Roman Clothing for Men

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History, Facts and Information about Roman Clothing for Men
The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and information about Roman Clothing for Men. The ordinary clothing for Roman men were the toga and the tunic. The tunic was an undergarment which was put on whereas the toga was considered an outer garment which was wrapped around (amictus).

Roman Clothing for Men - Sumptuary Laws
Roman Sumptuary Laws ensured that the clothing worn by Roman men immediately provided information about the status of the person wearing them. Clothes did not just indicate the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing. For instance, only Roman citizens were allowed, by law, to wear the Toga. The colors and width of the bands, or stripes on tunics and togas were called the clavus. The clavus, together with its style and color, were instantly recognisable as an indication of office or rank and dictated by the Roman Sumptuary Laws.

Roman Clothing for Men
Although the colors, decorations and materials used in the manufacture of a Roman clothing varied the tunic, the toga and the cloak were the main items worn by Roman men.

  • The Toga was the standard loose flowing outer garment which was elaborately draped around the body with careful folds

  • The tunic (tunica) was worn underneath the toga. The original style of the tunic reached to the knees and had short sleeves. In the second century AD the style changed and long sleeves became acceptable in the tunic design

  • The cloak called a paludamentum which was fastened at the shoulder with a clasp, called a fibula

  • Head coverings, hats, crowns and wreaths
  • A variety of different shoes, boots and sandals
  • Military clothing worn by soldiers and officers

For additional facts and information details of all of the above garments are covered in detail in seperate articles which can be accessed via the Clothing Index or the Roman Colosseum Sitemap.

Roman Clothing for Men - the Toga
The toga was a loose outer garment without sleeves which was open from the waist upwards. The material to make a toga consisted of a single broad piece of woollen cloth of a shape similar to a semicircle. The toga was draped gracefully by placing an edge on the left side of the body which extended from the lower legs up over the shoulder, around the back and beneath the right arm and the loose end of material was thrown over the left shoulder.  It was generally made of undyed white wool, except the border of the toga which was colored according to the status of the wearer. There were many different types and names of togas which are detailed in the following link: Toga.

Roman Clothing for Men - The Tunic
The tunic was usually made of wool. The tunic in its variety of different forms was worn by people of all classes and those worn by men were with and without sleeves and cut in a variety of lengths. Tunics were made from many different types of materials. The tunic was fastened by a girdle or belt about the waist, to keep it tight, which also served as a purse. Roman senators wore a tunic with broad band or strip called the tunica laticlavia. There were many different types of tunics which are detailed in the following link: Roman Tunic.

Roman Clothing for Men - The Cloaks
The purpose of Roman Cloaks was primarily to provide protection from the weather, the cold and rain. Some cloaks had hoods (cucullus) attached to them. The paenula was a very simple type of Roman cloak consisting of a piece of material with a central hole allowing the wearer to slip the cloak over the head. The abolla was the name of a cloak worn by wealthy and aristocratic Patricians and were made of different types of rich, costly materials. The paludamentum was an expensive ankle length cloak, fastened on the right shoulder with a gold or jewelled clasp or brooch, which was worn on state occasions at first by Roman generals and later by Roman Emperors. There were many different types of cloaks which are detailed in the following link: Roman Cloaks.

Roman Clothing for Men - Shoes, Boots and Sandals
Roman citizens wore sandals (soleae) which was footwear without toe coverings indoors and shoes or boots (calcei or calceus), footwear with toe coverings with straps which covered the ankles, the calf, or up to the knee, outdoors. The materials used to make Roman Sandals and Boots was predominantly leather. Roman soldiers who were expected to march for many miles had to have strong shoes which were called caliga. The sole of the caliga was thickly studded with hobnails. There were many different types of shoes, boots and sandals which are detailed in the following links: Roman Sandals and Boots and Roman Shoes.

Roman Clothing for Men - Gladiator Clothes
Roman Gladiators worn a minimum amount of clothes such as a canvas loincloth. The different types of protective clothing and armor of the gladiators are detailed via the Gladiators Index.

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