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HABE´NA or--AE (mostly plural: τὰ ἡνία, αἱ ἡνίαι) was, generally speaking, a leathern thong, by means of which things were held, bound, drawn, or fastened. Hence the word was in particular applied--1. To the reins by means of which horses were guided and managed (Verg. A. 10.576, 11.670, 765, 12.327). The habenae were, as with us, fixed to the bit or bridle [FRENUM]. 2. To the thong attached to a lance, by which it was held and wielded (Lucan 6.218); called also flagellum (Verg. A. 7.731), and more usually amentum [HASTA p. 935b]. 3. To the thong which was formed into a sling, by means of which stones were thrown (Lucan 3.710; Valer. Flacc. 5.608). [FUNDA] 4. To straps by which low shoes (soleae) or sandals were fastened to the feet (Gellius, 13.21.4). 5. To the thong of a whip for chastising young slaves (Hor. Ep. 2.2, 15; Ov. Ep. 9.81), or for whipping a top (Verg. A. 7.380). The habena was one of the milder forms of corporal punishment (Dig. 29, tit. 5, s. 33, “impuberes servi terreri tantum solent, et habena vel ferula caedi;” Marquardt, Privatl. 173).

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