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1. (σαμβύκη, or σαβύκη, Arcadius, de Accent. p. 107), a harp. The preceding Latin and Greek names are with good reason represented by Bochart, Vossius, and other critics, [p. 2.595]to be the same as the Hebrew (sabbeca), the “sackbut,” which occurs in Daniel (3.5, 7, 10). The performances of sambucistriae σαμβυκιστρίαι) were only known to the early Romans as luxuries brought over from Asia (Plaut. Stich. 2.3, 57; Liv. 39.6). The chordae obliquae which Juvenal (4.64) mentions among Asiatic innovations at Rome denote the sambuca. The Athenians considered them as an exotic refinement (Philemon, p. 370, ed. Meineke); and the Rhodian women who played on the harp at the marriage-feast of Caranus in Macedonia, clothed in very thin tunics, were introduced with a view to give to the entertainment the highest degree of splendour. Some Greek authors expressly attributed the invention of this instrument to the Syrians or Phoenicians (Athen. 4.175 d). The opinion of those who ascribed it to the lyric poet Ibycus can only authorise the conclusion that he had the merit of inventing some modification of it, the instrument as improved by him being called Ἰβύκινον (Athen. l.c.; Suidas, s. vv. Ἰβύκινον, Ἰβυκός, Σαμβῦκαι). Strabo, moreover, represents σαμβύκη as a “barbarous” name (10.3.17). [See also LYRA]

An illustration is given below of an Egyptian harp, which perhaps represents the sambuca. It is from a painting on an Egyptian tomb. Under the Roman emperors the harp appears to have come into more general use (Pers. 5.95; Spartian. Hadr. 26).

Ancient Egyptian harp. (Bruce.)

2. Sambuca (σαμβύκη or σανδύκη: see Wescher, Poliorcet. p. 61) was also the name of a military engine used in sieges. For its use and construction the authorities are Plb. 8.2; Veget. 4.17; Plut. Marc. 15; Athen. 14.634 b; Onosand. Strat. 42; and an elaborate, but not perfectly clear, description in Bito (ed. Wescher,. l.c.), where a plan is given. It was a movable bridge for passing either from the ships or the towers of the besiegers on to the walls. The σανδύκη of Bito was a bridge with sheltering bulwarks supported on a high column or cylinder made as a screw, which was turned in any direction by a capstan; the whole being fixed on a platform with wheels, so that it combined tower and bridge. The bridge had a weight at one end to assist in keeping it horizontal, and a ladder at the other by which the soldiers climbed up to it; it wag turned with the column upon its screw in the required direction, and raised to a level with the top of the wall by the screw (and probably also by pulleys). The sambuca of Vegetius passed from the besieging tower to the walls, being raised by pulleys; the same tower might have a ram in its lower story. That of Polybius passed on to the walls from two ships anchored together; it was raised by pulleys on the masts, and the soldiers mounted to it by a ladder sheltered with δρύφακτοι. The name (as Vegetius, Polybius, and Athenaeus notice) was given because of a fancied resemblance of the machine, with its upright masts or supports and the ropes from its pulleys, to the harp described above. (See also Rüstow and Kochly, Gr. Kriegsw. 312; Marquardt, Staatsverw. 2.312; A. Müller in Baumeister, Denkm. p. 542.)

[J.Y] [G.E.M]

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