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Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

27 February 2015
Assignment of European Fashion History
Assignment No: 01 (One)
Topic: Ancient Egypt , Greek & Rome

Submitted To
Lina Rezwana
Studied at Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology
Course Instructor European Fashion History
Department of Professional Course of Fashion Design
National Institute of Design (NID)

Submitted By
Mahfuza Akter [Mili]
ID : 020-014-005
(Student of Professional Course of Fashion Design NID)
Batch no. 21

National Institute of Design (NID)

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome



Todays civilizations owe an immense debt to the powerful empires and mighty cities of
antiquity. Their inventions, techniques and concepts enabled the advancement of humankind and
lay the foundation for life in the modern world.
The attire fashion and clothing is exclusively human characteristic and is a feature of most
human societies. In the most ancient days, humans started to implement clothing system to
protect their body from heat, sun, rain, cold, etc. and animal skins and vegetation were mainly
used as materials to cover their bodies. Clothing and textiles in different periods and ages reflect
the development of civilization and technologies in different periods of time at different places.
Sources available for the study of clothing and textiles include material remains discovered via
archaeology; representation of textiles and their manufacture in art; and documents concerning
the manufacture, acquisition, use, and trade of fabrics, tools, and finished garments.
Long sources of mystery, imagination, and inspiration, the myths and history of the ancient
Mediterranean have given rise to artistic, religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions that span
the centuries. In this unique and comprehensive introduction to the region's three major
civilizations, Egypt, Greece, and Rome draws a fascinating picture of the deep links between the
cultures across the Mediterranean and explores the ways in which these civilizations continue to
be influential to this day.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

1.6 HAIR
2.2 MEN
2.6 DIET


Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

3.4 FOOD
inspire dress from ancient Egypt
inspire dress from ancient Greek
inspire dress from ancient Rome



Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Ancient Fashion and Modern Fashion. Within the past few years art in dress has become an
accomplished fact, and historic costume as a serious subject of art research has developed new
and fascinating possibilities. The far-reaching archaeological connections of the subject have
been especially emphasized as recent discoveries and excavations have more and more brought
to light the manner of dress in the ancient world.
Beginning with the emergence of the earliest Egyptian civilization around 3500 BC, Charles
Freeman follows the history of the Mediterranean over a span of four millennia to AD 600,
beyond the fall of the Roman empire in the west to the emergence of the Byzantine empire in the
east. In addition to the three great civilizations, the peoples of the Ancient Near East and other
lesser-known cultures such as the Etruscans, Celts, Persians, and Phoenicians are explored. The
author examines the art, architecture, philosophy, literature, and religious practices of each
culture, set against its social, political, and economic background. More than an overview of the
primary political or military events, Egypt, Greece, and Rome pays particular attention to the
actual lives of both the everyday person and the aristocracy: Here is history brought to life.
Especially striking are the readable and stimulating profiles of key individuals throughout the
ancient world, covering persons from Homer to Horace, the Pharaoh Akhenaten to the emperor
Augustus, Alexander the Great to Julius Caesar, Jesus to Justinian, and Aristotle to Augustine.
Generously illustrated in both color and black-and-white, and drawing on the most up-to-date
scholarship, Egypt, Greece, and Rome is a superb introduction for anyone seeking a better
understanding of the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean and their legacy to the West.

The ancient Egypt is one of the oldest and culturally richest civilizations in this list. The ancient
Egyptians are known for their prodigious culture, the ever standing pyramids and the sphinx, the

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Pharaohs and the once a
majestic civilization that
resided by the banks of the
river Nile.The civilization
coalesced around 3150 BC
(according to conventional
Egyptian chronology) with the
political unification of Upper
and Lower Egypt under the first
Pharaoh. But this could not
have been possible had there
not been early settlers around
the Nile valley in the early
3500 BC.
The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of
relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age,
the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
The ancient Egypt gave us the ever standing pyramids, the mummies that preserve the ancient
Pharaohs to this day, the first of the solar calendars, Hieroglyphics and many more. The ancient
Egypt reached at its pinnacle towards the New Kingdom, where Pharaohs like Ramsee the Great
ruled with such authority that another contemporary civilization of the Nubians also came under
Egyptian rule.


Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome


The people of ancient Egypt highly valued family life. They treasured children and regarded
them as a great blessing. In the lower class families, the mother raised the children. The
wealthy and nobility, had slaves and servants that helped take care of the children by
attending to their daily needs. If a couple had no children, they would pray to the gods and
goddesses for help. They would also place letters at the tombs of dead relatives asking them
to use their influence with the gods. Magic was also used as an attempt to have children. In
event that a couple still could not conceive a child, adoption was also an option.

Although women were expected to obey their fathers and husbands, they were equal to men
in many ways. They had the legal right to participate in business deals, own land, and were
expected to represent themselves in court cases. Women even faced the same penalties as
men. Sometimes wives and mothers of pharaohs were the "real" ruling power in government,
though they ruled unknowingly to common people. Queen Hatshepsut was the only woman
who ruled out right by declaring herself pharaoh. An Egyptian wife and mother were highly
respected in this ancient society.

Young boys learned a trade or craft from their fathers or an artisan. Young girls worked and
received their training at home with their mothers. Those who could afford it sent their sons,
from about the age 7, to school to study religion, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Even
though there is no evidence of schools for girls, some were home taught to read and write and
some even became doctors.

Children were expected to look after their elderly parents. Upon their parents death, the sons
inherited the land, while daughters inherited the household goods such as furniture and
jewelry. If there were no sons in the family, there was nothing preventing the daughters from
inheriting the land. There is evidence of some women inheriting entire nomes.

Although women were expected to raise the chldren and take care of the household duties,
there were some jobs available to them. Women ran farms and businesses in the absence of
their husbands or sons. Women were employed in courts and temples as acrobats, dancers,
singers and musicians.


Peasant girls usually married around the age 12, the boys were a
few years older than the girls. Girls of more affluent families
married a few years older. The marriages were arranged by parents
of the children although some young people chose their own
spouse. While the ordinary man normally had one wife, the kings
always had several. Before the marriage ceremony, an agreement
was signed by the couple. The pre-nuptial agreement stated that the

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

wife was to receive an allowance from her husband. The contract
also stated that any material good the wife brought into the
marriage was hers to keep if the marriage ended for any reason.
Both could own land separate from each other but the wife usually
let her husband administer her land along with his.

Divorce was an option, although it was not common. If a husband

treated his wife badly, she would go to her family for help. The
wife's family would try to persuade her spouse to change his
behavior. If his behavior did not improve the divorce took place.
The divorce was a simple procedure consisting of making a simple
statement to annul the marriage in front of witnesses. The wife was
given custody of the children and was free to remarry.


Cooking was done in clay ovens as well as over open fires. Wood was used for fuel, even
though it was scarce. Food was baked, boiled, stewed, fried, grilled, or roasted. What is
known about kitchen utensils and equipment is from the items that have been found in the
tombs. Storage jars, bowls, pots, pans, ladles, sieves, and whisks were all used in the
preparation of food. Most of the commoners used dishes that were made of clay, while the
wealthy used dishes made of bronze, silver, and gold.

Beer was the most popular beverage, and bread was the staple food in the Egyptian diet. The
beer was made with barley. The barley was left to dry, and then baked into loaves of bread.
The baked barley loaves were then broken into pieces and mixed with the dried grain in a
large jug of water and left to ferment. Wine was a drink that was produced by the Egyptians,
however, it was usually found only at the tables of the wealthy. To make the bread, women
ground wheat into flour. The flour was then pounded by men to make a fine grain. Sesame
seeds, honey, fruit, butter, and herbs were often added to the dough to help flavor the bread.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome


Cleansing rituals were very important to the Egyptians. Most people bathed daily in the river
or out of a water basin at home. The wealthy had a separate room in their home to bath.
Servants would pour jugs of water over their master (the equivalent of a modern day shower).
The runoff water drained away through a pipe that led to the garden. Instead of washing with
soap, a cleansing cream was used. This cream was made from oil, lime, and perfume.

People rubbed themselves daily with perfumed oil. Perfume was made from flowers and
scented wood mixed with oil or fat, and was left in a pot until the oil had absorbed the scent.
The perfumed oil was used to prevent the skin from drying out in the harsh climate. At
parties, servants put cones of perfumed grease on the heads of the guests. As the grease
melted, it ran down their face with a pleasing cooling effect.

Men, women and children of all ages and classes wore makeup. Mirrors of highly polished
silver or copper were used to aid with the application of makeup. Eye paint was made from
green malachite, and galena -- a gray lead ore. They were ground into a powder and mixed
with oil to make eye color called Kohl. The Kohl was kept in jars and applied to the eyes
with a small stick. The upper and lower eyelids were painted with the black cosmetic that
extended in a line out to the sides of the face. It was believed the makeup had magical and
even healing powers. Some even believed that wearing it would restore poor eyesight. It was
also used to fight eye infections and reduce the glare of the sun.

Other cosmetics used included colors for the lips, cheeks and nails. A type of clay called red
ochre was ground and mixed with water, and applied to the lips and cheeks. Henna was used
to dye the fingernails yellow and orange. Makeup was stored in special jars and the jars were
stored in special makeup boxes. Women would carry their makeup boxes with them to parties
and keep them under their chairs.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome


Hair styles were very similar to that of todays. The common folk wore their hair short. Young
girlsusually kept their hair in pigtails while boys had shaved heads, except for one braided
lock worn to one side. Wigs were worn by both men and women. The wigs were made of
sheep's wool or human hair for decoration and for protection from the heat. Wigs were
usually worn at parties and official functions. Hair pieces were also added to real hair to
enhance it. When not in use, wigs were stored in special boxes on a stand inside the home.


Everyone in Egypt wore some type of jewelry. Rings and amulets were especially worn to
ward off the evil spirits and injury. Both men and women wore pierced earrings, armlets,
bracelets, and anklets. The rich wore jeweled or beaded collars, called a wesekh, necklaces,
and pendants. For the rich, jewelry was made of gold, silver, or electrum (gold mixed with
silver) and inlaid with semi-precious stones of turquoise, lapis lazuli (a deep blue stone), and
carnelian (a copper or reddish orange stone). The poorer people wore jewelry that was made
of copper or faience (made by heating powdered quartz).

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome


Egyptian clothing styles did not change much throughout ancient times. Clothes were usually
made of linens ranging from coarse to fine texture. During the Old and Middle kingdoms,
men usually wore a short skirt called a kilt. Women wore a straight fitting dress held up by
straps. The wealthy men wore pleated kilts, and the older men wore a longer kilt. When
doing hard work, men wore a loin cloth, and women wore a short skirt. Children usually ran
around nude during the summer months, while in the winter, wraps and cloaks were worn.
Noblewomen sometimes wore beaded dresses.

During the New Kingdom, noblemen would sometimes wear a long robe over his kilt, while
the women wore long pleated dresses with a shawl. Some kings and queens wore decorative
ceremonial clothing with feathers and sequins. Most people went barefoot, but wore sandals
on special occasions. The king wore very elaborately decorated sandals, and sometimes
decorative gloves on his hands. Clothing styles were chosen for comfort in the hot, dry
climate of Egypt.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome


The Egyptian climate with its hot summers and mild winters favoured light clothing made
from plant fibers, predominantly linen and in Roman times occasionally cotton, an import
from India Wool was used to a lesser extent , and seldom by Egyptians proper.

Small amounts of silk were traded to the eastern Mediterranean possibly as early as the
second half of the second millennium BCE and traces of silk have been found in Egyptian
tombs . Animal skins, above all leopard skins, were sometimes worn by priests and by
pharaohs in their role as first servants of the god. Such outfits were found in Tutankhamen's
tomb and were depicted quite frequently on the walls of tombs. At times kings and queens
wore decorative ceremonial clothing adorned with feathers.


For more than half of the recorded history of ancient Egypt there is almost no record of the
use of footwear. The main source of evidence for this period, the pictorial stories found in
tombs known as hieroglyphs, showed every class of person, from the ruling pharaoh (king or
queen), to the lowly worker, going barefoot. This may not mean that people never wore some
foot protection, but it does seem to indicate that footwear was of very little importance.

Historians are not sure why sandals were suddenly introduced but, beginning at the start of
the New Kingdom period of Egyptian history in about 1500 B.C.E. , sandals suddenly began
to appear on the hieroglyphs depicting scenes of Egyptian life. Egyptians had developed
advanced shoemaking skills for their time, and they created sandals woven of reeds or leather
that were quite similar in design to many modern sandals.
Though the design of Egyptian sandals was simple, the wealthy still found ways to adorn
them. Some had buckles on the straps made of precious metals, while others had jewels
embedded in the woven soles. Some sandal designs had turned up toes, probably to keep
sand out of the shoe as the wearer walked.

There is very little evidence of the use of covered shoes in ancient Egypt. The few that have
been found were woven from palm fiber and grass. Such shoes seem to have been prized
possessions. Sometimes travelers removed their shoes to keep them safe while they were on

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

the road and then put them on again at journey's end. Other shoes have been found in tombs,
indicating that they were important items to the dead person.

Egyptian homes were made from bricks of sun dried mud, called adobe, because wood was
scarce. A nobleman's home was divided into three areas: a reception area, a hall, and the
private quarters. The windows and doors on the house were covered with mats to keep out
the flies, dust, and heat.The inside walls were decorated with wall hangings made of leather,
and the floors were covered with tile. Sometimes there was a room on the roof with three
walls where the family slept on hot summer nights.

The commoners lived in town houses usually two to three stories high. The first story of the
town home was usually reserved for businesses, while the second and third floors provided
the family living space. Many people slept on the roof during the summer to keep cool.
Sewage had to be disposed of by each household in pits, in the river, or in the streets. Most
all people had some furniture consisting mostly of a stool, small boxes for jewelry and
cosmetics, chests for clothing, pottery jars, and oil lamps. Each home was equipped with at
least one fly catcher.


Egyptians spent their spare time doing a wide variety of things, and many of these activities
are shown on the tomb walls. Dramatizations were held in the temples, but the most
important source of entertainment & relaxation was the Nile river. Activities on the river
include fishing, river boat outings, swimming, hunting crocodiles and hippopotamuses, and
boat games where two teams of men in boats with long poles, would try to push each other
into the water. Hunting in the desert was another great pastime, especially for the noblemen.
Men first hunted on foot, however, by the time of the New Kingdom, men used horses and

More friendly gods had celebrations held by the people, and not the priests. Bes is one of the
gods the people held a festival for. On the day of Bes, no work was done on the pyramid, and
people would parade down the street dressed in masks of Bes, while dancers and tambourine
players followed. The townspeople joined in the singing from their rooftops, while the
children would run along beside the dancers singing and clapping their hands. The whole
town enjoyed the festival and feast.

All these things belonged to the luxurious side of ancient life, but Egyptian art records the
humbler phases too. There are figures of dark skinned slaves brought to the Nile ports in wargalleys from the African interior, wearing the primitive loin cloth, or the short skirt, which
were commonly worn by servants and peas ants, and by scribes. Strange foreign figures are
sometimes portrayed, of Asiatic envoys, and "Philistines" with a distinctive headdress and
European cast of features. Many different notes in the garb of old Egypt throws light on the daily
life of the people.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

The pharaohs in ancient Egypt held absolute power. About 500 BCE, the Greeks set up a very
different form of government that became known as a democracy. In a democracy the people
rule themselves. (Even so, not everyone in Greece was equal since only free men were allowed
to vote.) Each Greek city-state was like an independent country because each one had its own
government and its own laws.
The Greeks made many major contributions to
the development of Western civilization. For
example, Greek architecture is still copied
today. Modern theater is based on the principles
established by the Greeks. They also made key
discoveries in mathematics, science, and
medicine. Euclid discovered the basic rules of
geometry. Archimedes found out how to
measure the circumference of a circle as well as
the law governing floating objects in water.
Hippocrates attacked the use of magic in
medicine and wrote a code of ethics for doctors.
But the greatest contribution of all was in the
field of philosophy. The word philosophy means love of wisdom. The ideas of Greek
philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who lived in the city-state of Athens, have
shaped and guided the way Westerners have thought through the ages. They asked hard questions
about the meaning of life, the true nature of the world, and the proper role of citizens.
The golden age of Greek civilization didnt last forever. One reason was that the Greeks
constantly fought each other. Sparta and Athens, for instance, waged war against each other for
many years. This Peloponnesian War weakened the city-states and made them vulnerable to
invasion. In 338 BCE Philip of Macedonia conquered Greece. His son Alexander the Great went
on to conquer most of the lands between Greece in the west, Egypt in the south, and India in the

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

The ancient Greeks did not generally leave elaborate grave goods, except for a coin in the hand
to pay Charon, the ferryman to Hades, and pottery; however the epitaphios or funeral oration
(from which epitaph comes) was regarded as of great importance, and animal sacrifices were
Those who could afford them erected stone monuments, which was one of the functions of
kouros statues in the Archaic period before about 500 BCE. These were not intended as portraits,
but during the Hellenistic period realistic portraiture of the deceased were introduced and family
groups were often depicted in bas-relief on monuments, usually surrounded by an architectural
The walls of tomb chambers were often painted in fresco, although few examples have survived
in as good condition as the Tomb of the Diver from southern Italy. Almost the only surviving
painted portraits in the classical Greek tradition are found in Egypt rather than Greece.
The Fayum mummy portraits, from the very end of the classical period, were portrait faces, in a
Graeco-Roman style, attached to mummies.
Early Greek burials were frequently marked above ground by a large piece of pottery, and
remains were also buried in urns. Pottery continued to be used extensively inside tombs and
graves throughout the classical period. The larnax is a small coffin or ash-chest, usually of
decorated terracotta.
The two-handled loutrophoros was primarily associated with weddings, as it was used to carry
water for the nuptial bath. However, it was also placed in the tombs of the unmarried,
"presumably to make up in some way for what they had missed in life."
The one-handled lekythos had many household uses, but outside the household its principal use
was for decoration of tombs. Scenes of a descent to the underworld of Hades were often painted
on these, with the dead depicted beside Hermes, Charon or both - though usually only with
Small pottery figurines are often found, though it is hard to decide if these were made especially
for placing in tombs; in the case of the Hellenistic Tanagra figurines this seems probably not the
case. But silverware is more often found around the fringes of the Greek world, as in the royal

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Macedonian tombs of Vergina, or in the neighbouring cultures like those of Thrace or the

Men ran the government, and spent a great deal of their time
away from home. When not involved in politics, the men spent
time in the fields, overseeing or working the crops, sailing,
hunting, in manufacturing or in trade. For fun, in addition to
drinking parties, the men enjoyed wrestling, horseback riding,
and the famous Olympic Games. When the men entertained
their male friends, at the popular drinking parties, their wives
and daughters were not allowed to attend.

With the exception of ancient Sparta, Greek women had very
limited freedom outside the home. They could attend weddings,
funerals, some religious festivals, and could visit female
neighbors for brief periods of time. In their home, Greek
women were in charge. Their job was to run the house and to
bear children.
Most Greek women did not do housework themselves. Most
Greek households had slaves. Female slaves cooked, cleaned,
and worked in the fields. Male slaves watched the door, to
make sure no one came in when the man of the house was
away, except for female neighbors, and acted as tutors to the
young male children. Wives and daughters were not allowed to
watch the Olympic Games as the participants in the games did
not wear clothes. Chariot racing was the only game women
could win, and only then if they owned the horse. If that horse
won, they received the prize.

The ancient

Greeks considered their children to be 'youths' until they reached the age of 30!
When a child was born to ancient Greek family, a naked father carried his
child, in a ritual dance, around the household. Friends and relatives sent
gifts. The family decorated the doorway of their home with a
wreath of olives (for a boy) or a wreath of wool (for a girl).
In Athens, as in most Greek city-states, with the exception of
Sparta, girls stayed at home until they were married. Like
their mother, they could attend certain festivals, funerals,
and visit neighbors for brief periods of time. Their job was
to help their mother, and to help in the fields, if necessary.
Ancient Greek children played with many toys, including rattles, little clay animals,
horses on 4 wheels that could be pulled on a string, yo-yo's, and terra-cotta dolls.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Greek houses, in the 6th and 5th century B.C., were made up of two or three rooms, built around
an open air courtyard, built of stone, wood, or clay bricks. Larger homes might also have a
kitchen, a room for bathing, a men's dining room, and perhaps a woman's sitting area.
Although the Greek women were allowed to leave their homes for only short periods of time,
they could enjoy the open air, in the privacy of their courtyard. Much of ancient Greek family
life centered around the courtyard.
The ancient Greeks loved stories and fables. One favorite family activity was to gather in the
courtyard to hear these stories, told by the mother or father. In their courtyard, Greek women
might relax, chat, and sew

Most meals were enjoyed in a courtyard near the home. Greek cooking equipment was small and
light and could easily be set up there. On bright, sunny days, the women probably sheltered
under a covered area of their courtyard, as the ancient Greeks believed a pale complexion was a
sign of beauty.
Food in Ancient Greece consisted of grains, figs, wheat to make bread, barley, fruit, vegetables,
breads, and cake. People in Ancient Greece also ate grapes, seafood of all kinds, and drank wine.
Along the coastline, the soil was not very fertile, but the ancient Greeks used systems of
irrigation and crop rotation to help solve that problem.
They kept goats, for milk and cheese. They sometimes hunted for meat.

In ancient Athens, wedding ceremonies started after
dark. The veiled bride traveled from her home to the
home of the groom while standing in a chariot. Her
family followed the chariot on foot, carrying the
Friends of the bride and groom lit the way, carrying
torches and playing music to scare away evil spirits.
During the wedding ceremony, the bride would eat
an apple, or another piece of fruit, to show that food
and other basic needs would now come from her
Gifts to the new couple might include baskets,
furniture, jewelry, mirrors, perfume, vases filled
with greenery.
In ancient Sparta, the ceremony was very simple.
After a tussle, to prove his superior strength, the groom would toss his bride over his shoulder
and carried her off.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Dance was very important to the ancient Greeks. They believed that dance improved both
physical and emotional health. Rarely did men and women dance together. Some dances were
danced by men and others by women.
There were more than 200 ancient Greek dances; comic dances, warlike dances, dances for
athletes and for religious worship, plus dances for weddings, funerals, and celebrations.
Dance was accompanied by music played on lyres, flutes, and a wide variety of percussion
instruments such as tambourines, cymbals and castanets.

The ancient Greeks loved stories. They created many marvelous stories, myths, and fables that
we enjoy today, like Odysseus and the Terrible Sea and Circe, a beautiful but evil enchantress.
Aesop's Fables, written by Aesop, an ancient Greek, are still read and enjoyed all over the world.


Greek, Macedonian and Roman men favored toga-like garments while ancient Chinese and
Persian men often wore trousers. Greek men wore two kinds of clothing: a cloak draped in
various ways around the body with "varying degrees of modesty" (the himation ), and a cloak
draped around one shoulder and pinned to the other (the chlamys ). Belts were sometimes
worn and excess material was stuffed into a pouch.
Greek women initially wore a peplos , a garment consisting of two bed sheet-size pieces of
cloth, one in the front and one in the back, that were held together with two dagger-like pins,
one over each shoulder. According to legend this garment was popular until Athens fought a
war with the city-state of Aegina. During the battle every man was killed but one. When the
survivor delivered the news to the wives and mothers of dead men, the women took out their
anger with their dagger-pins, stabbing the man to death. Greek officials were so outraged by
the behavior of women, they forced the women to wear Ionic style chintons . These garments
were virtually the same as the peplos except they were fastened together with buttons not

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

lethal pins. [Source: "Greek and Roman Life" by Ian Jenkins from the British Museum,||]
As early as 2500 B.C. women in Minoa wore bras that completely lifted the a woman's
breasts out of her garments. Greek and Roman women strapped in their breasts with bands of
cloth that flattened their chest and reduced their breast size.


Most cloth was made from wool and linen. Much of it was rather course. Very few remnants
of Greek cloth remain. Most of what we know comes from written records, sculptures, basreliefs and vase paintings. Penelope's loom was a major feature of the Odyssey . Homer refers
to "fair purple blankets" and "thick mantels.
The Greeks and Romans used leather and developed fairly sophisticated methods of tanning.
Roman soldiers wore breastplates of felt and armies traveled with sheep and looms to clothed
their soldiers. Instead of mothballs Romans used bare breasted virgins to fight off wool
eating moths.
The Romans and Greeks were familiar with silk, but they had no idea how it was made. Pliny
the Elder speculated the textile was made from "the hair of the sea-sheep" and Aristotle
described the silkworm as a horned worm the size of a cat. Alexander the Great brought silk
back with him after his conquest of Persia, and the fabric was all the rage in ancient Rome,
where laws were passed to curb demand for the cloth.
The Greeks imported from purple cloth from Tyre, embroideries from Sidon and fine linen
from Egypt. Silk from China and fine muslins from India began making their way to the
wealthy with some regularity after Alexander's conquests. Blue India dye is derived from a
blue powder extracted from the indigofera plant. The dye was known to the Greeks and
Romans and used by Egyptians to dye mummy cases.
The Greeks used brown, red and yellow dyes made from plants, bark and minerals. Many of
their garments were bleached white and adorned with hand applied designs with geometric


Most cloth was made with relatively simple warpweighted looms. Women and slaves made cloth at home
or bought it in shops, worked by freed slaves or
artisans, who used specialized in one process---cleaning
and carding, spinning, dyeing or weaving.
It is believed that women spent most of their time
weaving. Wool was the most common fiber available
and flax was also widely used. Cotton was stuffed into
the saddles of Alexander the Great's cavalry in India to
relieve soreness but that was largely the extent of its

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

introduction to Greece.| [Source: "Greek and Roman
Life" by Ian Jenkins from the British Museum,||]

The methods used to make wool and cloth in ancient Greece lived on for centuries. After a
sheep was sheared, the wool was placed on a spike called a distaff. A strand of wool was then
pulled off; a weight known as whorl was attached to it; and the strand was twisted into a
thread by spinning with it the thumb and forefinger. Since each thread was made this way,
you can how time consuming it must have been to make a piece of cloth or a sail for a ship.||
To make cloth, threads were placed on a warp-weighted loom (similar to ones used by Lapp
weavers until the 1950's). Warps are the downward hanging threads on a loom, and they were
set up so that every other thread faced forward and the others were in the back. A weft
(horizontal thread) was then taken in between the forward and backward row of warps.
Before the weft was threaded through in the other direction, the position of the warps was
changed with something called a heddle rod. This simple tool reversed the warps so that the
row in the front was now in the rear, and visa versa. In this way the threads were woven in a
cross stitch manner that held them together and created cloth. The cloth in turn was used to
make cushions, upholstery for wooden furniture and wall hangings as well as garments and


The first known hats with brims were worn by ancient Greeks in the fifth century B.C. The
broad rimmed pelasus of ancient Greece is considered by some scholars to be the world's
first hat. It was worn while traveling for protection from the weather. They had chin straps
that allowed them to hang down on the back when not needed.
Sandals were the primary form of footwear in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and
Rome. Wealthy Greeks wore sandals decorated with jewels and gold. Roman developed
sandals with thicker soles, leather sides and laced insteps. Footwear was mainly the rich. The
poor mostly went barefoot.
Ancient shoes where generally made from woven palm leaves,
vegetable fibre, leather or papyrus and were kept in place on the
foot with linen or leather bands. The oldest known shoes are
moccasin-like rawhide footwear with laces worn in Babylonia
around 1600 B.C. Greek women wore similar shoes around 600

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

B.C. As early as 600 B.C. Greek women wore socklike slippers

called sykhos , the source of the word sock.
In the 5th century B.C. actors wore platform shoes not unlike those worn by modern glam
rockers. Early Greek actors and comedians wore a light pull-on shoes or sykhos. Developed
versions of these were made of leather and wood and had a division between the first and
second toes.

The Greeks had a lot of jewellery, made from gold, silver, and precious stones (mostly for
woman). Both the men and woman wore jewellery, but it was not likely to for poor people to
wear jewellery because they were very expensive back then and they still are today. Rich people
could afford to but elegant earrings which was made of gold. Since it was very fashionable to
have pale skin, fortunate people showed their skin off by wearing bold coloured bracelets, but
peasants and servants didn't have pale skin because they would always be working in the hot sun.
Rich woman also had headbands which were made of gold. The Greeks would also wear lots of
brooches. A brooch is a decorative piece of jewellery that is to be attached to a garment. The
ancient Greek women would attach their brooches to their chiton for everyday use to make them
look fancier and it was something all women did. Over many years, the styles changed during the
Archaic Period woman wore their hair long, in a headband. During the Classical Period, hair was
worn up with all sorts of ribbons, nets or scarves. In the Hellenistic Period woman had curls that
which were in fashion, and the hair was usually worn up.


Aristotle once said "beauty is a far greater recommendation than any letter of

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

introduction." Unlike the Egyptians and Romans, who used lots of make-up and perfume
and wore flashy hairstyle, the Greeks preferred the natural look. The unadorned male
body in particular was glorified in sport and sculpture. Make up was associated
The customs of make up, coiffed hair and perfume were kept alive by courtesans. They
even freshened their breath with aromatic liquids that they rolled around in the mouth and
on their tongue. The use of cosmetics was looked down upon on ordinary women. The
4th century historian Xenophon wrote: "When I found her painted, I pointed out that she
was being dishonest in attempting to deceive me about her looks as I should be were I to
deceive her about my property."
The pale complexion a woman received from staying indoors all the time was seen as a
sign of virtue and beauty. Some women whiten their faces, bosoms and necks with a
white powder made from lead. Greeks and Roman used an arsenic compound to remove
hair and cinnabar, a poisonous red sulfide of mercury, for lipstick and rouge. One of the
most popular forms of make-up was cheek rogue. Worn by both men and women, it was
made from plant substance such as seaweed or mulberry mixed with highly toxic


Minoan woman Greek men had beards and long hair. Shaving didn't become widespread
until the Roman era. The razor, in fact, was considered a woman's toiletry article. Women
wore their hair long, unless they were a slave or in mourning, then they sported a bob. The
long hair of non-mourning women was gathered, curled, tied and bound in bonnets and bows
according to fashion. Roman women often spent hours with there hairdressers, creating
elaborate coiffures and this indulgent behavior was often satirized in plays. [Source: "Greek
and Roman Life" by Ian Jenkins from the British Museum,||]
Long hair and fair skin were greatly esteemed by the Greeks. Short hair was associated with
barbarianism. Greek actors sometimes wore wigs. Greeks and Romans used a variety of
hairpins. Roman men reportedly shaved daily. The Latin word for beard, barba , is the source
of the word barber.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Upper class Greek culture is the first known culture to prize light or blond hair. It was
equated with desirability and innocence. Many Greek heros such as Achilles, Meenelaus and
Paris had light hair. Some Greeks lightened their hair with soaps and alkaline bleaches
available from Phoenicia. Some courtesans died their hair with a concoction made from
apple-scented yellow flowers, pollen and potassium salts.
Men it seemed were more found of lightening their hair than women. They used yellow
pollen, yellow flour and even gold powder. The 4th century dramatist Menander wrote:
"After washing their hair with a special ointment made in Athens, they sit bareheaded in the
sun by the hour, waiting for their hair to turn a beautiful golden blond. And it does."

Greek men scented different parts of their body with
different perfumes. Writers in 400 B.C. suggested
almond oil for the hands and feet, mint for the arms,
thyme for the knees, rose, cinnamon or palm oil for the
jaws and chest, and marjoram for the hair and
eyebrows. Some politicians found use of these of
fragrances to be so obsessive they suggested passing
laws banning them.
Greeks used perfumed oils based on Egyptian recipes as
deodorants. Alexander the Great was fond of perfumes
and incense. He had his tunics soaked in the scent of
The ancient Greeks made perfumes and medicines from roses and added lavender oil to
public baths. They also used tangerine, orange and lemon as scents and kept perfumes in
translucent alabaster flasks. The Romans poured rose water in their baths and released
aromas into the air during banquets and orgies with perfumed white doves that dispensed
scent as they flew about. Rich Roman aristocrats slept on pillows stuffed with saffron when
they suffered a hangover.

Though little is known about the earliest Greek costume and the transitions to the later style, the
Heroic Age of Greek story and legend must have been one of bright-hued garments and rich gold
ornaments. Modern knowledge obtained from the excavations of Mycenae and Tiryns points to a
very real background for Homeric traditions. Details are wanting, and we do not know exactly in
what attire to picture the women who lived when fair Helen is supposed to have beguiled her
victims, and Penelope kept her lonely state. For modern representations of old Greek dramas
founded on the Heroic Age, costumes are chosen with some latitude as to time and place.
Stephen Phillips' modern play of " Ulysses " was first brought out in London twenty years ago,
and authorities of the British Museum lent their aid in designing the superb setting and costumes
according to the latest knowledge then available. Architectural details were based on the
discoveries at Mycenae, but the characters were dressed from artistic suggestions of a later date.
A little more information is available nowadays, and producers have made some experiments in

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

There are late Greek fashions of the era when Oriental influences in the wealthy and flourishing
Greek colonies must have produced changes, and these have not been so thoroughly investigated
as more ancient modes.

The great Roman Empire had a humble beginning. Farmers in about 750 BCE first settled the
region around the present-day city of Rome. A northern tribe, the Etruscans, soon overran these
settlers. The Etruscans improved the land by draining swamps. They also built excellent roads,
established trade, and developed new architectural techniques including the arch.
In 509 BCE the Romans drove the
Etruscans and their king out of the city. The
Romans did not like a monarchy so they
established a new type of government
called a republic. In the Roman republic,
the voters elected representatives to run the
government. These elected officials served
in the Roman Senate. But Rome was not a
true democracy. Only the most wealthy and
powerful citizens were allowed to serve in
the Senate.
Soon Rome grew more powerful and began conquering its neighbors. The Greeks in southern
Italy fell first, and then the Romans defeated Hannibal and the Carthaginians from northern
Africa. The Romans added additional provinces in France (called Gaul), Britain, and the Middle
East. The genius of the Romans was their ability to govern their far-flung republic well. They did
this through a unified set of laws, a skilled civil service, and a well-disciplined army. The
Romans also built roads that connected Rome to every other part of the republic. The peace they
established throughout their vast territory lasted many years and was called the Pax Romana, or
Roman Peace.
All was not so peaceful back in Rome, however. Powerful army generals could control elections.
One such leader was Julius Caesar, who defeated his rivals and made himself the sole ruler of
Rome. On March 15 (the Ides of March) in 44 BCE, a group of rivals assassinated Caesar. This
led to a long line of emperors. The old republic was dead.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome


Family had had a very solid social

position since the beginnings of
Rome. The Roman familia was
organised as a patriarchy - it means
that the whole authority rested in
fathers hands. The usual family
consisted of: father, mother, single
daughters and those, who were
married but still lived with their
parents and siblings, unmarried and
married sons with their wives and
children, and slaves. Fathers
authority ranged over all members of
family; in remote past he could even
decide about children's life and death (if he found neonate child illegitimate, he could not
accept it and order to ditch it). It is interesting that the son, even if he was married or came of
age, was unable to have own estate. He couldnt inherit and own till the time when the father
died. In relation to the slaves paters authority was absolute: he could sell, kill, leave or set
them free.
There were two sorts of marriage in Rome: in manum, when a woman wasnt incident to
paters authority and depends only on her husband, and sine conventione in manum women
was still subject to her father, lived with her parents and siblings, and kept the succession
The age border needed to contract marriage was very low girls had to be just 12 and boys
14 (in fact, this border, especially for boys, was much higher).
During the engagement ceremony, which took place before the wedding, a groom handed a
coin or an iron ring to his future wife. The marriage ceremony was usually the same. In
witnesses presence groom and bride gave hands to each other, and assented to marriage, then
gods were asked for blessing. When the first star appeared on the sky, bride left the feast and
made for her new house. After her husband, who was waiting on the doorstep, had given
water and fire to her.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

The births of the children were the most important events in familys life. After a child had
been born, it was brought and put in front of the father. If he picked it up, it symbolised that
he had found it legitimate. A child was named when it was 10 days old. At first Roman names
consisted of 2 parts, then, in the times of the Republic and later, of 3: name, kind of surname
and alias. There were few names in ancient Rome, so Romans replaced them with


Roman streets were filled with the crowds of people making their way to work, school, or
just walking, even in the early morning. The poor lived in dilapidated cottages or rented
rooms and flats in tenement houses. These narrow and high tenements were built in a quick
and dirty way, and they often collapsed or became destroyed by fire. Storeys of such
buildings stuck out toward the street, thats why Cicero said about the Rome as about a city
hung in air on houses storeys. Therefore, it isnt surprising that poorer citizens avoid
staying in their own homes and spend their time in the city, which offered a lot of
entertainment to them.
Wealthy Romans couldnt complain about their houses - they lived in luxury villas,
surrounded by vast gardens and ponds. Roman houses consisted of three parts: a front one
and a middle, which was covered with tiles and of a peristyle. There were lots of columns,
flowers, pictures and a fountain in it. Under a peristyle there was a cellar. Atrium was a kind
of a presentable lounge, family life concentrated in peristyle and nearby rooms. Slaves
lived close to the atrium

Ancient Romans ate three meals during the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner that was eaten late
in the afternoon. Breakfast consisted of cheese, fruit, bread, milk or wine. Lunch wasnt served.
Romans usually ate leftovers from the yesterday meals. This meal contained meal dishes, fish,
fruit, cheese and wine. The most important and generous was dinner. Romans used to eat it lying
on sofas and a lots of slaves had to serve them. Dinner consisted of different sorts of meat, fish
with vegetables, snacks, fresh or dried fruit and wine. Ancient Romans didnt care the tidiness
during the mealtime, for example they unscrupulously threw rests of the food on the floo


Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Roman dress differed from one class to another. The tunic was worn by plebians (common
people), herdsmen and slaves was made from a coarse dark material. The tunic worn by
patricians was made from white wool or linen. Magistrates wore the tunic augusticlavia, and
senators wore a tunic with broad strips, tunica laticlavia. Military tunics were shorter than those
worn by civilians.

Wigs were worn by men as a disguise and to
hide baldness. Hairstyles and beards varied
with the times. In early Roman times, men
wore long hair and full beards. For a while,
they were clean-shaven with short hair.
About 1 Century AD, they had started to
style their hair, and wear beards again.

Rings were the only jewelry worn by Roman citizen men, and good manners dictated only one
ring. Of course, some men did not follow "good taste", and wore as many as sixteen rings. Most
early Roman jewelry resembled Greek and Etruscan jewelry, but Roman styles eventually
developed. The Romans were fond of colored stones such as topaz, emeralds, rubies and
sapphires. Pendants, especially cameos in gold frames, were popular.

Wool, the most commonly used fibre, was most likely the first material to be spun. The sheep of
Tarentum were renowned for the quality of their wool, although the Romans never ceased trying
to optimise the quality of wool through cross-breeding. The production of linen and hemp was
very similar to that of wool and was described by Pliny the Elder. After the harvest, the material
would be immersed (most probably in water), it would be skinned and then aired. Once dry, the
fibers would be pressed mechanically (with a mallet) and then smoothed. Following this, the
materials were woven. Linen and hemp both are tough and durable materials.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Silk and Cotton

Silk and cotton were imported, from China and India respectively. Silk was rare and
expensive; a luxury afforded only to the richest. Due to the cost of imported clothing, quality
garments were also woven from nettle.
Wild silk, that is, cocoons collected from the wild after the insect had eaten its way out, also
was known. Wild silk, being of smaller lengths, had to be spun. A rare luxury cloth with a
beautiful golden sheen, known as sea silk, was made from the long silky filaments or byssus
produced by Pinna nobilis, a large Mediterranean seashell.
These different fibres had to be prepared in different ways. According to Forbes, their wool
contained around 50% fatty impurities, flax and hemp were about 25% impure, silk was
between 19 and 25% impure, while cotton (the most pure of all the source fibers) contained
only 6% impurities.


The Romans had to turn their material with a manual

spinner. Iron alum was used as the base fixing agent and it
is known that the marine gastropod, Haustellum brandaris,
was used as a red dye, due to its purple-red colorant (6,6'dibromoindigotin); the color of the emperor. The dye was
imported from Tyre, Lebanon and was used primarily by
wealthy women. Cheaper versions were also produced by
A more widely used tint was indigo, allowing blue or
yellow shades, while madder, a dicotyledon angiosperm,
produced a shade of red and was one of the cheapest dyes
available. According to Pliny the Elder, a blackish color was
preferred to red. Yellow, obtained from saffron, was expensive and reserved for the clothing
of married women or the Vestal Virgins. There were far fewer colors than in the modern era.
Archaeological discoveries of Greek vases depict the art of weaving, while writers in the
field of antiques mention the art of weaving and fibre production. Some clothes have
survived for several centuries and, as clothing is necessary, examples are numerous and
diverse. These materials often provide some of the most detailed and precious information on
the production means used, on the dyes used, on the nature of the soil where the materials
were grown and, therefore, on trade routes and climate, among many other things.
Historical research in the area of ancient clothing is very active and allows researchers to
understand a great deal about the lifestyle of the Romans. The materials used were similar to
those used by the ancient Greeks, except the tilling process had been ameliorated and the
tilled linen and wool were of a far superior quality.

Hides, Leather, and Skins

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

The Romans had two main ways of tanning, one of which was mineral tanning, or "tawing" making hide into leather without the use of tanning, especially by soaking it in a solution of
alum and salt. The Romans used tools that resembled those that would be used in the Middle
The tanned leather then was used to fashion heavy coats to keep Roman soldiers warm
during travel, and in more frigid areas of Rome, it was used during cold seasons.
The leather was not given to the soldiers by the military commanders or overseers, but rather
from the soldier's wives and family before the soldiers left for a campaign. Although leather
sometimes was used for protection against poor weather, its primary use was in footwear and
Animal skins were worn over the helmet with bearskins being popular among legionaries and
feline among with Praetorians. Ancient Roman taxidermists would retain the entire body and
the head, with the front legs tied to fasten over the armor. The animal's head would fit over
the soldier's helmet, and mostly was worn by the Roman aquilifer, who carried the symbol of
Rome into battle.
The Romans rarely used goatskin for their leather, preferring pig or sheepskin, although the
ideal would be the preferred leather was that most readily available - cattle skin. The thickest
and most durable leather was used for shoe soles - they had to be durable to endure war.

The act of putting on outer garments such as the toga or pallium, was described as amicire,
which led to any individual outer garment sometimes being identified as an amictus without it
being thought necessary to specify which outer garment was referred to. The equivalent term for
the donning of undergarments,such as the tunica, was induere (indutus).

Looms and Their Effect on Clothing

In general, individual clothes were woven on vertical looms during antiquity. This contrasts with
the medieval period when cloth was produced on foot-powered horizontal looms that later was
made into clothes by tailors. Evidence for the transition between these two distinct systems, from
Egypt, suggests that it had begun by 298 AD but it is likely that it was very gradual. The weaver
sat at the horizontal loom producing rectangular lengths of cloth which never were wider than
the weaver's two arms could reach with the shuttle. Conversely, a weaver who stood at a vertical
loom could weave cloth of a greater width than was possible sitting down, including the toga,
which could, and did, have a complex shape.


Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

The variations of clothing worn in Rome were similar to the clothing worn in Greece at the same
time, with the exception of the traditionally Roman toga. Until the 2nd century BC, the toga was
worn by both genders and bore no distinction of rank - after that, a woman wearing a toga was
marked out as a prostitute. The differentiation between rich and poor was made through the
quality of the material; the upper-classes wore thin, naturally colored, wool togas while the
lower-classes wore coarse material or thin felt. They also differentiated by colors used:

the toga praetextata, with a purple border, worn by male children and magistrates during
official ceremonies the toga picta or toga palmata, with a gold border, used by generals in
their triumphs trabea - toga entirely in purple, worn by statues of deities and emperors saffron
toga - worn by augurs and priestesses, white with a purple band, also worn by consuls on
public festivals and equites during a transvectio
A Roman could tell how important or wealthy a person was from their toga. Free Roman men
wore the toga instead of a cloak. It was originally an Etruscan garment worn in earlier times
by both men and women of all classes. The toga was made from white wool or white
Egyptian linen. It was square or rectangular in shape and was worn draped around the body.
The toga was worn often during state occasions. Consuls and senators wore a toga edged
with purple. Some Roman senators wore white tigas that were ten meters long. Some
emperors' togas were made entirely from either purple or black cloth. Black togas, though,
were usually only worn in times of mourning.
Togas looked like a white sheet 9 yards long. They were arranged very carefully, in a stylish
way. Togas fell out of style rather early. (The toga was inconvenient, and people felt the cold
when they wore it.) To get anyone to wear them, even very early emperors had to legislate
the wearing of togas by at least senators. Eventually, the emperors gave up.


Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

The Romans switched to comfortable tunics, which looked like long tee-shirts. They were far
more practical. Tunics were made of cool linen, for summer wear, and warm wool, for winter
wear. Sometimes, they worn trouser like garments.

Roman Soldiers

It's interesting to note that most Roman armor probably did not shine. They used a lot of chain
mail (a sort of cloth made of circular links), which doesn't shine. They also made scale armor
(metal plates about 3 inches long and about an inch wide, sewn together on a linen/leather
backing.) Scale armor shines a little, but not much. And, they made leather armor, with the metal
on the inside, or at least under the leather, probably again on a backing of linen, to make three
layers. So, although the ancient Romans loved the ornate and glittery, their armor most probably
did not shine!

Women's Clothing

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

After the 2nd century BC, besides tunics, women wore a simple
garment known as a stola and usually followed the fashions of their
Greek contemporaries. Stolae typically comprised two rectangular
segments of cloth joined at the side by fibulae and buttons in a
manner allowing the garment to drape freely over the front
of the wearer. Over the stola, women often wore the palla,
a sort of shawl made of an oblong piece of material that could
be worn as a coat, with or without hood, or draped over the left
shoulder, under the right arm, and then over the left arm. The
palla covered the respectable matron when she went outside. It is
often described as a cloak.
Women wore a tunica which was adapted from the Greek chiton. The tunica was usually kneelength. Over this the women wore a stola which was a full length from neck to ankle, highwaisted and fastened at the shoulders with clasps. The stola was usually either white, brown or
grey, though some were brightly colored with vegetable dyes. A shawl, called a palla, was worn
wrapped around the shoulders and arm, or could be draped over the head. Cloaks were worn to
keep warm.Hats were not worn except by slaves but women were expected to cover their heads
when walking outdoors.

Women's Jewelry

Women enjoyed gazing at themselves in mirrors of highly polished metal (not glass). The ancient
Roman women loved ornate necklaces, pins, earrings, bracelets and friendship rings. Pearls were
favorites. Women often dyed their hair, usually golden-red.Black obsidian mirrors were also used
by oracles in a form of divination called mirror scrying
Women's Hair
They used false hairpieces to make their hair thicker or longer. Sometimes, Roman women wore
their hair up, in carefully arranged styles, held with jeweled hairpins. Sometimes they wore it

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

down, curled in ringlets. Fashionable women
wore hair-pieces that were often made from the
hair of slave girls.
Parasols were used, or women might carry fans
made of peacock feathers, wood or stretched
linen. Women's street shoes were made of leather,
like a man's. In the house, most Romans (men and
women) wore sandals. Women's sandals were
brightly colored. Some were even decorated with pearls.


Roman Girls
Girls wore a simple tunic with a belt at the waist. When they went outside, they wore a second
tunic that reached their feet.

Roman Boys
Boys wore a tunic down to their knees. It was white, with a crimson border. Once a boy became
a man, he put aside his childish clothes, and wore an all-white tunic. A boy became a citizen at

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

age 16 or 17. The year was selected by choosing the date which came closest to March 17th.
Coming of age, becoming a citizen, was quite a celebration. On a boy's sixteenth or seventeenth
birthday, the boy dressed himself in a white tunic, which his father adjusted. The day ended with
a dinner party, given by the father, in honor of the new Roman citizen.

Children wore a special locket around their neck, given to them at birth,
called a bulla. It contained an amulet as a protection against evil and was
worn on a chain, cord, or strap. Girls wore their bulla until the eve of their
wedding day, when their bulla was set aside with other childhood things,
like her toys. Boys wore their bulla until they day they became a
citizen. Boys bullas were put aside and carefully saved. A boy's bulla
could be wore by the owner again, if he won special honors. For
example, if he became a successful general, and won the honor of
triumph, he would wear his bulla in ceremonial parades, to protect
him from the evil jealously of men or gods. Roman girls often wore
nothing more than a tunic hanging below the knees or lower, belted at
the waist
and very simply decorated, most often white. When a girl went out she
sometimes wore another tunic, longer than the first, sometimes to the ankles or even the feet.

The basic garment for both sexes, often worn beneath one or more
additional layers, was the loincloth, tunica or tunic. This was a simple
rectangle sewn into a tubular shape and pinned around the shoulders
like a Greek chiton. Women might also wear a strophium or breast
cloth. Garments to cover the loins, known as subligacula or subligaria,
might also be worn, especially by soldiers. The Vindolanda tablets
found in Great Britain confirm this fashion at the time of the Roman
Empire, when a subligaculum might be made of leather. Farm workers
wore loincloths.

Official Clothing
The dress code of the day was complex
and had to reflect one's position
accurately in the social order, one's
gender, and one's language.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Roman Footwear

Roman men and women often wore the same types of shoes. There were lots of different
options available to the Romans and the style they went for would have been affected by the
weather and whether or not they were inside or outside.
The calcei was an outdoor shoe made from soft leather. It was worn by most Romans.
Sandals were thought of as indoor shoes. Rich Romans would employ a slave to carry his
sandals for him so that he could change into them when he stepped inside a building. The
Romans also wore a type of slippers when they were indoors.
Footwear also defined a person's position in society. Women wore closed shoes that were
either white, green or yellow. Men wore sandals. Patricians wore red sandals with an
ornament at the back. Senators wore brown footwear with black straps which wound round
the leg to mid-calf, where the straps were tied. Consuls wore white shoes, and soldiers, heavy
Roman soldiers wore the caliga a type of military boot / sandal. It had hobnails and was
very hard-wearing.

Ancient Roman Beauties and Their Makeup Bag

In ancient times, beauty was as relevant as it is now and makeup was a real luxury. Diva or
Empress, what was in your makeup bag two thousand years ago in Ancient Rome?
Keeping up appearances in ancient Rome was a controversial mission. Today the Italian word for
make up is trucco, which means trick. Make up is magic, in a way! In ancient Roman times, it
was considered by many as mere manipulation. Ancient Roman poet Juvenal wrote that ''a
woman buys scents and lotions with adultery in mind'' and philosopher Seneca thought that
wearing cosmetics led to the decline of the Roman morality. Of course, there are no texts written

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

by women indicating the female attitude towards cosmetics at the time.
However, historians found evidence that espcially for the wealthy patricians, the goddess Venus department of beauty - was really on speed dial.
We know that women went to extreme measures to maintain their beauty. Even two thousand
years ago being beautiful included some degree of pain and the
saying 'no pain, no gain' applied. And, boy was the importance of
beauty placed highly upon that list of must haves back in the day!
Some things never go out of fashion. Whether you were a Vestal
Virgin or Goddess, a must was having a well dressed tress!
Bathing, pruning and making oneself up was an important ritual in
day to day life. And bathing Roman style was not a simple affair, as
there were three types of bathing (Caldarium - hot, Tepidarium tepid, Frigidarium - cold).
However, the diva par excellence was from Egypt, Cleopatra. Cleo brought a touch of glam to
Rome upon her visit in 46 B.C. bringing the smoky eye to the masses way before makeup web
tutorials. She was also known to like a red lip. Back in Egypt, red lips were as damn right de
rigueur as they are now.
Make-up and beauty products were made from a delightful blend of chemicals and excrement, to
put it mildly. A blend of nature and science kept bad hair days at bay, much like today. Us girls
might enjoy a mint face mask today, which is exactly what the ancient roman beauties did too.

Yes! Compact mirrors existed. Well, more a hand mirror usually made from polished metal or
mercury. Wealthy women bought expensive mirrors and make up palettes to match - which were
available in wooden, bone or gold boxes.

Beauty Masks
Beauty masks were a pre-makeup must do. Those included a mix of sweat from sheeps wool,
placenta, excrement, animal urine, sulphur, ground oyster shells and bile. And before you start
judging in disgust, check the list of ingredients on your favourite creams, I am sure you will find
things have not changed much! Bathing in asses milk was favoured by Cleopatra. And this is
before you would whiten your skin with marl, dung and lead. Swans fat was a bestseller to rid of
wrinkles. More tempting ingredients used in beauty masks and treatments were rose water, eggs,
olive oil, honey, anise, almond oil and frankincense.

Eye shadows

No mascara? No problem! Burnt cork was the lash thickener, back in the day. Roman women
liked their lashes long, thick and curly, as a sign of beauty brought from Egypt and India.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

There might have been an even more important reason to enhance long eyelashes. Roman
author and natural philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote that they fell out from excessive sex
and so it was especially important for women to keep their eyelashes long to prove their
Kajal mixed to soot and antimony was used to line the brows and eyes, and applied using a
rounded stick, made of ivory, glass, bone, or wood. Charred rose petals and date stones were
other products used to darken the eyes. Green and blues were also popular colours for eye
shadows, usually made from a mix of minerals.
Frida Kahlo would have been totally fashionable in ancient Rome as they liked dark
eyebrows that almost met in the centre and tried to achieve this by darkening their eyebrows
with antimony or soot and then extending them inward.

Red Lips
Red lips were achieved using bromine, beetle juice and beeswax, with a dollop of henna. Plus a
helping hand from the cosmetae (female slaves that adorned their mistresses) who worked hard
to beautify their wealthy roman mistresses.
Martial (ancient Roman author) mocked women who wore rouge because of the baking hot
climate, causing the makeup to run down the cheeks. Blusher was anything from the expensive
imported red ochre, or rose petals, to the poisonous red lead. The budget end of the blusher
colour spectrum was made with dregs of wine and mulberry. Roman ladies would also rub brown
seaweed on their faces as rouge, which achieved the desired effect whilst being reassuringly

Scent of a woman

Make up smelt so bad that Roman divas wore a pungent

perfume to deliver a promise of rose over lead.
erfumes were so heavily used that Cicero claimed that,
The right scent for a woman is none at all."

They came in all sort of forms, liquid, solid and sticky,

and every occasion had a specific scent. Deodorants made from alum, iris and rose petals were
quite common. They were mostly made using a maceration process with flowers or herbs and oil.
Distillation technology, as well as most of the imported ingredients, originated in the east.


Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

Rich Romans spent their spare time on feasts. This activity was treated almost like a sort of sport.
Public lectures and literary sets were very popular. Sports and circus games also provided great
amusement to thousands of Roman. A lot of time was spent in terms, which were in fact a
cultural centre of a city.
Roman entertainment is totally different than the entertainment we see today. Modern society has
things like debit card and credit card processing to buy them things that they can't afford at the
time. In Roman times, you didn't see this type of thing, you needed the funds to get what you
wanted or what you wanted to do.
Near the entrance to the terms there was a man called capsarius, who had to preserve visitors
property such as money, jewellery and documents. Usually terms had three parts: a room with an
arched ceiling and pools with cold water, a small heating room and a room where people could
have a cold bath. Besides simple baths Romans had a possibility to go to a special room and
have a vapour bath. Within term area there were also courts and playing fields, restaurants and
porticoes, where visitors could rest and discuss with other people.
Everybody could go to the terms and have a bath, even the poorest, because there were no
entrance fees or they were very low. Women also visited terms, but after numerous scandals they
had to do not at the same time as men did

The Romans followed the Greek style of dress so generally that their costume does not present
many features of special interest. We picture the Roman lady as a conventional, dignified figure,
in her stola, falling in ample folds from neck to feet, adjusted by a girdle. The palla was an
outer garment, and a fold of it was used to cover the head out-of -doors, by matrons of high
degree; further protection was afforded by the parasol or umbrella carried by slaves. The famous
toga of the Roman citizen is an appalling garment for the modern man to con template, though
we do not question its ancient dignity. In magnificent triumphal processions there must
have been varied costumes. The proud Eastern beauty, Zenobia, walked in chains as a captive in
such a triumph. The hero of the occasion rode standing in a chariot, clothed in tunic and toga of
purple embroidered with gold, and he carried an ivory scepter topped with an eagle, while over

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

his laurel crowned head a slave held a gold wreath. The slave had also another duty to perform-at
intervals he whispered in the car of the hero the strange warning: "Look behind. Remember that
you are but a man." The triumphal chariot was preceded by dancers and singers, and followed by
soldiers in brilliant military trappings, their spears garlanded with laurel. In everyday life the
proverbial Roman luxury and lavish expenditure were for the accessories of dress-jewels, elegant foot-gear, and the elaborate equipments of the toilet and bath.
Silk was used in Rome as a costly material difficult to obtain, but it is well known that the secrets
of silk culture, and the weaving of silken fabrics, reached Europe from China by way of the
Eastern Roman Empire in Byzantium. China was advanced in the textile arts far back in
antiquity. Sculptured figures of the T'ang period have clinging draperies in graceful lines that are
Greek in suggestion, though more complicated in style. Recent archaeological explorations in the
mysterious and debatable lands on the western borders of China, and north of India, have
disclosed an ancient art showing varied Oriental and Classical influences. Interesting notes on
costume are to be gathered from the decoration of cave temples of this region.

Egypt, Greece and Rome are regarded as one of the best general histories of the ancient world.
In a more general sense, however, there's no doubt that ideas were exchanged between Egypt and
Greece. Cleopatra's dynasty was Greek, and she visited Rome. The eastern and central
Mediterranean was by no means isolated culturally, even if fashions evolved slowly.

Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome

If we look back into history, really back into history, we will find interesting styles hairstyles,
dressing styles and concepts. What is even more interesting is to see why people dressed the way
they did. There were rules, hierarchies, obnoxious beliefs and interesting stories. History is a
very interesting topic. It is so fascinating to know how people lived in olden times. And just
think of it, there was a time when there were kings-queens, not a world of normal, working
adults. All of it is really fascinating, and magical, to some extent.
But guess what, history repeats. Designers have taken inspiration regularly from olden times art
and costumes. Some influences are blatant, while some are subtle. I like both of them. For my
first assignment in the History of Fashion class, I was allotted Medieval Ages (300 1500 BC);
so the costumes are not ornate. Just interesting. And I can just go on and on. There are so many
beautiful costumes and their modern day designs that it is really inspiring.


Ancient Egypt, Greek & Rome