previous next

Pilleus, Pileus

or Pilleum (πῖλος, πίλιον). A round felt cap with little or no brim, lying close to the temples. It was the mark of fishermen, sailors, and artisans; hence Castor and Pollux, Odysseus, Charon , Hephaestus, and Daedalus are

Forms of the Pilleus.

represented with it. The upper classes wore it only in the country or when travelling; but it was worn in Rome by the whole people at the Saturnalia, and by freedmen as a sign of their new position. Hence the phrase ad pilleos vocare means “to set free.” (Cf. Pers. iii. 106.) The first form of pilleus represented in the illustration is that which has become in modern times the “liberty cap.” It was Phrygian in its origin. It was placed on the head of slaves when sold, as a sign that the vender undertook no responsibility. See Servus.

The diminutive forms pilleŏlus and pilleŏlum are also used.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: