Latin/Clothing Lesson 1

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Salvēte omnēs! Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity. If you would like to catch up, you can find past lessons in the directory, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at the links on the right.

Today we’ll learn some terms for clothing, as the Ancient Romans knew it. For today’s lesson, imagine yourself transported back in time to the streets of Rome during the time of Augustus Caesar. A future lesson, after I’ve had some time to do more research, will give terms for modern clothing equivalents.

New Vocabulary

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Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
Nouns, 1st declension
brācae, arum (pl.) trousers, breeches, pants
caliga, ae boot Worn by soldiers
lāna, ae wool
palla, ae shawl, cloak Usually for women, worn outdoors
solea, ae sandal, slipper
stola, ae (woman’s) dress, robe
toga, ae toga
tunica, ae tunic
Nouns, 2nd declension
calceus, i shoe, half-boot
cingulum, i belt, girdle
līnum, i linen, flax
pallium, i cloak, outer garment
palūdāmentum, i military cloak   Commonly worn by generals
sagum, i short cloak Commonly worn by soldiers
vestīmentum, i garment, article of clothing, clothes (pl.)
3rd declension
vestis, vestis (f.) clothing, clothes, robe
4th declension
domus, domūs (f.) home, house
honestus, a, um respectable, upright, honest
lāneus, a, um woolen, made of wool
linteus, a, um made of linen
scorteus, a, um made of leather
gerō, gerere, gessī, gestus (3) have on, wear (clothing) Also, carry, carry on, wage (war)
induō, induere, induī, indūtus (3) put on (clothing), dress in

New Sentences

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Latin English Notes
Toga dē lānā facta est. (Toga lānea est.) A toga is made of wool.
Primā lūce tunicam caeruleam induō. At dawn I put on a blue tunic.
Puer togam praetextam gerit. The boy wears a toga praetexta. (Boy’s garment with a narrow purple stripe; also worn by government officials).
Toga virīlis est vestīmentum virīs. The toga virilis is a garment for men.
Mārcus togam albam induit; est togātus. Marcus puts on a white toga; he is toga-wearing (toga-ed).
Mārcus officium consulis cupit; togam candidam induit. Marcus desires the office of consul; he puts on the toga candida.   Candida being the gleaming white toga worn by candidates for public office.
Et fēminae et virī tunicās gerunt. Both women and men wear tunics.
Homō in viā pallium gerit. The man on the road wears a cloak.
Tunica est līnea aut lānea. (Tunica de līnō aut de lānā facta est.) A tunic is (made of) linen or wool.
Mīlitēs hodiē togās nōn gerunt. Soldiers do not wear togas today. However, the toga was originally a military garment, adopted for civilian wear after they realized it was impractical for fighting.
Mīles sagum gerit. The soldier wears a short cloak. A sagum was a simplified version of the toga, while being much more practical as a uniform.
Calceōs induīmus. We put on shoes.
Dux paludamentum induit. The general puts on the cloak.
Stola est vestis fēminae marītae. A stola is the garment of a married woman.
Mulier quae togam gerit nōn est honesta. The woman who wears a toga is not respectable.
Rōmānī brācās nōn gerunt; brācae sunt barbarīs. Romans do not wear trousers; trousers are for barbarians.
Calceī scorteī sunt. Shoes are made of leather.
Gāius est Rōmānus; vestīmenta sua sunt tunica, toga, et calceī. Gaius is a Roman; his garments are tunic, toga, and shoes.
Lūcia est Rōmāna; vestīmenta sua sunt tunica, stola, palla, et soleae. Lucia is a Roman; her garments are tunic, stola (dress), palla (shawl), and sandals.
Rōmānī soleās domī gerunt. At home, Romans wear sandals.


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Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
Step one First learn the words using this lesson:
Step two Next try learning and writing the sentencing using this:
Note that the Memrise stage covers the content for all lessons in each stage.
If you are skipping previous stages you may need to manually "ignore" the words in previous levels (use the 'select all' function)

Here is a pretty good article about Roman clothing, with pictures. And of course, there is the Wikipedia article.

Although it has some more advanced grammar and vocabulary than we’ve encountered yet, you might enjoy this conversational Latin youtube video about a boy who misplaces his clothing

If you are fascinated with ancient clothing and how it was constructed, you may enjoy this youtube video of the reconstruction of the Lendbreen Tunic in Norway. It’s in Norwegian (with subtitles in English) so it is delightful to hear that language spoken as well. Imagine the countless hours of work that went into this most simple and basic garment, and you will appreciate why the highest praise for a Roman woman was domī mānsit, lānam fēcit (She stayed at home, she did her wool). And then for a very thorough exploration of the ancient history of textiles, you might enjoy reading Women’s Work: The first 20,000 Years.

Next time, we’ll attempt to give modern clothing terms in Latin. Until then, valēte et habēte bonam fortūnam!