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[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
Watching all of these mini-series about Rome always makes me sad that they clearly have no idea how to wear togas. Though I can't be surprised seeing as the Romans themselves found that garment a bit of a bollocks. Augustus once went off on the senate because people tried to turn up in TUNICS. THE SHAME.

I think part of the problem was that the toga kept getting bigger and bigger, until you ended up wrapped in this ridiculously constricting wool garment that was just about the worst thing to wear in hot weather and have to do a little orating in. And if you got too enthusiastic the thing would start falling off right in mid-speech which was just really awkward. Some Romans used to bring a guy to court with them, so that when they were giving their big prosecution/defence speech they could stop and have him re-arrange it. This was, however, a no-no, akin to buying one of the fancy silk mix see through ones that clung a bit too tight to your legs and left little to the imagination. You had to keep that thing on no matter how impassioned you got until almost the end of the speech. And then you could do whatever you wanted - the damn thing could start slipping off, your hair could be a mess and it would be fine. The amazing thing is that people like Cicero - who were actually moving quite a lot as they talked - kept the thing on until that point. And without pins. ONLY A BARBARIAN WOULD USE GIANT VISIBLE PINS.

Date: 2011-04-05 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexandral.livejournal.com
Roman fashions is always such an amusing thing.

Can I ask something? This have been bothering me for a while: did Romans wear anything resembling underwear? And was it as leather-made as we usually see in dramas and films?

Date: 2011-04-05 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lightsjustright.livejournal.com
I hope she knows the answer to this, because now I'm insanely curious too.

Date: 2011-04-05 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I had to look this up, but I came upon a delightful article called 'Roman underwear revisited' which gave me this information:

Women had a linen undergarment for the thighs called a supparus. There was also a caltula, a little mantle they wore under their tunics. There was also a breastband called the strophium which was used to firm up the breasts and give them shape: I suspect this is the garment that Pliny the Elder found very useful to wrap around his head as a headache cure. They wore no underpants though.

Men wore a loincloth, the subligaculum and the campestre. Horace says it would not be comfortable wear during a snowstorm, whatever than means. Cato the Elder apparently wore this - and nothing else - under his toga. There was also the licium. And the priests of the lupercalia ran around in a loincloth and nothing else. But on an everyday basis Roman men seem to have worn nothing - though slaves and actors might have a loincloth and nothing else on. There were wrappings for the legs for cold times.

And that's about it. Acrobats and athletes seem to have worn leather underpants and breastbands and not much else (there are mosiacs of female acrobats in these things as they exercise - they look like bikinis.

Date: 2011-04-06 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexandral.livejournal.com
This is most excellent! Many thanks!

Date: 2011-04-05 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lightsjustright.livejournal.com

Haha, and I always considered a toga slobbish looking! Who knew it took such care.

Date: 2011-04-05 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
The toga was so difficult to wear I think the Romans kept is as their costume out of a sheer desire to be annoying. It was also boiling hot, so not exactly good for their weather either1

Date: 2011-04-05 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] namastenancy.livejournal.com
I Googled "Roman Underwear" and came up with this:

The Ancient Romans did not wear underwear.

There was no underwear for Roman Men or Roman Women as we know it today.

The closest article of clothing to modern underwear was a pair of shorts or loincloth called a subligaculum.

Both men and women wore the subligaculum or subligar, at least some of the time.

The subligaculum could be worn under a tunic but men who were standing for public office or those getting back to basics would sometime just wear the subligaculum and nothing else. So, really they were just posing in their underwear!

Date: 2011-04-06 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I discovered that Cato the Elder used to like to wander around wearing a toga and no tunic - just his undies. I bet that delighted everyone. Especially in high breezes.

Date: 2011-04-06 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
That is a thing of beauty. Especially as in my reading I found out that Caesar was very careful to fall so that nothing of his bits would be exposed. Very good of him especially as he was being killed by 30 of his best friends.

Date: 2011-04-06 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] namastenancy.livejournal.com
Must not expose the private parts while being stabbed to death? Give a whole new meaning to the words "Manly Roman demeanor."

Date: 2011-04-06 04:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Unfortunately he could not avoid falling at the foot of Pompey's statue in what may be the greatest moment of historical irony ever.


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