The trumpet and the games

  • Fábio Vergara Cerqueira Universidade Federal de Pelotas. Departamento de História
Keywords: Games, Classical antiquity, music, Salpinx, iconography


The musical accompaniment of sports is an outstanding feature of games in ancient Greece, either in training or in competitions. This accompaniment was done with wind instruments, namely the aulos and the salpinx (trumpet). Such accompaniment of athletic activities with aulos, mainly in the modalities of the pentathlon, widely represented in the iconography of blackand red-figure Attic vases (6th and 5th century B.C.), has received more attention from scholars. We aim here to deal with the presence of the trumpet in games, represented with a lower frequency in iconography, but informed by literary sources dating from different periods, mainly from the imperial times (namely Plutarch, Athenaeus and Pollux). We will analyze the following situations: musical accompaniment of races (foot and chariot races), supporting the rhythm of the movements; awards ceremony; advertisements through the emission of signals, with communicative function; and competitions for trumpet players, in relation with the constitution of a social profile of this musician-athlete based on the fame of his well above average strength. This superlative strength, mixed with bizarre customs, makes him a popular type in the Hellenistic-Roman world


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Author Biography

Fábio Vergara Cerqueira, Universidade Federal de Pelotas. Departamento de História

Professor Titular do Departamento de História da Universidade Federal de Pelotas. Doutor em Arqueologia Clássica. Bolsista Produtividade CNPq 1d 2019-2023 (Arqueologia da música na Magna Grécia). Pesquisador Fundação Humboldt. Pesquisa apoiada por CNPq, CAPES e Fundação Humboldt


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How to Cite
Cerqueira, F. (2017). The trumpet and the games. Revista Do Museu De Arqueologia E Etnologia, (29), 75-99.