- For the Ancient Greek woman artist see Timarete.
In Greek mythology, Thamyris (Greek: Θάμυρις), 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. This outline of the story is told in the Iliad.
This allusion is taken up in Euripides' Rhesus, in the Library attributed to Apollodorus, and in the Scholia on the Iliad. These 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 legendarily 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.
- Iliad 2.594-600.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library 1.3.3; Scholia on the Iliad 2.595. See Dalby, Andrew (2006), Rediscovering Homer, New York, London: Norton, ISBN 0-393-05788-7, p. 96.
- Diodorus Siculus, 3.67.
- Pliny. Natural History, 7.207.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, 1. 3.3.
- Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica: Thamyris Glacier.
- Donatella Restani, "Music and myth in ancient Greece" with literary references to Thamyris