Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lyre Music from 1400 BC


The oldest known melody dates to about 1400 B.C., and is performed by Michael Levy on solo lyre. This music dates to the time of the reign of Thutmose IV who inherited from his father, Amenhotep II, a vast empire that stretched from Nubia to Syria.

This piece was discovered in the 1950's in Ugarit, Syria. It was interpreted by Dr. Richard Dumbrill. Dr. Dumbrill wrote a book entitled The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East.

There were 29 musical texts found in the ruins of the palace at Ugarit, all dating to 1400 B.C.  The numbers given to the musical texts are to categorize the texts. Though this is believed to be the oldest hymn, it is labled "Hurrian Hymn Number 6."




The Hurrians were the northern Horites who lived in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley (Idumarez). The southern Horites lived in Edom (Idumea), south of Judah. However they were related peoples. Moses's brother-in-law was named Hur. I Chronicles 4:4 names Hur as the first born of Ephrathath and the "father" of Bethlehem. 

The word "Horite" takes many forms: Khar, Hur, Horonaim, Horoni, Horowitz, Horim, and Hori. Hori was the son of Lotan son of Seir whose descendants were the "lords of the Horites in the land of Seir" (Edom) according to Genesis 36:20-29 and 1 Chronicles 1:38-42.

(Lot, Lotan, and Nimlot are Egyptian titles. Nimlot C was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes during the latter part of the reign of his father Osorkon II.)

In the ancient world Horite priests were known for their purity and devotion to the High God whose emblem was the Sun. Plutarch wrote that the “priests of the Sun at Heliopolis never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly.”


Related reading: Moses's Horite Family; Samuel's Horite Family; Abraham and Job: Horite Rulers


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