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Balteus is a Latin word, possibly itself from Etruscan, which means "belt", a word derived from it.

It has particularly been used as a term for:

  • The girdle of a Biblical Jewish priest, three or four fingers in breadth and (according to rabbinic tradition) thirty-two ells long; it had to be embroidered after the same pattern and to be of the same colour as the curtain of the forecourt and the tabernacle of the covenant (Exodus 39:38).
  • A sword belt worn by the Roman legionary
  • A belt or collar passing round a horse's neck and breast, partly for protection, and partly for ornament. It was often decorated with embossed work, and sometimes carried bells.
  • The belt on the celestial globe representing the sun's course and bearing the signs of the zodiac.
  • The praecinctio (διάζωμα) of the ancient Roman theatre.
  • In Ionic architecture, an ornamental band which encircles the pulvinus, or bolster of the capital.
  • The sub-cinctorium, a papal garment.