Ancient Rome

Was very much a “face-to-face” society (actually more of an “in-your-face” society), and public display and recognition of status were an essential part of having status. Much of Roman clothing was designed to reveal the social status of its wearer, particularly for freeborn men. In typical Roman fashion, the more distinguished the wearer, the more his dress was distinctively marked, while the dress of the lowest classes was often not marked at all. We know married woman when she wears a stola. Colored shoes and the broad stripes on his tunic identify the next man as a senator, while the border on his toga indicates that he has held at least one curule office. The laurel wreath on the head of the next man and his special robes indicate that he is an emperor, while the uniform and cloak of the following man identify him as a general.

The normal formal robe for a noble Roman citizen was a toga worn over a simple tunica. As time passed the Roman toga lost the bulk of its fabric and became much smaller.

This line drawing right shows typically decorated Roman shields, Roman helmets, swords and the Roman cuirass armour. The book Hope’s Costume of The Ancients is full of imagery of the ancient Romans and Greeks.

A Roman soldier was usually part of a Roman Century which was a team of 100 men often formed from one locality. Centuries could be put together quickly and were often used for short periods of time and called on the services of fit farmers who would leave their farm in the care of family and older workers.

Each Roman Century was grouped into a legion and typically a legion consisted of 3,000 or 4,000 men. The legion subdivided into different types of soldiers best suited for particular fighting or war making skills.