I.a splendidly wrought or embroidered stuff, tapestry, arras, esp. a covering, a curtain, hangings: aulaea genus vestis peregrinum, Varr. de Vita populi Rom. lib. III.; Non. p. 537 sq.: “aulaea dicta sunt ab aulā Attali, in quā primum inventa sunt vela ingentia,” Serv. ad Verg. G. 3, 25.
I. A curtain, canopy: “suspensa aulaea,” Hor. S. 2, 8, 54; and so Prop. 3, 30, 12.—In partic., the curtain of a theatre; which, among the ancients, contrary to modern usage, was lowered from the ceiling to the floor at the beginning of a piece or act, and at the conclusion was drawn up; cf. Smith, Dict. Antiq.; hence the expression, aulaeum tollitur, is drawn up, at the end of a piece (act), Cic. Cael. 27, 65; Ov. M. 3, 111; on the contr. mittitur, is dropped, at the beginning, Phaedr. 5, 7, 23. Usually such curtains were wrought with the figures of gods or men, esp. of heroes, and in drawing up the curtain, the upper part of the figures would first become visible, then the lower parts in succession, appearing, as it were, themselves to draw up the curtain; “hence, utque Purpurea intexti tollant aulaea Britanni,” and how the Britons woven upon it lift the purple curtain, Verg. G. 3, 25 Voss; cf. also Ov. M. l. l. Bach.—
II. A covering for beds and sofas, tapestry: “aulaeis jam se regina superbis Aurea composuit spondā,” Verg. A. 1, 697: “Cenae sine aulaeis et ostro,” Hor. C. 3, 29, 15; Curt. 8, 5, 21; 8, 9, 15.—
III. The drapery of a heavy upper garment, pictae Sarrana ferentem Ex umeris aulaea togae, the folds of his embroidered toga, Juv. 10, 39.