), trowsers, pantaloons. These, as well as
various other articles of armour and of dress [ACINACES, ARCUS, ARMILLA], were common to all the nations which
encircled the Greek and Roman population, extending from the Indian to the
Atlantic ocean. Hence Aristagoras, king of Miletus, in his interview with
Cleomenes, king of Sparta, described the attire of the barbarians in these
terms: “They carry bows and a short spear, and go to battle in
trowsers and with hats upon their heads.” (Hdt. 5.49
.) Hence also the phrase Bracati
signifying that those who wore trowsers were in
general armed with the bow. (Propert. 3.3, 17. Cf. Eur.
182; Cic. Fam. 9.1. 5
, in Pis.
23.53; Verg. A. 11.777
.) In particular, we are informed of the use of trowsers or
pantaloons among the following nations :--The Medes and Persians; the
Parthians; the Phrygians; the Sacae; the Sarmatae; the Dacians and Getae;
the Teutones; the Belgae; the Britons; and the Gauls.
The Latin word bracae
of Celtic origin is
connected with the Scottish “breeks” and the English
“breeches.” Corresponding terms are used in all the
Northern languages. Also the Cossack and Persian trowsers of the present day
differ in no material respect from those which were anciently worn in the
same countries. In ancient [p. 1.315]
monuments we find the
above-mentioned people constantly exhibited in trowsers, thus clearly
distinguishing them from Greeks and Romans. An example is seen in the
annexed group of
Bracae worn by Sarmatians. (Column of Trajan.)
Sarmatians, taken from the Column of Trajan, wearing the loose trowsers
) which the Greeks called
and another example is given
of a Scythian under ARCUS
The tighter form of ἀναξυπίδες
exemplified in the annexed figure of a Persian prince at the battle of
Issues, from the mosaic at Pompeii.
The reason for this distinction is to be found in the necessities of climate.
Thus Roman soldiers fighting in the north of Europe were obliged to assume
this barbarian garment, and we see the Roman soldiers and
Bracae worn by Persian prince. (Mosaic found at Pompeii.)
officers engaged in the wars on the Danube represented on the
Column of Trajan as wearing short bracae.
the cut given in the next column, they are supported by a sash round the
waist. In the reliefs on Constantine's arch which date from that emperor's
own times, we see the Roman soldiers wearing trowsers exactly like those of
the Sarmatians figured above. At first however, on quitting these northern
countries, the Romans gladly abandoned the bracae,
and Caecina (A.D. 69) gave great offence on his march
into Italy by wearing what was regarded as a tegmen
(Tac. Hist. 2.20
But in the second century they appear to have been worn at Rome, although
the use of them in the city was forbidden by Honorius (A.D. 397; Cod. Theod.
14.10, 3; Lamprid. Alex. Sever.
Trowsers were principally woollen; but Agathias states (Hist.
2.5) that in [Europe they were also made of linen and
of leather; probably the Asiatics made them of cotton and of silk. Sometimes
they were embroidered (pictae,
Val. Fl. 6.227)
as in the figure of the Persian prince above, or striped (virqatae,
Propert. 4.11, 43) and ornamented with a woof of various
Xen. Anab. 1.5
, § 8; Eur. l.c.
). The Greeks seem never to have worn them. In
the next century, however, they gradually came into use at Rome; but they
would appear never to have been generally worn. It is recorded of Alexander
Severus that he wore white bracae,
crimson ones (coccineae
), as had been the
custom with peceding emperors.
Bracae worn by Roman soldier. (Trajan's Column.)
Mela (2.1) describes the Satarchae as bracati totum
by which phrase he seems to indicate a single garment
which served for a jacket to the body as well as trowsers for the legs. The
Amazons are often represented as wearing such a dress (Winckelmann,
was a name given to what afterwards became
because the inhabitants
(Mel. 2.59; Plin. Nat. 3.31
); and bracatus
as opposed to togatus
often expresses the distinction between Gallia transalpina
and the countries east of the Alps.
properly a breeches-maker (Lampr.
24) came to be used for a tailor in general