Thamyris's Last Gasps
Thamyris invented the 8 string Cithara and challenged the muses to a musical duel. His punishment for losing was to have his hands cut off. Now all he can do is imagine one last chattar solo as he takes his last breath. The gods have taken away my strength too!
My new song is about Thamyris. In Greek mythology, Thamyris, son of Philammon and the nymph Argiope, was a Thracian singer who was so proud of his skill that he boasted he could outsing the Muses. He competed against them and lost. As punishment for his presumption they blinded him, and took away his ability to make poetry and to play the lyre.
Later sources add the details that Thamyris had claimed as his prize, if he should win the contest, the privilege of having sex with all the Muses (according to one version) or of marrying one of them (according to another); and that after his death he was further punished in Hades. The story demonstrates that poetic inspiration, a gift of the gods, can be taken away by the gods.
According to Diodorus the mythical singer Linus took three pupils, Heracles, Thamyris and Orpheus, which neatly settles Thamyris’s legendary chronology. When Pliny the Elder briefly sketches the origins of music he credits Thamyris with inventing the Dorian mode and with being the first to play the cithara as a solo instrument with no voice accompaniment.