The violin (fiddle) was invented a thousand years after the Great Fire of Rome. It belongs to a family of stringed instruments, which includes the cello and viola. Among these three, it is the highest-pitched and smallest.
Renowned violin maker Andrea Amati constructed the very first violin
sometime in 1555. Before that, there was a violin-like instrument
called violetta, which only had three strings instead of the usual
four strings that are found in modern-day violins.
Many archive documents relate that from about 1585 Brescia, Italy
was the cradle of a magnificent school of string players and makers,
all called with the title of 'maestro' of all the different sort of
multi-string instruments of the Renaissance: viola da gamba,
violone, lyra, lyrone, violetta, and viola da brazzo.
A Persian geographer, Ibn Khurradadhbih of the 9th century was the
first to cite the bowed Byzantine lira, which is held upright as a
typical instrument of the Byzantines and equivalent to the rabāb
used in the Islamic Empires of that time. The Byzantine lira spread
through Europe westward and in the 11th and 12th centuries European
writers use the terms fiddle and lira interchangeably when referring
to bowed instruments.
The rabāb was introduced to the Western Europe and both bowed
instruments spread widely throughout Europe giving birth to various
European bowed instruments.