The root of this word and its cognate adjective
is undoubtedly that contained in pallium
though it is not possible to trace
any real connexion. Varro tells us that Ennius speaks of Minerva as
“virago paluda,” but does not explain its special meaning
7.37). He also remarks that paludamentum
was used originally of any kind of military
decoration, and this statement is borne out by a passage of Veranius given
by Festus (s. v.). In the extant literature it is only employed to denote
or military cloak, and
in writers of the best age is applied only to the sagum
worn by the Imperator, as distinguished from the
of the common soldier. The
cases in which it is used in the former and more general sense are rare.
Lucilius, for instance, if we may trust Nonius, spoke of it as the garb of
and Sabidius (in the scholium
in the Veronese MS. on Verg. A. 10.241
) gives it to the pedites
no less than the equites.
Livy is the author who uses it most frequently in this
way, doubtless from his love of archaeological detail. Thus we find that as
the survivor of the Horatii [p. 2.323]
returns from the
triple duel his sister recognises the paludamentum
she had wrought for his slain foe (1.26, 2); so,
too, when Gracchus prepares to die, it is “paludamento circum laevum
bracchium intorto.” Two other passages in which Livy speaks of a
consul being accompanied by “paludatis lictoribus” (41.10, 7;
45.39, 11) gave the commentators much trouble, but are easily explained by
comparing Cic. in Pis. 23
with Sil. Ital. 9.420
, the former telling
us that the lictors wore the sagum, the latter giving it the epithet
With such rare exceptions the paludamentum
the cloak which was put on by the Roman general when leaving the city
invested with the imperium,
and was doffed when
he re-entered and became once more an ordinary citizen. (Varro, loc. cit;
1.6; Liv. 41.10
; ad Att.
15.17.) Hence we find that the insignia of a consul which the
senate sent as a present to Masinissa included “sagula purpurea
duo” (Liv. 30.17
), and that paludatus
used to denote a general in command of an army on active service (Cic. Ver. 2.7
; Juv. 6.399
). Such phrases as
“togam paludamento mutare,” meaning to get peace for war
(Sallust), are not uncommon (cf. Pliny, Paneg.
Figures wearing Paludamentum. (Trajan's Column.)
Purple, though the favourite (Hirt. de B. Afr.
57; Plin. Nat. 22
. § § 2, 3, and
more especially the customs dues, C. I. L.
8.408) colour, was
not the only one, as is shown by the story told by Valerius Maximus (1.6,
11), of how Crassus on the fatal morn of Charrae went out in a dark-coloured
and not in a purple or white paludamentum.
was worn regularly by the emperors (Suet. Cl.
), and was, by some who were careful to observe old constitutional
forms, laid aside on entering the city (Tac. Hist.
; Suet. Vitell.
11). Pliny (Plin. Nat. 33.63
) says that at the great
sea-fight exhibited by Claudius, Agrippina wore a paludamentum
of cloth of gold ( “indutam paludamento
aureo textili sine alia materia” ), and Tacitus (Tac. Ann. 12.56
) describes the same garment
as “chlamys aurata;” while Dio Cassius has the expression
χλαμύδι διαχρύσῳ ἐκοσμεῖτο
It is not impossible that Pliny may have made a slip in giving Agrippina's
cloak the specific name, but there certainly were paludamenta
embroidered or woven with gold thread in the
later days of the Empire (Aurel. Vict., Epit.
3). It was
probably this form which was adopted as a vestment at Milan, where the
Bishop wore a paludamentum baptismale
Antiq. It. med. aev.
4.897). The monuments which
represent it are generally portraits of the emperors; and these show that,
while there was no distinction in shape, the paludamentum
was larger and of thicker and better material than
the ordinary sagum.
It is frequently fringed,
and is worn as a rule with the clasp at the right shoulder, though cases
occur where it is at the left. In the famous statue of Augustus in the
Vatican, it is unclasped, thrown round the loins, and hangs over
Roman Emperor in Paludamentum. (Maffei.)
the left arm. This is of course owing to the difficulty of
treating such a one-sided garment in the round,--a difficulty which the
Hellenistic sculptors got over in the case of the chlamys
by letting it hang from the left shoulder. In the case of
busts a compromise is made by hitching the paludamentum
over the left shoulder and leaving both arms free.
The origin of this cloak has been the subject of some guesswork, many
following Florus (1.5
), and deriving it, like the other insignia of authority, from
Etruria; while others prefer to connect it with the chlamys,
which is worn in the same way. There is, however,
surely no need to suppose that the Romans required to be taught the use of a
garment which is so obvious, and so universally found all over the world;
neither is it very unscientific to assume that, however alike in shape,
there must always be a distinction between the dress of the general and
those under him. (Marquardt, Privatleben,