There were several
kinds of rectangular cloak, distinguishable by name and size
rather than by cut:
(1) The lacerna, falling about six inches
below the hip, rounded on the lower corners, fastened on the
right shoulder by a fibula (or pin). It was usually of fine
woolen material, and might be purple, scarlet, tawny, or any
bright color. Sometimes it was of heavier, dark-colored
(2) The sagum, a practical cloak
put on by the citizenry in wartime. It was of thick woolen
stuff, in dark colors (but sometimes red), cut about square
and pinned on the right shoulder.
paludamentum, larger than the sagum, but cut
like it, the distinguishing cloak of military officers (fig.
7). It was of finer material than the sagum and often fringed.
It was white, scarlet, purple, or some even darker color. It
was worn over either armor or a tunica.
pallium (fig. 6), equivalent to the Greek himation.
Scorned as foreign by the 100% Roman patriot, it was after a
while regarded as the philosopher's cloak and as such adopted
more and more by religious teachers, especially Christians,
till it became, with a long-sleeved tunica or a dalmatica, the
regular costume in which to represent Jesus and the Disciples.
Religious art has preserved this convention down to our own
day. During the time of the Empire the pallium had already
become more popular than the toga for everyday wear and by the
latter part of the second century it had superseded the toga
as the dignified drapery of the ordinary citizen, the toga
appearing only in the official dress of consuls.
(5) The paenula, a semicircular cloak, with
or without an attached hood (cucculus) (fig. 8). The cucculus
was worn also as a separate hood without the cloak. The
paenula was used as a protection from the elements and
therefore made of heavy material, even sometimes of
Though no longer called by its Latin name, this useful
garment has never vanished from European dress, but may still
be seen on foot-travelers, especially in mountainous
districts. The South American poncho and the Arabian burnoose
are essentially the same garment.
The Roman paenula varied from hip- to ankle-length
and was either sewed all the way up the front, pulled on over
the head, or left open, to be fastened by means of hooks,
clasps, or buttons. It was the outer apparel of country-folk,
slaves, and travelers (men or women), and, on occasion, of