Toga Definition

“Toga.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Retrieved 3 December 2022. Traditionalists idealized the urban and rustic citizens of Rome as descendants of a rough, virtuous, toga-clad peasantry, but the massive and intricate curtain of the toga made it completely impassable for manual labor or physically active leisure. The gown was heavy, “heavy, excessively hot, slightly stained and difficult to wash.” [40] He was best suited to majestic processions, public debates, and oratory, sitting in the theatre or circus and appearing before peers and subordinates while “doing nothing conspicuously.” [41] Although the soldiers were citizens, Cicero characterized the former as “carrying the sagom” and the latter as “togati.” He used the expression cedant arma togae (“let arms give way to toga”), meaning “that peace replaces war” or “that military power gives way to civil power” in the context of his own difficult alliance with Pompey. He understood it as a metonymy and combined his own “authority” as consul (imperator togatus) with Pompey as general (imperator armatus); But this was interpreted as an invitation to resign. Cicero, who had lost Pompey`s unwavering support, was forced into exile. [87] In reality, arms rarely gave way to civilian power. In the early Roman Empire, members of the Praetorian Guard (the emperor`s personal guard as “first citizen” and a military force under his personal command) hid their weapons under white civilian togas while serving in the city, giving the reassuring illusion that they represented a traditional republican and civil authority rather than the military arm of an imperial autocracy. [83] [88] The traditional toga was made of wool, which was believed to have the power to avoid misfortune and the evil eye; The praetexta toga (used by magistrates, priests and free-born youth) was always made of wool. [9] Wool processing was considered a very respectable profession for Roman women. Family, friendships and alliances, and the lucrative pursuit of wealth through trade and business would have been their main concerns, not otium (cultivated leisure) claimed as a right by the elite.

[47] [48] Rank, prestige and Romanitas came first, even in death, so that almost without exception, a commemorative image of a male citizen showed him in his toga. He carried it to his funeral, and it probably served as a shroud. [49] Despite the overwhelming amount of Roman portraits of Togate at every social level and in every circumstance imaginable, the streets of Rome would have been crowded mostly with citizens and non-citizens in a variety of colorful robes, with few gowns. Only an upper-class Roman, a magistrate, would have had lictors to clear his way, and even then, wearing a toga was a challenge. The apparent natural simplicity of the toga and the “elegant and flowing lines” were the result of careful practice and cultivation; To avoid embarrassing confusion of its wrinkles, its wearer had to walk with a measured and majestic gait,[40] but with masculine intention and energy. If he moved too slowly, he might seem aimless, “lazy-minded” — or, even worse, “feminine.” [50] Vout (1996) suggests that the more sophisticated features of the toga as a garment corresponded to the Romans` view of themselves and their civilization. Like the empire itself, the peace represented by the toga had been won through the extraordinary and tireless collective efforts of its citizens, who could therefore “claim the time and dignity to dress this way.” [51] Roman moralists “ideologically emphasized the simple and the frugal.” [65] Aulus Gellius claimed that the early Romans, famous for their masculine and dignified tenacity, wore togas without underwear; Not even a skinny tunic. [66] Towards the end of the Republic, the arch-conservative Cato the Younger preferred the shorter, older type of republican robe; it was dark and “sparse” (exigua), and Cato wore it without tunic or shoes; All this would have been accepted as an expression of his moral honesty. [67] Hardline Roman traditionalists lamented an ever-growing Roman appetite for boasting, “non-Roman” comfort and luxury, and sartorial offenses such as Celtic trousers, dresses, and colorful Syrian capes. The male toga itself could signify corruption if worn too loosely, or on a long-sleeved tunic, “effeminate,” or woven too thin and thin, almost transparent.

[68] The story of Appian of Rome finds his late republic torn apart by conflict on the brink of chaos; Most seem to dress as they wish, not as they should: “At the moment, the Roman people are very mixed with foreigners, there is equal citizenship for freedmen, and slaves dress like their masters. With the exception of senators, free citizens and slaves wear the same costume. [69] The Augustan Principate brought peace and declared its intention to restore true republican order, morality, and tradition. Patronage was a cornerstone of Roman politics, economics and social relations. A good patron offered his client, who might be equal or higher lower in the social or economic ladder, or less often, advancement, security, honor, wealth, government contracts, and other business opportunities. [53] A good client solicits political support for his boss or his boss`s candidate; He promoted the interests of his patron through his own business, family and personal relationships. Business-savvy freedmen could become extremely wealthy; But to negotiate citizenship for themselves, or more likely for their sons, they had to find a boss willing to rent them. Clients seeking patronage had to attend the client`s official greeting (“welcome session”) early in the morning, which took place in the large semi-public reception hall (atrium) of his family home (domus). [54] Citizen customers were expected to wear the gown according to their status and wear it correctly and intelligently or risk offending their host. [55] The type of gown worn reflected a citizen`s rank in the civil hierarchy. Various laws and customs restricted its use to citizens who were obliged to wear it for public holidays and civic duties.

From its likely beginnings as a simple and practical workwear, the gown has become more bulky, complex and expensive, less and less suitable for any use other than formal and ceremonial. It was and is considered the “national costume” of ancient Rome; As such, it had great symbolic value; but even under the Romans it was difficult to put on, uncomfortable and difficult to wear properly and never really popular. When circumstances permitted, those who otherwise had the right or obligation to wear it opted for more comfortable and casual clothing. It gradually fell into disuse, first among lower-class citizens and then among middle-class citizens. Finally, it was carried by the highest classes only on ceremonial occasions. Upper-class prostitutes (mothers) and women divorced for adultery were denied stole. The Meretrices would have expected or perhaps forced, at least in public, to wear the “female toga” (toga muliebris). [77] This use of the gown seems unique; All others deemed “notorious and unsavory” were expressly forbidden to wear it.