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, e.g. in the decrees of the council of Sens (1485)--non caputia, sed almucia vel bireta tenentes in capito. By the 14th century two types of almucium were distinguished: (1) a cap coming down just over the ears; (2) 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. The introduction. of the biretta (q.v.) 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. 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 (q.v..) 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 The almuce has now been almost entirely superseded by the mozzetta, but it is still worn at some cathedrals in France, e.g. Amiens and Chartres, at three churches in Rome, and in certain cathedrals elsewhere in Italy. The "grey amice" of the canons of St Paul's at London 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 by the unratified canons of 1571 (Report of the sub-committee of Convocation, 1908).
See du Cauge, Glossarium, s. "Almucia"; Joseph Braun, Die
liturgische Gewandung, p. 359, &c. (Freiburg im Breisgau,
1907); also the bibliography to the article VESTMENTS.
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