Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Clothing in Ancient Rome
Because my books begin in Caesar's time and go through the fourteenth century, I'm fascinated by how fashions changed through the centuries, and research for my historical novels has turned into a fun and time-consuming hobby.
The Roman Republic was heavily influenced by Greek culture, in everything from its literature to architecture and fashions. Much of our knowledge of early clothing comes to us from works of art, salvaged in part from archeological digs, and now residing in museums all over the world.
The standard Roman garment was the tunic, commonly called the T-tunic as its cut was basically the shape of a T. Over the tunic, men wore their togas, if they went to the Forum. Commoners usually wore plain brown tunics of wool. Yes, even in the summer, but their wool was not what ours is today. Rather it was a soft weave and could be worn in the summer. Patricians or nobles wore garments of linen and silk, usually ornamented with a band (or bands) to denote their office or status.
The cover of my first ebook shows what kind of modified Greek-style garment may have been worn by Roman patricians during Julia's time. The cover represents Julia well because she loved poetry, as did her lover, Marc Anthony's son. I wrote this novel under a nom de plume, Elizabeth Elson. It's now available at online retailers for kindle, nook, and other ereaders. During Read An Ebook week, (March 4th through March 10th) Smashwords is running a promotional, and Julia's story is available for a 25% discount only on the Smashwords site and using the discount code, REW25.
If you want to read further about period clothing, there's an interesting website, with terms and careful description of articles of clothing, here .