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RICINIUM Before the palla came into use at Rome, a mantle of a smaller size, the ricinium, was worn by women, and occasionally, it would seem from certain ceremonial survivals, by men. It was a rectangular piece of cloth (Fest. p. 274 b, 32, “Ricinium omne vestimentum quadratum ii qui xii interpretati sunt esse dixerunt” ), and (though we cannot doubt its connexion with rica), according to Varro and the grammarians, it got its name from the fact that it was worn with one-half thrown back over the shoulder (Varro, L. L. 5.132, “Antiquissimis amictui ricinium. Id, quod eo utebantur duplici, ab eo quod dimidiam partem retrorsum jaciebant, a rejiciendo ricinium dictum.” Cf. Isid. Orig. 19.25, 4; Non. 542, 1; Serv. ad Aen. 1.282). The word occurs as early as the Twelve Tables, where it is used of the cloth with which funeral pyres were decorated (Schöll, Legis XII. Tabularum Reliquiae, p. 57; cf. Cic. Legg. 2.2. 3, 59).

In classical times it was only used for ceremonial purposes, and was worn by the magister of the Fratres Arvales at the Ludi Circenses (Henzen, Acta fr. Arv. p. 37), by the boys who attended them (Id. ib. 38;--Marini, Atti d. fr. Arvali, 24.2, 9, 21; 32.3, 12; 37.7), and, to judge from the monuments, by the Camilli in general. (Cf. Henzen in Annali del‘ Inst. xxx. (1858), p. 9; Daremberg and Saglio, s. v. Camilli, p. 859.)

Sacrificial attendant (camillus) wearing the Ricinium. (From a relief.)

The ricinium was also, according to Varro, worn by women at funerals before the burial, whereas after it they put on black pallae (quoted by Nonius, p. 549, 31, “ut dum supra terram essent riciniis lugerent, funere ipso ut pullis pallis amictae” ), a passage which clearly shows that there was an essential difference between the ricinium and the palla. Of the material of the ricinium nothing is known except that Lucilius speaks of one embroidered with gold (Lucil. Fragm. p. 246).

Owing no doubt to its having disappeared from ordinary use at an early date, the monuments give no representations of it on women. On certain Roman sarcophagi, however, Camilli wearing over one or both shoulders a piece of cloth fringed and with a long nap (cf. Clarac, ii. p. 218, n. 310; Daremberg and Saglio, l.c. and fig. 1053) are shown; and this very probably is closely connected with the ricinium, but not identical with it, for they are mentioned together in a fragment of Novius as the ricinium and the rica or ricula (cf. Ribbeck, edit. 2, p. 265, 71), which was also rectangular. The Flaminica, or wife of the Flamen Dialis, wore one of purple and fringed, apparently not as a cloak (Fest. Epit. p. 288, 10), for the garment is of smaller size and worn as a kerchief on the head (Id. p. 277a, 5; FLAMEN), a use which is referred to in Aulus Gellius (6.10), and would seem to be akin to that of the FLAMMEUM

[Marquardt, Privatleben, p. 575; Becker-Göll, Gallus, iii. p. 264; Iwan Müller, Handbuch, vol. iv. (Schiller), pp. 805 and 807. Many references to monuments where Camilli wearing what [p. 2.566]is almost certainly the ricinium are to be found in Daremberg and Saglio, s. v. Camilli, p. 859.]


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Cicero, De Legibus, 2.2
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 6.10
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