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COSTUME, ARMS, ETC., OF THE ROMAN DRAMAS.
No poetic or dramatic author, in himself, needs less than Shakespeare the aid of historical accuracy of costume, architecture and decoration, except perhaps in the dramas founded on English history. But in our days, when under the impulse given by the Kembles, the stage has become so learnedly exact in its dresses and decorations, and when too the arts of design in every branch have found innumerable subjects in Shakespeare's pages, a knowledge of this historical costume in which these scenes should be arrayed, either on the stage or the canvass, has become a very useful and agreeable adjunct to Shakespearian literature. Indeed, in the present diffusion of pictorial literature, a moderately informed reader or spectator will find his habitual associations disturbed by incon. gruities and anachronisms, to which Shakespeare and his audience were alike blind.
We have therefore transferred to this edition the substance of the notices of Roman costume in the Pictorial edition, which are applicable alike to the historical period of the republic, to the days of Cæsar and Anthony which ended it, and to the indefinite date of Andronicus in the decline of the Roman empire.
For the very curious learning here collected in an agreeable form, the reader is mainly indebted to J. R. Planché, well known in various literary walks, who himself acknowledges his obligation to the most learned and classical of tailors, M. Combré, of Paris, whose practical and professional skill cleared up difficulties which puze zled Grevus, Gronovus. Montfaucon, and a host of other scholars in the last century.
“ From the reign of Augustus downwards innumerable authorities exist for the civil and military costume of the Romans; but before that period much obscurity remains to be dispersed, notwithstanding the labours of learned
“ Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth King of Rome, an Etruscan by birth, introduced among the Romans many of the manners and habits of his native country. He first distinguished the senators and magistrates by particular robes and ornaments, surrounded the axes carried before great public functionaries with bundles of rods (fasces), and established the practice of triumphing in a golden car drawn by four horses. The toga pura, prætextà, and picta, the trabea, the paludamentum, the tunica palinata, and the curule chairs, were derived from the Etruscans, and from the Greeks and Etruscans the early Romans borrowed their arms, offensive and defensive. It is, therefore, amongst Grecian and Etrurian remains that we must look for the illustration of such points as are still undecided respecting the habits of the Romans during the commonwealth, and not on the columns and arches of the emperors, which may almost be termed the monuments of another nation. The date assigned to the death of Caius Marcius Coriolanus is b. c. 488. Julius Cæsar was assassinated B. C. 44. During four hundred years little alteration took place in the habiliments of the Romans, and the civil and military dress of the earlier play may, with very few exceptions, be worn by similar personages in the other, and exhibit together the most particular dresses in use during the whole period of the republic.
“The civil dress of the higher classes amongst the ancient Romans consisted of a woollen tunic, over which, in public, was worn the toga. The toga was also of wool, and its colour, during the earlier ages, of ils own natural yellowish hue. It was a robe of honour, which the common people were not permitted to wear, and it was laid aside in times of mourning and public calamities. The form of the toga has been a hotly-contested point; Dionysius Halicarnassus says it was semi-circular; and an ingenious foreigner," who devoted many years to the inquiry, has practically demonstrated that, though not perfectly semicircular, its shape was such as to be better described by that term than any other.
“ The Roman tunic was of different lengths, according to the caprice of the wearer ; but long tunics were deemed effeminate during the time of the republic. Cicero, speaking of the luxury of Catiline's companions, says they wore tunics reaching to their heels, and that their togas were as large as the sails of a ship. Some wore two or more tunics; the interior one, which held the place of the modern sbirt, was called interula or subucula. The subucula of Augustus was of wool, according to Suetonius; and there does not appear any proof that linen was used for this garment by men before the time of Alexander Severus, who, according to Lampridius, was particularly fond of fine linen. Women, however, appear to have generally used it, for Varro mentions, as an extraordinary circumstance, that it had long been the custom of the females of a particular Roman family not to wear linen garments.
" The common people wore over their tunics a kind of mantle or surtout, called lacerna, which was fastened before with a buckle, and had a hood attached to it (cucullus). It was generally made of wool, and dyed black or brown. In the time of Cicero it was a disgrace for a senator to adopt such a habit; but it was afterwards worn by the higher orders. The birrhus was a similar vestment, also with a hood, but usually of a red colour. When travelling, the heads of the higher classes were generally covered by the petasus, a broad-brimmed hat, which they had borrowed from the Greeks. The common people wore the pileus, a conical cap, which was also the emblem of liberty, because it was given to slaves when they were made free.
“Various kinds of covering are mentioned for the feet, and many were called by the Romans calceus which are found under their own names, as pero, mulleus, phæcasium, caliga, solea, crepida, sandalium, baxea, etc. The caliga was the sandal of the Roman soldiery, such as had nails or spikes at the bottom. The pero is supposed by some to be the boot worn by the senators ; the phæcasium was also a kind of boot, covering the foot entirely, According to Appianus, it was of white leather, and worn originally by the Athenian and Alexandrian priesthood at sacrifices: it was worn in Rome by women and effeminate persons.
" The mulleus is described by Dion Cassius as coming up to the middle of the leg, though it did not cover the whole foot, but only the sole, like a sandal ; it was of a red colour, and originally worn by the Alban kings.
“ The cothurnus, which it resembled both in colour and fashion, is described as having a ligature attached to the sole, which passed between the great and second toes, and then divided into two bands. And Virgil tells us that it was worn by the Tyrian virgins.
“ The armour of the Romans at the commencement of the republic consisted, according to Livy, of the galea, the cassis, the clypeus, the ocreæ or greaves, and the lorica, all of brass. This was the Etruscan attire, and introduced by Servius Tullius. The lorica, like the French cuirass, was so called from having been originally made of
* " The late Mons. Combré, costumier to the Theatre Français, Paris. This intelligent person, at the recommendation of Talma, was engaged by Covent Garden Theatre, for the revival of Julius Cæsar, and made the beautiful togas which have since been worn in all the Roman plays at that theatre.
leather. It followed the line of the abdomen at bottom, and seems to have been impressed whilst wet with for corresponding to those of the human body, and this peculiarity was preserved in its appearance when it was atter wards made of metal. At top, the square aperture for the throat was guarded by the pectorale, a band or plate brass ; and the shoulders were likewise protected by pieces made to slip over each other. The galea and a were two distinct head-pieces originally, the former, like the lorica being of leather, and the latter of metal : bu in the course of time the words were applied indifferently.
“ Polybius has furnished us with a very minute account of the military equipment of the Romans of his time: 32 it is from his description, and not from the statues, which have been generally considered as authorities, but shid are of a later date, that we must collect materials for the military costume of the latter days of the republic.
“ He tells us then that the Roman infantry was divided into four bodies: the youngest men and of the love condition were set apart for the light-armed troops (velites); the next in age were called the hastati; the third. who were in their full strength and vigour, the principes ; and the oldest of all were called triarii. The vete were armed with swords, light javelins (a cubit and a span in length), and bucklers of a circular form, three in diameter; and they wore on their heads some simple covering, like the skin of a wolf or other animal. The hastati wore complete armour, which consisted of a shield of a convex surface, two feet and a half broad and for feet or four feet and a palm in length, made of two planks glued together, and covered, first with calves' skin. having in its centre a shell or boss of iron; on their right thigh a sword, called the Spanish sword, made pot cay to thrust but to cut with either edge, the blade remarkably firm and strong; two piles or javelins, one stouter that the other, but both about six cubits long; a brazen helmet; and greaves for the legs. Upon the helmet was un an ornament of three upright feathers either black or red, about a cubit in height, which, being placed on the rery top of their heads, made them seem much taller, and gave them a beautiful and terrible appearance. Their brents were protected by the pectorale of brass ; but such as were rated at more than ten thousand drachmxe wore i ringed lorica. The principes and triarii were armed in the same manner as the hastati, except only that tbe triarii carried pikes instead of javelins. The Roman cavalry, the same author tells us, were in his time armed like the Greeks, but that, anciently, it was very different, for then they wore no armour on their bodies, but were covered in the time of action with only an under garment; they were thereby enabled certainly to mount and dis mount with great facility, but they were too much exposed to danger in close engagements.
“The signiferi, or standard-bearers, seem to have been habited like their fellow-soldiers, with the erception of the scalp and mane of a lion which covered their heads and hung down on their shoulders. The eagles of Brutas and Cassius were of silver. The lictors, according to Petronius, wore white habits, and from the following på sage of Cicero it would appear they sometimes wore the saga, or paludamentum, and sometimes a small kind of toga :—" Togulæ ad portam lictoribus præsto fuerunt quibus illi acceptis sagula rejecerunt.” The fasces were bound with purple ribbons. The axes were taken from them by Publicola; but T. Lartius, the first dictator. restored them. The augurs wore the trabea of purple and scarlet ; that is to say, dyed first with one colour and then with the other. Cicero uses the word “ dibaphus,” twice dyed, for the augural robe (Epist. Fam., lib. ii. 16): and in another passage calls it “our purple," being himself a member of the college of augurs. The shape of the aforesaid trabea is another puzzle for the antiquaries. Dyonysius of Halicarnassus says plainly enough that it only differed from the quality of its stuff; but Rubenius would make it appear from the lines of Virgil
Succinctus trabea.'-ÆN 7
that it was short, and resembled the paludamentum, for which reason he says the salii (priests of Mars), who are sometimes termed "lrabeati,” are called “ paludati” by Festus.
“ The Roman women originally wore the toga as well as the men, but they soon abandoned it for the Greek pallium, an elegant mantle, under which they wore a tunic descending in graceful folds to the feet, called the stola.
“ Another exterior habit was called the peplum, also of Grecian origin. It is very difficult, says Montfaucon, to distinguish these habits one from the other. There was also a habit called crocota, most probably because it ** of a saffron colour, as we are told it was worn not only by women, but by effeminate men revellers, and buffoons.
“ The fashions of ladies' head-dresses changed as often in those times as they do now. Vitta and fascie, ribbons or fillets, were the most simple and respectable ornaments for the hair. Ovid particularly mentions the former x the distinguishing badges of honest matrons and chaste virgins.
“ The calantica was, according to some, a coverchief. Servius says the mitra was the same thing as the calantica, though it anciently signified amongst the Greeks a ribbon, a fillet, a zone. Another coverchief called flammeun. or flammeolum, was worn by a new-married female on the wedding-day. According to Nonius, matrons also wore the flammeum, and Tertullian seems to indicate that in his time it was a common ornament which Christian womes wore also. The caliendrum, mentioned by Horace (i. Sat. viii. 43), and afterwards by Arnobius, was a round of false hair which women added to their natural locks, in order to lengthen them and improve their appearance. The Roman ladies wore bracelets (armilla) of silver, or gilt metal, and sometimes of pure gold, necklaces, and earrings. Pliny says they seek the pearl in the Red Sea, and the emeralds in the depths of the earth. It is for this they pierce their ears.' These earrings were extremely long, and sometimes of so great a price, says Seneca that a pair of them would consume the revenue of a rich house ;' and again, that the folly of them (the women) was such, that one of them would carry two or three patrimonies hanging at her ears.' Green and vermillion were favourite colours, both with Greek and Roman females. Such garments were called ' vestes herbidæ,' from the hue and juice of the herbs with which they were stained. The rage for green and vermillion was of long dura tion, for Cyprian and Tertullian, inveighing against luxury, name particularly those colours as most agreeable to the women: and Martian Capella, who wrote in the fifth century, even says, “ Floridam discoloremque vestem herbida palla contexuerat.' At banquets, and on joyful occasions, white dresses were made use of. Among the many colours in request with gentlewomen, Ovid reckons · white roses.'
“ The dress of the ancient Roman consuls consisted of the tunic, called from its ornament laticlarian, the toga prætexta (i. e. bordered with purple), and the red sandals called mullei. Of all the disputed points before alluded to, that which has occasioned the most controversy, is the distinguishing mark of the senatorial and equestrian classes.
“ The latus clavus is said to have been the characteristic of the magistrates and senators, and the augustus clavus that of the equites or knights.
“ That it was a purple ornament we learn from Pliny and Ovid ; but concerning its shape there are almost as many opinions as there have been pages written on the subject, not one of the ancients having taken the trouble to describe what to them was a matter of no curiosity, or by accident dropped a hint which might serve as a clue to the enigma. Some antiquaries contend that it was a round knob or nail with which the tunic was studded all over; others that it was a flower; some that it was a fibula ; some that it was a ribbon worn like a modern order;
and others, again, that it was a stripe of purple wove in or sewn on the tunic; but these last are divided among themselves as to the direction in which this stripe ran.
“ The learned Père Montfaucon, in his · Antiquité Expliquée par les Figures,' observes that Lampridius, in his * Life of Alexander Severus,' says that at feasts napkins were used adorned with scarlet clavi, .clavata cocco man
tillia.' These clavi were also seen in the sheets that covered the beds on which the ancients lay to take their meals. r Ammianus Marcellinus also tells us that a table was covered with cloths so ornamented, and disposed in such a manner, that the whole appeared like the habit of a prince.
“ Upon this Montfaucon remarks, that, presuming the clavus to be a stripe or band of purple running round the i edges of these cloths, it would not be difficult by laying them one over the other to show nothing but their borders,
and thereby present a mass of purple to the eye, which might of course be very properly compared to the habit of a prince, but that this could not be effected were the cloths merely studded with purple knobs, or embroidered with purple flowers, as in that case the white ground must inevitably appear. In addition to this he observes that St. Basil, in explanation of a passage in Isaiah, says, he blames the luxury of women who border their garments with purple, or who insert it into the stuff itself;' and that St. Jeroine, on the same passage, uses the expression of clavatum purpura.'
“ Now, though these observations go some way towards proving the clavus to have been a band or stripe (broad for the senators and narrow for the knights), we are as much in the dark as ever respecting the direction it took. It could not have bordered the tunic, or surely, like that of the Spaniards, it would have been called prætexta (as the toga was when so ornamented). Nothing appears likely to solve this difficulty but the discovery of some painting of Roman times, in which colour may afford the necessary information.
“ Noble Roman youths wore the prætexta, and the bulla, a golden ornament, which from the rare specimen in the collection of Samuel Rogers, Esq., we should compare to the case of what is called a hunting-watch. It has generally been described as a small golden ball; but, unless the one we have seen has been by accident much compressed or flattened, we should say they were not more globular than an old-fashioned watch. Macrobius says they were sometimes in the shape of a heart, and that they frequently contained preservatives against envy,
On arriving at the age of puberty, which was fourteen, youths abandoned the bulla, and exchanged the toga prætexta for the toga pura, which was also called the ' toga virilis,' and ' libera :'-virilis, in allusion to the period of life at which they had arrived ; and libera, because at the same time, if they were pupilli, they attained full power over their property, and were released from tutela. There is no ascertaining the age of young Marcius, in ihe tragedy of Coriolanus ; but as he only appears in the scene before the Volscian camp when he is brought to supplicate his father, he should wear nothing but a black tunic, the toga and all ornaments being laid aside in mourning and times of public calamity.
“Of Julius Cæsar we learn the following facts relative to his dress and personal appearance. Suetonius tells us that he was tall, fair-complexioned, round-limbed, rather full-faced, and with black eyes ; that he obtained from the senate permission to wear constantly a laurel crown (Dion Cassius says on account of his baldness); that he was remarkable in his dress, wearing the laticlavian tunic with sleeves to it
, having gatherings about the wrist, and always had it girded rather loosely, which latter circumstance gave origin to the expression of Sulla, · Beware of the loose-coated boy,' or of the man who is so ill girt.' Dion Cassius adds that he had also the right to wear, a royal robe in assemblies;* that he wore a red sash and the calcei mullei even on ordinary days, to show his desent from the Alban kings. A statue of Julius Cæsar, armed, is engraved in Rossi’s • Racolta di Statue Antiche e Moderne,' folio, Rome, 1704; also one of Octavianus or Augustus Cæsar :-the latter statue having been once in the possession of the celebrated Marqnis Maffei. Octavius affected simplicity in his appearance, and humility in his conduct; and, consistently with this description, we find his armour of the plainest kind. His lorica, or cuirass, is entirely without ornament, except the two rows of plates at the bottom. The thorax is partly hidden by the paludamentum, which was worn by this emperor and by Julius Czesar of a much larger size than those of his successors. Although he is without the cinctura, or belt, he holds in his right hand the paragonium, a short sword. which, as the name imports, was fastened to it.
“ Suetonius tells us that Octavius was in height five feet nine inches, of a complexion between brown and fair, his hair a little curled and inclining to yellow. He had clear bright eyes, small ears, and an aquiline nose, -his eyebrows meeting. He wore his toga neither too scanty nor too full, and the clavus of his tunic neither remarkably broad nor narrow. His shoes were a little thicker in the sole than common, to make him appear taller than
In the winter he wore a thick toga, four tunics, a shirt, a flannel stomacher, and wrappers on liis legs and thighs. He could not bear the winter's sun, and never walked in the open air without a broud-brimmed bat on his head.
“ From the time of Caius Marius the senators wore black boots or buskins reaching to the middle of the leg, with the letter C in silver or ivory upon them, or rather the figure of a half-moon or crescent.t. There is one engraved in Montfaucon, from the cabinet of P. Kircher. It was worn above the heel, at the height of the ankle ; but this last honour, it is conjectured, was only granted to such as were descended from the hundred senators elected by Romulus.
“ As to the purple of the ancients, Gibbon says it was of a dark cast, as deep as bull's blood.'—See also President Goguet's Origine des Loix et des Arts,' part ii. l. 2, c. 2, pp. 184, 215. But there were several sorts of purple, and each hue was fashionable in its turn. • In my youth,' says Cornelius Nepos (who died during the reign of Augustus; Pliny, ix. 39), “ the violet purple was fashionable, and sold for a hundred denarii the pound. Some time afterwards the red purple of Tarentum came into vogue, and to this succeeded the red Tyrian twice dyed, which was not to be bought under one thousand denarii.' Here, then, we have three sorts of purple worn during the life of one man. The red purple is mentioned by Macrobius : he says the redness of the purple border of the toga prætexta was admonitory to those who assumed it to preserve the modesty of demeanour becoming young noblemen ; and Virgil says that the sacrificing priest should cover his head with purple, without noticing whether its hue be red or violet. Indeed, purple was a tint applied indiscriminately by the ancients to every tint produced by the mixture of red and blue, and sometimes to the pure colours themselves.
J. R. P."
* “ Cicero also says that Cæsar sat in the rostra, in a purple toga, on a golden seat, crowned : “Sedebat in rostris collega tuus, amictus toga purpurea, in sella aurea, coronatus.'"- Phil., 2, 34.
| “The crescent is seen upon the standards of the Roman centuries, probably to denote the number 100."
For he's no man on whom perfections wait,
Ant. Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life,
Per. Great king, Few love to hear the sins they love to act; "Twould 'braid yourself too near for me to tell it Who has a book of all that monarchs do, He's more secure to keep it shut, than shown; For vice repeated is like the wandering wind, Blows dust in others' eyes, to spread itself; And yet the end of all is bought thus dear, The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see clear: To stop the air would hurt them. The blind mole
Of every virtue gives renown to men!
Ant. Prince Pericles,
Ant. Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,
pale, That, without covering, save yond' field of stars, They here stand martyrs, slain in Cupid's wars; And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist, For going on death's net, whom none resist.
Per. Antiochus, I thank thee, who hath taught My frail mortality to know itself, And by those fearful objects to prepare This body, like to them, to what I must : For death remember'd should be like a mirror, Who tells us, life's but breath; to trust it, error. I'll make my will, then; and as sick men do, Who know the world, see heaven, but feeling woe, Gripe not at earthly joys, as erst they did : So, I bequeath a happy peace to you, And all good men, as every prince should do : My riches to the earth from whence they came, But my unspotted fire of love to you.
[ To the Daughter of Antiochus. Thus, ready for the way of life or death, I wait the sharpest blow.
Ant. Scorning advice, read the conclusion, then; Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed, As these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed. Daugh. Of all, 'say'd yet, may'st thou prove
prosperous ! Of all, 'say'd yet, I wish thee happiness.
Per. Like a bold champion, I assume the lists, Nor ask advice of any other thought But faithfulness, and courage.
Copp'd hills towards heaven, to tell the earth :
throng'd By man's oppression; and the poor worm doth
fort. King's are earth's gods; in vice their law's ther:
will, And if Jove stray, who dares say Jove doth ill ? It is enough you know; and it is fit, What being more known grows worse, to smother it All love the womb that their first beings bred, Then, give my tongue like leave to love my head. Ant. [Aside.) Heaven, that I had thy head! be
has found the meaning ; But I will gloze with him.-[ To him.] Young
prince of Tyre,
[E.reunt Antiochus, his Daughter, ata
Attendants. Per. How courtesy would seem to cover sin, When what is done is like an hypocrite, The which is good in nothing but in sight! If it be true that I interpret false, Then were it certain, you were not so bad, As with foul incest to abuse your soul; Where now you're both a father and a son, By your untimely claspings with your child, (Which pleasure fits a husband, not a father,) And she an eater of her mother's flesh, By the defiling of her parent's bed; And both like serpents are, who though they feoul On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed. Antioch, farewell! for wisdom sees, those men Blush not in actions blacker than the night, Will shun no course to keep them from the light: One sin, I know, another doth provoke; Murder's as near to lust, as flame to smoke. Poison and treason are the hands of sin, Ay, and the targets, to put off the share :
I am no viper, yet I feed
will live, resolve it you.
[ Takes the Princess by the hand. Were not this glorious casket stor'd with ill; But I must tell you,—now, my thoughts revolt,
Then, lest my life be cropp'd to keep you clear, If he suspect I may dishonour him:
He'll stop the course by which it might be known.
With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land, Ant. He hath found the meaning, for the which And with the ostent of war will look so huge,
Amazement shall drive courage from the state ;
Our men be vanquish'd ere they do resist,
Which care of them, not pity of myself,
(Who am no more but as the tops of trees, And therefore instantly this prince must die; Which fence the roots they grow by, and defend For by his fall my honour must keep high.
them,) Who attends us there?
Makes both my body pine, and soul to languish,
And punish that before, that he would punish.
i Lord. Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast. Thal.
Doth your highness call ? 2 Lord. And keep your mind, till you return to
Hel. Peace, peace! and give experience tongue.
To which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing;
Whereas reproof, obedient and in order, Because we bid it. Say, is it done !
Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err : Thal.
When signior Sooth, here, does proclaim a peace, Tis done.
He flatters you, makes war upon your life.
Prince, pardon me, or strike me, if you please ;
I cannot be much lower than my knees.
Per. All leave us else; but let your cares o'erLet your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.
look Mess. My lord, prince Pericles is fled.
What shipping, and what lading's in our haven,
[Exit Messenger. And then return to us. [Exeunt Lords.]-Helicanus, Ant.
thou Wilt live, fly after: and, as an arrow, shot
Hast moved us : what seest thou in our looks ?
Per. If there be such a dart in prince's frowns,
How durst thy tongue move anger to our face? Thal. My lord, if I
Hel. How dare the plants look up to heaven, Can get him once within my pistol's length,
Thou know'st I have power
Do you but strike the blow.
Rise, prythee rise;
Sit down; thou art no flatterer: Enter PERICLES, HELIcanus, and other Lords.
I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid, Per. Let none disturb us: why should this change That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid. of thoughts?
Fit counsellor, and servant for a prince, The sad companion, dull-ey'd melancholy,
Who by thy wisdom mak’st a prince thy servant, By me so usd a guest is, not an hour,
What would'st thou have me do? In the day's glorious walk, or peaceful night,
To bear with patience The tomb where grief should sleep, can breed me Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself. quiet.
Per. Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus, Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes That ministers a potion unto me, shun them,
That thou would'st tremble to receive thyself.
Attend me, then: I went to Antioch,
From whence an issue I might propagate,
The rest (hark in thine ear) as black as incest : And what was first but fear what might be done, Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father Grows elder now, and cares it be not done :
Seem'd not to strike, but smooth; but thou know'st And so with me :—the great Antiochus
this, ('Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
"Tis time to fear, when tyrants seem to kiss.
Who seem'd my good protector; and being here