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STRO´PHIUM 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, ἀπόδεσμος, and even ταινία and μίτρα, were given to these; but in all the meaning is general, and has no reference to their special purpose. Even στρόφιον 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 (Mart. 14.149), taenia (Apuleius, Met. 10.21), mamillare, strophium (Cic. de Har. Resp. 21, 44), and fascia pectoralis (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. [p. 2.721]A statuette from Herculaneum shows a nude female figure putting the fascia (ταινία) over the breasts (Ant. di Ercolano, vi. tav. 17, 3 = Baumeister, Denkm. fig. 390).

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.

(Becker-Göll, Charikles, 3.226; Gallus, 3.251; Hermann--Blümner, Privatalterthümer; Baumeister, Denkmäler, art. “Busenband,” p. 366; Marquardt, Privatleben, p. 484; Iwan Müller, Handbuch, pp. 431, 876; Böttiger, Sabina, 2.114.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Cicero, On the Responses of the Haruspices, 21
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.149
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.65
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