Did the ancient Romans wear underwear??

Ryan Krause





The Romans—like numerous peoples before them—most certainly did wear underwear, the most fundamental of which was a loincloth knotted on both sides. It went under a number of names, such as subligaculum or subligar, a protective affair common on athletes. Women wore similar undergarments, as well as an undertunic (like a slip) called a supparus or supparum, as well as a band called a strophia or faschia directly over the breasts, or one offering support from below them called a mamillare or cingulum.

Appearing in public wearing only those basics marked one as a slave, gladiator or someone of low social status. What one wore over them denoted one’s social standing. In Rome, as today, clothes made the man (or woman).



Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History


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