- In general, civilian clothing was made of linen or wool in
a variety of colors, and at times, cotton or silk. While variations
did exist as a result of social
status, the sillhouette of Roman women in the 1st Century
was affected by a few basic garments:
is the basic woman's garment. It is 26" to 40"+ wide
and reaches to the ankles when belted. It is generally sleeveless,
and the neckline is made by leaving part of the top edge unsewn.
The top can also be held with buttons or brooches (fibulae).
is worn by a married Roman woman, but it is very simialr to
the tunica. Sometimes the stola is shown pleated vertically
and fastened along the top edge. It is wide enough and long
enough to cover the tunica even when belted . There can be one
belt slightly above the waist, and/or a second belt directly
under the bust.
Another option for
the Roman woman is the Greek peplos. The peplos was made
from two rectangular pieces of cloth sewn together on the lower
portions of both sides; the open sections at the top were then
folded down in the front and back. This garment was fastened
at the shoulders, forming a sleeveless dress; and belted over
or under the overhanging folds, which may end above the waist
or extend almost to the knees.
is a large rectangular wrap, at least 5' by 9'. It is roughly
equivalent to a man's toga, and was always worn in public.
While the tunica
often served as an undergarment, there are also references to
the supparum, subucula, and (for matrons) indusium,
slip-like garments, hanging from the waist. Additionally, Roman
women wore the strophium, a brassiere. The strophium
is a band of soft linen 6" to 8" wide (or a folded
wider strip), long enough to go around the body at least twice.
were amazingly varied. While upper-class women favored elaborate
arrangements, especially after the Augustan period, simpler
hairdos were coiled braids or a bun. Girls and women traditionally
tied their hair back with thin woolen bands called vittae,
which were considered spiritual protection. See this
page for some excellent examples of Roman hairstyles.
For Men -
In general, civilian clothing was made of linen or wool, and
consisted of the tunic(s) and footwear.
The civilian tunic
can be any color, is long enough to cover the knees, and is
worn with a narrow cloth or leather belt. The most common style
for men of the 1st Century was sleeveless with an opening at
the top for the neck. Senators wore a white tunic with two broad
purple vertical clavii (stripes) running from shoulder
to hem. Equestrians were permitted to wear narrow clavii.
Stripes in colors other than purple on white are seen on tunics
of everyday citizens and slaves.
is the Greek tunic, made like the woman's peplos with
an overhanging fold of cloth which reaches almost to the waist.
Romans wore a variety
of cloaks, including the paenula, laena, lacerna, sagum,
cucullus, and the Greek himation. The sagum
and the himation are rectangular, and the paenula
is semicircular or oval. The lacerna was semi-circular
and pinned at the right shoulder, and the laena is a
circular or semi-circular cloak worn by a priest, and clasped
in back. The cucullus is hooded and similar to the paenula,
but shorter, worn by many workers and slaves. Historical references
are confusing and contradictory, and these terms may have been
is a loincloth fastened with a belt. When tied at the waist,
it may be called a perizoma.