CHS Open House | Kinyras: The Divine Lyre, with John C. Franklin

Franklin_Kinyras_ The Divine LyreJohn C. Franklin of the University of Vermont will join the CHS Community for an Open House discussion on “Kinyras: The Divine Lyre.” The event takes place on Thursday, September 15 at 11 a.m. EDT.

To prepare for this event, you might like to read the Introduction “Kinyras and Kinnaru” of Kinyras: The Divine Lyre, Hellenic Studies Series 70. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies, on the CHS website, here.

Watch the live broadcast on the  Hour 25 website or on the YouTube site.

On Kinyras of Cyprus

Already for Homer, Kinyras loomed on the eastern horizon, a Great King who treated on equal terms with Agamemnon, sending him a marvelous daedalic breastplate as a friendship-gift:

Next in turn he donned the corselet round his chest
Which once Kinyras gave him as a friendship-gift.
For he had heard a great report on Cyprus—the Achaeans
Were to sail in ships to Troy—wherefore
He gave the corselet to him, cultivating favor with the king.

One version of the lost epic Kypria told of a broken promise by Kinyras to contribute ships against Troy, and probably how he hosted Paris and Helen on a honeymoon escapade as they evaded pursuit. Alkman describes Cypriot perfume as “the moist charm of Kinyras.” Pindar calls him “cherished priest of Aphrodite” whom “golden-haired Apollo gladly loved”; and refers to the “blessed fortune … which once upon a time freighted Kinyras with riches in Cyprus on the sea.” Sources from the Hellenistic period onwards, when Cypriot lore entered Greek letters more directly, tell us that Kinyras was first-discoverer of copper and metallurgical operations on the island, and master of other typical industries. Local fourth-century inscriptions show that the Paphian kings traced their descent from Kinyras, and it was said that he built, and was buried in, Aphrodite’s great and ancient sanctuary there. His wealth was a byword, rivaling Sardanapalos and Kroisos, and thrice surpassing Midas. And, like these other eastern kings, he underwent a humbling reversal of fortune.

John C. Franklin

John C. Franklin is Associate Professor and Chair of Classics at the University of Vermont. He began life in music composition at the New England Conservatory of Music and MIT Media Lab (1988), and then switched to Classics, earning a PhD at University College London (2002).  Much of his research deals with the cultural—and especially musical interface—between early Greece and the Near East. He has recently completed a book on divinized instruments called Kinyras: The Divine Lyre; another work in progress treats the historical relationship between the Mesopotamian and early Greek lyre traditions (The Middle Muse: Mesopotamian Echoes in Early Greek Music). His compositions now incorporate aspects of ancient musical practice; these include “recomposed” scores for productions of ancient drama (Aeschylus, Libation Bearers, London Festival of Greek Drama 1999 and Aristophanes, Clouds, Edinburgh Fringe 2000); and electronically-realized impressions of ancient music, notably The Cyprosyrian Girl: Hits of the Ancient Hellenes, for which he developed a Virtual Lyre for the Reaktor platform, permitting use of ancient microtonal intonations. He has held research fellowships at the Center for Hellenic Studies, the American Academy in Rome, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, and the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.