Life in ancient Greece developed from three significant civilizations: the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the ancient Greeks. Archeologists, scientists who study the remains of ancient cultures, have studied these civilizations and have found evidence of sophisticated societies.
The history of clothing in ancient Greece traces its roots to three significant civilizations: the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the ancient Greeks. Each of these civilizations created sophisticated clothing customs.
During the Classical Period of Greece (500–336 B.C.E.) typical clothing was largely made up of woven rectangles of fabric, usually wool or linen, which were draped in different ways about the body. It was how a piece of cloth was used, rather than the design of the piece itself, which gave it its name.
The most common cloak worn by young Greek men between the seventh and first centuries B.C.E., the chlamys (KLA-mis) was one of the few items of ancient Greek clothing worn exclusively by men. It was a short cape, fashioned, like most Greek styles, from a single rectangle of fabric fastened with a pin at one shoulder.
The Doric chiton (KYE-ten) was one of the most common garments worn by both men and women in Greece during the sixth and early fifth centuries B.C.E. The Dorians were a people who had invaded Greece in the twelfth century B.C.E., and the Doric style was a simple, classic design found in much Greek art and fashion.
Both Greek men and women wore an outer garment called a himation (hi-MA-tee-on) beginning as early as the sixth century B.C.E. Although made in various dimensions, himations generally were large rectangular pieces of fabric arranged around the body in a variety of different ways.
Ionia is an eastern region of Greece, and Ionian design is a delicate, elegant style that became popular throughout Greece in art, architecture, and fashion during the fifth century B.C.E. The Ionic chiton (KITE-en), the most popular Greek garment during the fifth century B.C.E., demonstrates many of the elaborate features of Ionian design.
Mycenaean men living on the mainland of what would become Greece in about 1600 B.C.E. and Minoan men living on the Greek island of Crete around 3000 B.C.E.
Warriors in ancient Greece developed many methods of protecting themselves in battle. Mycenaeans, who ruled Greece as early as 1600 B.C.E., crafted armor out of bronze plates.
The Minoans, who lived on the Greek island of Crete between 3000 and 1600 B.C.E., had a very complex culture, more advanced than many of the societies that followed it. This complexity is shown in the artistically designed and skillfully made clothing they wore.
The peplos was a simple sleeveless outer garment worn by the women of ancient Greece up to the early part of the sixth century B.C.E. Like many Greek garments, the peplos was formed from one large rectangle of woven fabric, which was folded and pinned in specific ways to become a gracefully draped tunic-like cloak.
Ancient Greek culture is divided among three general societies: Minoan, Mycenaean, and Greek. Each of these societies developed sophisticated civilizations, and the earlier societies influenced those that followed.
A hood-like hat with a pointed top, the Phrygian cap was introduced to ancient Greece around 500 B.C.E. from the nearby land of Phrygia, in what is now Turkey.
The two most common hats worn in Greece from 1200 to 146 B.C.E. were the pilos (PEE-loss) and the petasos (PEH-ta-sus).
Greek women covered their heads in a variety of ways starting in 500 B.C.E. Evidence of their headwear has been found on sculptures and in writings from the period.
Wreaths are circular decorations usually made of flowers, vines, leaves, or other materials fashioned in the shape of leaves or flowers. In modern times wreaths have most often been used as a household decoration, displayed on a table or hung on a door.
The early Greeks were very concerned about their physical appearance and celebrated the human form. The depictions of Minoans living on the Greek island of Crete and Mycenaeans living on the Greek mainland from 3000 to 1200 B.C.E.
Engraving stones for use as jewelry had been a highly prized art in early Assyrian (one of the great ancient empires of southeast Asia) and Egyptian cultures but only began to be developed in Greece in the sixth century B.C.E. The first method of engraving used by the Greeks was known as intaglio, or cutting a design into the surface of a stone.
Ancient Greeks fastened their clothes with fibulae. Fibulae, which resembled safety pins, secured the large panels of fabric that Greeks draped around their bodies.
During the high point of ancient Greek civilization, from about 600 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E., Greek men and women set a precedent for the wearing of personal ornaments that has continued in the Western world up to the present day.
Greek women embraced the use of makeup to enhance their beauty. Evidence of how females made up their faces can be found in such different places as on palace frescos, paintings directly on the wall, from Knossos, the royal city on the ancient Greek island of Crete, dating back to 1500 B.C.E.
Long before the term "girdle" was used to describe a tight, corset-like garment worn by women to make their waists appear slim, a girdle was a kind of belt or sash, tied or wrapped around the waist. The word "gird" means to encircle, or go around, and girdles encircled the wearer.
Smelling good was of great concern to the ancient Greeks. But without running water, their techniques for freshening themselves were different than modern methods of bathing and showering.
Early Minoan and Mycenaean men and women living between about 3000 B.C.E. and 1200 B.C.E.
Boots, shoes that cover part of the leg as well as the foot, have been worn to protect the feet and legs since very ancient times. The people of ancient Greece, beginning with the Minoans from the Greek island of Crete dating from 3000 to 1400 B.C.E., made many different styles of boots and developed shoemaking into a skilled craft and a fine art.
Sandals are simple footwear composed of a sole that is held onto the foot by straps. Though the ancient Greeks did not invent the style, they did create many types of leather sandals, developing shoemaking into a skilled art and introducing a wide variety of footwear styles for all classes of men and women.