PECTORAL, a word applied to various objects worn on the breast (Lat. pectus) ; thus it is the name of the ornamental plate of metal or embroidery formerly worn by bishops of the Roman Church during the celebration of mass, the breastplate of the Jewish high priest, and the metal plate placed on the breast of the embalmed dead in Egyptian tombs. The " pectoral cross," a small cross of precious metal, is worn by bishops and abbots of the Roman, and by bishops of the Anglican, communion. The term has also been used for the more general " poitrel " or " peitrel " (the French and Norman French forms respectively), the piece of armour which protected the breast of the war-horse of the middle ages.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)