), a kind of castanet, rattle, or
clapper used by dancers, but distinct from the CYMBALUM
and the SISTRUM
with which it has sometimes been confused.
All three were used by the Egyptians, and specimens of all have been found
on the monuments or in the tombs (Woods, on Hdt.
; Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt.
2.318). The simplest form
was probably a couple of shells or potsherds pierced with holes and strung
together (λεπάδας δὲ πετρῶν ἀποκόπτοντες
Meineke; κογχύλια καὶ ὄστρακα,
ap. Ath. 14.636
d, quoted also by the Scholiast
on Aristoph. Frogs 1305
; σκεῦός τι
Eustath. ad Il.
writers explain ὄστρακα
as though the
crotalum were actually moulded in earthenware ; but this seems less likely.
Brass and wood are also mentioned as materials (κρόταλα χαλκοῦ,
Eur. Cycl. 204
, cf. Mart. 11.16
; cava buxa,
5.8, 42; Eustath. l.c.
); and a split reed or
Crotala. (Borghese Vase now in the Louvre.)
cane (δ σχιψόμενος κάλαμος,
Schol. Aristoph. Cl. 260
Altogether the crotalum cannot have differed much from the castanets now so
often heard as an accompaniment to certain kinds of vocal music. It was used
by the Egyptians in the worship of Pasht or Artemis'(Hdt. 2.60
), by the Greeks in that of Cybele ([Hom.]
14.3; Pind. fragm.
Bergk4; Apul. Met.
viii. p. 170) and
Dionysus (Eur. Hel. 1308
Women who danced to the crotalum were called crotalistriae
(Propert. 5.8, 39; cf. Macr.
). Such was the Virgilian Copa
2), “Crispum sub crotalo docta movere
latus.” The above cut exhibits both the style of dancing and the
mode of holding the crotala.
c; cf. [Hom.] Hymn. Apoll. Pyth.
no doubt to be reckoned with the crotalum rather than with the cymbalum
(Liddell and Scott, s. v. ; Fernique, in D. and S.). There is no evidence
“the sound produced by striking,” was also the name of an
instrument; and the Baetica crusmata
Spaniard Martial (6.71
) are almost certainly the
clatter of Spanish castanets, not a particular kind of castanet.