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 Museum Explorer

Daily life in Europe

Citole

Length: 61.000 cm
Width: 18.600 cm
Depth: 14.700 cm

M&ME 1963,10-2,1

Citole

From: England
Date: about AD 1280-1330

Music was an important part of life in medieval times. Most people heard music in churches and cathedrals, but it was also purely for entertainment.

The citole was like a medieval guitar. The back and sides of this beautiful citole are made from one piece of wood and have forests, animals, men and monsters carved into them.

The piece of silver on the left-hand end is engraved with the coat of arms of Elizabeth I (who ruled from 1558 to 1603) and her favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. So the citole was still being used 300 years after it was first made, and could even have been used by Dudley to sing love songs to the queen.