, also spelled Sytole
, etc. (probably a French
diminutive form of cithara
, and not from Latin cista
, a box), an archaic musical instrument
of which the exact form is uncertain. It is generally shown as a four-string instrument, with a body generally referred to as "holly-leaf" shaped. There is a surviving instrument from around 1300 from Warwick Castle
which is now in the British Museum, albeit at some point, probably in the sixteenth century, it was converted into a violin with tall bridge, 'f'-holes and angled fingerboard; thus the image below of the instrument's top is not representative of its original appearance.
The citole is frequently mentioned by poets of the 13th to the 15th centuries, and is found in Wycliffe's Bible (1360) in 2 Samuel vi. 5: "Harpis and sitols and tympane". The Authorized Version has psaltiries, and the Vulgate lyrae. It has been supposed to be another name for the psaltery, a box-shaped instrument often seen in the illuminated missals of the Middle Ages.