Lyres excavated in ancient Mesopotamia date back to 2500 BC. The recitations of ancient Greeks were accompanied by lyre playing. And the earliest picture of a lyre appears in a sarcophagus from a Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete. So, the lyre’s been around for a long time.
A lyre can be strummed or plucked, and lyres have had different numbers of strings at various times.
I love this video of Andreas Dimetrelis attempting to play a blues scale on a Greek lyre: