Ancient Roman FAQs

Lucius Eger

Roman Writing

The Roman's closest paper equivalent was Papyrus. A quill dipped in ink was the primary writing utensil in Ancient Rome. Shallow wooden tablets that absorbed a thin layer of wax could be used as a more affordable and easily acquirable means of writing things down on. Writers would use stylists to write, and could erase the writing by heating up the tablet slightly, enough to rearrange the wax's structure.

Roman Families

Roman families are mildly similar to modern families. The Roman family is structured differently : around the oldest male member. Roman families were patriarchies meaning the father or grandfather had the most authority. Men could choose whether or not they wanted to keep their wives' babies and raise them 8-9 days after birth, depending on the gender. The infants were placed at the feet of the father, and if the father picked up the baby it meant he intends to raise and care for the child, if he left it on the ground, the infant would be left out to the elements to die and weather away. Infanticide was not uncommon in Ancient Rome. Some families would adopt children, (the children that weren't selected by another family to get cared for) if they couldn't conceive a child. Families had slaves as well, which is much different from modern families. Some families treated slaves with decency and respect. The father owned all property, and the father could punish anyone in the family.

Men's & Boy's Clothing

Men wore togas, and togas became synonymous with an air of dignity. Togas could impede movement though, made it hard to fun/fight/exercise. Commoners wore white togas, and royalty wore more exclusive purple togas. Boys in Ancient Rome dressed very similar to their fathers, they wore toga praetextas which was a child sized toga. These held a purple border around the edge of the toga to symbolize Roman Citizenship. Once boys turned 16 they began wearing white Togas. Boys wore good luck charms called Bullas, which they wore around their neck, it was a type of casual jewelry

Women's & Girl's Clothing

Women generally wore tunicas/tunics, worn over undergarments. Tunicas usually had longer sleeves. All classes of women wore the same type of Tunic. The lowest class women however wore stolas. A palla was another model of clothing occasionally worn. Girls wore Tunics too, accept they were much longer.

Citations

-Roger S. Bagnall, Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History (London & New York: Routledge, 1995).

-Raffaella Cribiore, Writing, Teachers, and Students in Graeco-Roman Egypt (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996).

-William V. Harris, Ancient Literacy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).

-“Writing and Language." World Eras. Ed. John T. Kirby. Vol. 3: Roman Republic and Empire, 264 B.C.E.- 476 C.E. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 170-172. World History in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

-Suzanne Dixon, The Roman Family (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).

-Beryl Rawson, ed., The Family in Ancient Rome: New Perspectives (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1986).

-Jo-Ann Shelton, As the Romans Did: A Sourcebook in Roman Social History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

-"Children." World Eras. Ed. John T. Kirby. Vol. 3: Roman Republic and Empire, 264 B.C.E.- 476 C.E. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 304-305. World History in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

-Judith Lynn Sebesta and Larissa Bonfante, eds., The World of Roman Costume (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994).

-Lilian M. Wilson, The Clothing of the Ancient Romans (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1938).

-“Clothing." World Eras. Ed. John T. Kirby. Vol. 3: Roman Republic and Empire, 264 B.C.E.- 476 C.E. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 268-271. World History in Context. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.