Salpinx - the Greek trumpet
A man playing a Salpinx. Wallpainting found at the Delos
used by the Greek trumpeters was called salpinx.
the Olympic Games
Mention of the Greek trumpet
The ancient Olympic Games in Greece included contests of trumpet
playing in 396 B.C. These contests were judged not by musicality
but by volume of sound.
trumpeters who participated in the games was a trumpeter named Archias 1),
who won three times and to whom a column of honor was erected for his
achievement. Another contestant was Herodorus of Megas, whose
playing was so loud that many in the audience were stunned by the
concussion. He was a giant man, slept on a bearskin, and when
playing two trumpets at one time forced the audience to move back due
to the force of his immense sound.
In the Aeneid, Virgil makes numerous references to the trumpet, most
notably having to do with Aeneas' comrade, Misenus. The Greeks and
Trojans of whom Virgil speaks made probably use not only of the conch —
a sea shell with a cut opening as a mouthpiece, but also the brass
("...With breathing brass to kindle
fierce alarms...") or salpinx. A number of sources mention this
metal instrument (with
a bone mouthpiece) and they appear in vase paintings and wall paintings.
A preserved examle
is preserved in the Museum of Fine Arts
Length: 155 cm
diameter: 7.8 cm
Bone with bronze
ferrules and bronzebell.
bone with no defined cup, throat, or backbore.
1) Tarr call him Achias, but Nikos Xanthoulis (ITG
correct this to Archias
Brattegaard for photo from Delos.