Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Ancient Greek Clothes

Ancient clothes resulted from the basic raw materials, vital, vegetable or even metal, with most important of all the wool, the flax and the silk. For the weaving of all these raw materials ancient Greeks used the vertical loom with weights. The buckrams that resulted, depending on the type of clothing for which they were intended, were then sewed with rafides or needles, cupreous, iron or made of bone. Contrary to the Minoan and the Mycenaean period at the duration of which certain cutting and sewing was required for the production of clothes, in the archaic period and on clothing had as their base a rectangular buckram as this came out from the loom or a rectangular piece made of many different pieces sewed together.

The basic types of greek clothing remained the same for many centuries. Because of their simple basic form they could be differentiated easily through their decoration or through the way they were folded or fastened depending on the fashion of each era. The basic types of ancient Greek clothing were the following:

Peplos: The woollen peplos, a woman’s cloth, was a rectangular buckram which did not even need to be sewed. The buckram was folded in the one third of its height one time to the outside, shaping thus a bulk of fabric, the so called apoptygma, that fell to the outside on the back and the breast. The closed side of the buckram was usually placed at the left side of the body. By pins or brooches the fabric was fastened at the shoulder, thus leaving the arms bare, which is one criterion to identify the dress along with the box-like treatment of the overfall. The apoptygma could also be worn as a cover of the head. Peplos could be worn above the chiton.

One other basic type of clothing was the tunic, the chiton, which was worn by men and women as well and was made of linen. In the case of the chiton the initial form of buckram was solenoid usually without the apoptygma of the peplos. The parts of the buckram that were sewed, were the long sides as well as the shoulders. Thus the chiton had shaped sleeves, the so called cheirides, that were short and had buttons. The chiton with sleeves was called cheiridotos. Two types of ancient tunics can be distinguished: the one, the loose, was sewed in the above fringe, leaving openings for the head and the arms or was closed with a line from small buttons. The narrow tunic on the other hand was completely closed in the above side, with the exception of the opening for the head, while the openings for the arms were found in the above part of the adjacent sides. The peplos and the chiton were often worn with a belt. Women gathered enough buckram of the chiton on the back side, which fell downwards shaping the gulf. When the chiton was not belted it was named orthostadios, while if it reached the sole of the foot was named podiris.

The chitoniskos was a short chiton, thigh-length, which was worn by warriors, hunters, heroes etc. In the daily life men preferred the short chiton because it offered freedom of movements, something quite important for active men.

A characteristic clothing of the archaic period was also the so called himation. The himation was a long buckram that passed under the left armpit, was wrapped round the breast and the back and then was buttoned above the right arm. On the other side it fell open to down under. The himation could also be fixed symmetrically and fall free at the back, with its two utmost parts that they passed front above the shoulders, falling down under or again being wrapped round the hips or covering the hips, with its one end passing above the back at the left shoulder falling freely to the front. The himation was worn by men and women.

The chlamys was exclusively a men’s cloth. Basically it was shorter than the himation. In this case the buckram was folded one time vertically and was fixed on the right shoulder with a pin or broche, so that it covered the left arm from the closed side of the buckram, and the right being totally uncovered. The chlamys was worn basically by the adolescents, the travellers and the soldiers.