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Bill Thayer

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 p637  Infula

Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p637 of

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

I′NFULA, a flock of white and red wool, which was slightly twisted, drawn into the shape of a wreath or fillet, and used by the Romans for ornament on festive and solemn occasions. In sacrificing it was tied with a white band [Vitta] to the head of the victim (Virg. Georg. III.487; Lucret. I.88; Sueton. Calig. 27), and also of the priest, more especially in the worship of Apollo and Diana (Virg. Aen. II.430, X.538; Servius, in loc.; Isid. Orig. XIX.30; Festus, s.v. Infulae). The "torta infula" was worn also by the Vestal Virgins (Prud. c. Sym. II.1085, 1094). Its use seems analogous to that of the lock of wool worn by the flamines and salii [Apex]. At Roman marriages the bride, who carried wool upon a distaff in the procession [Fusus], fixed it as an infula upon the door-case of her future husband on entering the house (Lucan, II.355; Plin. H. N. XXIX.2;​a Servius, in Virg. Aen. IV.458).

Thayer's Note:

a I find no mention of this anywhere in Book 29 of the Natural History; but a paragraph in Book 8 talks about the distaff accompanying a new bride, etc.

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Page updated: 29 Aug 12