Almuce

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Almuce, worn by a Roman Catholic priest, Fribourg, c. 1900 Geistlicher im Pelz.jpg
Almuce, worn by a Roman Catholic priest, Fribourg, c.1900

An almuce was a hood-like shoulder cape worn as a choir vestment in the Middle Ages, especially in England. Initially, it was worn by the general population. [1] It found lasting use by certain canons regular, such as the white almutium worn on the arm by Premonstratensian canons. Use of fur-lined almuce was against the rules of the canons, leading to requests for dispensations from the rule, as described by Alison Fizzard. [2] It also survives in the tippet and hood worn by some Anglican priests.

Vestment clothing prescribed for Christian clergy performing specific roles

Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. Many other groups also make use of liturgical garments; this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since, in particular during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.

Canons regular Roman Catholic priests living in community under a religious rule

Canons regular are canons in the Catholic Church who live in community under a rule. They are often organised into religious orders. They are distinguished from clerics regular, a later form of religious life where members also live life under a rule, in that canons regular emphasise a life lived in community. Examples of religious orders of canons regular include the Crosiers, Premonstratensians, and some Augustinians.

Premonstratensians Roman Catholic order

The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Premonstratensians, the Norbertines and, in Britain and Ireland, as the White Canons, are a religious order of Canons regular of the Catholic Church founded in Prémontré near Laon in 1120 by Norbert of Xanten, who later became Archbishop of Magdeburg. Premonstratensians are designated by O.Praem. following their name.

Contents

The almuce or amess is defined by E. L. Cutts as a tippet of black cloth with a hood attached, lined with fur, worn in choir by canons, and in some counties of England by parochial rectors. [3] The academic hood is a derivative from the medieval almuce.

Tippet a pendant streamer hanging from the sleeve of a cotehardie

A tippet is a scarf-like narrow piece of clothing, worn over the shoulders. It may also be likened to a stole in the secular rather than ecclesiastic sense of this word. Tippets evolved in the fourteenth century from long sleeves and typically had one end hanging down to the knees. In later fashion, a tippet is often any scarf-like wrap, usually made of fur, such as the sixteenth century zibellino or the fur-lined capelets worn in the mid-18th century.

Academic dress regulated formal attire worn by students and officials at certain schools and universities, especially for commencement or other cermonial occasions

Academic dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, mainly tertiary education, worn mainly by those who have obtained a university degree, or hold a status that entitles them to assume them. It is also known as academical dress, academicals, subfusc and, in the United States, as academic regalia.

The almuce was originally a head-covering only, worn by the clergy, but adopted also by the laity, and the German word Mütze "cap" and Swedish mössa [4] "toque" is later than the introduction of the almuce in church, and is derived from it. [5]

Toque type of hat with narrow or no brim

A toque is a type of hat with a narrow brim or no brim at all.

History

In numerous documents from the 12th to the 15th century the almucium is mentioned, occasionally as identical with the hood, but more often as a sort of cap distinct from it. By the 14th century two types of almucium were distinguished: a cap coming down just over the ears, and a hood-like cap falling over the back and shoulders. This latter was reserved for the more important canons and was worn over surplice or rochet in choir. [5]

Canon (priest) Ecclesiastical position

A canon is a member of certain bodies subject to an ecclesiastical rule.

Surplice loose, white vestments with long, full sleeves worn over a cassock by clergy and lay persons

A surplice is a liturgical vestment of the Western Christian Church. The surplice is in the form of a tunic of white linen or cotton fabric, reaching to the knees, with wide or moderately wide sleeves.

Rochet white knee-length vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican bishop in choir dress, often trimmed with lace

A rochet is a white vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican bishop in choir dress. It is unknown in the Eastern churches. The rochet in its Roman form is similar to a surplice, except that the sleeves are narrower. In its Anglican form it is a descendant of the traditional albs worn by deacons and priests. In the Roman Catholic tradition, the rochet comes below the knee and its sleeves and hem are sometimes made of lace; in the Anglican tradition, the rochet comes down almost to the hem of the cassock and its sleeves are gathered at the wrist.

The introduction of the biretta in the 15th century tended to replace the use of the almuce as a head-covering, and the hood now became smaller, while the cape was enlarged till in some cases it fell below the elbows. Another form of almuce at this period covered the back, but was cut away at the shoulders so as to leave the arms free, while in front it was elongated into two stole-like ends. [5]

Biretta Square cap with three or four peaks or horns

The biretta is a square cap with three or four peaks or horns, sometimes surmounted by a tuft. Traditionally the three peaked biretta is worn by Roman Catholic clergy and some Anglican and Lutheran clergy. The four peaked biretta is worn as academic dress by those holding a doctoral degree from a pontifical faculty or pontifical university. Occasionally the biretta is worn by advocates in law courts, for instance the advocates in the Channel Islands.

Stole (vestment) long narrow cloth band worn around the neck and falling from the shoulders as part of ecclesiastical dress

The stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations. It consists of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is often decorated with contrasting galloons and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15:38-39. A piece of white linen or lace may be stitched onto the back of the collar as a sweat guard, which can be replaced more cheaply than the stole itself.

Almuces were occasionally made of silk or wool, but from the 13th century onward usually of fur, the hem being sometimes fringed with tails. Hence they were known in England as "grey amices" (from the ordinary colour of the fur), to distinguish them from the liturgical amice. By the 16th century the almuce had become definitely established as the distinctive choir vestment of canons; but it had ceased to have any practical use, and was often only carried over the left arm as a symbol of office. The almuce was later superseded by the mozzetta throughout most of Europe. The "grey amice" of the canons of St Paul's Cathedral was put down in 1549, the academic hood being substituted. It was again put down in 1559, and was finally forbidden to the clergy of the English Church in 1571. [5]

Silk fine, lustrous, natural fiber produced by the larvae of various silk moths, especially the species Bombyx mori

Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.

Wool Textile fibre from the hair of sheep or other mammals

Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, from hide and fur clothing from bison, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids; additionally, the Highland and the Mangalica breeds of cattle and swine, respectively, possess wooly coats.

Fur clothing clothing made of furry animal hides

Fur clothing is clothing made of furry animal hides. Fur is one of the oldest forms of clothing, and is thought to have been widely used as hominids first expanded outside Africa. Some view fur as luxurious and warm; however, others reject it due to moral concerns for animal rights. The term 'fur' is often used to refer to a coat, wrap, or shawl made from the fur of animals. Controversy exists regarding the wearing of fur coats, due to animal cruelty concerns. The most popular kinds of fur in the 1960s were blond mink, silver striped fox and red fox. Cheaper alternatives were pelts of wolf, Persian lamb or muskrat. It was common for ladies to wear a matching hat. However, in the 1950s, a 'must have' type of fur was the mutation fur and fur trimmings on a coat that were beaver, lamb fur, Astrakhan and mink.

Alison D. Fizzard, 'Shoes, Boots, Leggings, and Cloaks: The Augustinian Canons and Dress in Later Medieval England,' The Journal of Brigish StudiesApril, 2007, pp. 245-262 published on line Dec. 2012.

Related Research Articles

Cassock ankle-length garment worn as Christian clerical clothing

The cassock or soutane is an item of Christian clerical clothing used by the clergy of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed churches, among others. "Ankle-length garment" is the literal meaning of the corresponding Latin term, vestis talaris. It is related to the habit, which is traditionally worn by nuns, monks, and friars.

Alb long, full, close-sleeved garments worn by Christan clergy

The alb, one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist churches, is an ample white garment coming down to the ankles and is usually girdled with a cincture. It is simply the long, white linen tunic used by the ancient Romans.

Cope semicircular liturgical mantle

The cope is a liturgical vestment, more precisely a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colour.

Chimere Chimère

A chimere is a garment worn by Anglican bishops in choir dress, and, formally as part of academic dress.

Clerical clothing is non-liturgical clothing worn exclusively by clergy. It is distinct from vestments in that it is not reserved specifically for services. Practices vary: is sometimes worn under vestments, and sometimes as the everyday clothing or street wear of a priest, minister, or other clergy member. In some cases, it can be similar or identical to the habit of a monk or nun.

Choir dress a traditional costume of clerics, seminarians and religious of Christian churches

Choir dress is the traditional vesture of the clerics, seminarians and religious of Christian churches worn for public prayer and the administration of the sacraments except when celebrating or concelebrating the Eucharist. It differs from the vestments worn by the celebrants of the Eucharist, being normally made of fabrics such as wool, cotton or silk, as opposed to the fine brocades used in vestments. It may also be worn by lay assistants such as acolytes and choirs. It was abandoned by most of the Churches which originated in the sixteenth-century Reformation.

Canterbury cap

The Canterbury cap is a square cloth hat with sharp corners found in the Anglican Communion. It is also soft and foldable, "Constructed to fold flat when not in use ..." The Canterbury cap is the medieval birettum, descended from the ancient pileus headcovering. It is sometimes called the "catercap".

1300–1400 in European fashion costume in the period 1300-1400

Fashion in fourteenth-century Europe was marked by the beginning of a period of experimentation with different forms of clothing. Costume historian James Laver suggests that the mid-14th century marks the emergence of recognizable "fashion" in clothing, in which Fernand Braudel concurs. The draped garments and straight seams of previous centuries were replaced by curved seams and the beginnings of tailoring, which allowed clothing to more closely fit the human form. Also, the use of lacing and buttons allowed a more snug fit to clothing.

1200–1300 in European fashion costume in the years 1200-1300

Costume during the thirteenth century in Europe was very simple for both men and women, and quite uniform across the continent. Male and female clothing were relatively similar, and changed very slowly, if at all. Most clothing, especially outside the wealthier classes, remained little changed from three or four centuries earlier. The century saw great progress in the dyeing and working of wool, which was by far the most important material for outerwear. For the rich, colour and rare fabrics such as silk from the silkworm was very important. Blue was introduced and became very fashionable, being adopted by the Kings of France as their heraldic colour.

1100–1200 in European fashion clothing in the period 1100-1200

Twelfth century European fashion was simple and differed only in details from the clothing of the preceding centuries. Men wore knee-length tunics for most activities, and men of the upper classes wore long tunics, with hose and mantle or cloaks. Women wore long tunics or dresses. A close fit to the body, full skirts, and long flaring sleeves were characteristic of upper-class fashion for both men and women.

Anglo-Saxon dress Clothing of Anglo-Saxon England

Anglo-Saxon dress refers to the clothing and accessories worn by the Anglo-Saxons from the middle of the 5th century through the eleventh century. Archaeological finds in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries have provided the best source of information on Anglo-Saxon costume. It is possible to reconstruct Anglo-Saxon dress using archaeological evidence combined with Anglo-Saxon and European art, writing and literature of the time period. Archaeological finds have both supported and contradicted the characteristic Anglo-Saxon costume as illustrated and described by these contemporary sources.

Early medieval European dress

Early medieval European dress, from about 400 to 1100, changed very gradually. The main feature of the period was the meeting of late Roman costume with that of the invading peoples who moved into Europe over this period. For a period of several centuries, people in many countries dressed differently depending on whether they identified with the old Romanised population, or the new populations such as Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Visigoths. The most easily recognisable difference between the two groups was in male costume, where the invading peoples generally wore short tunics, with belts, and visible trousers, hose or leggings. The Romanised populations, and the Church, remained faithful to the longer tunics of Roman formal costume, coming below the knee, and often to the ankles. By the end of the period, these distinctions had finally disappeared, and Roman dress forms remained mainly as special styles of clothing for the clergy – the vestments that have changed relatively little up to the present day.

The Medieval period in England is usually classified as the time between the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Renaissance, roughly the years AD 410–1485. For the various peoples living in England, the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Danes, Normans and Britons, clothing in the medieval era differed widely for men and women as well as for different classes in the social hierarchy. The general styles of Early medieval European dress were shared in England. In the later part of the period men's clothing changed much more rapidly than women's styles. Clothes were very expensive and both the men and women of lower social classes continued to wear them until the garments were in such disrepair that they needed to be replaced entirely. Sumptuary laws also divided social classes by regulating the colours and styles these various ranks were permitted to wear.

Cape sleeveless outer garment of varying lengths, sometimes attached to a coat

A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and fastens at the neck.

The liturgical vestments of the Christian churches grew out of normal civil clothing, but the dress of church leaders began to be differentiated as early as the 4th century. By the end of the 13th century the forms used in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches had become established, while the Reformation led to changes in Protestant churches from the 16th century onward.

Capuche

A Capuche is a friar's cowl, a long, pointed hood which was typically worn by the Franciscan, Capuchin, Augustinian or Cistercian monks.

References

  1. "A New Look for Women." Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. Gale. 2005. Retrieved August 13, 2012, from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G2-3427400451.html Archived 2018-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Alison D. Fizzard, 'Shoes, Boots, Leggings, and Cloaks: The Augustinian Canons and Dress in Later Medieval England,' The Journal of Brigish StudiesApril, 2007, pp. 245-262 published on line Dec. 2012.
  3. Cutts, E. L. (1895) A Dictionary of the Church of England; 3rd ed. London: S.P.C.K.; pp. 17-18
  4. Hellquist, Elof (2003). Svensk etymologisk ordbok. Gleerups. ISBN   978-91-40-01978-3.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Almuce". Encyclopædia Britannica . 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 718–719. This cites: