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Outer Garments

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 material.
(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.
(3) The 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.
(4) The 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had already become more popular than the toga for everyday wear and by the latter part of the second century it had superseded the toga as the dignified drapery of the ordinary citizen, the toga appearing only in the official dress of consuls.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 leather.

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 soldiers.

 

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