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PARMA

PARMA dim. PA´RMULA (Hor. Carm. 2.7.10), a round shield, three feet in diameter, carried by the velites in the Roman army. Though small compared with the CLIPEUS it was sufficiently large and strong to be a very effectual protection (Plb. 6.22). This was probably owing to the use of iron in its framework. In the Pyrrhic dance it was raised above the head and struck with a sword so as to emit a loud ringing noise (Claud. de VI. Cons. Honor. 628). The parma was also worn by the EQUITES (Sallust. Frag. Hist. iv.); and for the sake of state and fashion it was sometimes adorned with precious stones (Propert. 5.10, 21).

Parma. (From a terra-cotta relief in the Louvre.)

We find the term parma often applied to the target [CETRA], which was also a small round shield, and therefore very similar to the parma (Propert. 5.10, 40; Mela, 1.5.1; Verg. A. 10.817). Virgil, in like manner, applies the term to the clipeus of the Palladium, because, the statue being small, the shield was small in proportion (Aen. 2.175).

The annexed woodcut shows a votive parma, suspended in a portico, represented on a terra-cotta relief in the Louvre.

[J.Y] [A.H.S]

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