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Mouthpiece for cornu – Roman musical instrument – was discovered

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Cornu trumpeters on Trajan's Column
Cornu trumpeters on Trajan's Column

In Vindolanda (northern England) a mouthpiece for a Roman musical instrument – cornu was discovered. The object was found in the area where the Roman officers’ building (schola) used to be located.

The mouthpiece is about 17 cm long and dates from 120-128 CE. The mouthpiece was part of the cornu, or horn. This musical instrument was usually made of bronze and shaped like the letter “G”. A wooden bow was placed across the instrument, which allowed the trumpeter to hold the instrument better (tubicen) and gave the opportunity to rest the weight of the object on the shoulder.

Cornu in the Roman army was used to give and pass orders during marches and battles. According to Vegetius, cornu trumpeters also announced the end of the guard in the legionary camp.

In Vindolanda, during the reign of Hadrian (117-138 CE), a detachment of auxilia Cohors I Tungrorum milliaria peditata was stationed, which had one cornu trumpeter for each century; in total there were 10 centuries of 80 people each.


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