Roman Military Costume
Generals
This clothing consisted of a Sublicaculum, and under garment like a loin cloth, over which was worn a short tunica. The main armour was the Cuirasse, a breastplate of bronze, brass or leather moulded to the lines of the body. It was embossed with a Medusa head or insignia of the regiment, or inlaid with contrasting materials. In republican times it might be made of layers of leather straps or two separate plates of brass, or a corselet of small metal plates. Another type consisted of two large metal plates covering the chest and long bands of steel over the shoulders and around the waist. This armour was hinged on one side and fastened on the other.

 

 

 

 

 


Under the Cuirasse, a leather jacket was sometimes worn, which had a skirt attached to it, made up of strips hanging down to the knees. These strips were often covered with metal and a fringe. Rows of medallions were offered worn with gods or symbols of good luck. To distinguish themselves as high officers, they often wore a scarf around their waist, as an emblem of command.

 

 

 

A cloak called a Paludamentum, of a fine material often fringed, was worn pinned to the right shoulder with a brooch called a Fibula. This cloak was white, red or purple colour. The Toga Picta was the triumphal garment worn with the Tunica Palmata by Generals entering Rome after a victorious campaign. These were truly magnificent garments of purple silk embroidered with gold thread and decorated with motifs appropriate to the military campaign. These garments later became the official wear for the Emperor and were retained only for him. Buskin boots were worn, with front decoration.

Soldiers (Legendaries)
They wore a rust red tunica, a little shorter than the civilian tunic. At the neck, they wore a roll of cloth of the same material as the tunica. The tunica had short sleeves, sometimes several tunicas were worn on top of each other in the winter. The tunica nearest to the skirt was the Bacula, another was the Tunica Exteriodum and later a longer tunica was worn called the Caraculla. The lorica (armour) was worn over the chest, made of metal and joined to it was a short petticoat of leather with metal tipped strips, down to mid-thigh. The same sort of strips were attached to the shoulders of the lorica, over the sleeves of the tunica. Chainmail shirts were also worn in the later days of the Empire.
Bracchae (breeches)
were adopted by the Roman soldiers when on campaigns in the North, similar to those worn by barbarians. Later on they were worn by soldiers all over Italy. The toga was an impractical garment for military wear, so it was adapted by solders into a simpler form called the Toga Gabiana. They wrapped it around their waists, fastening it firmly enough to wear on horseback.
Soldiers also wore an Abolla, a short woollen cloak fastened on one shoulder, or the Paenula, which was a semi-circular cloak with an attached hood called the Cucculus. This was sometimes made of leather. Greaves (shin guards) as shown here on the right, were worn, above Caligula footwear.
Helmets
Helmets had visors at the front, which could be pulled down over the face. The legionaries wore a plain helmet, while the Centurions (officers) wore a horse hair plume on the top and was decorated.
Standard Bearer
He went in front of the army holding the standard of the legion. he carried no weapons. He wore a leopard or lion skin.

Back Home