Tympanon Timeline

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  • c. 1700 BCE
    The earliest written hint to a hand-drum: the Jewish tof played by Moses’s sister, Miriam, in Exodus.
  • c. 750 BCE
    The earliest depiction of the tympanon on a bronze disc found in the Idaean Cave in Crete.
  • c. 575 BCE
    Scythian Philosopher Anacharsis plays the tympanon in his celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries, as accounted by Herodotus.
  • c. 525 BCE
    The tympanon first appears on Greek pottery.
  • c. 499 BCE - c. 456 BCE
    Aeschylus in The Edonians tells of the bull-roaring sound of the tympanon in the rites of the moon goddess, Kotys.
  • c. 405 BCE
    Euripides in The Bacchai has Dionysos tell us how the tympanon was invented by him and his Mother Goddess, Rhea.
  • c. 205 BCE
    The tympanon is adopted by the Romans together with the cult of Magna Mater.