Make Roma Great Again
ru | en


Евсеенков А.С.

Attention! The text below was auto-translated from Russian. You can switch the site language to Russian to see the text in its original language or wait until it is fully translated.

Bucinator was a legion trumpeter who played the bucin. In the formation, the bucinators were next to the standard bearer, giving commands to assemble to the battle banner and transmitting the commander's orders to the legionnaires with bucina signals.

Bucina (Lat. buccina, from bucca - "cheek", in Greek — βυκάνη — - a brass instrument in ancient Rome.

The bucina was a narrow copper pipe, approximately 11-12 feet long, bent in a semicircle, with a cup-shaped mouthpiece and a horizontal bar that the musician held the instrument while playing. Written sources do not describe clear distinctions between the bucina and other brass instruments, except that the bucina was a shortened variation of the korna. At least three types of musicians are also mentioned: tubucenes, cornicenes, and bucinators.

The bucina made low, harsh sounds that signaled the changing of the guard, the arrival of a legate, emperor, or general, as well as the announcement of various decrees and death sentences.

Bucina is described in ancient literature. For example, the ancient poet Ovid (43 BC-8 AD) in his work "Metamorphoses" wrote about newts playing the bucine.

Vegetius Flavius Renatus, in his Epitoma Rei Militaris, mentioned bucinators:

"...the sign given by musicians on horns is called "classicum". This sign refers to the highest command, since the signal "classicum" is heard in the presence of the emperor, or when a soldier is punished with death, since it is mandatory that this is done on the basis of imperial decrees..."

There is also the following description on the tombstone of bucinator Lucius Spurennius Rufus 201-250 from Bulgaria (Polski Trumbesh, 8. AE. 1892. 109; CIL. III. 12437; ILBulg.395):

"…To the gods of Manam. If the Mana gods exist, they understand that you were the hopes of our lives. Now this stone indicates where the one who existed rests. Lucius Spurennius Herculanus, brother, and Flavia Paula, mother, to Lucius Spurennius Rufus, bucinator of the Mattiacian Cohort, who served for 20 years, and well deserved to be named (tombstone). Be well, passing travelers."

Bucina. National Museum of Naples. 1st century AD

A musician who played the bucine was called a "buccal muscle"or " bucinator". Bucinators served not only in the land army, but also in the navy. On the march, signals of a general nature were usually given: "to march", "to fight", "to drop anchor", etc. Bucinators belonged to junior officers — principals.

The musicians who played the buqin were not only military. Many images have been preserved where they play not in a combat situation, but, for example, at gladiatorial games.

The external distinction of Roman military musicians was an animal skin, draped over a helmet and tied with its front paws on the chest, like other representatives of the legion's banner group. The armament consisted of a gladius and a pugio. Bucinators used a lorica hamata or squamata as protective equipment , as well as a small round shield- parma, which was worn on the side on a belt.

Bucinator. Museum of Madrid, Spain. 1st century AD
Trajan's column. Early 2nd century AD

Related topics

Legionnaire, Legion Banner Group, Kornitsen, Tubucene, Roman Army helmets, Gladius, Full name, Lorica Hamata, Lorica Squamata, Parma


Rubtsov S. M. Legions of Rome on the Lower Danube: a Military history of the Roman-Dacian Wars (late 1st-early 2nd centuries AD). - St. Petersburg: Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie: M.: Filomatis, 2003-256s. (Militaria Antiqua Series, III)

Rubtsov S. M.. "Legions. Organization and composition. "(2008). Accessed July 12, 2009. Archived from the archive on May 19, 2012.

Flavius Vegetius Renatus translated by S. P. Kondratiev "Epitoma Rei Militaris" (2006). Accessed July 12, 2009. Archived from the archive on May 19, 2012.

Military Historical Dictionary (1998). Accessed July 12, 2009. (unavailable link)

Buccin // Encyclopedia of Brockhaus and Efron : in 86 volumes (82 volumes and 4 additions). - St. Petersburg, 1890-1907.


Mosaic with musicians and gladiators. 1-3 century AD
Mosaic with musicians and gladiators. 1-3 century AD
Musicians. Floor mosaic. Nennig on the Moselle. Germany. Roman villa. Mid-3rd century AD