Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A military trumpet.
  • n. A curve with polar equation , where a is a constant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A curved staff used by the augurs in quartering the heavens.
  • n. An instrument of martial music; a kind of trumpet of a somewhat curved form and shrill note.
  • n. A spiral whose polar equation is r2θ = a; that is, a curve the square of whose radius vector varies inversely as the angle which the radius vector makes with a given line.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Roman antiquity: A staff with a recurved or crooked top, used by the augurs in quartering the heavens; an augural wand.
  • n. An instrument of martial music; a kind of trumpet curved at the outer extremity, and having a shrill tone.
  • n. A spiral of which the characteristic property is that the squares of any two radii vectores are reciprocally proportional to the angles which they respectively make with a certain line which is given in position and which is an asymptote to the spiral. This name was given by Cotes (died 1716).
  • n. [capitalized] In zoology: A genus of cephalopods: same as Spirula.
  • n. A genus of gastropods: same as Cyclostoma.

Etymologies

From Latin (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This sort of staff is crooked at one end, and is called lituus; they make use of it in quartering out the regions of the heavens when engaged in divination from the flight of birds; Romulus, who was himself a great diviner, made use of it.

    The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

  • Three hundred years after its last sounding, a long-lost instrument called the lituus -- one of Johann Sebastian Bach's go-to horns -- is back from the dead.

    Livescience.com

  • He wore the red-and-purple-striped toga, and carried a staff, the lituus, topped by a curlicue.

    Antony and Cleopatra

  • But the troopers were crafty, gathered every tender fern shoot they could find; to Ventidius they looked like the lituus of an augur, finished on top with a curlicue.

    Antony and Cleopatra

  • “Sive legas,” saith he, “sive scribas, sive vigiles, sive dormias, amor tibi semper buccina in auribus sonet, hic lituus excitet animam tuam, hoc amore furibundus; quære in lectulo tuo, quem desiderat anima tua:” Epist.lxvi. ad Pammach., cap.

    Christologia

  • A Roman lituus, or clarion, was found near Tattershall Ferry.

    Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood Historical, Anecdotal, Physiographical, and Archaeological, with Other Matter

  • He then fixed upon an object, as far as he could see, as a corresponding mark, and then transferring the lituus to his left hand, he laid his right upon Numa's head and offered this prayer: "Father Jupiter, if it be heaven's will that this Numa Pompilius, whose head I hold, should be king of Rome, do thou signify it to us by sure signs within those boundaries which I have traced."

    The History of Rome, Vol. I

  • The augur seated himself on his left hand, with his head covered, and holding in his right hand a curved staff without any knots, which they called a "lituus."

    The History of Rome, Vol. I

  • After this he goes up to the Capitol; is he not to be seen there with capis and lituus?

    The History of Rome, Vol. II

  • Trumpets have been found in the Dowris hoard, with socketed spear-heads, and other objects of the late Bronze Age, and they must be dated to that period; on this account the Etruscan lituus can hardly have been derived from Irish trumpets; so that it is probable that the Irish trumpets, like those of Gaul, were derived from the south.

    The Bronze Age in Ireland

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Wow.

    May 31, 2009

  • B.B.C. News: 'New software has enabled researchers to recreate a long forgotten musical instrument called the Lituus. The 2.4m (8ft) -long trumpet-like instrument was played in Ancient Rome but fell out of use some 300 years ago. '

    May 30, 2009