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
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
Roman Tunic - Tunica
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
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
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.