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MITRA (μίτρα) means in its first sense a band of any kind, and accordingly it was (1) the Homeric μίτρη, a band beneath the θώρηξ over the lower part of the abdomen [LORICA p. 78 a], and (2) is equivalent to the ζώνη παρθενική, the maiden's girdle [CINGULUM Vol. I. p. 427), so that the word ἄμιτρος (Callim. Diom. 14) means a young girl, not old enough for a girdle, not yet of a marriageable age.

The word is then used for a band fastening the hair; thence developing into a regular head-dress for women, with lappets hanging over the ears, apparently something like a κρήδεμνον or the CALAUTICA (Serv. ad Aen. 9.616; see

Paris, with Phrygian mitre. (Aegina Marbles.)

COMA Vol. I. p. 449, and the woodcuts on that page): but it does not seem to have been worn either in Greece or at Rome by women of a respectable class. (See Serv. l.c. and the passages cited by Professor Mayor on Juv. 3.66.) Cicero speaks indignantly of the mitella being worn by effeminate young men (pro Rabir. Post. 10, 26).

As an Asiatic head-dress it was sometimes shaped like a turban, as in the mosaic of the battle of Issus, sometimes in a peaked form, as in the woodcut from the Aeginetan sculptures representing Paris; also with lappets (the redimicula of Verg. l.c.), as is well shown in a vase-painting ap. Baumeister, Denkm. fig. 1318: from this Asiatic head-dress the episcopal mitre was a very late development. In the LXX. in Ex. 28.33 and some other passages the word μίτρα renders the priestly cap which is commonly called κίδαρις. It is noticeable that the ecclesiastical mitre of the Middle Ages is by some ecclesiastical writers called a Phrygium. (Marriott, Vestiarium Christ. p. 220.) [TIARA]

[W.S] [G.E.M]

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