Ancient Roman FAQs

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The Romans used papyrus to write on. It was a reed that grew along river banks, whose stalks when cut were layered in crisscross patterns before being set out to dry. They would dry in stiff pliable sheets. They would write on the papyrus with a quill dipped in ink. If papyrus was not an option they would write on shallow wooden or clay tablets that held a thin layer of wax. A stylus could be used to write in the wax. The cheapest way to write however was to paint on walls and create carvings in stone.


The Roman families were different than the modern families in many ways. In the Roman family the paterfamilias were the man in charge of the household. They had absolute power over all the members in the household, even the power to put them to death. Also, when the women in the family went out they had to be accompanied by guardians. Women also would get married at a young age and in wealthy families there could be arranged marriages.Roman parents did things differently as well. Rather than naming the child when it is born, they would wait to name the child 9 days after its birth. The mother would also give birth to her child sitting upright. The naming system was much different from how it is today. Men had three names. They had a praenomen which was unique to each member in the family, a nomen which was from the family, and a cognomen which identified the particular branch of the family they were from. Men and women both used their father's nomen. Women did not change their names when they got married.

Clothing - Men's and Boy's

Common men wore a knee-length tunic , that either had sleeves or didn’t . Men wore a cloak over their tunic, that was thrown over their shoulder and carefully wrapped around the body. More important Romans wore a toga. Boys would also wear a tunic down to their knees, but more important ones would wear a toga bordered with purple. Children would wear a special charm around their neck called a bulla that was given to them shortly after birth. The choice of attire and how formal you dressed would help show your social status.

Clothing- Women's and Girl's

Women wore a long tunic that was often went down to their ankles. Over this the women wore a stola that was worn from neck to ankle, high- waisted and fastened at the shoulders with clasps. Wealthier women wore longer tunics made from more expensive cotton or silk. They also wore lots of jewelry and make-up. They would have specially trained slaves that would help them get dressed. arrange their hair and put make up on their faces. Girls would often wear a tunic with a woolen belt around the waist.


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"Family." The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. 153-155. World History in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

"Names, Roman System of." Ancient Greece and Rome: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. Carroll Moulton. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998. 66-67. World History in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

"Clothing." Ancient Greece and Rome: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. Carroll Moulton. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998. 148-153. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

"The Dress of Roman Women." Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. Ed. Edward I. Bleiberg, et al. Vol. 2: Ancient Greece and Rome 1200 B.C.E.-476 C.E. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 106-109. World History in Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.