Greek women wore in place of a corset a
large variety of bands and straps, which were bound round the breast either
under or over the shift. The names στρόφιον, ζώνιον,
and even ταινία
were given to these; but in all
the meaning is general, and has no reference to their special purpose. Even
is used by Athenaeus (xii. p.
543 f.) of the band which Parrhasius wore round his head. Roman matrons seem
to have used a kind of corset, the capitium
(cf. Varro, L. L.
5.131), which, from Juvenal's reference to
it (5.143) as a thorax viridis,
must have been
stiff. Younger ladies wore bands and belts, like the Greek, for the same
purpose (Catull. 64, 65). To these the names amictarium
(Cic. de Har. Resp. 21
, 44), and
(Ovid, A. A.
3.274) were given. From Martial (14.65
) one may infer that they were usually of leather. The
monuments show not only bands girt round the breast of women, but in toilet
scenes women bathing are often represented in a short close-fitting vest,
which seems to be the capitium.
A statuette from Herculaneum shows a nude female
figure putting the fascia
) over the breasts (Ant. di
vi. tav. 17, 3 = Baumeister, Denkm.
On many female statues, especially those of the later periods, bands are
shown which are not so much for the purpose of supporting the bust, but to
keep the folds of a voluminous under-garment from shifting. They pass over
the shoulders, cross at the breast, and are brought behind and fastened at
the waist. What they were called is not known.
art. “Busenband,” p.
366; Marquardt, Privatleben,
p. 484; Iwan Müller,
pp. 431, 876; Böttiger, Sabina,