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p2 Abolla

Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p2 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

ABOLLA, the Latin form of ἀμβόλλα, i.e. ἀναβολή, a loose woollen cloak. Nonius quotes a passage of Varro to show that it was a garment worn by soldiers (vestis militaris), and thus opposed to the toga. Its form and the mode of wearing it are seen in the figures annexed, taken from the bas-reliefs on the triumphal arch of Septimius Severus at Rome.


[image ALT: An engraving of two men wearing heavy draped cloaks looking something like togas. They are figures from the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, and they are wearing the abolla.]

It was, however, not confined to military occasions, but was also worn in the city (Suet. Cal. 35). It was especially used by the Stoic philosophers at Rome as the pallium philosophicum, just as the Greek philosophers were accustomed to distinguish themselves by a particular dress (Juv. IV.75; Mart. IV.53, VIII.48). Hence the expression of Juvenal (IV.75) facinus majoris abollae merely signifies, "a crime committed by a very deep philosopher" (Heinrich, ad Juv. l.c.; Becker, Gallus, vol. II p99).


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Page updated: 1 Oct 06