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BRACCHIA´LE (περιβραχιόνιον, περικάρπιον). The βραχίων was the upper arm from the elbow to the shoulder (Poll. 2.138; Curtius, Gr. Etym. p. 292); so the περιβραχιόνιον (or ὄκκαβος, see Hesych. sub voce) was an armlet used on the upper arm, while περικάρπιον was used on the wrist as a bracelet. In later Greek we find βραχιόλιον (Theophanes, 225, 11), βραχίολος, and βραχιόνιον used for bracchiale, and Suidas explains χλιδόνας as κοσμοὺς περὶ τοὺς βραχίονας, βραχιόλια. But bracchium was strictly the lower arm from the wrist to the elbow, though more usually used for the whole arm from wrist to shoulder. Hence bracchiale (from which is derived bracelet), itself a species of ARMILLA is used as a generic term for armlet, as is also spatalium (Plin. Nat. 13.142; Tert. de cult. fern. 2.13), comprising spinter, which was applied to an armlet worn on the left arm (Festus, s. v.), and dextrale or dextrochirium (Capit. Maximin. 6, 8) an armlet worn on the right arm (Marquardt, Privatl. 684). Where a distinction is drawn between bracchiale and dextrochirium, as in Arculfus (ap. Ducange, s. v. Bracchiale), the latter is a bracelet worn on the wrist, the former an armlet worn on the upper arm (superbracchia). The wearing of bracchialia was [p. 1.316]an un-Roman and pagan custom (Ambros. Ep. 1.10, 9). For the various shapes of armlets and bracelets (ὄφεις, ἐχῖνοι, &c.), see ARMILLA They were fastened with a clasp (copula), which was sometimes set with jewels (Capit. Maximin. 27, 8). We find bracchialia of gold (Tert. de cult. fern. 2.2) and silver (Plin. Nat. 28. § § 82, 83).


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