The Roman tunic could be worn by both men and women, usually with sleeves and cut in a variety of lengths and could be made from many different types of materials. The tunic in its variety of different forms could be worn by people of all classes.
Roman Tunic Information
The tunic was fastened by a girdle or belt about the waist, to keep it tight, which also served as a purse. Roman women wore tunics which reached down to their ankles, sometimes covering the arms and this was generally worn beneath the stola. An ankle length tunic was called a Tunica talaris (derived from the Latin word talus meaning "ankle"). The Tunica pulla was a black or dark-colored tunic worn as a sign of mourning. Another type of tunic was the Tunica recta (meaning straight) which was usually worn on special occasions such as such as marriages for girls and the coming of age for boys.
Roman Tunic - Status
Just like the toga the design, color and style of tunics signified the title, or status, of the wearer. The Clavus was a colored band or a stripe which was immediately recognised as an indication of status, office or rank. Roman magistrates wore the tunic augusticlavia. Roman senators wore a tunic with broad band or strip called the tunica laticlavia.
Roman Tunic - Tunica Palmata
During the period of the Roman Empire Tunica Palmata and the toga picta together constituted part of the 'Ornamenta Triumphalia' which was the official costume of the Roman Emperors. The Tunica Palmata was highly decorative and was covered in gold embroidery depicting various forms of foliage. There was a rich, colored border or stripe on the wrists, neck and bottom edge.
The Bands or Stripes on the Roman Tunic - The Clavus
The Clavus was a band or a stripe on the tunic which was instantly recognisable as an indication of office or rank. The number and width of the stripes on the tunic (clavus) were regulated by the Roman Sumptuary Laws. Members of the Roman Senate wore a scarlet or purple stripe as a highly distinctive badge of office. The stripe, which was about 2 inches wide was sewn or woven on the white tunica and was called the latus clavus. The sons of senators were also allowed to wear this, although the stripe was narrower. The equites were distinguished by a narrow stripe called angustus clavus which consisted of two stripes, one on either side and on the back and front of the tunica. The colors of the Augustus Clavus stripes were usually purple but various shades of red, violet or dark blue were also allowed.