Roman Military Dress 

Summer, G. 

Paperback, reconstructions appearing in full colour. 224p b/w illus col pls (The History Press 2009). 

This excellent book fills a bit of a gap in the generally available literature, for while the Roman army is always one of the most popular subjects, and military equipment and weaponry more popular still, the more everyday question of what the Roman army actually wore in terms of tunics, cloaks and so on only rarely makes it into the public eye and can be taken somewhat for granted.

Graham Sumner provides an extensive overview of this less fashionable area of research, combining textile finds with evidence from documents, and in particular visual depictions of soldiers. He also devotes considerable attention to the later Roman army and to the comparatively numerous textile finds from Egypt, giving a more diverse view of what the Roman army may have looked like than the Hollwood vision, and showing that dress was by no means static. Evidence is also marshalled for the tricky subject of the colour of Roman military textiles, and there is a detailed look at how the military clothing industy actually functioned. Sumner's research stems at least in part from his work as an artist in the field of military reconstruction, and the book benefits from this visual approach, with many of his reconstructions appearing in full colour.
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