Last modified on 30 October 2014, at 14:41

Clothing in ancient Greece

Caryatid wearing chiton from the Erechtheion. The blousing, or Kolpos, is atop the Zone.)

Clothing in ancient Greece primarily consisted of the chiton, peplos, himation, and chlamys. Ancient Greek men and women typically wore two pieces of clothing: an undergarment (chiton or peplos) and a cloak (himation or chlamys).[1] The clothing primarily consisted of various lengths of rectangular linen or wool fabric secured with ornamental clasps or pins, and a belt, or girdle (zone).

While no clothes have survived from this period, descriptions exist in contemporary accounts and artistic depictions. Clothes were mainly homemade, and often served many purposes (such as bedding). Despite popular imagination and media depictions of all-white clothing, elaborate design and bright colors were favored.[2]

History and typesEdit

Ancient Greek clothing consisted of lengths of linen or wool fabric, which generally was rectangular. Clothes were secured with ornamental clasps or pins (περόνη, perónē; cf. fibula), and a belt, sash, or girdle (zone) might secure the waist.

Men's robes went down to their knees, whereas women's went down to their ankles.

Peplos, ChitonsEdit

The inner tunic was a peplos or chiton. The peplos was a dress worn by women. It was usually a lighter woollen garment, more distinctively Greek, with its shoulder clasps. The upper part of the peplos was folded down to the waist to form an apoptygma. The chiton was a simple tunic garment of lighter linen, worn by both genders and all ages. Men's chitons hung to the knees, whereas women's chitons fell to their ankles. Often the chiton is shown as pleated. Either garment could be pulled up under the belt to blouse the fabric: kolpos.

Strophion, Epiblema, VeilEdit

A strophion was an undergarment sometimes worn by women around the mid-portion of the body, and a shawl (epiblema) could be draped over the tunic. Women dressed similarly in most areas of ancient Greece although in some regions, they also wore a loose veil as well at public events and market.

ChlamysEdit

The chlamys was made from a seamless rectangle of woolen material worn by men as a cloak. It was about the size of a blanket, usually bordered. The chlamys was typical Greek military attire from the 5th to the 3rd century BC. It was worn also to symbol that one is a soldier.

HimationEdit

The basic outer garment during winter was the himation, a larger cloak worn over the peplos or chlamys. The himation has been most influential perhaps on later fashion.

Nudity and athleticsEdit

During Classical times in Greece, male nudity received a religious sanction following profound changes in the culture. After that time, male athletes participated in ritualized athletic competitions such as the classical version of the ancient Olympic Games, in the nude as women became barred from the competition except as the owners of racing chariots. Their ancient events were discontinued, one of which (a footrace for women) had been the sole original competition. Myths relate that after this prohibition, a woman was discovered to have won the competition while wearing the clothing of a man—instituting the policy of nudity among the competitors that prevented such embarrassment again.

FabricsEdit

Ancient greek clothing was made with silk, linen and most often, wool.[1] The production of fabric was a long and tedious process, making ready-made clothing expensive.[1] It was socially accepted that textile making was primarily a women's responsibility, and the production of high quality textiles was regarded as an accomplishment for women of high status.[1] Once made, the cloth was rarely cut. The seamless rectangles of fabric were draped on the body in various ways with little sewing involved.

The fabrics were usually highly ornamental and brightly colored.[2] This is known from remaining traces of paint on Greek sculptures and depictions on vases. Colors ranged from green, indigo, yellow, violet, dark red, dark purple to earth tones. Decorations featured geometric and floral designs.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Alden, Maureen (January 2003), Ancient Greek Dress, Costume 37.1: 1–16 
  2. ^ a b Ancient Greek Dress Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.

External linksEdit