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Focale (scarf)

focale shot from Trajan's column
A photo of a depiction from Trajan’s Column. Showing a cavalryman wearing a focale as neckerchief over his lorica hamata (chain maile)

The focale (foe-kah-lay) (plural focalia), also known as a sudarium ("sweat cloth"), was a woolen or linen scarf worn by ancient Roman military personnel. It protected the neck from chafing by the armor. The focale is depicted widely in military scenes from Roman art, such as the relief sculpture on the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum and Trajan's Column. It is shown loosely knotted in the front, but is sometimes visible with the ends tucked inside the cuirass.focale shot from Trajan's column













An Essential Item in Two Forms

2nd focale shot from Trajan's column
A photo of art from Trajan’s Column. Showing a soldier wearing a focale as scarf, under his lorica segementata (cuirass)

The focale is an essential item of clothing that serves to protect the neck from the lorica segmentata. It also protects the neck in wet, cold and hot weather when worn with or without armor. The focale seemed have two forms, one like a scarf the other ilike a neckerchief.

focale shot from Trajan's column

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