1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lituus

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LITUUS, the cavalry trumpet of the Romans, said by Macrobius (Saturn, lib. vi.) to have resembled the crooked staff borne by the Augurs. The lituus consisted of a cylindrical tube 4 or 5 ft. long, having a narrow bore, and terminating in a conical bell joint turned up in such a manner as to give the instrument the outline of the letter “J.” Unlike the buccina, cornu and tuba, the other military service instruments of the Romans, the lituus has not been traced during the middle ages, the medieval instrument most nearly resembling it being the cromorne or tournebout, which, however, had lateral holes and was played by means of a reed mouthpiece. A lituus found in a Roman warrior's tomb at Cervetri (Etruria) in 1827 is preserved in the Vatican. Victor Mahillon gives its length as 1 m. 60, and its scale as in unison with that of the trumpet in G (Catalogue descriptif, 1896, pp. 29-30). (K. S.)