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Loincloth/kilt (?) Pattern
Hey folks,

Looking for a pattern (written will work, if no good pictures are available) for gladiatorial loincloths... If that's the appropriate term for what they wear. What would you call them? I'm talking about the rather close-fitting ones that have a triangular piece draping down the front. I'm guessing that these were some kind of folded piece, and didn't overlap due to sewing, but rather to a process of folding the whole thing around the abdomen?

I've got two images that show the back, and they seem to be pretty close-fitting there. The guys in the Italian group wear them, but I have no idea how they're constructed from any images that they show.

Any information is appreciated. Thanks!

Gregory J. Liebau
The Bronze Age Center
Well, our mates in Ludus have an interesting variety of subligaria I'm sure they'll oblige too, now I would attempt to add an illustration of a subligaria being put on (but our PCs at work always fail to transfer images to forums sadly)

I can email the image to you if you wish.
hello Dan, I have been meaning to say hello and welcome to the forum for a while now, so hello and welcome!

I have been meaning to draw a pattern of ours for a little while now, which I will do and add here probably at the weekend.

I think that our pattern though may look historical when on, I will give some examples when I put the drawing up, however it is in all liklihood more of a look a like to the originals than as exact functional copy. We have found that we need to be a little more sensitive to modern audiences and can't run the risk of the subligar 'gaping' ... if you catch my drift.

All the best

Yep, know what you mean Graham.

(I would say 'I catch your drift' but in the context of what we're talking about anyone brought up on a diet of Carry On films like I was, would snigger).

One of our members nearly suffered from 'fall-out' at one show, but a quick remark from one of our ex-squaddies* (dressed as a guard) "Your garden shed's open and your lawnmower is showing" caused the 'dead' guy to roll over strategically until he was covered up and carried off.

*I think the army has a history of encouraging some beautiful phrases!
I plan on wearing regular underwear beneath mysubligaria, just as an extra precaution. If anything shows, I'd rather have it be unhistoric briefs than something elseWink

Can't wait for the pattern, Graham. I also got an email from Dan, who said he'd give me an image of one of their interpretations from his wife's new book, The World Of The Gladiator. Should be intriguing! Glad I've fallen in with such company, good sirs!

Thanks again for all of the help!


(EDIT: Got an image of the pattern from Dan! Looks a lot like how I'd imagined it, but the details were fuzzy for me. The design looks simple enough that I'll try to attempt one as soon as I get the appropriate materials!) ... st&id=3883
Gregory J. Liebau
The Bronze Age Center
I must stress that this is just an interpretation and one of many variations by different societies no doubt.

Credit where it's due, the pattern that we've used was suggested by a Karen of Time Tarts and developed/manufactured in our own ranks by a woman called Sue English.

It seems simple and effective, but I throw my hands up.... it is guesswork after all.

Sadly like most fabric, commentary/known practice about dressing in this period is long gone.

For later Roman buffs I do happen to posess a fragment of Coptic tunic (a shoulder panel), this appears to be a linen twill, it's definitely a vegetable fibre and not wool.

If I get the time next week I'll scan it in and attempt to post it up here (Gregory, in response to your email Jpegs produced on my PC corrupt, but I'm happy to email it to you as a Tif or Gif to paste up here).
Quote:If I get the time next week I'll scan it in and attempt to post it up here (Gregory, in response to your email Jpegs produced on my PC corrupt, but I'm happy to email it to you as a Tif or Gif to paste up here).
Is this perhaps a case for using the new RAT image storage? Jasper?
RAT image storage
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
I think something else worth mentioning and looking at is that the originals wore many different versions of these.

I have been told that historically these probably started as Roman undies and grew from there in size, elborateness (if there is such a word), colour and design.

Looking at the iconography of the period, there are a number of different versions.

Here are a couple, more can be found in our Gallery, under resources.

All the besr

You might find this picture useful?
[Image: Gladiatorsubidiculum.jpg]

The newspaper report in October said "AN image of a Roman gladiator wearing only a G-string has been dug from the bed of the River Tees.

Broken Roman pottery, decorated with the picture, was recovered from the river at Piercebridge.
Archaeologists believe the figure of a gladiator, who also appears to be holding a whip, may be the first of its kind ever discovered.

Philippa Walton, who works for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, said: "The pottery sherd depicts a man wearing a G-string and holding a whip. The sherd is a fragment from a larger vessel, probably a beaker.

"Similar pottery has been found before depicting some gladiatorial scenes, some quite pornographic, but I can't think of an example where the gladiator only wears a G-string.

Divers Rolfe Hutchinson and Bob Middlemass came across the figure.

Over the past 20 years the pair have uncovered thousands of ancient artefacts from the river while diving.""

Btw, came across the new Gladiator book in the Corinium museum- excellent stuff! I was particularly fascinated by the reconstructed manica based on the Carlisle finds. Recommended!


[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]

aka Paul B, moderator
Moderation in all things
Cheers mate.

I'll let Susanna know.

It was quite a long time in the making and certainly would not have been possible without input and generous help of many researcher/re-enactors Graham & Ludus, Matt & ERA. Michael Hardy of the VIIIth and specialists like Nodge Nolan, David Hill and indeed Mike Bishop.
Okay, what's this book and how do we get it?
Pecunia non olet
Ok... shameless plug alert:

The World of the Gladiator

Susanna Shadrake

Paperback 240 pages (October, 2005)

Publisher: Tempus Publishing Ltd

ISBN: 075243442X

Publisher's synopsis-

The gladiatorial contest was the high point of the bloody sports witnessed in Rome's Colosseum and in other amphitheatres throughout the Roman empire. This book explores all aspects of gladiatorial life: its beginnings under the Republic; the organisation of the spectacle; the day-to-day-life of a gladiator; a typical show from start to finish; the equipment, weapons and armour used; the symbolic role of the gladiator in society; and the fascination of the gladiatorial spectacle within a twenty-first-century context.
The book, by the author of Barbarian Warriors, is lavishly illustrated with colour and black-and-white photographs, including many re-enactment shots.

(Hope you like it John
Paulus Britannicus\\n[quote]Hi,

You might find this picture useful?
[Image: Gladiatorsubidiculum.jpg]

The newspaper report in October said "AN image of a Roman gladiator wearing only a G-string has been dug from the bed of the River Tees.

I think there's a case for regarding this as "visible panty-line" rather than a "G-string" - the picture showing the hemmed edges of the pants and looking like a g-string because the piece is monochrome.
Quote:Ok... shameless plug alert:

The World of the Gladiator

Susanna Shadrake

I got my copy today - very impressed! Some nice recreations and quite a bit to go through. The origins of the games are particularly interesting in my opinion. I am not quite sure how the attendents at the games were known as libitinarii however...but that is for another thread.

This book will keep me going for a while and it'll no doubt end up with as one of my reference guides. You may regret me taking an interest, Mr Shadrake!

Some of the pictures are *ahem* strangely compelling. :wink:
Vanessa Simpson
Cheers Lucia- Really hope you like the book, thanks for the kind comments, I'll let Susanna know.


Well it's Susanna's field more than mine (so she'll flay me alive if I get it wrong) I think it's most likely from Libitina - in Roman religion, goddess of funerals. Coins were deposited at her sanctuary/shrine/grove whenever a death occurred.
The term (libitinarii) probably started as a general one for undertakers who had offices in Rome and probably most larger towns, and there deaths were registered for the purposes of statistics.
The word Libitina probably came to be used for the business of burials/funerals and indeed the disposal/removal of bodies in the arena. The association with the Porta Libitinenses (hope I spelt that right) is clear - but if you have further questions do contact Susanna through our website


P.S. This subject came up in conversation with some of the Ludus chaps
- at a BM job last year, so they have probably researched this subject extensively too.

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