Sunday, February 14, 2010


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The toga, a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome, was a cloth of perhaps twenty feet (6 metres) in length which was wrapped around the body and was generally worn over a tunic. The toga was invariably made of wool, and the tunic under it often was made of linen. After the second century BC, the toga was a garment worn exclusively by men, and only Roman citizens were allowed to wear the toga. After this time, women were expected to wear the stola.
The stola was a long, pleated dress, worn over a tunic (the tunica intima, the Roman version of a slip). A stola generally had long sleeves (but not always; occasionally it was held up by straps), but the sleeves could either be a part of the stola itself, or part of the tunic. The stola was typically girt with ribbons. It was frequently accompanied by a long shawl-like garment called a palla. Use of the stola continued through the Byzantine period. This is the garment worn by the Statue of Liberty in New York.
The toga was based on a dress robe used by a native people, the Etruscans who had lived in Italy since 1200 BC, although it usually is linked with the Romans. The toga was the dress clothing of the Romans; a thick woolen cloak worn over a loincloth or apron. It is believed to have been established around the time of Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome. It was taken off indoors, or when hard at work in the fields, but it was considered the only decent attire out-of-doors. This is evident from the story of Cincinnatus: he was ploughing in his field when the messengers of the Senate came to tell him that he had been made dictator, and on seeing them he sent his wife to fetch his toga from the house so that they could be received appropriately. While the truth of the story may be doubtful, it nevertheless expresses the Roman sentiment on the subject.

As time went on, dress styles changed. Romans adopted the shirt (tunica, or in Greek chiton) which the Greeks and Etruscans wore, made the toga more bulky, and wore it in a looser manner. The result was that it became useless for active pursuits, such as those of war. Thus, its place was taken by the handier sagum (woollen cloak) on all military occasions. In times of peace, too, the toga eventually was superseded by the laena, lacerna, paenula, and other forms of buttoned or closed cloaks. However, the toga did remain the court dress of the Empire which began c. 44 BC.

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