ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What did the Romans wear?

Updated on August 17, 2010
Photo by Leonardo Barbosa
Photo by Leonardo Barbosa

Roman dress (about 700 B.C. to about 500 A.D.) was, like that of Greece, based on two draped garments- a tunic (man's tunica or woman's stola), and a wrap (toga or pallium). The man's tunica, roughly equivalent to the Greek chiton but directly derived from the Etruscan predecessors of the Romans, was girded up to the knee. Originally sleeveless, of white or natural wool, it was later cut with short sleeves and was of linen or cotton or of leather for workmen. A long-sleeved, floor-length version (tunica talaris) was worn chiefly by actors. Rank was indicated by clavi, or purple bands of different widths on the shoulders of the tunica. The tunica alone was worn by gentlemen indoors, by workmen everywhere.

Gentlemen did not appear in public without a wrap. The characteristic wrap of the Roman citizen, forbidden to slaves and exiles, was the woolen toga, similar to the Greek himation but elliptical rather than rectangular and carefully draped around the body under the right arm and over the left. The toga of the emperor was purple, that of the rich, white, that of the poor, natural wool. Other wraps were the pallium (patta), a large rectangle also like the Greek himation, and the hooded, bell-shaped, weatherproof paenula, derived from the Etruscans, which was more convenient than the toga and eventually replaced it.

In the house, women wore a stola, over which they added another stola for formal occasions. One had sleeves; both were long and girdled once or twice; outdoors, women added a palla and a veil.

Footwear included soleae (slippers) or soccae (light shoes) in the house. On the street men wore leather calcei and soldiers wore hobnailed caligae, both strapped to varying heights.

As Rome became more deeply involved in foreign conquest and trade, foreign influences appeared in dress. Romans began to adopt Eastern luxuries, such as brilliant silk, cosmetics, elaborate hairdressing for the women, and gold jewelry. They also took over various practical barbarian garments; for example, the Gallo-Roman cucullus (hood with small cape) and braccae (trousers). Braccae were traditionally despised by Mesopotamian and Mediterranean peoples as the dress of uncultivated conquerors and were at first forbidden in Rome. However, they were worn by soldiers in cold outlying garrisons, and by the 5th century A.D., as the barbarians gained control of the empire, they were accepted in Rome itself. Barbarian influence also affected the Roman tunica, which developed into the wide-cut, wide-sleeved, long, ungirdled dalmatica, introduced from Dalmatia by the 3rd century A.D. The dalmatica was popular among early Christians, especially among the Copts of Egypt, who decorated it with superbly colored tapestry-woven insets and borders in place of the clavi. The dalmatica or another tunic was often worn over the basic tunic.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)