Dalmatic (2)


Although this is described as a species of long-sleeved tunic. there are fair grounds for believing that it its original form the dalmatic, as worn by men. was a short-sleeved or sleeveless tunic, equivalent to the colobioni. This is shown by the way in which the two words are used synonymously, as in Epiphanius. Again, in the edict of Diocletian fixing the maximum price of articles throughout the Roman empire, the two words are used as equivalents. We first meet with the dallmatic as a secular dress, of a stately or luxurious character, worn by persons in high position. Thus there would necessarily be something exceptional in the use of it; and then, like other articles of Roman apparel, it became adopted by the Church as a vestment for ecclesiastics. Lampridius charges Commoldus with unseemly behavior in that he appeared in the streets in a dalmatic. If at this time it had short sleeves, there would be an obvious unseemliness in a person of rank being seen abroad without an upper garment. Others, who hold that even then the dalmatic was a longsleeved dress, refer the cause of the censure to the implied effeminacy of the wearer. The edict of Diocletian furnishes us with much interesting information as to the different varieties of this garment in use in the Roman empire at the end of the 3d century A.D. It was made of various materials, wool, silk, linen; sometimes the ornamental stripe was present, sometimes absent. Dalmatics both for men's and women's use are mentioned. Three different qualities are given for each sex, the price varying both according to the quality and the place of manufacture. In later times the dalmatic was worn by sovereigns at their coronation and on other great occasions. SEE CORONATION. The ideas, then, of dignity and stateliness were associated with the dalmatic as a secular dress. The earliest notice of its ecclesiastical use is, if the document be genuine, in the Acta Martyrii of St. Cyprian. Here, where the vesture is. evidently that ordinarily used by the bishop (if, indeed, a distinction between the everyday dress of the Christian ministry and that used in divine service had yet arisen), we find first the under linen garment, over this the dalmatic, and finally the birrts or cloak. Pope Sylvester I (A.D. 335) ordered that deacons should for the future wear dalmatics instead of colobia. Whether a new vestment was introduced or the existing one modified, the result was the introduction of a long-sleeved in the place of a short-sleeved tunic. Walafrid Strabo (859) says that when the priests began to use chaslubles, dalmatics were permitted to the deacons, but "at that time the permission was not given to all to do what now almost all bishops and some priests think they may do; namely, wear a dalmatic under the chasuble." It is noticeable that this ordinance had special reference to deacons, and that the dalmatic was in some special way associated with the local Church of Rome. Thus, when Csesarius, bishop of Arles, visited Rome, pope Symmachus granted him as a special distinction, the privilege of wearing the pallium (q.v.), and to his deacons that, of dalmatics, after the Roman fashion. Also Gregory the Great, in a letter to Aregius, bishop of Vapincum, accords to him and his archdeacon the sought-for privilege of wearing dalmatics. Indirect evidence pointing to the same result may be gathered from the fact of the absence of any mention of the dalmatic in the acts of the fourth Council of Toledo (A.D. 633), among the regulations as to the dress of the Christian ministry, Showing that this vestment was not one then in use in Spain. The dalmatic thus being a vestment which even in the West had primarily only a local acceptance, we are prepared to find that in the East there is nothing which, strictly speaking, answers to it. The "sticharion," however, is the representative of the general type of white tunic, which, under whatever name we know it, alb, dalmatic, or tunicle, is essentially the same dress.

One or two further remarks may be made in conclusion, as to the ornamental stripes SEE CLAVUS of the dalmatic. As to the color of these, it is stated by Marriott that he had met with exclusively black stripes in all ancient pictures of ecclesiastical dalmatics prior to the year 600, as in the well-known Ravenna mosaic (see above), the earliest exception being a mosaic of the date 640, in which the apostles have red stripes on their tunics. The red or purple stripes afterwards became common, and are spoken of as worn back and front; but whether this was the case with the original type of the dress may perhaps be doubted. Further, these ornamental stripes are found on the borders of the sleeves; and on the left side, in later days, was a border of fringe, for which various writers have found appropriate symbolical reasons.

Bible concordance for DALMATIA.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

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