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SUDARIUM a linen handkerchief, carried in the hand or in the sinus, answering to our pocket-handkerchief, but primarily intended, as the word implies, to wipe the sweat from the brow or face (Quint. Inst. 6.3, 60; 11.3, 148). It was a comparatively modern introduction, when fine linen came into use at Rome, which may be placed in the time of Cicero (Cic. Ver. 5.56, 146; Hehn, Kulturpflanzen, 146): with this agree the mention of the sudarium being used by Vatinius (Quintil. l.c.) and the sudaria Saetaba (of Spanish linen) spoken of by Catullus (12, 14; 25, 7). The word is borrowed by Hellenistic writers as σουδάριον (Luke 19.20), for which Pollux (7.71) says that the older names were ἡμιτύβιον (Aristoph. Pl. 729) and καψιδρώτιον. The later name at Rome was orarium (Vopisc. Aurel. 48), and other less common names are found, such as facitergium, manupiarium.

Besides its use for wiping the face, it was worn round the neck (Petron. 67; Suet. Nero 51), and was in the later period (as orarium) waved in the circus to signify applause (Vopisc. l.c., cf. κατασείειν ταὶς ὀθόναις ἐν θεάτροις: Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 7.30), for which the lappet of the toga had formerly served (Ov. Am. 3.2, 74). Göll (Becker-Göll, Gallus, 3.268) denies that it was used to wipe the nose, which operation, he says, was performed in “the most primitive fashion.” It is difficult to prove or disprove this as a universal rule; and the passage which he cites from Mart. 7.37 is capable of either interpretation. The word emungo may imply the use of a handkerchief or the hand alone, the latter probably in Plautus, and certainly in Anth. Pal. 7.134, D. L. 4.46: but it may be questioned whether the use of the pocket-handkerchief was not coming in under the Empire, and the passage in Auct. ad Herenn. 4.54, 67, seems to imply this even for the late Republic: that it was so in the time of Arnobius is clear from the etymology of the word mucinium, which (2.23) he uses as=orarium.


hide References (11 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (11):
    • Aristophanes, Plutus, 729
    • Catullus, Poems, 14
    • Catullus, Poems, 25
    • Catullus, Poems, 7
    • Catullus, Poems, 12
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.5.146
    • Suetonius, Nero, 51
    • Ovid, Amores, 3.2
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 6, 3
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 11, 3
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 7.37
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