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Cornicen (Latin: Cornicen) was a legionary trumpeter who played the brass instrument known as cornu. They were positioned next to the standard-bearer, providing general-purpose sound commands.

The cornicen most likely performed the same functions as the bucinator and tubicen. In the camp, they signaled the changing of the guard, the arrival of a legate, emperor, or military commander, as well as the proclamation of various orders and death sentences. During marches, they typically sounded signals for "advance," "to battle," "drop anchor," and so on. Cornicenes belonged to the junior officers, known as principales.

Kornitseny on the march. The Aurelian Column. 2nd century AD

Cornu (Latin: cornu - horn) was a wind musical instrument in Ancient Rome.

The cornu resembled the buccina, having a rounded shape, but it was longer, reaching up to 3 meters. The sounds produced by these two instruments were likely similar in tone and strength. Cornu was most likely used, like the tuba and buccina, for signaling in the Roman army and during ceremonies.

Kornu made of bronze. Roman Museum, Aalen, Germany. 1-2 century AD

A distinctive feature of Roman military musicians was the animal skin draped over the helmet and tied with the forelimbs on the chest, similar to other members of the legion's signal group. They were armed with a gladius and pugio. As protective equipment, cornicenes wore either lorica hamata or lorica squamata, and a small round shield called a parma, which was worn on the side with a strap.

Related topics

Legion Banner Group, Bucinator, Tubucen, Roman Army helmets, Gladius, Pugio, Lorica Hamata, Lorica Squamata, Parma



Mosaic with musicians and gladiators. 1-3 century AD
Mosaic with musicians and gladiators. 1-3 century AD