Armlet

Armlet

(represented by אֶצעָדָה, etsadah, Nu 31:50; 2Sa 1:10; Sept. κλιδών; Aquila βραχιάλιον; Vulg. periscelis armilla; properly a fetter, from צָעִד, to step; comp. Isa 3:20, and SEE ANKLET ), an ornament universal in the East, especially among women; worn by princes as one of the insignia of royalty, and l y distinguished persons in general. The word is not used in the A. V., as even in 2Sa 1:10, they render the Heb. term "by the bracelet on his arm." Sometimes only one was worn, on the right arm (Ecclus. 21:21). From Song 8:6, it appears that the signet sometimes consisted of a jewel on the armlet. These ornaments are frequent on the sculptures of Persepolis and Nineveh, and were set in rich and fantastic shapes resembling the heads of animals (Layard, Nineveh, ii, 250). The kings of Persia wore them, and Astyages presented a pair, among other ornaments, to Cyrus (Xen. Cyr. i, 3). The Ethiopians, to whom some were sent by Cambyses, scornfully characterized them as weak fetters (Herod. ii, 23). Nor were they confined to the kings, since Herodotus (viii, 113) calls the Persians generally "wearers of bracelets" (ψελιοφόροι). In the Egyptian monuments kings are often represented with armlets and bracelets (Wilkinson's Anc. Egypt. iii, 375, and Plates 1, 2, 14). They were even used by the old British chiefs (Turner, Angl. Sax. i, 383). The story of Tarpeia shows that they were common among the ancient Sabines, but the Romans considered the use of them effeminate, although they were sometimes given as military rewards (Liv. 10:44). Finally, they are still worn among the most splendid regalia of modern Oriental sovereigns, and it is even said that those of the King of Persia are worth a million sterling (Kitto, Pict. Hist. of Pal. i, 499). They form the chief wealth of modern Hindu ladies, and are rarely taken off. They are made of every sort of material, from the finest gold, jewels, ivory, coral, and pearl, down to the common glass rings and varnished earthenware bangles of the women of the Deccan. Now, as in ancient times, they are sometimes plain, sometimes enchased; sometimes with the ends not joined, and sometimes a complete circle. The arms are sometimes quite covered with them, and if the wearer be poor, it matters not how mean they are, provided only that they glitter. It is thought essential to beauty that they should fit close, and hence Harmer calls them "rather manacles than bracelets," and Buchanan says that "the poor girls rarely get them on without drawing blood, and rubbing part of the skin from the hand; and as they wear great numbers, which often break, they suffer much from their love of admiration." Their enormous weight may be conjectured from Ge 24:24. SEE BRACELET.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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