(Gk.; Lat. tibia).
A Greek reed instrument. It was the most important of the ancient Greek wind instruments. (The term has often been mistranslated ‘flute’ by modern scholars.)
The aulos occupied an important place in Greek civilization. Information about the instrument and its use is to be found in many and varied sources extending over a period of some ten centuries. The sources fall into three main categories: texts and written records, iconographic sources and archaeological sources.
Numerous references to the aulos exist throughout Greek literature, but several works (or parts of works) contain information of a more technical nature: for example, books iv and xiv of Athenaeus’s Sophists at Dinner; Pseudo-Plutarch’s On Music; fragments of treatises with remarks about the instrument’s bore; notes by lexicographers; and scholia to tragic and comic writers and lyric poets. No works specifically devoted to the aulos appear to have survived: only the titles of works and the names of certain authors are known, for example, the treatises ...