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date: 18 April 2024



  • Hero Granger-Taylor


The toga was the principal garment of the free-born Roman male. It was also worn by *Etruscan men and originally also by women. It was usually made of undyed light wool, but for mourning was of dark wool, the toga pulla, and, for boys of high birth and the holders of certain offices, it had a *purplepraetexta border along its upper edge. A decorated version worn by victorious commanders in triumphal processions, the toga picta or trabea triumphalis, was made of purple wool and gold thread.In shape the toga was a very large semicircle, a single piece of cloth which in the 1st cent. ce measured up to 5.5×2.75 m. (19½×10 ft.) It was worn without a fastening and the wearer had to keep his left arm crooked to support its voluminous drapery. It was put on thus: one corner was placed before the feet and the straight edge was taken up and over the left shoulder, across the back and under or over the right arm, across the chest, and over the left shoulder again, the second corner hanging behind the knees; the curved edge became the garment's hem. By the imperial period, two features had developed which helped to accommodate the garment's increased size: an umbo or ‘navel’ at the waist, resulting from the upper part of the under layer being pulled over the second layer, and a sinus or ‘lap’, created by folding down the straight edge where it passed under the right arm.


  • Roman Material Culture

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