Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Finds Point to Roman Fashion Craze

Recent finds from a Roman fort in England have sparked re-examination of common notions about fabric production some 2,000 years ago. German experts believe new evidence indicates the Romans had a surprisingly advanced textile industry -- and possibly a luxury fashion addiction.

When the prefect Flavius Cerialis hosted a banquet at Vindolanda, a Roman fort in what is now northern England, the aroma of grilled chicken, goose and venison, seasoned with pepper from India, filled the air. Plenty of beer was also on hand for the festivities.

The only thing dampening the mood of the occupying forces was the wet weather, and the clammy fort's select guests were forced to bring their foul weather wear to the feast. On such occasions they favored a garment known as the paenula -- a wide, draping mantle made of wool, or sometimes leather or felt -- and wrapped a type of large shawl, called a laena, around their necks.

More at Der Spiegel

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