Napkin the rendering in the A.V. of σουδάριον, Vulg. sudarium in Lu 19:20; John ii, 44; 20:7; which, however, is rendered "handkerchief' in Ac 19:12, where it is associated with aprons, σιμικίνθια: they are classed together, inasmuch as they refer to objects of a very similar character. Both words are of Latin origin: σουδάριον = sudarium, from sudo, "to sweat" (the Lutheran translation preserves the reference to its etymology in its rendering, schweisstuch); σιμικίνθιον=semicinctiun, i.e., "a half girdle." Neither is much used by classical writers; the sudar-ium is referred to as used for wiping the face ("candido frontem sudario tergeret," Quintil. 6:3) or hands ("sudario manus tergens, quod in collo habebat," Petron. infragm. Trugur. cap. 67); and also as worn over the face for the purpose of concealment (Sueton. in Neron. cap. 48) the word was introduced by the Romans into Palestine, where it was adopted by the Jews, in the form סידרא as מַטפֵּחֵת in Ru 3:15. The sudarium is noticed in the N.T. as a wrapper to fold up money (Lu 19:20) — as a cloth bound about the head of a corpse (Joh 11:44; Joh 20:7), being probably brought from the crown of the head under the chin — and, lastly, as an article of dress that could easily be removed (Ac 19:12), probably a handkerchief worn on the head like the kefieh of the Bedouin. The semicinctiunm is noticed by Martial, 14, epigr. 153, and by Petron. in Satyr. cap. 94. The distinction between the cinctus and the semicinctium cdonsisted in its width (Isidor. Orig. 19:33): with regard to the character of the σιμικίνθιον, the only inference from the passage in which it occurs (Ac 19:12) is that it was easily removed from the person, and probably was worn next to the skin. According to Suidas, the distinction between the sudarium and the semicinctiuni was very small, for he explains the latter by the former, σιμικίνθιον φακιόλιον ἤ σουδάριον φακιόλιον being a species of head-dress: Hesychius likewise explains σιμικίνθιον by φακιόλιον. According to the scholiast (in Cod. Steph.), as quoted by Schleusner (Lex. s.v. σουδάριον), the distinction between the two terms is that the su4arlium was worn on the head, and the senicinctium used as a handkerchief. The difference was probably not in the shape, but in the use of the article; we may conceive them to have been bands of linen of greater or less size, which might be adapted to many purposes, like the article now called lungi among the Arabs, which is applied sometimes as a girdle, at other times as a turban (Wellsted) Travels, 1:321). SEE APRON; SEE HANDKERCHIEF.

Definition of napkin

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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