Tetradrachm of the Olynthos mint of Macedon during the time of the Chalkidian League c.383-348 BC
Head of Apollo left, wearing laurel wreath / Kithara within incuse square
A kithara was a professional version of the two-stringed lyre. As opposed to the simpler lyre, which was a folk-instrument, the kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. The kithara’s origins are likely Asiatic. The name “guitar” is derived from kithara.
In Greek mythology, Sappho ascended the steep slopes of Mount Parnassus where she was welcomed by the Muses. She wandered through the laurel grove and came upon the cave of Apollo, where she bathed in the Castalian Spring and took Phoebus’ plectrum to play skillful music. The sacred nymphs danced while she stroked the strings with much talent to bring forth sweet musical melodies from the resonant kithara.
The Chalkidian League was a federal state that existed on the shores of the north west Aegean from around 430 BCE until it was destroyed by Philip II of Macedon in 348 BC.
Olynthos (Olynthus) was a city of Chalcidice, a peninsula in ancient northern Greece, part of the modern region of central Macedonia.