In Ancient Rome and Greece, fabric was generally speaking, very costly. As a result of this, people’s clothing remained mostly uncut and much of ‘the look’ was about the drapes they created with their cloth. Because of this, broaches and belts were very common. The class you came from determined which materials and dyes were used in the cloth. Grecians and Romans had less reserve about nudity, it wasn’t uncommon for people to exercise around town in the nude. The romans appreciated decadence in such a way that wasn’t seen again until 17th century France came around. This time in ancient history was a tender one, as civilization was still relatively new to humanity. It was a time when people were still very simple.
As for the clothing that the population wore, there were four items you could count on to wear every day…
The Toga is probably the most remembered article of clothing throughout this time in history, it wasn’t what the average man wore. The toga was a mark of wealth and luxury. It was impractical and thus was held in the golden light of indulgences, that the Roman’s and Greeks were so famous for. They were so luxurious, they could afford to lay around with their clothes falling off all day.
There was a strict law of dress, making it so that you wore clothing that fitted your station. The toga had different forms relating to the higher classes and what kind of upper class person they were.
Freeborn Sons: Wore a white toga with a purple border.
Toga Alba/Pura: Adult males wore a simple white toga.
Toga Pulla: A darker toga, worn when in mourning.
Toga Piota: A purple toga with golden embroidery, reserved for the emperor.
A tunic(a) was the first layer, worn next to the skin. There were many variations of the tunic and ways that people wore them. Men wore a version of the tunic called a chiton, and females wore a full length tunic called a peplos.
- Both were made from rectangular pieces of fabric and hung loosely around ones shape, to be manipulated and folded into a pleasing fashion.
- Women’s tunic/peplos was usually quite oversized and then manipulated into shape daily by the wearer.
- Men sometimes shortened their chiton to be knee length. In comparison to women, the mens tunic was tighter.
- There were two types of tunics. First, the Doric Chiton, made from wool usually. Second, the Ionic Chiton, made from linen or silk, and easier to fold in intricate ways.
This is an Ionic chiton.
Slaves tunic: Slaves basically wore a bag made from two rectangular pieces of cloth with arms and legs cut out. Very simple.
Outdoor Cloak: The popular cloak was for the upper classes, as it required the use of one of the hands to keep it in place, and thus was deemed ‘luxurious’. There were other’s made of a simpler, more functioning fashion, but those were reserved mostly for the laboring man, travelers, and soldiers.
The Roman’s and Greeks created intricate hairstyles involving braids, curls and weaving. They would decorate their head with golden rings, pins, wreaths and flowers.
Over the course of one year, I will conduct a Mini Exploration of Mythologies around the world, guided by the work of Joseph Cambell in his Mythos Lecture Series. We will start by studying mythology by region and exploring the famous god families, along with creating my own myths. Through this mini course, I’ll be learning about myths from the following regions…
-North American Indian
In this section of my Explorations Blog, I will conclude what I learn with a summary of each episode, idea, or story, and my ideas surrounding each. Also, I will go into depth into the psychology surrounding mythologies across the world. I am looking forward to this journey through mythology, as I have been fascinated by mythological stories since I was a small child. The journey begins in earnest on 1st August 2014. Check back to see where the journey takes me.