Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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The Romans, a race of fighting men, regarded mili­tary music as seriously as any other branch of the art. They had quite a host of warlike instruments, the most important of which were the tuba, or straight trumpet, the buccina, or curved trumpet, the lituus, or small trumpet, and the cornu, or horn. The performers on these instruments were called AEneatores. Every troop of horse and every maniple, if not every century of foot, had either a trumpet or horn, or both. They were em­ployed for signals of every description in war. The lituus appears to have been the cavalry trumpet, and the buccina was used to direct the movements of troops detached from camp. These instruments may have been used for marching music, at least AEneatores march in front of the army on the Column of Antonius and the Arch of Constantine.4
Now that we come to our own islands, we have to turn back the pages of history, for when the legions of that great civilization—the Roman Empire—came to these shores, they found themselves confronted by a race similar to the Gauls, whom they designated "barbarians." The Britons were a very warlike race, but indifferently skilled in arms, and made very little impression on the disciplined army of Rome. We are told that they began their attacks with taunting songs and deafening howls, accompanied by the blowing of a great number of horns and trumpets, which, says Polybius, quite terrified the invaders. Several instru-
4Guhl and Koner, "Life of the Greeks and Romans," 1877.
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