Greek Music Timeline

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  • c. 5000 BCE
    The first aulos musical instruments are carved from bone.
  • 2700 BCE - 2300 BCE
    The first depiction in art of the aulos musical instrument appears in Cycladic sculpture.
  • 2000 BCE
    The first examples of the lyre in the Bronze Age Aegean occur in the Cyclades and on Minoan Crete.
  • 1500 BCE - 1450 BCE
    The 'Harvester Vase' of Minoan origin depicts a sistrum player.
  • 1420 BCE - 1300 BCE
    Clay dancing figures including a rare female lyre player are made in Minoan Palaikastro.
  • c. 1400 BCE
    Lyres across the Aegean assume S-shaped arms and become more decoratively carved, most often with sculpted birds.
  • 1250 BCE - 1200 BCE
    A Linear B tablet from Greek Thebes mentions lyre players as members of the royal palace staff.
  • 700 BCE
    The study of music theory begins in ancient Greece.
  • c. 700 BCE
    Sparta, Argos and Paros hold the first documented musical competitions in Greece.
  • c. 550 BCE
    The silver drachma of Delos depicts a lyre - symbolic of Apollo - on its reverse side.
  • 548 BCE - 544 BCE
    Birth of Greek lyric poet Lasus of Hermione.
  • c. 400 BCE
    Theban musicians invent a more sophisticated aulos with metal keys.
  • c. 350 BCE
    Aristoxenos writes his theory of music treatise 'Harmonic Elements'.
  • 328 BCE
    Herodoros of Megara wins the first of ten consecutive trumpet competitions at the Olympic Games.
  • c. 100 BCE
    Coins of Kos and Thespiai depict a lyre on their reverse side.