The Apex or Tutulus in Roman Art

Katharine A. Esdaile
1911 Journal of Roman Studies  
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more » ... ies. Sitzungsberichte der Miinchner Akademie, 1 that in Marquardt's Staatsverwaltung2 and that of M. Jullian in Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionary, s.v. Flamen, which is really exhaustive. To these, as to the other works mentioned in this paper, every subsequent writer must record his debt ; but room may still be found, especially in an English periodical, for a fresh consideration of the subject from its artistic as well as its historical aspect. It may also be useful to bring together in greater detail the monumental evidence for the priestly cap already existing in scattered publications ; and welcome the opportunity now given me by the authorities of the British Museum and by Mr. C. Newton Robinson of adding several examples, one of high artistic importance, to those already known. Briefly to recapitulate, the flamen, like other priests and the majority of the magistrates, wore the toga praetexta, to which he added a thick woollen cloak, the laena, 3 peculiar to his office, which is defined by Servius4 as " togam duplicem quam purpuream debere esse non dubium est." From the same passage we learn that it had to be woven by the flaminica. Still more important than the laena was the high conical cap, pileus or galerus, or, as it was called in the case of the flamen dialis, albogalerus,5 made from the skins of victims slain in sacrifice. In the top of this cap was inserted the apex strictly so called, a spike of olivewood projecting from the pileus and bound to it by a woollen thread, apiculum,6 made from the wool of a victim. I But this use of apex, " apex proprie dicitur," as Suetonius says, 8 is rare; the epithet proper to the part 1 I I8o, pp. 487, f -2vi, 313, ff. 3 Two torsi of fgamines wearing the laena are figured by Dr. Amelung, Rom. Mittb. 1897, 744; Skulpturen d. Vat. Mus. i, pl. 98. 4Ad Aen. iv, 262. 5 "Is solum album habet galerum, vel quod maximus vel quod lovi immolata hostia alba id fier oporteat": Aul. Gell. x, xv, 32. The latter reason is certainly correct. Cf. the fact that the shoes of the Flaminica had to be made of the skins of victims. Festus, Mortuae Pecudis, 191 Serv. ad Aen. iv, 518. 6 " Apiculum filum quod flamines velatum apicem gerunt: " Paul. 23. Cf. langigeros apices (Aen. viii, 664). That the apex was even outside Rome habitually connected with the skin of a victim can be proved from better authority than late grammarians and commentators. Fronto, in an epistle to M. Caesar, writes that he saw on the gate at Anagnia the inscription FLAMEN SVME SAMENTVM, and that, on asking a native the meaning of the word, he learnt it was " pelliculam de hostia quam in apicem suum flamen cum in urbem intro eat imponit " (ad M. Caesarem 4, 4, p. 67. Naber: quoted in Marquardt, vi, p. 317, n. 4). 7 Paul Diac. exc. p. 23; quoted by Helbig, P. 509, n. 2. 8 Ap. Serv. ad Aen. ii, 683. This content downloaded from on Fri, 9 May 2014 16:55:33 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions J. R. S. vol. i(igi i). PLATE XXXI. 41~~~~~~~~ This content downloaded from on Fri, 9 May 2014 16:55:33 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions THE APEX OR TUTULUS IN ROMAN ART 21 3 soon came to stand for the whole; and apex is the familiar word for the priestly cap throughout Latin literature. 1 The apex, using the word in its wider sense, is defined by Suetonius in the same passage as " pileum sutile circa medium virga eminente; " it was used by the principal flamines, by the priests of the colleges2 and by the Salii ;3 and the word is also used by Virgil, probably in strict accordance with historical truth, of the headdress of the early kings, Ecce levis summo de vertice visus Iuli Fundere lumen apex,4 and by Cicero, Legg. i, i, " ab aquila Tarquinio apicem impositum putent," since Dr. Helbig has shown that the pileus, the ancient headdress of the mid-Italian peoples, survived unchanged in ritual usage down to the days of the later empire. 5 Of its form there is, fortunately, no doubt Varro compares it to a meta. This conical cap was surmounted by a spike of olivewood which Pliny, in an interesting passage which I have not seen quoted in this connexion, compares to the stem of the white fungus :6 at its base, or, more rarely, half-way up, there was usually a crosspiece varying in size from a mere knob to a projection as long as the apex is high; it had a narrow border, was cut away round the ears, came fairly low on the neck, and was secured under the chin by ogendices, pieces of leather usually cut in a piece with the cap, but sometimes separately attached, whose shape we shall consider later. I So sacred was it that originally the flamen might not lay it aside even indoors ; later on this rule was relaxed, but for out-of-door use it nominally remained in force to the last: " sine apice sub divo esse licitum non est." 8 I Cf. Livy's phrase " cuilibert apicem dialem imponere " = to appoint a flamen dialis. 2 Daremberg and Saglio, Dict. s.v. Flamen, 69. 3 Fest. 329. Wissowa's statement, Religion u. Kultus d. Romen. 429, that " nur bei diesen Priester, [the flamen dialis], und bei den Salien hat sich das Tragen der altertiumlichen Kopfbedeckung erhalten," seems too strong. The apex was certainly worn by the pontifex maximus and other flamines: cf. Helbig, 495, " ganz ungewiss est, auf was fur ein Priesterthum ein Apex hinweist, welcher ahnlich gebildet wie der des P. M. (ohne Backenlaschen, mit Sturmriemen) bisweilen als Beizeichen auf Denaren des M. Plaetorius curulischen Aedilen im Jahr. 68 v. Chr. [obv. head of Bonus Eventus, B.M.C.R.R. 3555] vorkommt." A passage in St. Augustine, de Civ. Dei, xv. is worth quoting: " Nam etiam flaminem illi (sc. Romani) instituerunt, quod sacerdotii genus adeo in Romanis sacris testante apice excellint, ut tres solos flamines haberent tribus numinibus institutos, Dialem lovi, Martialem Marti, Quirinalem
doi:10.2307/295868 fatcat:6mfgfdghgvgmfd44bef2u2sptm