Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Flute or "Phrygian Aulos"

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Unknown Artist


Flute or "Phrygian Aulos"

Creation Date

1st - 2nd century C.E.

Medium & Support



12 7/8 in. x 1 1/8 in. (32.7 cm. x 2.86 cm.)

Credit Line

Gift of Edward Perry Warren, Esq., Honorary Degree, 1926

Accession Number



Public Domain

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Although commonly translated as “flute,”the aulos was played more like a modern oboe, probably with a double reed fitted in the rounded mouthpiece one end of the instrument.  This flute was made of eight hollow tubes carved from small pieces of ivory that were fitted together using a collar and sleeve technique.  The assembled instrument was fashioned with eight holes on the top for the musician’s fingers and two holes on the bottom for the thumbs.  The curved shape of this instrument with its flaring bell corresponds to variant of the aulos known as the elymos or “Phrygian aulos” that became popular in Roman period.

Portfolios: Collections: Sculpture - Ancient   FEAT|Ancient Art   Collections: Sculpture   FEAT|Public Domain