Monday, 3 December 2007

Genius Cucullatus: Amber cult figurine

The cucullus was a funnel-shaped and brimless head-covering. It could be worn open or closed at the neck as a separate item of clothing, or attached to a cloak or a cape. It was used by travellers, shepherds and other outdoor laborers, as well as soldiers on duty in cold climates.

Umbricius names the wearing of the lacerna and cucullus, presumably over only the tunica, one of the pleasures of living simply in the country, opposing it to the urban garment, the toga. He describes the cucullus as duro, coarse or thick, for warmth, and veneto, either because of its bluish-green color or because it originated among the northern tribe of the Veneti.

In the city, whenever possible, the hooded, dark-colored lacerna was worn in bad weather at outdoor events to protect the toga, or at night by those wishing to conceal their identity.

Elsewhere Juvenal refers to the Celtic origin of the hood. Martial mentions the bardocucullus, a hooded overcoat of heavy oily wool, which was good protection from the rain and probably came from Illyria. (For references see virtual Roma).

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