Definition: An inner garment, worn next to the skin.

Equivalent of Greek chiton & Hebrew kethoneth.

In Roman society, the tunica normally came down to just above the knee, especially for soldiers, workers & slaves. Ankle-length tunicas were known for more sedentary professions.

Women often wore an ankle-length skirt under their tunica. Although the garment was loose-fitting for men, it may have been loose or tight on women.

The tunica was adopted from the Greeks in the 3rd century BC.


Clavi were stripes woven into the tunica, which ran vertically from each shoulder. The wool yarn was dyed with Tyrian purple, an expensive dye that symbolized royalty & wealth.

The laticlavus was worn by senators & was approximately 3 inches (75 mm) wide.

The angusticlavus was worn by the equestrian class & was approximately one inch (25 mm) wide.

On certain occasions, particularly during times of political or social upheaval, senators in Rome chose to wear the equestrian tunic as a public display of distress. 

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