Ancient Greece: A Sketch of Its Art, Literature & Philosophy Viewed in Connexion with Its External History from Earliest Times to the Age of Alexander the Great

By H. B. Cotterill | Go to book overview

NOTE B
DRESS

TO follow with any certainty, after the lapse of millenniums, the ever-varying fashions of dress is impossible. The differences that prevail on the subject among antiquarians are mainly due to the fact that fashions are apt to change very rapidly, to revert to old types, to develop new combinations, and to exist simultaneously, even in close contact. But some well-marked characteristics are noticeable at certain periods of Greek history.

(1) In Minoan and 'Mycenaean' civilization, to judge from pictorial evidence (Figs. 5, 10, 16, &c.), the men when at war generally wore nothing at all, and at other times often only a sort of bathing-drawers garment, and footgear curiously like our 'puttees.' Their hair was often built up into a high coiffure with long pigtails, and in many paintings they have extraordinarily slender waists, as if they laced tightly; or perhaps they gained their slimness by such gymnastic training as was necessary for the Cretan matadors (Fig. 17). The women had strangely modern-looking costumes--heavy, deeply flounced, embroidered skirts, and (when the bust was not nude) puff-sleeved jackets or blouses (often very décolletées). The hair was elaborately coiled and curled.

(2) In Homer we find quite a different dress, which we may call Achaean, evidently of northern origin. It differs essentially from the Minoan and Mycenaean composite sewn dress, and consists (with the possible exception of the linen undergarment) of a single piece of cloth, or lighter stuff, fastened by brooches, or safety-pins (fibulae, περόναι), which were not required, except for ornament, in the older sewn garments.

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