The World of Roman Costume

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Thirteen scholarly and well-illustrated essays survey, document and elucidate over a thousand years of Roman garments and accessories, including Etruscan influences, Near Eastern fashions and the transition towards early Christian garb. Subjects include the functional and symbolic use of clothes for men, women and children, manufacture and industry, hairstyles and accessories, the literary evidence for dress, geographical factors, reconstructions and dress for everyday and official occasions.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Should remain for many years the standard English-language reference work on the topic."—Chester F. Natunewicz, Classical World

"A valuable resource for historians of culture, the arts, and religion. The editors draw on the expertise of archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians in this interdisciplinary study of everything from hairstyles, jewelry, and accessories to literature and geography."—Biblical Archaeological Review

"Will enlighten a wide readership of scholars, teachers, and costumers."—E.J.W. Barber, Archaeological News

A cross disciplinary treatment of Roman garments and accessories, from Etruscan influences to the transition to early Christian and medieval garb. Thirteen articles (divided into garments, hairstyles, and accessories; literary evidence; geographic questions; and reconstructions) address the functional and symbolic values of costuming within Roman society and other societies where Roman influence was pervasive. Generously illustrated with b&w photographs and costume diagrams and informatively annotated. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299138547
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Series: Wisconsin Studies in Classics Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Lynn Sebesta is professor of Classics at the University of South Dakota and the author of Carl Orff: Carmina Burana Cantiones Profanae.  Larissa Bonfante is professor of Classics at Columbia University and the author of Etruscan Dress.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. I Roman Garments, Hairstyles, Accessories
1 The Toga: From National to Ceremonial Costume 13
2 Symbolism in the Costume of the Roman Woman 46
3 The Costume of the Roman Bride 54
4 Tunica Ralla, Tunica Spissa: The Colors and Textiles of Roman Costume 65
5 Jewelry as a Symbol of Status in the Roman Empire 77
6 Roman Footwear 101
Pt. II Roman Costume and Literary Evidence
7 Cicero as Evidence for Attitudes to Dress in the Late Republic 133
8 De Habitu Vestis: Clothing in the Aeneid 146
9 The Social, Religious, and Political Aspects of Costume in Josephus 153
Pt. III Roman Costume and Geographic Questions
10 Graeco-Roman Dress in Syro-Mesopotamia 163
11 Costume in Roman Palestine: Archaelogical Remains and the Evidence from the Mishnah 182
12 Costume as Geographic Indicator: Barbarians and Prisoners on Cuirassed Statue Breastplates 191
Pt. IV Reconstructions
13 Reconstructing Roman Clothing 213
Glossary 241
Bibliography 249
Index 263
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