of sports in Paphos and to its cultural movement and activity.” [3] Today Nea Paphos boasts a Kinyras football club, lifeguards association, hotel and restaurant, butcher shop, and a venerable Masonic lodge that on its founding in 1923 looked to Aphrodite’s ancient mysteries. In Nicosia there is a Kinyras street, with its Debenhams Kinyras department-store. In the Limassol district a Kinyras Cultural Organization promotes Cypriot music, wine, and perfume. Most appropriate of all, perhaps, is the underwater telecommunications cable named for the mythical king. So modern Cypriot pride has certainly promoted Kinyras. But he did not need to be invented or discovered. Kinyras was always there.

The basic premise of Ethnomusicology is that musical cultures cannot be studied in isolation from broader anthropological concerns. While I have not engaged very directly with that discipline’s literature, my investigation has found many intersections with more general scholarly interests now current in Classics: ethnicity and identity; migration and colonization; cultural interface; early Greek poetics, epic memory, and mythmaking (especially as these transpired on Cyprus); performance criticism; royal ideology and the ritual poetics underpinning traditional authority. And naturally the analysis and collation of classical and ANE material has raised a host of specific philological, linguistic, and iconographical issues—problems not especially characteristic of Ethnomusicology but typical in the emerging field of Music Archaeology and ancient studies more broadly. In hopes of making this work as relevant as possible to those not disposed to work through the complete argument, I have provided a detailed index of topics, and a complete index of sources.

I should confess at once my limited knowledge of the many ANE languages whose texts I have nevertheless had to confront. The study of Kinyras and Kinnaru is necessarily comparative: while divinized instruments are creatures of the ANE, much of the evidence for Kinyras himself comes from Greek and Roman sources, the connections between which are often far from obvious. Therefore even the most qualified Assyriologist or Ugaritologist would have faced similar challenges—had one pursued the questions that interested me. Fortunately bilingual publication of sources is a fairly general practice in ANE studies, so that training in classical philology often lets one weigh the merits of various interpretive arguments. The shifting historical and cultural systems from which ANE texts emerge are also daunting. But so many useful collections aimed at non-specialists are now available that Classicists can no longer afford to ignore the ANE where relevant. Such disciplinary trespassing added many years to the investigation, and presented countless pitfalls into which I have doubtless stumbled more than once. I can at least claim to appreciate the depth and complexity of the material with which my colleagues in several fields work, and admire the virtuosity with which they do so. I hope they will forgive the wilder surmises of this (increasingly) stout Cortez, overlooking sins of superficiality in favor of what benefits comparative analysis may have brought.

This méga kakón has been many years in the making, and I have many debts to record with gratitude. I was introduced to Kinyras in 1997 by J. G. Frazer, and a short but useful notice in West’s East Face of Helicon. [5] At the time I was a doctoral candidate in Classics at University College London, attempting to connect the early Greek and Mesopotamian tuning traditions. [6] Taking to heart Richard Janko’s caution that “Cyprus is not Greece,” I used a post-doctoral year as Broneer Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2002–2003) to begin exploring early Cypriot musical imagery and the Aegean settlement of the island. That same year a CAORC Multi-Country Fellowship took me to Cyprus itself, where I first enjoyed the hospitality and resources of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, under the welcoming directorship of Robert Merrillees. There I stumbled on Kinnaru of Ugarit and began to contemplate the central problem of this study. I also met the great Vassos Karageorghis, then director of the Leventis Foundation, who alerted me to J.-B. Cayla’s recent recognition of a kenyristḗs Apollo at Roman Paphos. [7] Best of all, I found Glynnis Fawkes, who has provided much inspiration over the years—and the wonderful artwork for this book. A month at the Sackler Library in Oxford during the summer of 2004 led to some preliminary ideas about ‘Lyre Gods’, including a few pages on Kinnaru, Kinyras, the Kinyradai, and possible connections with lamentation-singing. [8] Then during a 2005–2006 fellowship at the Center for Hellenic Studies, where I was meant to revise and expand my dissertation, I budgeted a month to complete my collection of the Kinyras and Kinnaru material, thinking that divinized instruments were an important piece of the puzzle and deserved a chapter’s discussion. But the sources proved so numerous, and the problems so fascinating and complex, that I have been chasing the Cypriot Lyre God ever since.

A Research Leave from UVM in 2011–2012 allowed me to take up a fortunate series of fellowships that brought the study to its final stages. As Elizabeth and J. Richardson Dilworth Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, I profited especially from discussions with †Joan Westenholz on Mesopotamian lexical texts, as well as Angelos Chaniotis, Glen Bowersock, Heinrich von Staden, Stephen Tracy, Annemarie Carr, Ioannis Mylonopoulos, Emmanuel Bermon, and Gil Renberg. It was at this same time that Anne Kilmer put me in touch with Wolfgang Heimpel, who had undertaken a first survey of Mesopotamian balang-gods in 1998; my request to reprint his list led eventually to the magnificent study with which this book concludes. I am honored that he threw his lot in with mine.

In January, en route to the Annual Professorship at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, a four-day stop on Cyprus and the kind devices of Ruth Keshishian (Moufflon Books, Nicosia) brought a small flurry of media interest—a spot on national radio, a front-page newspaper story, a lecture at Garo Keheyan’s Pharos Arts Foundation—where I had the honor of finally meeting Jacqueline Karageorghis—and an interview by Stavros Papageorghiou for his monumental documentary The Great Goddess of Cyprus (Nicosia, 2015).

In springtime Jerusalem I deepened my treatment of ANE material in the magnificent dungeons of the École biblique et archéologique française; and profited from conversations with Sy Gitin, Ann Killebrew, Louise Hitchcock, Jolanta Mlynarczyk, Andrea Rotstein, Miryam Brand, Nick Blackwell, Bill Zimmerle, Emmanuel Moutafov, Eliot Braun, Brendan Dempsey, and Brittany Rudacille.

Despite Andrew Ford’s friendly exhortation in 2012 to prove myself ‘a closer’, a further three years—including a normal year’s sabbatical at UVM—were needed to bring this book to completion. Hilary O’Shea of the Oxford University Press kindly released me from a contract when the book grew to unmanageable proportions; it was rescued by Greg Nagy, Lenny Muellner, Casey Dué, and Mary Ebbott, who gave it a welcome home in this series. The onerous copy-editing, typesetting, and indexing were a positively enjoyable experience thanks to the diligence and expertise of Jill Curry Robbins, Kristin Murphy Romano, Valerie Quercia, Joni Godlove, and Joanna Oh, all of whom improved the book in various ways.

For long-term professional support I am deeply indebted to Richard Janko; Anne Kilmer; †Martin West (who quietly saved me from Jude-like obscurity); Greg Nagy, Gloria Ferrari, and other trustees of the Center for Hellenic Studies; Peter Wilson; Eric Csapo, Margalit Finkelberg, Jim Porter, Richard Crocker, and Stefan Hagel (the Lucius Vorenus to my Titus Pullo—or so I like to think); Mark Griffith; Timothy Moore; Ellen Hickmann and Ricardo Eichmann of the ISGMA; Andrew Barker and my colleagues in MOISA (the International Society for Study of Ancient Greek and Roman Music and its Cultural Heritage); and my old pal Armand D’Angour.

Finally I must thank my wonderful colleagues at the University of Vermont for providing us with a great home—Phil Ambrose, Barbara Saylor Rodgers, Robert Rodgers, Bill Mierse, Jacques Bailly, Mark Usher, Brian Walsh, Angeline Chiu, and Jessica Evans.

This book is lovingly dedicated to Glynnis, Sylvan, and Helen, who never quite gave up on it, and shared in many sacrifices and joys along the way.


[ back ] 1. See Appendix G.

[ back ] 2. See 349n65.

[ back ] 3. I am grateful to Elina Christophorou (whom I quote: communication, September 2015) for providing me with information about Philippou, including his articles on Kinyras and the Kinyradai in the inaugural 1935 volume of his journal ΠΑΦΟΣ (“ΤΑ ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΚΙΝΥΡΑΔΩΝ”, p6–9) and his 1938 Lecture on Cypriot Poetry, which emphasized Kinyras’ musical dimension (ΔΙΑΛΕΞΕΙΣ ΠΕΡΙ ΤΗΣ ΚΥΠΡΙΑΚΗΣ ΠΟΙΗΣΕΩΣ, ΔΙΑΛΕΞΕΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΥ “ΚΙΝΥΡΑ”, ΠΑΦΟΣ-ΚΥΠΡΟΥ, 1938, p15–16). Christophorou is gathering further material relating to this phase of Kinyras’ reception.

[ back ] 4. Burkert 1992; EFH.

[ back ] 5. See p3–4 and 421–424 below.

[ back ] 6. See General Index s.v. tuning.

[ back ] 7. See p205.

[ back ] 8. Franklin 2006a, 2006b.

[ back ] 9. Franklin 2014.

[ back ] 10. See p205n105.

[ back ] 11. See p501–502.

[ back ] 12. The interesting papers of Manolis Mikrakis came to my notice too late for inclusion, but should be pursued by anyone interested in Cypriot musical history. So too the dissertation on Kinyras by Tsablē (2009), though I am gratified to see that she took on some of my main interpretive points.