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CORNU denotes various objects made of horn, especially a wind instrument, anciently made of horn, but afterwards of brass. (Varr. L. L. 5.117.) According to Athenaeus (iv. p. 184 a), it was an invention of the Etruscans. Like the tuba, it differed from the tibia [p. 1.544]in being a larger and more powerful instrument, and from the tuba itself, in being curved nearly in the shape of a C, with a cross-piece to steady the instrument for the convenience of the performer. In Greek it is called στρογγύλη σάλπιγξ. It had no stopples or plugs to adjust the scale to any particular mode (Burney's Hist. of Music, vol. i. p. 518); the entire series of notes was produced without keys or holes, by the modification of the breath and the lips at the mouthpiece (Veget. 3.5). Probably, from the description given of it in the poets, it was, like our own horn, an octave lower than the trumpet. The classicum, which originally meant a signal, rather than the musical instrument which gave the signal, was usually sounded with the cornu. Sonuit reflexo
Classicum cornu, lituusque adunco
Stridulos cantus elisit aere.
” (Sen. Oed. 752.)

From which lines we learn the distinction between the cornu and lituus, as from Ovid (Ov. Met. 1.98) we learn that between the tuba and corn-- “ Non tuba directi, non aeris cornua flexi.

The following woodcut, taken from Bartholini (De Tibiis, p. 403), illustrates the above account.

Cornua. (Bartholini.)

The resemblance of the cornu and the bucina may be inferred from Vegetius' somewhat confused statements: (1) That the cornu was the horn of the urus bound together by silver, while the bucina was a circular brass instrument (3.5); (2) that the cornicines employed a curved brass instrument, the bucinatores a bucina (2.7); (3) that the bucinatores sounded the classicum on a cornu (2.22). The cornu was also used in Bacchic festivals (Catull. 64.263; Pers. 1.99), at funerals (Hor. Sat. 1.6, 44; Petr. Sat. 78), and at the games in the amphitheatre (Juv. 3.34, 10.214). (Niccolini, Case di Pompei, i., Anfiteatro, pl. iii.)

The Cornicines and the Liticines, the soldiers who blew the cornu and the lituus, in the Roman army (Liv. 2.64, 10) are included under the general name of the Aeneatores. [AENEATORES] The Cornicines and Liticines formed a collegium. In the cut in the next column, M. Julius Victor, a member of the Collegium, holds a lituus in his right hand, and touches with his left a cornu on the ground. See engraving under TUBA

Cornu also signifies the end of the sailyards [NAVIS], a part of the helmet in which the crest was fixed [GALEA], the end of the stick on which books were rolled [LIBER], a part of a bow [ARCUS], a part of the lyre [LYRA], the hair

Altar of Julius Victor. (Bartoli,
Pict. Ant.,
p. 76.)

dressed in the German fashion [COMA], a wing of an army [EXERCITUS].

[B.J] [J.H.F]

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.98
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 64
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