c. AD 100–200
Part of a set. See all set records
Overall: 90 cm (35 7/16 in.)
Gift of J. H. Wade 1924.1017
Apollo received his lyre from Hermes, who invented it.
This ancient statue depicts the Greek god Apollo, identified by his youthful body and the fragmentary remains of his kithara, a type of lyre (or stringed instrument) used by poets and musicians in ancient Greece. Both the kithara, decorated with griffins, and the swan upon which it rests (atop a triangular column), signify Apollo’s roles as the god of music and leader of the Muses. Beloved by the Muses for their song, swans were considered sacred to Apollo because he gave them the gift of prophecy. Swans sing a glorious song before they die, knowing they will soon return to Apollo to be reborn.
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