« السابقةمتابعة »
ANECDOTES OF FASHION.
Which, like the image of the Sun himself,
EARLY GRECIAN COSTUME. WHETHER we regard the Grecian attire of the head or of the body, it is precisely that of the earliest and rudest periods which exhibits in its arrangement the greatest degree of study, almost to foppishness. In those Grecian basso-relievos and statues, which either really are of very early workmanship, or which at least profess to imitate the style of work of the early ages (formerly mistaken for Etruscan), every lock of hair is divided into symmetrical curls or ringlets, and and every fold of the garment into parallel plaits; not only the internal evidence of those monuments themselves, but the concurring testimony of authors, shows that in those remote ages, heated irons were employed both to curl the hair and beard, and to plait
the drapery. It was only in later times that the covering, as well of the head as the body, was left to assume a more easy and uncontrolled flow.
At first, as appears both from ancient sculpture and paintings, men and women alike wore their hair descending partly before and partly behind, in a number of long separate locks, either of a flat and zig-zagged, or of a round and corkscrew shape. A little later it grew the fashion to collect the whole of the hair hanging down the back, by means of a riband, into a single broad stream, and only to leave in front one, two, or three long narrow locks hanging down separately; and this is the head-dress which Minerva, a maiden affecting old fashions and formality, never seems to have quitted; and which Bacchus, though not originally quite so formal, thought proper to re-assume when on his return from amongst the philosophers of India, he chose himself to adopt the beard and mien of a sage. Later still, the queue depending down the back, was taken up, and doubled into a club; and the side locks only continued to reach in front, as low down as the breast. But these also gradually shrunk away into a greater number of small tufts or ringlets hanging down about the ears, and leaving the neck quite unconfined and bare. So neatly was the hair arranged in both sexes round the forehead, and in the males round the chin, as sometimes to resemble the cells of a bee-hive; and at others, waves and meanders executed in wirework.
Greatly diversified were, among the Grecian females, the coverings of both extremities. Ladies reckoned among the ornaments of the head, the mitry or bushel-shaped crown, peculiarly affected by Ceres;
the tiara, or crescent-formed diadem, worn by Juno and by Venus; and ribands, rows of beads, wreaths of flowers, nettings, fillets, skewers, and gew-gaws innumerable.
THE ROMAN TOGA.
The most celebrated garment of the Romans, was the toga. It consisted of a semi-circular robe without sleeves; enveloped the whole body; and leaving the right arm at liberty, was drawn over the left shoulder, on which it was gathered into a knot. The toga was formed of woollen cloth, the quality and size of which varied as size and circumstance directed. Horace represents a rich man as seriously admonishing one of more slender revenue, not to attempt to vie with him in the size of his robe; and he exclaims with indignation against an upstart who displayed his wealth in a toga of six ells.
The toga was worn in various folds over the arm and upon the breast, and the arrangement appears to have been an object of no common attention. Indeed, of such importance were these graces considered, that the learned Quintilian explains at considerable length the manner in which a barrister should display his robe, so as to increase the effect of his pleading; and the orator, Hortensius, when consul, made a public and serious complaint to the Judges, of his colleague in office, for having pressed against him in a narrow passage, and deranged the folds of his dress.
The colour of the toga was generally plain white;
but in some instances it varied in colour, and ornaments were added according to the rank of the wearer. Thus the toga worn by generals when they entered Rome in triumph, was a tissue of purple and embossed gold, with an embroidery of palm leaves and that used by the knights at their general review, in the ides of July, was of purple, striped with scarlet and white, which had formerly been the habit of the ancient kings.
The sacerdotal and magisterial toga was bordered with purple, and was called toga prætexta; it was also worn by young persons of family, with the addition of a golden ball, the bulla aurea, upon the breast, pendant from a collar. How it came to be bestowed on the young men, is differently related. Some fancy that Tarquinius Priscus, in a triumph for a victory over the Sabines, first honoured his own son with the prætexta and the bulla aurea, as a reward for his valour in killing one of his enemies with his own hands. Others relate that the same Tarquin, among other wise institutions, took particular care in assigning the proper habit to the boys, and accordingly ordained that the sons of noblemen should make use of the prætexta and the bulla aurea, provided their father had borne any cerule office; and that the rest should wear the prætexta only, as low as the sons of those who had served on horseback in the army the full time that the law required. A third party refer the origin of this custom to Romulus himself, as the consequence of a promise made to the Sabine virgins, that he would bestow a very considerable mark of honour on the first child that was born to any of them by a Roman father. Many believe, however, that
the reason of giving them the bulla and the prætexta was that the former being shaped like a heart, might, as often as they looked on it, be no inconsiderable incitement to courage; and that the purple of the gown might remind them of the modesty which became them at that age.
But on whatever account this custom took its rise, it was constantly observed by all the sons of the freeborn. They took it at twelve years of age, and wore it for two years, when it was succeeded by the toga virilis, the investiture of which was a ceremony of great solemnity as well as festivity. The friends and relatives of the youth being assembled on the occasion, he was stripped of the toga prætexta, and the bulla aurea was consecrated to the Lares. He was then clothed in a toga of pure white, without ornament, and conducted by the whole company, followed by the servants and retainers of his house, and near connexions, to the capital, where prayers and sacrifices were offered to the gods. Thence he was taken with the same parade to the Forum, to make his public entry into the world on that spot where probably the most important scenes of his future life were to be acted. The day was concluded with a feast, to which the dependants of the family were admitted, and presents were distributed among the guests.
During the early period of the republic, young men were not allowed to take the toga virilis until the completion of their seventeenth year; but the indulgence of parents afterwards relaxed this rule, and under the emperors it was frequently granted to boys of more tender age.