Winged Sandals  


Fashion and Food

There was not as much variety in clothes in ancient Greece as there is today. Most people wore large rectangular sheets of fabric arranged in different ways. There were two main types of dress – the Doric chiton and the Ionic chiton. Men mostly wore a shorter version of the Ionic chiton. Most clothes were made of wool, and were usually coloured yellow, brown, red or sometimes blue. They could be richly decorated with patterns and borders.

Women's Fashion

The Doric chiton or peplos was the simpler and more traditional dress. It was a rectangle of material about twice the distance from elbow to elbow if the wearer outstretched her arms, and 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) taller than the wearer. It was folded over at the top so that the longer part was the same length as the distance from the wearer's shoulder to her ankle. It was folded in half horizontally and wrapped around the body. It was then held together by two large pins at the shoulders. There were a number of possible variations: sometimes it was left open to the side, sometimes it was sewn closed; sometimes a girdle was added underneath the overfold and sometimes on top of it; some women had overfolds stretching to beneath their hips, some only hung down to just above the waist.

The Ionic chiton was a large rectangle like the Doric but a little wider (twice the distance from finger-tip to finger-tip) and a little shorter. It was not folded over, but was closed on the top with buttons or a seam, leaving only spaces for the head and the arms. It was sewn down the open side. It was tied with a girdle so that any extra was in the upper section and the bottom section did not hang beneath the ankles. It was carefully pleated.

Over the top of the Ionic chiton, Greek women also often wore another piece of material, called a narrow himation. It was worn diagonally over the right shoulder and bunched up under the left breast.

Greek women did not wear hats, but they did wear their hair in a variety of different styles, sometimes adding a ribbon or a scarf. They also wore jewellery – especially earrings and necklaces.

Men's Fashion

Men mostly wore a shorter version of the Ionic chiton, usually only coming down to middle of their thighs. Sometimes, especially if they were hard at work, they might remove the right clasps so that it was held up over only the left shoulder. If it was cold, they might wear a cloak as well. If travelling, they would often wear a large hat, a little bit like a sombrero but made of felt, called a petasos. Otherwise, they might wear a small felt hat with or without a brim called a pilos.

In case of cold weather, men could also add a himation (a large square wrapped around the body) or a chlamys (a smaller square of material fastened with a metal clasp and worn like a cape). Some men only wore himations, without a chiton underneath.

Soldiers would still wear the short chiton but with armour on top – usually a breastplate, greaves (to protect the shins) and a helmet. A hoplite, or heavily-armed soldier also carried a round shield, a long spear of around 2 metres or 6.5 feet, and a short sword.

Food

Greek and Roman food was very different to what we eat today. Many ingredients that we use were unknown to the ancients, such as potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum, corn, bananas and chocolate. The majority of people mostly ate wheat and barley products (especially bread and porridge) and vegetables like beans, onions and cabbage. Fish was rare and red meat was expensive, although people sometimes ate chicken, goose or pork. Food was often flavoured with honey, wine, olive oil, herbs and spices.

Symposia, or Feasts

Some of the most lavish meals in ancient Greece took place in symposia. These were parties held in people's homes. Only male guests were invited, apart from servants and entertainers. The wives and daughters and young boys of the house were not allowed to attend. The men would eat well, get drunk and sing songs. They might also hire entertainers such as musicians, dancers and acrobats. They liked to play a game called kottabos, where each guest would flick the dregs of wine from his wine cup at a target. They ate while lounging about on couches rather than sitting at a table.

The other time that people feasted was at religious sacrifices.
More »

Philosophy: Ancient Greek Thinkers
The Olympic Games
Fashion and Food
Religion, Ritual and Worship
Athenian Politics and Government
Greek Architecture: then and now
Greek Art: Vase painting and sculpture
Education in Ancient Times
A Trip to the Theatre

 


CLOSE WINDOW

 
ABC Online Home  ©2003 ABC | Privacy Policy