< University of Manchester, Lexis of Cloth & Clothing Project, Search Result For: 'samite'

[University home]

The Lexis of Cloth and Clothing Project


Searchable Lemmata: samit (AF), hexamitum (L), hexamitus (L), samitus (L), samite (ME), samit (W), samit (OScots), samite (MdE).
Alternate Forms: samith, samitte, samitto, samet, samette, samed, sanite, sayntes, samer, samictus, samita, sametus, samitellus, samitrus, examitus, examiti, examitto, examito, exameto, examitam, examitum, hexamitus, exametus, xamittus, samiteus, samitricus.

    Definitions and Defining Citations:

1(n.) Textile; technically, a plain silk cloth, in weft-faced compound twill. Its name derives from Greek, meaning a (twill) weave based on a unit of 6 threads, and its appearance has the diagonal lines of a twill weave and a lustrous quality produced by the long weft floats. It was made in various weights, but was usually quite heavy, and was made in various colours. It was suitable as background for embroidery in gold thread. It was made in various silk-weaving centres in the eastern Mediterranean and Italy. As a high-status textile it was often named in Romances in various European countries [Mayo, J. (1984)]; also, a cloth or garment of this textile. Use of the term is discussed by Lisa Monnas, who notes that though samites were sometimes woven competely in silk, they could also be half-silks, with linen main warps. She suggests that the form 'Samitelli [cf. samitellus, etc.] may have indicated a slightly cheaper, plainer version of this silk' [Monnas, L. (1989), 284-5]. She further notes an apparent decline in royal purchases of 'samyts' and 'samitelli' during the fourteenth century: ‘Samyt was last purchased by the Great Wardrobe towards the end of Edward III’s reign, in 1370-71, when 3 pieces 7¾ ells were bought, the remnants of this cloth lingering on in the Great Wardrobe until the end of Richard II’s reign in 1377’ [Monnas, L. (1989) 289; with ref. to 'PRO E.361.5.9d’].(ante 1150 still in current use)
1. vermiculus hic est quo tinguntur pretiosissimi regum panni, sive serici, ut examiti, sive lanei, ut scharlata [DMLBS GERV. TILB. (III 55) circa 1210]
2. Vestuz de seie ne de samit Ne furent mie Biblical/Hagiographic. [AND Mir N-D (147.19) circa 1240]
3. Le cors envoluper i fist Ne mie en paille n'en samit [AND Jos (2498) circa 1200/1250]
4. Vno Samitto ... ad Feretrum sancti Edwardi. Accounts. (piece or garment of samite) [MED Wardrobe Acc.42-45 Hen.III in For.Acc.Wardr.& Househ.No.1 m.1 dorso ([OD col.]) 1261]
5. examitum: samite Gloss. [AND Gloss Utensilium (172) circa 1300]
6. Antonius episcopus ... optulit Magno Altari duos pannos de rubeo samette, brudatos cum historia Nativitatis et Passionis Christ ... j aketon rubeum cum manucis de Balayn xl s ... Cirotecae de balayn xij d.i ... j aketon coopertum cum viridi samet, xl s. ... iiij bucles et webbes cingulorum, xiiij d. Wills. (citations from individual page of text may not appear in original order) [MED Will Durham in Sur.Soc.2 (18) circa 1310/1312]
7. Sacrista Wygorniæ recepit capam ejus de samer cum vestimento(work: a1113) [MED Annal.Wor.in RS 36.4 ((Clg A.10) 376) ante 1325]
8. [201] ... Al þe cite was byhonge Wiþ riche samytes [LinI: baudekyns] and pelles longe ... [204] ... Olympyas ... desireþ to shewe hire body ... Dame Olympias amonge þis pres Sengle rood, al mantel-les And naked-heued. Heroic, Poetic, Romance. (work: ?a1300); (pieces of samite) [MED KAlex. ((LdMisc 622) 201-204) circa 1400]
9. Wiþ samytes and baudekyns Weren curtyned [vr. cortined] þe gardyns. Heroic, Poetic, Romance. (work: ?a1300) (pieces of samite) [MED KAlex. ((LdMisc 622) 1025-1026) circa 1400]
10. ... Goldsmythes ... Iowellers ... crafty browdereris, Wevers also of wolne & of lyne, / Of cloth of gold, damaske, and satyn, Of welwet, cendel, & double samyt eke / And euery clothe þat men list to seke ... was in þis cite Heroic, Poetic, Romance. (work: a1420). 'Double samite' represents a reinforced or heavy samite cloth (not to be confused with AF double samyt). [MED Lydg.TB ((Aug A.4) 2.712-715) circa 1425]
11. Arthure was ware of an arme clothed in whyght samyte, that helde a fayre swerde Arthurian, Heroic, Romance. [MED Malory Wks. ((Win-C) 52/21) ante 1470]
AF, L, ME, MdE, OScots, W.
Sex: Male, Female, Infant    Use: n/a    Status: High    Rank: High    Ceremonial: No
Body Parts: N/A.
References: Mayo, J. (1984)
2(adj.) Textile; resembling samite, silken.(circa 1180 ? still in current use)
1. [7951] ... la suzsele Ke fut de un bon purpre samit ... [7959] ... De un mantel vermeil afublee De un mut bon tiret osterin Heroic, Poetic, Romance. [AND Ipom BFR (7951-9) circa 1180]
AF; Primarily Romance.
Sex: N/A    Use: Secular    Status: High    Rank: High    Ceremonial: No
Body Parts: N/A.
3(n.) Garment; by possible confusion with L amictus: an amice (?). [s.v. 'hexamitum, ~us', DMLBS].(circa 1217)
1. instrumenta ecclesiastica sunt hec: lavacrum ... crucifixum et alie ... ymagines ... feretrum, manutergium, facitergium ... vestes sacerdotis sint ibi, casula, superpellicium et *caphicesium [v.l. *capitestium] ... cingulum, sive tropheum, sive zona, sive balteum ... examitam vel *amicum Gloss. (citations from page of text may not appear in original order) [DMLBS NECKAM (Ut. 119) ante 1217]
c.f.: amice
L; Primarily Gloss.
Sex: N/A    Use: Ecclesiastical    Ceremonial: No
Body Parts: Back, Chest, Neck, Shoulder(s), Waist.

    Etymological Evidence:

Definite, Old French samit and Medieval L examitum, exametum, samitum, samittum, sametum; (adjs.) samitus (from whence British L samiteus, samitricus, etc.); apparently from medieval Greek (literally, 'six-threaded' 'referring to the characteristic twill weave, based on a weave-unit of six threads [King, D. (1993), 459] [cf. 'samite', OED, 2nd ed (1989)]. Attested in British Latin texts by 1130 (Latham, p. 418).
Etym Cog:

    Art and Illustration:

The 12th-century, English mitre from Kloster Seligenthal, now in the Bayerischen Nationalmuseum, Munich (Inv.Nr. T 17) is white samite, embroidered in opus anglicanum with the martyrdoms of St Thomas Becket and St Stephen.