FACTOID # 8: Bookworms: Vermont has the highest number of high school teachers per capita and third highest number of librarians per capita.
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 


FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:



(* = Graphable)



Encyclopedia > Clothing in ancient Rome

Clothing in Ancient Rome consisted generally of the toga, the stola, brooches for them, and breeches. Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... Roman clad in toga The toga was a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome. ... The stola was the traditional garment of Roman women, corresponding to the toga that was worn by men. ... Aquamarine, platinum and diamond brooch/pendant worn by Mrs. ...


Primary Materials


The Romans used several different types of fibers. Wool was likely the most often used, as it was easily obtained and relatively easy to prepare. Other materials used were linen and hemp, even though a more complex preparation process is required to create cloth from these sources than from wool. There is some evidence that cotton was used[1], but less often. Silk, imported from China, was also known. Fiber or fibre[1] is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread. ... Long and short hair wool at the South Central Family Farm Research Center in Boonesville, Arizona Wool is the fiber derived from the fur of animals of the Caprinae family, principally sheep, but the hair of certain species of other mammals such as goats, alpacas, llamas and rabbits may also... Binomial name Linum usitatissimum Linnaeus. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Cotton ready for harvest. ... Silk dresses Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. ...

These different fibers naturally had to be prepared in different manners. According to Forbes[2], wool contained around 50% fatty impurities, flax and hemp were about 25% impure, silk was between 19 and 25% impure, while cotton (the most pure of all the source fibers) contained only 6% impurities. Lanolin, also called wool wax, wool fat, or wool grease, a greasy yellow substance from wool-bearing animals, acts as a skin ointment, water-proofing wax, and raw material (such as in shoe polish). ...

The most commonly used fiber, wool, was most likely the first material to be spun. The sheep of Tarentum were renowned for the quality of their wool, though the Romans never ceased to try and optimise the wool quality through cross-breeding. Wool was spun by the lanarii pectinarii. The production of linen and hemp was very similar to that of wool and was described by Pliny the Elder. After the harvest, the material would be immersed (most probably in water), it would be skinned and then aired. Once dry, the fibers would be mechanically pressed (with a mallet) and then smoothed. Following this, the materials were woven. Linen and hemp are both tough and durable materials.

Silk and cotton were imported, from China and India respectively. Silk was rare and expensive; a luxury afforded only to the richest and worn by women.

The Romans had to turn their material with a manual spinner. Iron alum was used as the base fixing agent and it is known that the marine gastropod, Murex Brandaris, was used as a red dye, due to its purple-red colorant (6,6'-dibromoindigotin); the color of the Emperor. A more widely used tint was indigo, allowing blue or yellow shades, while madder, a dicotyledon angiosperm, produced a shade of red and was one of the cheapest dyes available. According to Pliny the Elder, a blackish colour was preferred to red. Yellow, obtained from saffron, was expensive and reserved for the clothing of married women or the Vestal Virgins. There were far fewer colours then than we have today.

Archaeological discoveries of Greek vases depict the art of weaving, while writers in the field of antiques mention the art of weaving and fiber production. Some clothes have survived for several centuries and, as clothing is necessary, examples are numerous and diverse. These materials often provide some of the most detailed and precious information on the production means used, on the dyes used, on the nature of the soil where the materials were grown and, therefore, on trade routes and climate, among many other things. Historical research in this area is very active as it allows researchers to understand a large amount about the lifestyle of the Romans.

The materials used were similar to those used by the ancient Greeks, except the tilling process had been ameliorated and the tilled linen and wool were of a far superior quality.


The Romans knew how to make supple leather and tough leather (through boiling)for use as armor. They also knew how to dye their leather. The tools used resembled those of the Middle Ages. The Romans had two main ways of tanning, one of which was mineral tanning, or 'tawing'.

Leather was also used to make two different kinds of footwear; sandals and boots.

The Romans rarely used goatskin for their leather, preferring pigskin or sheepskin, though the ideal would be the hide of a wild animal, such as a deer. The preferred leather was that most readily available; cowskin. The thickest and most durable leather was also used for leather shoe-soles.

Types of Clothing

Women's clothing

Women wore very simple stolae and usually followed the fashions of their Greek contemporaries. These stoles were usually comprised of two rectangular segments of cloth joined at the side by safety-pins, brooches and, finally, buttons in a manner that allowed the garment to drape freely over the front of the wearer. Over the stole the palla was usually worn; a sort of shawl made of an oblong piece of material that could be worn as a coat, with or without hood, or slung over the left shoulder, under the right arm and then draped over the left arm [1].

The stola was the traditional garment of Roman women, corresponding to the toga that was worn by men. ...


The Romans also wore undergarments, often a simple rectangle sewn into a tubular shape and pinned around the shoulders like a chiton. The strophium was another form of undergarment. The Latin word for underpants, subligaria was revealed by the Vindolanda tablets.

The Vindolanda tablets are fragments of half-burnt wooden leaf-tablets with writing in ink containing messages to and from members of the garrison of Vindolanda Roman fort, their families, and their slaves. ...

Official clothing

The dress code of the day was complex and had to accurately reflect one's position in the social order, one's sex and one's language.


The variations of clothing worn in Rome were similar to the clothing worn in Greece at the same time, with the exception of the traditionally Roman toga. Until the 5th century B.C., the toga was unisex and bore no distinction of rank - after that, a female wearing a toga was marked out as a prostitute. The differentiation between rich and poor was made through the quality of the material; the upper-classes wore thin, naturally colored, wool togas while the lower-classes wore coarse material or thin felt. They also differentiated by colours used:

  • the toga praetextata, with a purple border, worn by male children, and magistrates during official ceremonies
  • the toga picta or toga palmata, toga with a gold border used by generals in their triumphs
  • trabea' - toga entirely in purple, worn by statues of gods and emperors
  • saffron toga - worn by augurs, white with a purple band, also worn by consuls on public festivals and equites during a transvectio

Roman clad in toga The toga was a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome. ... A Roman Triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly honour the military commander (dux) of a notably successful foreign war or campaign and to display the glories of Roman victory. ... The Augur was a priest or official in ancient Rome. ... An Equestrian (Latin eques, plural equites) was a member of one of the two upper social classes in the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. ...

Religious ceremonies

  • laena - worn by the king and the flamens at sacrifices
  • crocota - saffron female robe worn in ceremonies to Cybele

Bust of a flamen, 3rd century, Louvre A flamen was a name given to a priest assigned to a state supported god or goddess in Roman religion. ... Cybele with her attributes. ...


A typical Roman sandal (calceus or calceolus for the women) consisted of a leather sole with a long lace that was wound up the wearer's leg. The lacing of a typical Roman shoe would always leave a part of the foot exposed. Numerous variations of these two models have been found. The majority of Roman shoes took inspiration from their Greek counterparts. It is assumed that the quality of women's shoes was judged on how thin and light the leather was. The Romans also invented socks for those soldiers required to fight on the northern frontiers, sometimes worn in sandals.[2]


  • baxa - a light sandal worn by intellectuals
  • carbatina - a shoe made by peasants from a single piece of leather
  • caliga - soldier's sandals (cf Caligula)
  • cothurnus and crepida - used by the actors.
  • pero - boot for agricultural workers
  • sandalium - or obstrigilium - women's sandals
  • phaecasium - white shoe of eastern priests
  • sculponaeae - clogs
  • socccus - slippers without upperwork for indoor wear by both sexes
  • solea - slipper with upperwork

Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (August 31, 12 – January 24, 41), more commonly known by his nickname Caligula, was the third Roman Emperor and a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from 37 to 41. ... We are all looking fsorward to a great sseason in 2005. ...


  1. ^ Pliny the Elder's Natural History, book 12 pp. 38
  2. ^ Forbes, R. J. Studies in Ancient Technology vol. IV. Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1964.



Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m