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PAE´NULA [An inscription (Gruter, 646, 5), GN. COSSVTIVS PAENVLARIVS, shows that this is the correct spelling. The derivation of the word is unknown; it certainly is not from φαινόλης, which only occurs in late writers, as a translation of the Latin; μανδύη being also used.] The paenula was a sleeveless cloak of thick cloth, worn by the Romans as a protection against rain and cold: hence Horace takes a “paenula solstitio,” an overcoat, during the dog-days as a telling instance of discomfort. It is frequently mentioned in the literature of all periods, from Plautus down to the Fathers of the Latin Church. The paenula was worn by country-folk who did not wear the TOGA over their tunics, and, although not so fashionable as the LACERNA was used by all classes when on a journey. (Cic. pro Mil. 10, § 20; ad Att. 13.33;--Quint. Inst. vi.; Sen. Ep. 87.) It was also part of the dress of slaves (Plaut. Most. 4.2, 74), and at times did them good service in warding off awkward blows (Plaut. loc. cit.). Under the Empire we hear of sedan-chairmen (lecticarii) clad in what seems to have been a livery of it (Mart. 9.22, 9; Suet. Nero 30; Sen. de Ben. 3.28, 5).

A paenula mulionica is mentioned by Cicero, and we know from other authors that it was occasionally used by soldiers (Sen. do Ben. 5.24, 1; Suet. Galba, 6). In Imperial times its use seems to have been much extended, and it was worn in Rome as a protection against the rain (Juv. Sat. 5.79). Tribunes (Spart. Hadr. 3), orators (Tac. Dial. 39), and grammarians even went so far as to adopt it as their special garb in cold weather, though it was considered below the dignity of the higher magistrates to wear it at all. Spectators at the games, especially no doubt those who could not afford the more expensive LACERNA found it convenient (D. C. 72.21), and Tertullian takes this as its original use, accusing the Lacedaemonians of inventing it to satisfy their desire for theatrical performances in the winter. Women wore it no less than men, for Ulpian (Dig. 34, 2, 23, 2) speaks of it as a commune vestimentum; and that this fashion goes back as far as Cicero's time is shown by a jest of his, recorded by Quintilian (8.3, 54). These paenulae matronales (Trebellius, de quieto Tyr. 14, 4; cf. Suet. Calig. 52) were probably of a special cut. The material used in its manufacture was thick woollen stuff; that from Tarentum and Canuslum and, after its introduction, GAUSAPE being preferred (cf. Plin. Nat. 8.193; Mart. 14.145). Leather, or more probably fur (for scortea may mean either), was also used (Mart. l.c. 130; Sen. Nat. Quaest. 4.6, 21). Its colour was dark (rufa or fusca), as one [p. 2.309]would expect a cloak for bad weather to be, and it was perhaps on account of its dingy appearance that it was worn at funerals and formed part of the munera funebria (Cic. in Vatin. 12, 30; D. C. 72.21, 1. 27; Suet. Tib. 7, Claud. 2).

The notices in literature do not give any very definite information about its shape, or the manner of wearing it, except that it was sleeveless, fitted closely to the body, was drawn over the head, and was sometimes provided with a hood (Plin. Nat. 24.88). [See woodcut under CUCULLUS] In Christian times it was adopted as a vestment, but in this use is better known as the casula or chasuble (see Dict. Christ. Antiqq. s. v. “Casula” ).

The paenula occurs but seldom on monuments,

Paenula. (From statuette in British Museum.)

chiefly no doubt because its shape does not admit of an artistic arrangement of folds, but also because it is not a garment characteristic of any calling or mode of life. The monuments representing it were first collected by Bartholinus in his admirable Commentarius de Paenula, and comparatively few examples have been since added to his list (see, however, Hübner in Program zum Winckelmannsfest, Berlin, 1866). All agree in showing a cloak coming down to the knees, very like a long cape, except that it is closed all round, the head passing through a slit in the centre, exactly in the same way as in the poncho of Spanish-America. The variety in

Figure wearing Paenula. (From Trajan's Column.)

shape is very considerable, the cloak appearing sometimes square, sometimes round, and sometimes of a bell-shape. In most cases a tuckered seam runs down the centre in front, enabling the wearer to hitch up one side over his shoulder, and to keep his arm free. However, even so, it is plain that the paenula could not be worn when free movement of the arms was necessary; and this is the point which Cicero makes in Milo's favour, when he pleads that he was paenulatus, which he assumes really meant paenula irretitus. It also explains why it is that out of the numerous figures of soldiers on Roman reliefs so very few wear this cloak. One of these few is the cippus of L. Duccius Rufinus Signifer of the Ninth Legion, found and preserved at York. (Wellbeloved, Eboracum, plate xiii. fig. 1.) There is no monumental evidence for Marquardt's theory that Cicero's expression scindere paenulam (ad Att. l.c.) refers to a custom by which the host unbuttoned his guest's cloak on his arrival; none of the representations show anything like buttons. (Besides Bartholinus' work, above mentioned, the best edition of which is that contained in Graevius' Thesaurus, tom. vi., see Marquardt, Privatleben, ed. 2, pp. 564 f.; and Becker-Göll, Gallus, iii. p. 125 f.)


hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Cicero, For Milo, 10
    • Cicero, Against Vatinius, 12
    • Suetonius, Nero, 30
    • Suetonius, Tiberius, 7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 24.88
    • Tacitus, Dialogus, 39
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.145
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 9.22
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 9.9
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