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Roman Jewelry Part IV: Necklaces

The primary style of necklace that has survived to this day, and one’s we see in images are the chain and bead style but there was also chains with some sort decoration and strung beads. The chain and bead style consisted of glass beads, gems, and/or pearls connected by wire loops. They could also have leaves, amulets, figures, or other shapes on them. String necklaces consist of glass beads, pearls, and gems or any combination therein. I theorize that linen was used as string and finds from Egypt find that linen was used to this effect. The difficult part is discerning the pattern as string doesn’t last the stress of time (Egypt is an exception). Luckily, there seems to be fairly regular patterns on the chain and bead necklaces of an every other type style. There are also images of what appears to be pearl necklaces. It’s plausible that the same type of bead was strung on a necklace as well. Lastly, there are chain necklaces. There are more details about chains in Part III but we will briefly go over them here as well.

Wreaths Upon Thy Head

In the SCA, we bestow upon those who have gained great skill or insight in the arts and sciences a laurel wreath. As we associate the laurel wreath with wisdom it makes a fitting symbol for a laurel… hopefully. A wreath worn on the head is also the stereotypical look of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as any Halloween store will show you. However,  the history of wreaths is far more complex and arcane than some might think. And the laurel wreath was only one of many kinds.

Ryht-on Point

Rhytons are a glass drinking vessel that extends beyond the Roman Empire and the location. There are several styles, but at its core a rhyton is shaped like a horn and has animal motifs. A horn is by no means a unique design for a drinking vessel as drinking horns go back to neolithic times, and then up through Roman times, the Norse culture, and up to the Middle Ages. A curious quirk about some is that they have an opening at the tip of the horn. This allows for drinking from the bottom (see the picture below). This could be a more time specific feature but it appears in finds from not only Ancient Rome but Paratha, Syria, and Malta as well. Their purpose is, Were they used for ceremonies, festivals, or just for drinking. With the opening at the bottom, what seems to be a Roman feature/influence, the drinker was logically prohibited from neglecting their drink. However, being that it was Rome, some speculate that a servant (likely a slave) would have to stand nearby with their finger over the hole.

Roman Jewelry Part III: Chains

The single loop-in-loop chain is one of the oldest chain styles. Some of the oldest examples date back to 3,000 BCE from the burials at Ur. The simple loop-in-loop style stayed static until around the time of the Hellenistic period. During this time the Greeks and Etruscans expanded on the single loop-in-loop to create a double loop-in-loop, pinched loop-in-loop, two- way double loop-in-loop, three-way double loop-in-loop, “S” Link, woven loop, and other variants. The chains found from this time often have something elaborate about them, either a clasp or a pendant. Here are some examples:

Roman Jewelry Part II: Favored Materials & Styles

The Romans, not unlike their predecessors, favored certain gems and metals over others. They also shaped gems and did do some intricate gold work, which paled in comparison to predecessors. As for gems, the winners are listed below in no particular order.

Roman Jewelry Part I: Introduction & Overview

Based on the class: All About That Bling

The Roman Look Part III: Accessories

Part three is all about the number one way to up your game: Accessories.

The Roman Look Part II: Hairstyles & Cosmetics

Part II brings into play hairstyles and cosmetics second and how to up your look through the use of it.

The Roman Look Part I: Roman Clothing

This is the first part of a three part series on how to get the Roman (woman’s) look (pardon the cis language). Part I focuses on basic female Roman garb (the gap-sleeved tunica – one of the simplest pieces to make). Part II looks at how to up your style through the use of cosmetics and simple hair styles (with a focus on inexpensive and modern alternatives). Part three will focus on accessories, which are a game changer.

The essence of this three part series is to provide multiple ways to get the Roman look by using what is available, feasible, and accessible. This is an offshoot of “Quick, Cheap, & Easy Roman.”

Roman Classes: U of Atlantia

University of Atlantia ・ June 12th, 2021

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Roman Jewelry: Extant Finds

Chain and chain and gem/bead necklaces were extremely popular during the Roman Age. It’s a show of gold and gems, both status symbols. Here are several examples. It should be important to note that these may appear more popular because they weathered time better, however, when you look at the Fayum Mummy Portraits you’ll see several examples which allude to their popularity.

Making a Gap-sleeved Tunica

The gap-sleeved tunica (tunica muliebris or woman’s tunic), a descendent of the greek ionic chiton, remains an iconic garment of the Roman Era and a fairly simple garment to construct.

Gap-sleeved Tunica Rosettes: Tutorial

How I make rosettes for a Roman gap-sleeved tunica.

Queen of Doom’s A&S Contest

Kingdom of Northshield A.S. LV

A Peak At The Fascinum

The fascinum (or phallus or Divine Penis) was a cult like object. It was used to ward off evil (the evil eye) and for protection, versus something sexual as one may think. It was celebrated, worshiped, and its likeness was used in celebrations. It has been found depicted on rings, pendants, wind chimes, and buildings (often thought to be brothels but more likely to protect the residents of the home). Carvings were also found in places of possible danger such as on street corners and bridges. They were also placed on the front of carriages and possibly worn by soldiers for presumably the same reason. Rings and pendants were worn by boys (sometimes even bestowed on them at birth) to protect their health and virility. Overall, the fascinum, when worn especially, was believed to be a powerful form of apotropaic magic. Given its prevalence it was obviously an important part of Roman society. It can be surmised that the reason it has been omitted from modern literature is due to its modern taboo nature. Luckily its importance and meaning can be found in cultural, religious, and archaeological finds. So, if you’re worried about the evil eye…

SCA Jewelry

One of the many special things about the SCA is that we get to be nostalgic. Which is not something you always get to do with re-enactment. And what I mean by nostalgic is that we can display those symbols associated with awards that have been bestowed upon us in a not so always historical manner.

The Images of Pompeii

The images of Pompeii have given us an unprecedented glimpse into the past. When Mount Vesuvius erupted and devastated the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, time froze. And while there is always the possibility, and likelihood, of artistic license, these images provide us with a well preserved glimpse into how they inhabitants dressed, their habits, beliefs, social environment, and status.

Having A Courtesan Persona

Everyone has their own approach to developing a sex worker/courtesan persona. What ever your journey is, remember, you represent a strong confederation of people who have worked hard to gain ground and respectability in the SCA. What you do as a sex worker/courtesan persona, or wearing the symbols of the Knowne World Courtesan, reflects on everyone. No pressure. I just highly recommend taking awhile to study the history of sex work, courtly etiquette, misogyny, sexism, and whorephobia before taking that leap. And then make your entrance on your own time, when you’re ready. I spent a year before I donned the red veil and hart pin (psst… that’s not a requirement).

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