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Roman Clothing c. 320 AD

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  • Roman Clothing c. 320 AD

    Hello everyone,

    I've noticed this game before, and wanted to take some time to give a breakdown of Early 4th Century Military Equipment and Clothing, as a suggestion to improve the historical accuracy of the game, which takes place during the reign of Constantine in the 320's AD.

    I thought I'd start with the latter, and begin with the Late Roman Tunic.


    The basic undertunic was called a Kamision, which was a plain white linen tunic with sleeves. Typically, it was undecorated, although some cetainly may have been.

    Although this example is decorated (notably with Purple, a highly expensive and depending on how it was worn, illegal, color), it gives a general idea of the basic Roman Tunic.

    On a related note, Women's Tunics, which extended to the Ankle, were similar and almost always had two long vertical stripes (as depicted in the following image), known as clavii. Although this decoration was common for men in principate Tunics, it was uncommon for men in the dominate.

    The most common form of Tunic was the Tunica Manicata. This could have a variety of variations in decoration, but the basic form looked something like this:

    (Continued in next post due to image restriction).
    Last edited by FlavivsAetivs; 01-24-2017, 10:39 PM.

  • #2
    And other variations in design and decor:

    Sometimes you'll see versions of this Tunic with short sleeves, this is called a Kolovion. It's unknown when this style became popular, as it may have been associated with the Huns.

    A men's Tunic cut in the fashion of a Women's Tunic was called a Dalmatica or Delmatikion. This was decorated as seen in the image below, and often used by Imperial dignitaries, bureaucrats, and especially Christian Religious Officials (and Monks/Priests). As with the Woman's Tunic, the Dalmatica extended to the Ankles.

    Some of these Dalmatica had large, hanging sleeves, rather than the tight cuffs of most Late Roman Tunics:

    Last edited by FlavivsAetivs; 01-23-2017, 12:50 PM.


    • #3

      Already mentioned, stripes were known as Clavii. Typically, a Tunic had anywhere between one and four clavii on the end of the sleeve, and two vertical ones running down from the shoulders usually to about the lower Torso in length.

      Orbiculi, or roundels, could be placed on the shoulders and the front/back of each thigh. Segmentae (rectangular decorations) were also common, although moreso in the 5th century onwards. Six Pointed Stars, Swastikas, and other patterns also adorned these tunics as well.


      The basic Tunic color is often debated but it seems to have been white. Bleaching was simple and widespread as it could be done with urine. Red seems to have been also very common. But we see virtually every color in art, including orange, peach, cyan, blue, cobalt, forest green, lime green, brown, gray, saffron, purple, etc.

      An undecorated yellow, bright orange, or gold tunic of this style was known as a Tunica Superiore, which was used by the palace guards, or troops on parade, and would have been worn over a linen undertunic. This is because the tunic was probably dyed with Saffron, a highly expensive spice that you'll find most commonly in "Yellow Rice" and was used to make bright yellow, orange, and gold dyes. This is contrary to darker mustard yellows and oranges.

      A highly decorative bleached white tunic was known as a Stikharion, and was used by military officials or bureaucrats. One is depicted on the Monza Diptych, which is reconstructed in this image as being worn by the Master of Soldiers Aetius, with gold thread creating a background pattern depicting a silhouette of the Emperor in each roundel:

      Purple should be used sparingly. Only the highest ranking officials, in this era the Magister Equitum, Magister Peditum, Magister Officiorum, and other extremely high ranking bueaucrats would have been allowed to use Purple decorations. At this time, a Purple cloak was reserved only for the Emperor, and the same for a purely purple Tunic.


      Sumner, Graham. "Roman Military Dress."
      Dawson, Timothy. "By the Emperor's Hand: Military Dress and Court Regalia in the Later Romano-Byzantine Empire."
      D'Amato, Raffaele and Sumner, Graham. "Roman Military Clothing, 425-640 AD."


      • #4
        Nice, will be amazing if the game have much clothes (color and style).
        Ty Flavivs Aetivs


        • #5
          Very interesting information. Thanks for posting that Flavivs Aetivs.


          • #6
            ty ty for the great thread!