During the period of their expansion, Roman sources conceive of Barbarian musical instruments – trumpets and drums – as ‘strange’ or ‘savage’ and their sounds as unmusical. In both Greek and Latin literature the Barbarian world is viewed as a space of noise, especially in the West, and Barbarians’ ignorance of music becomes a mark of their inhumanity since musical knowledge is believed to lead to a harmonious society. Only the Eastern Barbarians seem truly musical, being closer to Greek civilization. Nevertheless Eastern music is effeminate and lascivious, like the Orient itself. Such an opposition feeds Roman discourses on acculturation which enable Rome to assert its moral superiority over other cultures. It also gives us an idea of the manner in which Romans perceived their own music.