Torc

From Academic Kids

For the physical quantity, see Torque.

A torc, also spelled torque (from Latin 'torqueo', to twist, because of the twisted shape of the collar) is a rigid circular necklace that is open-ended at the front. The two ends of the torc typically bore sculpted ornaments, frequently globes, cubes, or animal heads, and less commonly human figures. The body of the necklace was usually but not always wrapped. Although they were most often neck-rings, there were also bracelets with this shape. Torcs were made from intertwined metal strands, usually gold or bronze, less often silver.

Historical torcs

Torcs were worn by various peoples from the Bronze Age, about 1000 B.C.E., until about 300 C.E, including the Galatians (or Anatolian Celts), the Scythians, and the Persians. However, it is best known as the typically Celtic necklace worn especially by Britons, Gauls, and Iberians.

Depictions of the gods and goddesses of Celtic mythology frequently show them wearing torcs. The famous Roman sculpture The Dying Gaul, depicting a wounded gladiator, is naked except for the torc. Examples have been discovered in Britain and Europe during archaeological surveys (see 172.jpg). A notable and exquisite example was found at the Sutton Hoo burial mound.

It was said by some authors that the torc was an ornament for women until the 4th century B.C.E., when it became an attribute of warriors. But most authors disagree, saying that it was a sign of nobility and high social status: a decoration awarded to warriors for their deeds in battle, as well as a divine attribute, since some depictions of Celtic gods wear one or more torcs. Images of the god Cernunnos wearing one torc around his neck, with torcs hanging from his antlers or held in his hand, have been found. Torcs have also been found in the tombs of Celtic princes.

The Roman consul Titus Manlius once challenged a Gaul to single combat and killed him, and then took his torc. Because he always wore it, he received the nickname Torquatus (the one who wears a torc). After this, Romans adopted the torc as a decoration for distinguished soldiers and elite units during Republican times.

Modern torcs

The hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s brought torcs back into fashion, not only as necklaces and bracelets, but also as rings. Torc-shaped bracelets are commonly worn today by both by men and women. Torcs are also popularly worn in pierced ears, nipples, navels and other parts of the body.

The torc is also the symbol of a Saoi - the highest honour Aosdána, the Irish organization of artists, can bestow upon its members.fr:torque

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