Roman Soldiers Clothing

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History, Facts and Information about Roman Soldiers Clothing
The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and information about Roman Soldiers Clothing. Read on to learn about the clothing of the ordinary legionary soldier (miles legionarius). All of the Roman Soldiers clothing was military standard, so everyone would look uniform.

A Roman Soldiers clothing changed depending on the era and provinces where the troops were fighting and stationed.

Roman Soldiers

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Hot or Cold weather Clothing
The materials used to make their clothing was practical - lighter cloth such as linen for hot climates and heavier cloth such as wool for colder climates. The styles of a Roman Soldiers clothing also changed to suit colder climates. An example of this are trousers, or Braccae, a style of pants, made from wool. Taking these changes into account this page provides a 'generic' overview of the most common items of a Roman Soldiers Clothing. Items suitable for cold weather and those suited for hot weather are detailed on this page.

List of Roman Soldiers Clothing
The basic items of a Roman Soldiers Clothing, with some of their Latin names are detailed in the following list - clothing suitable for hot or cold weather should be taken into account:

  • The Loincloth
  • Socks (udones)
  • Leg wrappings and leg bindings (puttees)
  • Trousers (Braccae)
  • Military Tunic (Tunica) - short or long-sleeved
  • Military belt (cingulum militare)
  • Leather Lappets - Apron / Skirt of decorated strips (Pteruges)
  • Armor - corselet called the Lorica segmentata
  • Armor - helmet (galea)
  • Armor - segmented arm protector (manica)
  • Cloak (Sagum)
  • Hooded Cloak (the paenula)
  • Scarf (focale)
  • Military sandals or boots (caligae)
  • List of Roman Soldiers Clothing

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Colors
The basic clothing including the tunic or cloaks of the Roman soldier was either red (dyed with madder) or undyed material giving an off-white color.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Loincloth
Description: The loincloth was a basic item of clothing described as a one-piece male garment made of wool or linen.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Socks (udones)
Description: The socks (udones) were quite common apparel (made sense with the marching requirements of Roman Soldiers). Full coverings or socks without a toe or heel were also worn. 

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Leg Wrappings or Bindings (puttees)
Description: Leg wrappings or leg bindings (puttees) were strips of material wrapped from the ankle up to the calf of the leg.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Trousers (Braccae)
Description: Braccae is the Latin term for trousers, a style of pants, made from wool, which became popular with soldiers in the colder climates of the Empire. Braccae were fastened with a drawstring and were of varying lengths from just above the knee or to the ankles.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Military Tunic (Tunica)
Description: The Military Tunic (Tunica) was a wide, shirt-like, undergarment made made of a long piece of rectangular cloth, made of wool, cotton or linen depending on the climate. It was originally sleeveless and usually white. The tunic later acquired sleeves. The tunic was girded with great care to the exact length considered correct for the rank of the wearer.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Military belt (Cingulum militare)
Description: The Military belt (cingulum militare) was wore around the waist of the soldier and acted as a holder for his dagger and the apron that hung from the front portion of the belt.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Leather Lappets - Apron / Skirt (Pterugres)
Description: Pteruges, (aka pteryges) from Greek word meaning feathers, refers to the decorative strips of leather (lappets)which hung below the waist and from the shoulders of Roman legionaries. Pteruges hung from the belt to the lower waist. The skirt or apron was made up of leather strips and heavily studded with metal. Offering little protection, the apron would have been used as a display and as a source of noise. The Roman Soldiers also used the apron / skirt as decoration by attaching tokens and discs to signify the campaigns he had fought in.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Armor (Loricae)
Description: The protective armor covered the clothes of the soldier and consisted of the helmet (galea) was made of metal (usually iron), shoulder, arm and leg guards. Items of armor were named as follows:

  • Lorica hamata (mail armour)
  • Lorica manica (arm guards)
  • Lorica plumata (feathered armour)
  • Lorica segmentata (segmented armour)
  • Lorica squamata (scale armour)

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Cloaks (Sagum)
Description: The sagum was the woollen cloak worn by the Roman soldiers and inferior officers, open in the front and usually fastened across the shoulders by a clasp. Another style of cloak was the paenula, a poncho style cape with a central hole for the head.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Scarf (focale)
Description: The Scarf (focale) was a useful addition to the clothing worn and could be wrapped around the neck to prevent chaffing woolen scarves could be wrapped around the body for extra warmth.

Roman Soldiers Clothing - Military sandals or boots (caligae)
Description: The Military sandals or boots (caligae) were strong with the addition of iron hobnails designed to withstand miles of marching.

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