Toga and Pallium

Status, sexuality, identity

Authored by: Kelly Olson

Sex in Antiquity

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415519410
eBook ISBN: 9781315747910
Adobe ISBN: 9781317602774


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This study examines the ancient material and literary evidence for Roman men in Greek dress, considering the toga and the pallium, two important items of outerwear for the Romans. Despite the strong social resonances of each, sometimes the garments themselves, paradoxically and somewhat unexpectedly, cannot be distinguished in Roman material representations. This paper will challenge some long-held assumptions about the identification of toga and pallium, and also examine the bearing the occasional adoption of Greek costume had not only on the formation of cultural identity but also on the construction of gender and sexual personality. A man’s clothing communicated not only rank and status, ethnicity and identity, but also reflected and strengthened a man’s sense of his masculine self.

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