Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The ancient Greek lyre: so called because first made of tortoise-shell.
- n. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a lute or viol.
- n. A genus of tortoises, the type of family Chelydidœ, containing only one species, C. matamata or C. fimbriata, See matamata, and cut under Chelydidœ.
“Doni  mentions the barbiton, defining it in his index as _Barbitos seu major chelys italice tiorba_, and deriving it from lyre and cithara in common with testudines, tiorbas and all tortoiseshell instruments.”
“Scilicet hic illi meditantur pondera mores; hic premitur fecunda quies uirtusque serena fronte grauis sanusque nitor luxuque carentes deliciae, quas ipse suis digressus Athenis mallet deserto senior Gargettius horto; 95 haec per et Aegaeas hiemes Hyadumque niuosum sidus et Oleniis dignum petiisse sub astris, si Maleae credenda ratis Siculosque per aestus sit uia: cur oculis sordet uicina uoluptas? hic tua Tiburtes Faunos chelys et iuuat ipsum100”
“From the Persians and Arabs we learn that it was a kind of _rebab_ or lute, or a chelys-lyre,  first introduced into Europe through Asia Minor by way of Greece, and centuries later into Spain by the Moors, amongst whom it was in the 14th century known as _al-barbet_. [”
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