The carnyx, an animal-headed bronze horn, once echoed across Iron Age Europe. Now, after centuries of silence, this book presents a full picture of this dramatic instrument for the first time. It considers the rare surviving fragments, with a detailed study of the Deskford carnyx from north-east Scotland, alongside depictions from Iron Age and Classical art. The carnyx is studied in the context of musical instruments, metalworking technology, Celtic art styles, hoards and sacrificial offerings, Iron Age connections across Europe, and how the Greeks and Romans used material culture to depict “barbarians” in triumphal art. Research shifts from details of a single carnyx to a European scale in order to obtain a rounded picture of this striking instrument. Often called Celtic, the carnyx was far more than this. This study questions how useful such broad terms are, and shows the instrument’s spread to other cultural groupings – German, Dacian, and as far away as India.
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