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LACI´NIA the angular extremity of the toga, one end of which was brought round over the left shoulder. It was generally tucked into the girdle, but sometimes was allowed to hang down loose. Plautus (Merc. 1.2, 16) indicates that it oocasionally served as a pocket-handker-chief: “At tu edepol sume laciniam atque absterge sudorem.” Velleius Paterculus (2.3) represents Scipio Nasica as wrapping the lacinia of his toga round his left arm for a shield (compare [p. 2.3]V. Max. 3.2, 17) before he rushed upon Tib. Gracchus; while, according to Servius (ad Verg. A. 7.612), the Cinctus Gabinus was formed by girding the toga tightly round the body by one of the laciniae or loose ends. These expressions are quite irreconcilable with the opinion that the lacinia was the lower border or skirt of the toga, while all the passages adduced by them admit of easy explanation, according to the above view. The lacinia was undoubtedly permitted by some to sweep the ground, especially by such as wore their garments loosely. Thus Macrobius (Macr. 2.3) remarks upon one of Cicero's witticisms, “Jocatus in Caesarem quia ita praecingebatur, ut trahendo laciniam velut mollis incederet,” which corresponds with the well-known caution of Sulla addressed to Pompey, “Cave tibi illum puerum male praecinctum;” and Suetonius tells how the Emperor Caligula, being filled with jealousy on account of the plaudits lavished on a gladiator, hurried out of the theatre with such haste, “ut calcata lacinia togae praeceps per gradus iret.” The etymology of the word (λακ, λάκος, lacero, and perhaps, as Curtius inclines to think, also ῥάκος) points to the same sense, and it is probable that its primary meaning was a jagged edge or pendent corner, and so, as given above, a piece or corner of a dress, not, as Rich thinks, “a weighted drop.” If any such drop can be traced in the tunica, which is doubtful, it cannot in the toga, to which the lacinia generally belongs; and all the uses for wiping, wrapping, &c. imply that it is a piece of cloth. Thus in Cic. Fam. 16.2. 1 we find it used to wrap up pips of fruit taken from the dinner-table: it is the corner of dress seized to stop anyone (Suet. Cl. 15; Vulg. Gen. 39.12), whence came the proverbial expression obtinere lacinia of a precarious hold (Cic. de Orat. 3.28.110; Plaut. Asin. 3.2, 41). The other meanings agree with the above explanation: (1) two jagged excrescences, hanging from the neck of a she-goat; (2) a corner or promontory of land (Plin. Nat. 5.148), “promontorium in quo Megaria oppidum fuit: unde Craspedites sinus vocabatur, quoniam id oppidum velut in lacinia erat;” (3) a point or tongue of a leaf (Plin. Nat. 15.130). The corresponding Greek term, as seen from the passage quoted from Pliny, is κράσπεδον, and accordingly Plutarch (Tib. Gr. 19) and Appian (App. BC 1.16) use that word in narrating the story of Scipio given above.

[W.R] [G.E.M]

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.2.1
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 1.2.16
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 7.612
    • Suetonius, Divus Claudius, 15
    • Cicero, On Oratory, 3.28
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 3.2
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