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Pandoura 001.jpg
Modern lithograph of a bas relief from Mantineia (4th century BC), exhibited at National Archaeological Museum of Athens. The image shows a muse playing a pandoura, and the original is the oldest image of a pandoura currently known.
Related instruments
Ancient Greek Tanagra figurine, 200 BC
Human pottery figurine, Susa, first half of 2nd millennium BC
Moulded figurine, Susa. Medo-Elamite period. 14th–12th centuries BC

The pandura[1] (Ancient Greek: πανδοῦρα, pandoura) is an ancient Greek string instrument from the Mediterranean basin.

Lutes have been present in ancient Greece since the 3rd century BC.[2] They were also present in Mesopotamia since the Akkadian era, or the third millennium BCE.[3]

The ancient Greek pandoura was a medium or long-necked lute with a small resonating chamber. It commonly had three strings: such an instrument was also known as the trichordon (McKinnon 1984:10). Its descendants still survive as the Greek tambouras and bouzouki, the North African kuitra, the Eastern Mediterranean saz and the Balkan tamburica.[citation needed] Renato Meucci (1996) suggests that the some Italian Renaissance descendants of Pandura type were called chitarra italiana, mandore or mandola. In the 18th century the pandurina (mandore) was often referred to as mandolino napoletano.

Memorial stele for a young Roman girl, Lutaia Lupata, showing her playing the Roman variant, the pandurium. C. 2nd Century A.D. [4]

Regional variations[edit]


Main article: Phondar

A similar instrument is found in Chechnya and Ingushetia, where it is known as Vainakhs Phondar.

Main article: Panduri

In Georgia the panduri is a three-string fretted instrument widely spread in all regions of Eastern Georgia: such as Pshavkhevsureti, Tusheti, Kakheti and Kartli. A similar Georgian instrument is the chonguri.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Not to be confused with pandora, pandore, bandura, a queer-shaped guitar of the 17th century; see: Willi Apel, Harvard Dictionary of Music, Taylor & Francis, 1970, p. 551.
  2. ^ Alexander Lingas, "Musical instruments" in Encycolpedy of Ancient Greece p 385.
  3. ^ Scheherezade Qassim Hassan, R. Conway Morris, John Baily, Jean During (2001). "Tanbūr". In Sadie, Stanley; Tyrrell, John. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians xxv (2 ed.). London: Macmillan. pp. pp. 61–62. 
  4. ^ Flicker based photo of the museum information sign for the stele.


External links[edit]