Ancient Greek Fashion

Michael Lahanas

Αρχαία Ελληνική Ενδυμασία

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Die griechische Kleidung - von der Sandale bis zur Kopfbedeckung

His (Plato) disciples were, Speusippus the Athenian, Zenocrates of Chalcedon, Aristotle the Stagirite, ..., and numbers of others, among whom there were also two women, Lasthenea of Mantinea, and Axiothea of Phlius, who used even to wear man's clothes, as we are told by Dicaearchus.
Diogenes Laertios, Life of Plato

Woman spinning, filling a baket "Kalathos" with yarn, Pottery images

Woman spinning, filling a baket ....


Women weaving, Image adapted from a Black-figure lekythos, Attica 550 BC, by the Amasis Painter , See also Image1 , Image2 "The two on the left fill a basket with yarn; the next two fold the finished cloths; one spins fine thread next to a woman combing wool into a basket; two others work together at a warp-weighted vertical loom; and the two on the right weigh out the balls of yarn" (Marilyn A. Katz ). In Greek Mythology a famous weaver was Arachne (Gr. Spider) a woman from Lydia who challenged Athena to a contest. Athena destroyed Arachne's work. Arachne hanged herself but she was transformed into a spider.

Istos (ἱστός) Reconstruction of a weaving device

See also Istos (loom)

These devices were used much earlier (probably up to 7000 BC from loom weights found ).(Weaving on the Warp-Weighted Loom, References and Links)

Epinetron, woman with an epinetron,

Epinetron (Επίνητρον) - a pottery thigh protector that women wore over her leg when roving wool.

Minoan Fashion


Left Image: Minoan Topless Dress, (patterned cloth) in a more female dominated society. Snake Goddess from Knossos, Crete c. 1600 BC, 34.3 cm Archaeological Museum, Herakleion. Probably the first appearance of a corset in history. It reappeared again more than 3000 years later in the Renaissance. The Minoan women fashion looks much more complex than the fashion of classical Greece. The Minoan Statuary of Arthur Lee Anderson
. From a Lecture: "A paradox is the fact that Crete has few snakes, so that its snake cult was probably imported, not home-grown, yet no snake goddesses have so far been discovered outside of Crete. Snakes like those in Crete are not venomous and are easy to play with . Right Image: Man's fashion from Knossos mural, the so called 'Prince with the Lilies' or 'Priest King' Fresco (Knossos, c. 1500 BC) .

Snake Goddess, Woman with a sacral knot, "known also as "Parisiana" the girl from Paris / France"

Minoan Traders in Egypt, Minoan women, Reconstruction

Archaic Fashion

"Archaic Artemis"

Reconstruction based on a Kore Sculpture

Do you think that Greek art ever tells us what the Greek people were like? Do you believe that the Athenian women were like the stately dignified figures of the Parthenon frieze, or like those marvellous goddesses who sat in the triangular pediments of the same building? If you judge from the art, they certainly were so. But read an authority, like Aristophanes, for instance. You will find that the Athenian ladies laced tightly, wore high-heeled shoes, dyed their hair yellow, painted and rouged their faces, and were exactly like any silly fashionable or fallen creature of our own day. The fact is that we look back on the ages entirely through the medium of art, and art, very fortunately, has never once told us the truth.Oscar Wilde , The Decay of Lying

Different color reconstructions of a Greek women sculpture. The umbrella like hat is a meniskos and is used as a weather and bird protection (But, if your award is against us, don't fail to have metal covers fashioned for yourselves, like those they place over statues; else, look out! for the day you wear a white tunic all the birds will soil it with their droppings. Aristophanes LEADER OF SECOND SEMI-CHORUS, Birds). The Peplos Kore

See also other Korai and their clothes

Classical and Hellenistic Fashion

MEN

Chiton ( Exomis version short chiton with right arm left free for activity. Used by workers or slaves or by the Amazons [in Greek Art] with part of the breast exposed ). Xystis a chiton version used by all chariot drivers during the race. It spans the whole body all the way to his ankles See: Charioteer of Delphi

Fisherman with an Exomis

Chitoniskos a short chiton, sometimes worn over another chiton: they wore short tunics which stopped above the knees, about as thick as the linen of a bed-sack Xenophon Anabasis (χιτωνίσκους δὲ ἐνεδεδύκεσαν ὑπὲρ γονάτων, πάχος ὡς λινὸν στρωματοδέσμου) warrior wearing a short cuirass over a short -sleeved chitoniskos , Image Left: A winged youth, wearing winged boots, a chitoniskos, and a taenia Right: a bearded warrior, wearing chitoniskos and pilos (a helmet)

Chlaina (χλαῖνα): a woolen cloth for men carried in the winter over the shoulders

Chlamys, a small mantle was used for travel or riding. It was fastened with a fibula in front or on one shoulder. Boy Wearing a Chlamys (Tralles c. 250 BC)


The great always grim looking orator
Demosthenes shows us his himation.

Himation “mantle”

Perizoma (περιζωμα), a kind of simple underwear (cotton or linen or other material, a hair skirt, perizoma , worn by members of the satyr chorus,seen in a late-fifth-century BC vase by the Pronomos painter: Naples, Museo Nazionale Archeologico, 3240; Beazley, ARV (n. 3), 2: 1336, no. 1; illustrated in Arias, Hirmer, and Shefton, History (n. 3), plate 218.

Podeia, a kind of socks produced by a material from plants, according to Theophrastus. Called impilia by the Romans. The sculpture The Ephebe of Tralleis wears such socks.

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