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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 05, 2010 06:34PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod

This is the glossary thread for the book The First Man in Rome.


I thought that I would set up a location for those folks who would like to post some ancillary material for The First Man In Rome discussion that may in fact contain some spoiler information.

Since the weekly threads are non spoiler, it can be a difficult task to decide where to place such urls and ancillary materials. This is the place.


The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) by Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Additionally, any sidebar discussions which may contain spoiler discussion material must be discussed here on this thread and not on the weekly non spoiler discussion threads.

message 3: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 75 comments Wikipedia has a great article about Julius Caesar including a family tree:

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 06, 2010 10:17AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Yes it does Shannon but just remember at the time of chapter one (110BC) - he was not born yet. However it explains a lot about his family tree.

Good add.

message 5: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 75 comments He was sort of central to the family tree. The tree extends over several generations, including the ones we're observing, and out to several orders of cousinship. I was struck that of the names in my shockingly sparse Roman education the majority of them are realted to the Julians in one way or another.

message 6: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Auctoritas in the flesh with the Julians? Defined in the glossary as "a very difficult Latin term to translate, as it means much more than the English word "authority." It carried implications of pre-eminence, clout, leadership, public and private importance, and - above all - the ability to influence events through sheer public or personal reputation. All the magistracies possessed auctoritas as part of their nature, but auctoritas was not confined to those who held magistracies: the Princeps Senatus, Pontifex Maximus, Rex Sacrorum, consulars, and even some private individuals could also accumulate auctoritas."

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Shannon wrote: "He was sort of central to the family tree. The tree extends over several generations, including the ones we're observing, and out to several orders of cousinship. I was struck that of the names i..."

Yes, there were many inter marriages. However, this book is focused for the most part before he enters on the scene. The time period of this chapter is before he is born or thought of.

message 8: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) A little bit about the early years of Sulla...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (c. 138 BC – 78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice as well as the dictatorship. He was one of the canonical great men of Roman history; included in the biographical collections of leading generals and politicians, originating in the biographical compendium of famous Romans, published by Marcus Terentius Varro. In Plutarch's Sulla, in the famous series - Parallel Lives, Sulla is paired with the Spartan general and strategist Lysander.

Sulla's dictatorship came during a high point in the struggle between optimates and populares, the former seeking to maintain the power of the oligarchy in the form of the Senate while the latter resorted in many cases to naked populism, culminating in Caesar's dictatorship. Sulla was a highly original, gifted and skillful general, never losing a battle; he remains the only man in history to have attacked and occupied both Athens and Rome. His rival, Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, described Sulla as having the cunning of a fox and the courage of a lion - but that it was the former attribute that was by far the most dangerous. This mixture was later referred to by Machiavelli in his description of the ideal characteristics of a ruler.

Sulla used his armies to march on Rome twice, and after the second he revived the office of dictator, which had not been used since the Second Punic War over a century before. He used his powers to enact a series of reforms to the Roman constitution, meant to restore the balance of power between the Senate and the Tribunes; he then stunned the Roman World (and posterity) by resigning the dictatorship, restoring normal constitutional government, and after his second Consulship, retiring to private life.
Early years
Sulla was born into a branch of the patrician gens Cornelia, but his family had fallen to an impoverished condition at the time of his birth. Lacking ready money, Sulla spent his youth amongst Rome’s comics, actors, lute-players, and dancers. Sulla retained an attachment to the debauched nature of his youth until the end of his life, Plutarch mentions that during his last marriage – to Valeria – he still kept company with "actresses, musicians, and dancers, drinking with them on couches night and day".

It seems certain that Sulla received a good education. Sallust declares him well-read and intelligent, and he was fluent in Greek, which was a sign of education in Rome. The means by which Sulla attained the fortune which later would enable him to ascend the ladder of Roman politics, the Cursus honorum, are not clear, although Plutarch refers to two inheritances; one from his stepmother and the other from a low-born, but rich, unmarried lady.

In older sources, his name may be found as Sylla. This is a Hellenism, like sylva for classical Latin silva, reinforced by the fact that our two major sources, Plutarch and Appian, wrote in Greek, and call him Σύλλα.

message 9: by Alisa (last edited Sep 08, 2010 07:58AM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The early career of Gaius Marius ~

Gaius Marius(157 BC–January 13, 86 BC) was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminated the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the structure of the legions into separate cohorts.

Early career
Marius was born in 157 BC in the town of Arpinum in southern Latium. The town had been conquered by the Romans in the late fourth century BC and was given Roman citizenship without voting rights. Only in 188 BC did the town receive full citizenship. Although Plutarch claims that Marius' father was a laborer, this is almost certainly false since Marius had connections with the nobility in Rome, he ran for local office in Arpinum, and he had marriage relations with the local nobility in Arpinum, which all combine to indicate that he was born into a locally important family of equestrian status. The problems he faced in his early career in Rome show the difficulties that faced a "new man" (novus homo).

There is a legend that Marius, as a teenager, found an eagle's nest with seven chicks in it – eagle clutches hardly ever have more than 3 eggs; even if two females used the same nest, finding 7 offspring in a single nest would be exceptionally rare. Since eagles were considered sacred animals of Jupiter, the supreme god of the Romans, it was later seen as an omen predicting his election to the consulship seven times. Later, as consul, he decreed that the eagle would be the symbol of the Senate and People of Rome.

In 134 BC, he was serving with the army at Numantia and his good services brought him to the attention of Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus. Whether he arrived with Scipio Aemilianus or was already serving in the demoralized army that Scipio Aemilianus took over at Numantia is not clear. It would seem that even at this early stage in his army career, Marius had ambitions for a political career in Rome. He ran for election as one of the twenty-four special military tribunes of the first four legions who were elected (the rest were appointed by the magistrate who raised the legion). Sallust tells us that he was unknown by sight to the electors but was returned by all the tribes on the basis of his accomplishments.

Next, he ran for the quaestorship after losing an election for local office in Arpinum. The military tribunate shows that he was already interested in Roman politics before the quaestorship. Perhaps he simply ran for local office as a means of gaining support back home, and lost to some other local worthy. Nothing is known of his actions while quaestor.

In 120 BC, Marius was returned as plebian tribune for the following year. He won with the support of Quintus Caecilius Metellus (later known as Metellus Numidicus), who was an inherited patronus. The Metelli, though neither ancient nor patrician, were one of the most powerful families in Rome at this time. During his tribunate, Marius pursued a populares line. He passed a law that restricted the interference of the wealthy in elections. In the 130s voting by ballot had been introduced in elections for choosing magistrates, passing laws and deciding legal cases, replacing the earlier system of oral voting. The wealthy continued to try to influence the voting by inspecting ballots and Marius passed a law narrowing the passages down which voters passed to cast their votes in order to prevent outsiders from harassing the electors. In the passage of this law, Marius alienated the Metelli, who opposed it.

Soon thereafter, Marius ran for the aedileship and lost. This loss was at least in part due to the enmity of the Metelli. In 116 BC he barely won election as praetor for the following year (presumably coming in sixth) and was promptly accused of ambitus (electoral corruption). He barely won acquittal on this charge, and spent an uneventful year as praetor in Rome (as Urban Praetor, Peregrine Praetor or President of the extortion court). In 114 BC, Marius' imperium was prorogued and he was sent to govern Lusitania, where he engaged in some sort of minor military operation. During this period in Roman history governors seem regularly to have served two years in Hispania, so he was probably replaced in 113 BC.

He received no triumph on his return and did not apparently run for the consulship, but he did marry Julia, the aunt of Julius Caesar. The Julii Caesares were a patrician family, but at this period seem to have found it hard to advance above the praetorship. (Only once in the second century – in 157 BC – did a member of the family become consul.) To judge by this marriage, Marius had apparently achieved some substantial political or financial influence by this point (possibly from his governship in Hispania).

message 10: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (last edited Sep 16, 2010 09:36AM) (new)

Vicki Cline | 3820 comments Mod
A good book on Sulla is Sulla the Fortunate by G.P. Baker Sulla the Fortunate by G.P. Baker. It was written in 1927 so the style is a bit dated, but very engaging.

message 11: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Vicki, thanks for the add. Looks good.

message 12: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Some great information on Sulla and Gaius Marius you have provided there Alisa, well done!

message 13: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Anyone else getting confused by all the roles and rules of the early Roman Republic? A few definitions to help keep track of who does what:

client: The term denoted a man of free or freed status (he did not have to be a Roman citizen, however) who pledge himself to a man he called his patron. The client undertook in the most solemn and morally binding way to serve the interests and obey the wishes of his patron, in return for various favors (these were usually gifts of money, or positions, or legal assistance.) The freed slave was automatically the client of his former master, until discharged of this obligation - if he ever was. A kind of honor system governed a client's conduct in respect of his patron, and was remarkably consistently adhered to. To be a client did not necessarily mean a man could not also be a patron; more that he could not be an ultimate patron, for his own clients technically were the clients of this patron also. There were laws governing the foreign client-patron relationship; concerning foreign client-kingdoms or states owning Rome as a patron, there was a legal obligation to ransom any kidnapped Roman citizen, a fact that pirates relied on heavily as an additional source of income. Thus, not only individuals could become clients; whole towns and even countries could be clients.

plebeian, plebs: All those Roman citizens who were not patricians were plebeians - that is, they belonged to the plebs. At the beginning of the Republic, no plebeian could be a priest, a curule magistrate, or even a senator. This situation lasted only a very short while; one by one the exclusively patrician institutions crumbled before the onslaught of the plebs, until by the time of Gaius Marius only a very few politically unimportant posts remained the province of the patricians. However, the plebs created a new nobility to distinguish the stars in its firmament from the rest, by calling a man who had attained the consulship a nobilis (nobleman), and obtaining that his direct descendants would also be noble.

praetor peregrinus: ...translated as 'foreing praetor," because he dealt only with legal matters and lawsuits where at least one of the parties was not a Roman citizen. by the time of Gaius Marius, his duties were confined to the dispensation of justice; they took him all over Italy, and sometimes further afield than that. He was also responsible for looking after cases involving noncitizens with the city of Rome.

praetor urbanus: . . . translates as 'urban praetor." By the time of Gaius Marius his duties were almost purely in litigation, and he was responsible for eh supervision of justice and the law courts within the city of Rome. His imperium did not extend beyond the fifth milestone from Rome, and he was not allowed to leave Rome for more than ten days at a time. If both the consuls were absent from ROme, he was its senior magistrate and was empowered to summon the Senate to a meeting, as well as to organize the defense of the city if in danger of an attack. It was his decision whether two litigants might proceed to court; in most cases, he decided the matter there and then, without the benefit of the full legal trial process.

message 14: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 75 comments Since I am allergic to reading fewer than five or so books at a time, I am also reading A History of Histories Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century by John Burrow by John Burrow John Burrow. His chapter on Sallust is called "Sallust: A City for Sale" and quotes Jugurtha pretty much the way the McCullough quotes him.

I was raving about this to my Dad and he says that Sallust's History is a good book to read.

(Here's the Goodreads links since I couldn't make them fit in that sentence: Bellum Catilinae, Bellum Jugurthinum, Ex Historiis Quae Exstant Orationes Et Epistulae Nach Der Ausgabe (Latin Edition) by Sallust Sallust Sallust Which appears to be in Latin in that edition, but I assure you, my Dad read it English so there's a good Penguin edition out there!)

message 15: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) This is probably the edition you are after Shannon; "Catiline's War and the Jugurthine War" by Gaius Sallustius Crispus

Catiline's War and the Jugurthine War (Penguin Classics) by Gaius Sallustius Crispus by Gaius Sallustius Crispus
Publishers blurb:
Sallust's first published work, Catiline's War, contains the memorable history of the year 63, including his thoughts on Catiline, a Roman politician who made an ill-fated attempt to overthrow the Roman Republic. In The Jugurthine War, Sallust dwells upon the feebleness of the Senate and aristocracy, having collected materials and compiled notes for this work during his governorship of Numidia.

Be careful when ordering hardback editions as two copies that I have ordered online have been in Latin with no English translation!

message 16: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Shannon, thank you for the add, and Aussie Rick, thanks for pointing out other available editions.

message 17: by Shannon (last edited Sep 16, 2010 05:33AM) (new)

Shannon | 75 comments These sources are both from the Empire and we're in the Republic, but much of the daily living and ingrained traditional stuff doesn't change.

A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome Daily Life, Mysteries, and Curiosities by Alberto Angela Alberto Angela Alberto Angela Takes the reader on a tour of Rome from the first slave starting the morning cook fire to the last wine at a late party. The reader visits the market, the villa, the Forum, and the dinner couch. It's really interesting and although it has no pictures, the author has really good visual language for the reader to see in our minds. The most striking thing is how the Roman's do most of their living outside -- or maybe that's only surprising to me because I live in Seattle, and we do most of our where it's dry.

Also, the Teaching Company has a really good DVD course on Rome which focuses on their daily living and includes a site-by-site triumphal march, and ends with a list of things that Americans do the same as Rome focussing for the most part on Congress. I hope to borrow it from my parents again at which time I will provide you with imprtant things, like the title!

One of the things that I learned was that those things on either side of the flag at the podium when the President makes his State of the Union Address are fascii the bundled stick wrapped in red that the lictors carried. This isn't a good picture, but it's the best that I could find:

message 18: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Shannon, thanks for the add, looks great. Romans do live their life outside, Italians in general for that matter but moreso in Rome. All this time I thought it was because the weather is temperate, the indoor quarters are small, and they love experiencing life out and about.

Interesting note on the fascii as well.

message 19: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) paterfamilias The head of the family unit. His right to do as he pleased with the members of his family unit was rigidly protected by the laws of the Roman State.

message 20: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3820 comments Mod
I don't know if this is the right place for it, but I find Roman names really interesting. Most everyone (male, of course) who was anyone had the 3 (or 4) level name, but some notables, such as Gaius Marius and Marcus Antonius, only had 2. And everyone, even spouses, addresses males by their first 2 names. Also the naming of girls by the feminine form of the father's middle name kind of rankles in these days. And keeping track of multiple girls! I've read of Tertia's (for third) but I don't know what they would call the fourth girl.

message 21: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 75 comments It's very confusing. Especially to us moderns because one of the name types we no longer use, and the conventions for the rest are foreign to us.

There are three types of names: the praenomem, nomen, and cognomen. So, when we meet Gaius Julius Caesar, we can pick apart his name. Gaius is his personal name, Julius is his clan name, and Caesar is the family name. The family name (cognomen) is a subdivision of the clan name.

Since his family is very august, we can either measure it as a benefit, or a challenge that everyone in his family will have the same names.

I think the rest of the confusion comes from the fact that after they become well known two possibilities occur: first they become renouned enough not to be confused and their names get simplified; second they do something really awesome and their name is changed to reflect the service they've done to the Republic. Of the second instance we can see that with the general in Africa: when he gets home and gets his Triumph his name will be changed to Africanus. It seemed to me that this was a scandal because you shouldn't count your chickens before they hatch...

message 22: by Alisa (last edited Sep 21, 2010 07:56PM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The naming is confusing and there is not a lot of guidance in this book. Thank you, Shannon, for adding your knowledge on the topic.

The glossary in the book gives us this description:

cognomen, cognomina (pl.) The last name of a Roman male anxious to distinguish himself from all his fellows having the same first and gentilicial (family) names. In some families it became necessary to have more than one cognomen; for example, take Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica! The cognomen usually pointed out some physical or character idiosyncrasy - jug ears or flat feet or a humpback - or else commemorated some great feat, as in the Caecilii Metelli who were cognominated Dalmaticus, Balearicus, Numidicus. Many cognomina were heavily sarcastic or extremely witty.

So you could take a name based on something significant you had done, but the wisdom of that might be open to interpretation, as you point out. I guess it is the Republic's answer to using titles such as King and Prince, although I notice that happens here too!

message 23: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) I'm on the hunt for a few visuals to help guide our collective imagination about what we are reading. Starting with the various locations around Rome at the time of the Republic. My modern day compass is Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps, but since those weren't around yet, I'm lost! Here is a map of Rome at around the subject time period.

message 24: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Our Roman friends in this book are doing a lot of partying outside in their 'peristyle garden.' Sounds like a courtyard to me, and it sort of is. It can be enclosed on all sides so in that sense it could both contain a good bit of the sound but if one or more sides are open or just bordered by columns in the classic style it could also create an echo. No wonder it was noisy living next to Sulla! A few perspectives

message 25: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Possible that Grania picked up an italian greyhound when she was looking for her lap dog after her divorce from Marius.

[image error]

message 26: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
He is probably cuter than Marius for sure. And probably a more loyal and faithful companion. At least for Grania.

message 27: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Yes, they are not known for running away. And this one would have been her choice. :)

message 28: by Karol (new)

Karol Bentley wrote: "He is probably cuter than Marius for sure. And probably a more loyal and faithful companion. At least for Grania."

Very funny, Bentley. And I'm guessing very true!

message 29: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Marge, you mean in the book itself? There aren't many maps in the book it seems, a few at the beginning. I'll look for more that might be useful to post out here, if you would find it helpful.

message 30: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) It's kind of challenging for those of us who are visual learners (I put myself in this category) to not have good visual resources like maps and illustrations. If it's one area where the book is not as strong as I would like it is on that point. I will add more resources out here in the days to come, maps, objects, etc, that relate to what we are reading. Thanks Marge.

message 31: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) As the book wears on so do the descriptions of the various togas worn by both men and women, but most notably the men. Only Roman citizens were entitled to wear togas, and the colors and patterns took on a special meanings. More detail from our friends at and a few pictured examples follow:

The clothing of the Romans was simple. They usually wore 2-3 articles of clothing not including shoes. All the garments varied in material and name from time to time. There was little change in style during the late empire and early empire. Early contact with the Greeks on the south and with the Etruscans on the north gave the Romans a taste for beauty that was expressed in the grace of their flowing robes.

Clothing for men and women were very similar. Roman writers assigned each article of clothing into two classes according to how it was worn. One was indutus (put on), that was considered under garments. (Underwear) The other was called amictus (wrapped around), that was outer garments.

The closest article of clothing was called a subligaculum, which in modern terms means a pair of shorts or a loincloth. It is said to have been the only undergarment in early times. The family of the Cethegi who wore a toga over a subligaculum continued this practice throughout the Republic. Candidates for public office and men, who wished to pose as champions of old-fashioned simplicity, wore a subligaculum. At (best times) the subligaculum was worn under a tunic or was replaced by it.

There was no regular underwear like we have today. Old men in poor health wound strips of woolen cloth like spiral puttees around their legs for warmth, or wore wraps or mufflers, but such things were considered marks of old age or weakness, not to be used by healthy men.

No Trousers
Originally, Romans had no trousers, but later they adopted one for riding and hunting. It was called the Gallic bracae. It resembled riding breeches. Sometimes Roman soldiers stationed in the north wore bracae for warmth.

Tunics were adopted in early times and became the chief garment in the indutus class. (Undergarments) It was a plain woolen shirt made of two pieces, back and front, sewed together at the sides and on the shoulders. Openings were left for the arms and the head. The cloth extending beyond the shoulders formed sleeves, but these were usually short, not quite covering the upper arm. A tunic reached from the shoulders to the calf of the wearer, who could shorten it by pulling it up through a belt; usually it covered the knees in front and was slightly shorter in the back. A tunic to the ankles was an unmanly fad.

A tunic was the informal indoor costume, as a toga was a formal garment. A man at work wore only a tunic, but no Roman of any social or political standing appeared at a social function or in a public at Rome without a toga. Even when the tunic was hidden by a toga, good form required it to be belted.

Two tunics were often worn: tunica interior, tunica exterior. (You should be able to figure this one out!) People who suffered from extreme cold, like Augustus (You should know who this guy is.), wore more than two tunics. Woolen tunics were worn all year round.

The tunic of an ordinary citizen was made of plain white wool. Knights and senators had stripes of garnet (the Roman purple), one running from each shoulder to the bottom of the tunic in both back and front. The stripes were woven in the material. A knight's tunic was called angusti clavi (with narrow stripe) and a senator's, lati clavi (with a wide stripe). Under an official knight or senator tunic, a plain white tunic is usually found. Like father like son, a boy wore a subligaculum and tunic; children of the poorer classes probably wore nothing else. But in well-to-do-families, a boy wore a toga praetexta until he reached manhood and put on a plain white one. A toga praetexta has a border of garnet.

Roman Togas
The toga was the most oldest and important garment that a man wore. It went back to the earliest times, and for more than a thousand years the toga was the sign of Roman citizenship. It was a heavy white woolen robe that enveloped the whole figure and fell to the feet. It was massive and bulky, yet graceful and dignified in appearance. However, it suggested formality. In any social gathering or event, Romans had to wear a toga.

The toga was a symbol of citizenship. Wearing a toga, a Roman citizen took his bride from her father's house to his own. In his toga, he received his clients who were required to wear togas. He was able to be elected to office and served, governed his province, celebrated a triumph if awarded one, and in a toga he was wrapped when he lay for the last time in his atrium.

No foreign nation had a robe of the same material, color, or style; no foreigner was allowed to wear a toga, even though he lived in Italy or in Rome itself. A banished citizen left his toga behind him, together with his civil rights. Vergil quote, "Romanos, rerum dominos, gentemque togatam." (Romans, lords of the world, the race that wears the toga.)

Early Togas
The general appearance of the toga is well known, for there are many statues of togaed men. Writers described the shape of the togas they wore. In the earlier form, it was less bulky and fitted closer to the body. However, during the classical period its arrangement was so complicate that a man needed the help of a trained slave to put on his toga.

In its original form a toga was probably a rectangular blanket; but it was not colored. It has always been made out of undyed wool. Its development into the characteristic roman style began when one edge of the garment was made curved instead of straight. For a man five feet six inches tall such a toga would be about four yards long and a yard and three-quarters wide.

The garment was thrown over the left shoulder from the front so that the curved edge fell over the left arm, while the front end hung about halfway between knee and ankle. A few inches of the straight or upper edge were drawn up into folds on the left shoulder. The long portion remaining was then drawn across the back, while the folds passed under the right arm, and across the breast, and were thrown backwards over the left shoulder. The end fell down the back to a point a trifle higher than the corresponding end in front. The right shoulder and arm were free; the left, covered by folds.

Togas of the Classical Times
Statues of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC show a larger and longer toga, more loosely draped, drawn around over the right arm and shoulder instead of under the arm. By the end of the Republic the toga was still large but shaped and draped differently. The lower corners were rounded, and a triangular section was cut off each upper corner.

The garment was then folded length-wise so that the lower section was wider than the other. The upper part (AFEB) was called the sinus (fold). One end (A) hung from the left shoulder, reaching to the ground in front. The folded edge lay on the left shoulder against the neck. The rest of the folded length was brought across the back under the right arm, across the breast, and over the left shoulder again, as in the earlier toga. The sinus fell in a curve over the right hip, crossing the breast diagonally, in folds enough to serve as a pocket for carrying small articles. The right arm was left free, but the folds could be drawn over the right shoulder or over the head from the rear. Caesar and Cicero wore this type of toga.

An early toga may well have been one piece but the larger ones must have been two sections sewed together. Much of the grace of the garment must have been the care of the slaves who kept them properly creased when it was not in use. There is no mention of pins or tapes used to hold the folds. The part falling from the left shoulder over the back kept everything in place by its weights, which was sometimes increased by lead sewed in the hem.

This fashionable toga was so heavy that arms and legs could not move fast. (Oh no - Watch out for that chariot - Squish!) Cicero said that these young men wore "sails, not togas."

The toga was a burdensome garment in more than one way, for it cost so much that a poor man, especially on of the working class, could hardly afford it. It explains the eagerness with which Romans welcomed relief from civic and social duties that required wearing it. Juvenal and Martial praise the simple life in country towns, where even city officials might appear publicly in clean white tunics instead of togas.

Special Kinds of Togas
For certain observances part of the toga was drawn over the head. (The sinus part was used.) The cinctus Gabinus was another manner of arranging the toga for certain sacrifices and official rites. For this the sinus was drawn over the head; then the long end, which usually hung down the back from the left shoulder, was drawn from back to front, and tucked in there.

The toga of an ordinary citizen, like his tunic, was the natural color of the wool from which it was made, and varied in texture according to the quality of the wool. It was called toga pura (plain toga), or toga virilis (man's toga), or toga libera (free toga). A dazzling brilliance could be given to a garment with a preparation of fuller's chalk, and one so treated was called toga candida (white toga). All men running for office all wore this toga. Hence, office seekers today are called candidates.

Curule (high-ranking) magistrates, censors, and dictators wore the toga praetexta, with a border of purple. It was also worn by boys and by the chief officials of free towns and colonies. The border was woven or sewed on the curved edge.

The toga picta (crimson, embroidered in gold), was worn in triumphal processions by victorious generals, and later by emperors.

A toga pulla was a dingy toga worn by men in mourning or threatened with some calamity. Those who wore it were called sordidati (shabby) and were said mutare vestem (to change their dress). This "changing of dress" was common when publicly demonstrating sympathy for/with a fallen leader. In this case, curule magistrates merely changed their bordered togas to plain ones, and only the lower orders wore the toga pulla.

message 32: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) more on the toga and grooming of the era ~

In Cicero's time it was just coming into fashion, a cloak called lacerna, which seems to have been used first by soldiers and the lower classes, and then adopted by the upper classes because of it's convenience. Men of wealth first wore it to protect their togas from dust and/or rain. It was a woolen cape, short, light, and open at the side, but fastened with a brooch or buckle on the right shoulder. It felt so good on and easy to put on that men began to wear it without a toga underneath. This practice became so general that Augustus issued an edict (an order) forbidding the use in public assemblies. Under later emperors the lacerna came into fashion again and was the common outer garment at theaters. There were dark colored ones for poor people, bright ones for gay (happy) occasions, and white for formal wear. Sometimes a lacerna had a hood or cowl, which could protect the head from weather or use as a disguise.

The military cape at first called trabea, then sagum, was much like a lacerna, but made of heavier material. The paludamentum, worn by generals, was purple and sometimes had threads of gold. A paenula, an earlier garment than the lacerna, was worn by all sorts and conditions of men as protection against rain or cold. It was a dark, heavy cloak of coarse wool, leather, or fur. It varied in length. (Long ones reached below the knees.) It was usually sleeveless, with a hood or a neck opening through which the wearer thrust his head.

The paenula permitted less freedom of movement than the lacerna because it covered the arms and head. A slit in front from the waist down enabled the wearer to draw the cloak up over one shoulder, leaving one arm free and exposed to the weather. A paenula was worn by the upperclasses as a travelling cloak over either tunic or toga. Paenulae were also worn by slaves, and were issued regularly to soldiers stationed where the climate was severe.

We know very little of other garments. The synthesis (dinner costume) was a garment put on over the tunic by the ultrafashionable. It was worn outdoors only during the Saturnalia and was usually of some bright color. The trabea (worn by augurs or in laemen's terms a priest who tells about the future.) seems to have been striped with scarlet and purple.

The laena and abolla were heavy woolen cloaks. The abolla was a favorite with poor people. Professional philosophers who were often careless in dress especially wore it. Men used the endromis (something like a bathrobe) after exercise.

Free men did not appear in public at Rome with bare feet unless they were extremely poor. Two styles of footwear were in use, soleae (sandals) and calcei (shoes). Before this footwear, soles of leather or matting attached to the feet by straps. They were worn with a tunic when an outer garment did not cover it. Customarily their use was limited to the house. Sandals were not allowed during meals; host and guest wore them into the dining room, but as soon as the men took their places on the couches, slaves removed the sandals and kept them until the meal was over. The phrase "soleas poscere" (ask for one's sandals) came to mean, "prepare to leave."

A Roman shoe, like a modern one, was made of leather. It covered the upper part of the foot as well as the sole, and was fastened with laces or straps. A man wore shoes outside even though they were heavier and less comfortable than sandals. If he rode to dinner, he wore sandals; if he walked, he wore shoes, while his slave carried his sandals. It was improper to wear a toga without shoes, since calcei were worn with all garments classed as amicti. (Go back to Roman Clothing)

Senators wore thick-soled shoes, open on the inside at the ankle, and fastened by wide straps. These straps ran from the sole and were wrapped around the leg and tied above the instep. Patricians wore the mulleus (a patrician shoe) originally only, but later by all curule magistrates. Red like the mullus (mullet) from which it was named, it resembled a senator's shoe, and had an ivory or silver ornament of crescent shape on the outside of the ankle.

Ordinary citizens wore shoes open in front and fastened by a leather strap that ran across the shoe near the top. Some shoes have eyelets and laces. They were not so high as senatorial shoes and were probably of undyed leather. Poor people wore coarse shoes, sometimes of untanned leather. Labors and soldiers wore wooden shoes or stoutly made half caligae (boots). (Note: Caligula means little boots.)

No stockings were worn, but people with tender feet sometimes wrapped them in woolen sloth, to keep their shoes from rubbing. (In short a sock.) A well-fit shoe had a good appearance and was comfortable. Vanity, however, seemed to have lead to tight shoes.

Head Coverings
A man of upper classes in Rome ordinarily went bareheaded. In bad weather he wore a lacerna or paenula, sometimes with a hood. If a man was caught without a wrap in a sudden shower, he could pull his toga up over his head. Poorer men, especially those, who worked outdoors all day, wore a conical felt cap, called pilleus. This may have been in early times a regular part of all Roman citizen's costume, for it was kept as part of the insignia of the oldest priesthood's, and was worn by a freed slave as an indication of his new status.

A causia or petasus (resembled a sombrero), was a broad-brimmed felt hat of foreign origin that protected the head of the upper class. This kind of hat was also worn by the old and feeble, and in later times by all classes in the theaters. Indoors, men went barehead.

Styles of Hair and Beards
In early times Romans wore long hair and full beards. According to Varro, professional barbers first came to Rome in 300 BC, but razors and shears were used before the beginning of history. Citizens of wealth and position had their hair and beards kept in order by their own slaves. Slaves who were skillful barbers brought good prices. Men of the middle class went to public barbershops, which became gathering places for idlers and gossips. The very poor found it cheap and easy to go unshaven. But in all periods, hair and beard were allowed to grow as a sign of sorrow as much a part of mourning as mourning clothes.

Different styles of hair and beard varied with the age of the man and the period. The hairs of children (boys and girls) were allowed to grow their hair long and hang around the neck and shoulders. When a boy became a man, he had to cut off his locks; sometimes with great formality. During the Empire they were often made an offering to some god. In classical times, young men wore close-clipped beards. Mature men were clean-shaven and wore their hair short. Most statues that have survived show beardless men until well into the 2nd century of our era. But when Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138) wore a beard, full beards became fashionable.

Rings were the only kind of jewelry worn by a Roman citizen, and good taste limited him to a single ring. The ring often had a precious stone and made still valuable by the carving of the gem. The original ring was made of iron. Until late in the Empire, iron rings were generally worn, even when a gold ring was no longer the special privilege of a knight, but merely the badge of freedom. Usually these were seal rings used for ornaments. Such a ring was a device, which the wearer pressed into melted wax when he wished to acknowledge some document as his own or to seal a cabinet or chest.

Of course there were men who violated good taste in the matter of jewelry, as well as their choice of clothes and their hair and beards. It was not surprising to hear of a man with sixteen rings on a hand or six on a finger. One of Martial's acquaintances had a ring so large that he was advised by the poet to wear it on his leg. More surprising is the ring was often worn on the joint of the finger for easy use of the seal. (Surprise!)

Manufacturing and Cleaning of Clothing
For centuries wool was spun into thread at home and woven into cloth on the family loom by women slaves, under the supervision of the mistress. This custom was continued throughout the Republic by some of Rome's proudest families. Even Augustus wore homemade clothes.

By the end of the Republic, home weaving was no longer common. Slaves still worked the farms for wool but fine quality clothes could be bought in shops. Some articles of clothing came from the loom ready to wear, but most garments required some sewing. Tunics were made of two pieces of cloth sewed together. Togas had to be measured, cut, and sewed to fit. Even a coarse paenula was not woven in one piece. Some ready-made garments, perhaps of cheap quality, were sold in towns during the empire. In fact ready-to-wear clothes was a big business in trade.

Romans had no steel sewing needles. They used large needles made of bone or bronze. Their thread was coarse and heavy. With such needles and thread, stitches were long and fine sewing difficult.

Even with the large number of slaves in the familia urbana, soiled garments were not usually cleaned at home. Woolens garments especially white ones, required professional handling, and were sent by all who could afford it to fullers to be washed and pressed, bleached or redyed. Shops of fullers and dyers have been found at Pompeii with their equipment in place. Cleaning must have been expensive, but necessary, for the heavy white garments had to look fresh, as well as be elegantly draped and worn.

message 33: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) drawing of a toga that would be worn by a male

example of a toga with the purple sash indicating authority

toga that might be seen in the Forum

message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you for all of this hard work in adding all of this info.

message 35: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Slavery is mentioned repeatedly in this book and the Saturnalia noted early on. A bit more info about this annual event and a book on life as a slave in ancient Rome:

How Saturnalia was celebrated?
Saturnalia was a traditional celebration like Christmas in which slaves and masters switched places. In this celebration, the master became the slave and performed all the tasks of the slave, and the slaves did the opposite. Slaves and masters showed loyalty to each other in many ways. Therefore...

"Masters participated in the Saturnalia’s festivals to show their appreciation for the slaves’ service which led them to realize that by treating slaves with respect and care it was in their best interest, as well as those of the slaves (Nardo 26)".
In simpler terms, both slaves and masters were supposed to be thankful for each other and enjoyed peaceful time together.

Life of a Roman Slave (Way People Live) by Don Nardo byDon Nardo

message 36: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Sulla

message 37: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Some might find this handy. Another way to view and think about the various constructs of the Roman Republic government.

message 38: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) One map of the region, gives an overall sense of various regions subject of the battles noted in the book.

message 39: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3820 comments Mod
Alica, that's a very interesting flow chart of the government, but it's not accurate, at least for this time period. The consuls are elected, not appointed by the Senate, and both patricians and plebians can serve in the Senate. Maybe it was meant to represent the state of affairs before the Struggle of the Orders (

message 40: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Vicki, thanks for the wiki link.
Marge, you are right, Sulla does look like LBJ. Odd.

message 41: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The cuirass armor plate worn in battle by the Romans, a few examples. Is it just that time of year, or do these look remarkably like football pads?

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message 42: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) This caught my attention this week and thought it worthy of sharing. Bill Gates reflects on comparisons of Ancient Rome to America. He discusses what he learns from reading this work by Vaclav Smil.
The article ~
The referenced book ~
Why America Is Not a New Rome by Vaclav Smil by Vaclav Smil
and the article author ~ Bill Gates Bill Gates

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