Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture investigates the social symbolism and cultural poetics of dress in the ancient Roman world in the period from 200 BCE-400 CE. Editors Jonathan Edmondson and Alison Keith and the contributors to this volume explore the diffusion of Roman dress protocols at Rome and in the Roman imperial context by looking at Rome's North African provinces in particular, a focus that previous studies have overlooked or dealt with only in passing. Another unique aspect of this collection is that it goes beyond the male elite to address a wider spectrum of Roman society. Chapters deal with such topics as masculine attire, strategies for self-expression for Roman women within a dress code prescribed by a patriarchal culture, and the complex dynamics of dress in imperial Roman culture, both literary and artistic. This volume further investigates the literary, legal, and iconographic evidence to provide anthropologically-informed readings of Roman clothing.
This collection of original essays employs a range of methodological approaches - historical, literary critical, philological, art historical, sociological and anthropological - to offer a thorough discussion of one of the most central issues in Roman culture.
About the authors
Jonathan Edmondson is a professor in the Department of History and the Programme in Classical Studies in the Division of Humanities at York University.
Alison Keith is a professor of classics, comparative literature, medieval studies, and women and gender studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic.
'Those entering the field of Roman clothing studies will find this concise survey very useful ... Illustrating the various threads of current investigation into Roman clothing, these intriguing essays show that understanding the symbolism of Roman clothing is essential in recovering the Romans' way of thinking about themselves and the "others" of their empire.
Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada