kind of horn-trumpet, originally made out of a shell, in which case it is
often, especially in poetry, denoted by concha,
(Eur. I. T.
Theocr. 22.75; Mosch. 2.120; Verg. A. 6.171
; Ovid. Metam.
1.335), and was made not only from the bucinum,
but from many other kinds of spiral shells. It is
thus happily described by Ovid (l.c.
) :-- “
Cava bucina sumitur illi
Tortilis, in latum quae turbine crescit ab imo,
Bucina, quae medio concepit ubi aëra ponto,
Litora voce replet sub utroque jacentia Phoebo.
as seen in art, agrees closely with
this description and also with the shape of the shell bucinum,
and, like it, might almost be described from the
above lines (in the language of conchologists) as spiral and gibbous. The
two drawings in the annexed woodcut agree with this account. In the first,
taken from a
Bucina, Trumpet. (From ancient frieze and sculpture.)
frieze (Burney's History of Music,
vol. i. pl. 6),
is curved for the convenience of the
performer, with a very wide mouth, to diffuse
and increase the sound. In the next, a copy of an ancient sculpture taken
from Blanchini's work (De Musicis Instrum. Veterum,
pl. 2, 18), it still retains the original form of the shell.
Vegetius thus distinguishes the bucina
“Bucina quae in semet aereo circulo flectitur; cornu quod ex uris
agrestibus, argento nexum, temperatum arte spirituque canentis flatus
emittit auditum.” This distinction was not always observed (Verg. A. 7.513
and 519), but the words may be
taken as a definition of the later perfected musical instrument, carved from
horn, or perhaps from wood or metal, to imitate a shell more or less
closely. It is often given to Tritons (Macrob. 1.8) and wind-gods, and was
employed by sailors, as in the accompanying woodcut from a terra-cotta lamp,
representing a ship coming into port: the sailors are furling
Bucina. (From a terra-cotta lamp.)
the sails, while the master announces their arrival by sounding a
It was also used by ox-herds and
swine-herds to gather their herds together (Varro, R. R.
3.131; Col. 6.23
and for many purposes in rural life (Theocr. 9.27, 22.75; Prop. 5.10
; Verg. A. 7.519
), especially to
summon aid on a sudden alarm; to assemble the citizens to the comitia
in early times (Prop.
, although Varro, L.
5.91, says that the cornu
was used for this purpose). In Greek
art the bucina
sometimes serves to distinguish
barbarians from the Greeks, who are furnished with the σάλπιγξ
(De Luynes, Vases peints,
Gerhard, Apul. Vasen,
pl. ii.). It was also employed in the
Roman army, especially to mark the vigiliae
night-watches (Liv. 7.35
; Prop. 5.4
; Tac. Ann.
; Plb. 6.36
; Front. Strat.
1.5, 17), or to summon or give
orders to the soldiers (Tac. l.c.;
Veget. 2.22, 3.5;
). By the bucina
was given to the soldiers the signal or class of signals
peculiarly called classicum
Modest. 16). [CLASSICUM
performer on the bucina
was called bucinator.