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Cilicium: hair cloth
(1,140 words)

According to Varro (De Re Rustica II:12), the shearing of goats for textile fibre was first practised in Cilicia, in Asia Minor, and for this reason the name cilicium was given to cloths made from the shorn fleeces of goats. There are several variants of the word, including cilix and cilissa, but cilicium is the form mostly used in the 5th-century Latin Vulgate Bible, where it is repeatedly associated with mourning and fasting. The cloth might be wrapped around the chest (Isaiah 3:24) or the loins (Judith 8:6, 10:2), and was used for hangings (Exodus 26:…

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Penelope Walton Rogers, “Cilicium: hair cloth”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles, Edited by: Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Maria Hayward. Consulted online on 23 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2213-2139_emdt_COM_353>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124356, 20120503

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