Winter Olympics coming and where are the trumpeters?

Greek salpinx (trumpet) player

Athletes the world over are getting ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. These Olympics are going to be captivating and dramatic, but this Olympics, just like the summer Olympics that will come in 2020 hosted by Tokyo, will not feature an important event that happened for hundreds of years: the trumpet event (which was kind of a combined Heralds Contest event including an announcing category). This was nicely reported on Raquel Rodriquez’s blog post in August of 2008 and in a wonderful article about the Salpinx in the ITG Journal by Nikos Xanthoulis. “Salpinx” is the Greek word for trumpet.

A list of the most famous Olympic trumpeters (an all-male event):

  1. Timaios (or Timaeus) (the first winner in 396 BCE)
  2. Archias of Hybla, in Sicily (3-time winner from 364-356 BCE)
  3. Herodoros of Megara (10-time winner from 328-292 BCE and one-time periodonikes: winner of the circuit of Olympiano, Pythian, Neean and Isthmian games)
  4. Diogenes (5 wins: 69-85 CE; two-time periodonikes)
  5. Valerius Eclectus of Sinope (4 wins: 245, 253-261 CE)

But trumpet playing was not just for men. There were also games for females called the Heraia and these games may have had a similar event. One famous female Greek trumpeter was Aglais, daughter of Megacles. She was active around 275 BCE and famous for wearing a fancy wig with a plume when she performed.

Greek statue of male salpinx player performing with female organ player



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