flame-coloured [p. 1.867]
veil, worn by a Roman bride, the
colour of which is described as luteus
(Plin. Nat. 21.46
). The diminutive flammeolum
), used of the bridal veil of
Messalina, probably indicates only a veil of finer texture than usual. It
was a long veil covering the head, and, with the exception of the face,
descending over the back to the feet, whence it is described by the
grammarians as a kind of dress ( “flammea genus amicti,” Schol.
; “vestimentum,” Fest. p.
92, 16; “flammeo amicitur nubens,” Fest. p. 89, 3). It is so
represented in works of art, and is frequently mentioned by the Roman
writers in connexion with marriage ( “flammeum cape,” Cat.
60.8; “flammea sumit,”
; “flammea texuntur sponsae,”
“puellae caput involverat flammeo,” Petron. 26, 1). Though
the flammeum did not entirely cover the face, yet from its falling over the
forehead usually it is described as concealing the countenance (
“velare vultus,” Lucan, l.c.;
When the bride was brought into the nuptial chamber, the veil was removed by
the bridegroom (Claudian, de Laud. Stilich.
Bride with the Flammeum. (From the Aldobrandine Marriage.)
Festus says (p. 89) that the bride wore the flammeum
because it was always used by the Flaminica, the wife of
the Flamen, who could not obtain a divorce. But this is not correct. It has
been pointed out by Rossbach that the flammeum
was part of the dress of the Flaminica, because it was in ancient times worn
by all Roman matrons in performing sacrificial rites. It was originally
identical with the ricinium
except in colour, which is also described as a
portion of the dress of the Flaminica, though subsequently the ricinium
was made smaller and became only a
being a symbol of marriage,
is said of a Roman matron
who changes her husband repeatedly (Juv. 6.225
continued to be worn by the bride
in the imperial period down to the fourth and fifth centuries, and along
with the palla
was the characteristic dress of
the bride (Claudian, in Nupt. Hon. et Mar.
284; Mart. Capell.
v. p. 538, Kopp). The use of the veil in the marriage ceremony was adopted
in the Christian Church, and is described by Tertullian (de Veland.
100.11) as a praiseworthy heathen custom. The colour of
the Christian veil was purple and white, though the name flammeum
was sometimes used (St. Ambros. de
100.15; de Inst. Virg.
Dict. Christ. Ant.
ii. p. 1108.]
in Plautus (Aul.
36) are usually supposed to be the makers of the flammeum
or the bridal veil; but as they are mentioned by Plautus
along with the violarii,
they are more probably
the dyers of the colour, and are so explained by Festus (p. 89, 11),
“flammearii, infectores flammei coloris.” This colour, as
we have seen, is called luteus
“weld” (reseda luteola,
pp. 43, 489; Becker-Göll,
ii. p. 29; Blümner,
i. p. 243; Rossbach, Röm.
&c., Leipz. 1871.)