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[12arg] Of the tunics called chiridotae; that Publius Africanus reproved Sulpicius Gallus for wearing them.

FOR a man to wear tunics coming below the arms and as far as the wrists, and almost to the fingers, was considered unbecoming in Rome and in all Latium. Such tunics our countrymen called by the Greek name chiridotae (long-sleeved), and they thought that a long and full-flowing garment was not unbecoming for women only, to hide their arms and legs from sight. But Roman men at first wore the toga alone without tunics; later, they had close, short tunics ending below the shoulders, the kind which the Greeks call ἐξωμίδες (sleeveless). 1 Habituated to this older fashion, Publius Africanus, son of Paulus, a man gifted with all worthy arts and every virtue, among many other things with which he [p. 59] reproached Publius Sulpicius Gallus, an effeminate man, included this also, that he wore tunics which covered his whole hands. Scipio's words are these: 2 “For one who daily perfumes himself and dresses before a mirror, whose eyebrows are trimmed, who walks abroad with beard plucked out and thighs made smooth, who at banquets, though a young man, has reclined in a long-sleeved tunic on the inner side of the couch with a lover, who is fond not only of wine but of men—does anyone doubt that he does what wantons commonly do?”

Virgil too attacks tunics of this kind as effeminate and shameful, saying: 3

Sleeves have their tunics, and their turbans, ribbons.
Quintus Ennius also seems to have spoken not without scorn of “the tunic-clad men” of the Carthaginians. 4

1 More literally, “leaving the shoulders bare.”

2 O. R. F., p. 181, Meyer2.

3 Aen, ix. 616.

4 Ann. 325, Vahlen2.

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load focus Introduction (John C. Rolfe, 1927)
load focus Latin (John C. Rolfe, 1927)
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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Harper's, Manĭca
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), MA´NICA
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