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Roman Costume

The costume of the Roman woman was, in general character, much like that of the Grecian. It was fairly simple in the early history of Rome, but became, under the empire, much ornamented and exceedingly luxurious. There were three garments-the tunic, the stola, and the palla. The inner tunic served as an undergarment and was simple in form. It was generally made of wool though sometimes of linen.

The stola was very long and full, like the Ionic chiton of the Grecian women. It did not require sewing, but could have been held in place on the shoulders by clasps or brooches. It differed from the chiton, however, in having at the bottom a border or shaped ruffle which was frequently elaborately decorated or embroidered and cave much additional fullness about the feet. The stola was usually arranged to have fairly close sleeves to the elbow. These, like the shoulders of the garment, were fastened with gold or jeweled clasps or buttons. A girdle was worn about the waist or hips through which the stola was drawn up to form a blouse. The stola was the distinct garment of the Roman matron; the women of the lower classes were not allowed to wear it.

The palla was the outer garment, or mantle. In shape it was rectangular. It corresponded to the Grecian hima-tion and was worn in much the same way, frequently serving as a covering for the head. The material of the palla for women of the higher classes was usually fine and thin. In the early period it was made of wool, but later was frequently of a mixed fabric, such as silk and wool or silk and linen. Occasionally it was of pure silk, which was a great luxury. In addition to the palla the women of the empire wore a garment called a dalmatian, which was made of wool, linen, or cotton. It was usually decorated, was somewhat shaped, and had sleeves.

Both shoes and sandals of many variants were worn.The shoes were generally used out-of-doors, while sandals were more often worn in the house.

In the early days the coiffure of the Roman woman was simple and resembled that of the Grecian, but in the days of the empire the hair was elaborately arranged and was much frizzed, curled, and decorated with ornaments. It was often dyed, and wigs were worn, as fashion demanded a change in the color of the hair. Many ornaments were used, such as bracelets for the wrist and upper arm and rings and necklaces of exquisite workmanship. There was also a great profusion of hair ornaments, hairpins of gold, silver, and ivory, fillets of gold studded with gems, and nets of gold.

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Source de James D Vincent

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