The British museum contains a mosaic figure of a Roman girl playing the tibia, which is stated to have been disinterred in the year 1823 on the Via Appia. Here the holmos or mouth-piece, somewhat resembling the reed of our oboe, is distinctly shown. The finger-holes, probably four, are not indicated, although they undoubtedly existed on the instrument.
The tuba was a straight trumpet. Both the cornu and the tuba were employed in war to convey signals. The same was the case with the buccina,—originally perhaps a conch shell, and afterwards a simple horn of an animal,—and the lituus, which was bent at the broad end but otherwise straight.
To the Etruscans is also attributed by some the invention of the hydraulic organ. The Greeks possessed a somewhat similar contrivance which they called hydraulos, i.e. water-flute, and which probably was identical with the organum hydraulicum of the Romans. The instrument ought more properly to be regarded as a pneumatic organ, for the sound was produced by the current of air through the pipes; the water applied serving merely to give the necessary pressure to the bellows and to regulate their action. The pipes were probably caused to sound by means of stops, perhaps resembling those on our organ, which were drawn out or pushed in. The construction was evidently but a primitive contrivance, contained in a case which could be carried by one or two persons and which was placed on a table. The highest degree of perfection which the hydraulic organ obtained with the ancients is perhaps shown in a representation on a coin of the emperor Nero, in the British museum. Only ten pipes are given to it and there is no indication of any key board, which would probably have been shown had it existed. The man standing at the side and holding a laurel leaf in his hand is surmised to represent a victor in the exhibitions of the circus or the amphitheatre. The hydraulic organ probably was played on such occasions; and the medal containing an impression of it may have been bestowed upon the victor.
The first persecution, in the primitive ages if the church, was begun by that cruel tyrant Nero Domitius, the sixth emperor of Rome. This monarch reigned , for the space of five years, with tolerable credit to himself, but then gave way to the greatest extravagane of temper, and to the most atrocious barbarities. Among other diabolical outrages, he ordered that the city of Rome should be set on fire, which was done by his officers, guards, and servants.