Music of Ancient Rome

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Since our inception, we have shared written articles, quotations, images and videos. Never, though, have we brought you an acoustic presentation.

That all ends now as today we bring you the music of Ancient Rome!

The music of Ancient Rome was a part of Roman culture from earliest times. Song (carmen) was an integral part of almost every social occasion.

Etruscan music had an influence on that of the Roman Kingdom (Rēgnum Rōmānum) and Roman Republic (Res Publica Romana). During the Roman Empire (Imperium Rōmānum), Romans carried their music to the provinces (provinciae), while traditions of Asia Minor, North Africa and Gaul (Gallia) became a part of Roman culture.

Clicking the play button below will give you over an hour’s worth of music that will take you back in time.

Music accompanied spectacles and events in the arena, and was part of the performing arts form called pantomimus, an early form of story ballet that combined expressive dancing, instrumental music and a sung libretto. Music was also customary at funerals, and the tibia (Greek aulos), a woodwind instrument, was played at sacrifices to ward off ill influences.

The Secular Ode of Horace, for instance, was commissioned by Emperor Augustus and performed by a mixed children’s choir at the Secular Games in 17 BC. Under the influence of ancient Greek theory, music was thought to reflect the orderliness of the cosmos, and was associated particularly with mathematics and knowledge.

We hope this struck a chord with you. Hopefully we shall be able to bring you more music, along with more information about the music of Ancient Rome.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

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