The Textile Term Scutulatus

Classical Quarterly 14 (2):263-266 (1964)
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The received translation and interpretation of many of the technical terms current in the textile industry of the Roman Empire are inaccurate, because lexicographers have either fought shy of being precise, or have thought that they recognized in the ancient world technical processes which originated at a much later date. The evidence is often equivocal or insufficient, but may still yield details that have been overlooked. The textile expression scutulatus, to take an example, deserves more attention than Blümner has devoted to it. When it refers to the appearance of a garment, Lewis and Short, s.v. scutulatus, translate ‘diamond or lozenge-shaped, checkered’. It seems worth while to attempt a more precise translation, and, if possible, to estimate the significance in context of the goods so designated.



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