Monday, 29 August 2005
In Ancient Rome the Clothes Maketh the Man
In ancient Rome, your clothes not only showed your status in society but also pinpointed exactly which layer of it you were positioned in.
An eques (knight) would be a man who was basicaly able to provide 400,000 sesterces to buy his way into this rank. To be an equastrian was to be next to the senatorial class, but not quite there, if you see what I mean. This man would wear a thick gold ring to indicate his status and his white tunic had a narrow garnet-coloured stripe on it, what the Romans called purple. This stripe was called the augustus clavus.
The top rank was of course the senatorial one. The senator's tunic, also white, had a broad Roman purple stripe on it, the latus clavus. His shoes had a crescent on them. The magistrate, although also a senator, even though he too wore a crescent, had slighlty higher soles in order to be distinguished from the others.
Another important indicator of status was the length of a man's tunic. The longer the tunic, the higher the status implied. A slave or soldier wore a short tunic, while a senator or knight wore his right down to his ankles and sometimes a little below them too.
See links below for more details.
Men's clothing in ancient Rome
Posted by Anna at Monday, August 29, 2005