), an ornament of gold, twisted spirally and bent into
a circular form, which was worn round the neck by men of distinction among
the Persians (Curt. 3.3
; Themist. Orat.
24, p. 306 c), the Gauls (Florus, 1.13
), and other
Asiatic and northern nations (Isid. Orig.
in Celtic and old Irish was probably borrowed from the
Latin word (Curtius, Gr. Etym.
5.558, 559) thus describes it as part of the attire of
the Trojan youths:
It pectore summo
Flexilis obtorti per collum circulus auri.
Ornaments of this kind have been frequently found both in France and in many
parts of Great Britain and Ireland (Petrie, Trans. of R. Irish
vol. xviii.; Antiq.
pp. 181-184), varying in
size and weight, but almost always of the form exhibited in the annexed
woodcut, which represents a torquis found in Brecknockshire, and now
preserved in the British Museum. The same woodcut contains a section of this
torquis of the size of the original. It shows, as Mr. Petrie observes
concerning some found in the county of Meath, “four equidistant
radiations from a common centre.” The torquis in the British
Museum is 4 1/2 feet in length. Its hooks correspond well to the following
description of the fall of a Celtic warrior: “Torquis ab incisa
gula” (Propert. 4.10,
44). A torquis which instead of being bent into a circular form was turned
into a spiral, became a bracelet, as is shown in the lowest figure of the
woodcut to ARMILLA
contrived to answer this purpose is called torquis
7). Such bracelets and
torques are often found together, having been worn by the same people.
The head in the preceding woodcut is that of a Persian warrior in the mosaic
of the battle of Issus, mentioned in p. 397. It illustrates the mode of
wearing the torquis, which in this instance terminates in two serpents'
heads instead of hooks. It was by taking this collar from a Gallic warrior
that T. Manlius obtained the cognomen of Torquatus
(Cic. de Fin.
3.31, 112; Gellius, 9.13
; Non. Marc. pp. 227, 228, ed. Merceri).
Torques, whether in the form of collars or bracelets, no doubt formed a
considerable part of the wealth of those who wore them. Hence they were an
important portion of the spoil, when any Celtic or Oriental army was
conquered, and they were among the rewards of valour bestowed after an
engagement upon those who had most distinguished themselves (Juv. 16.60
; Plin. Nat.
; Sidon. Apollin. Carm.
monuments erected to commemorate Roman soldiers and to enumerate the honours
which they had obtained, often mention the number of torques conferred upon
them. (Maffei, Mus. Veron.
p. 218.) [PHALERA.]