Day 2 (Thursday, 18 May 2023)

Keynote lecture

Raimon Graells i Fabregat (Alicante, Spain): Craft, design and ergonomics: on decorations, reinforcements and protections for Mediterranean panoplies



Panel 3

Taxes, tributes, contracts or specialized workers? Systems of production and acquisition of garments and other textile items for the armies


Liviu Mihail Iancu (Bucharest, Romania): Quod satis in usum fuit sublato. Booty and tribute as textile supply sources for the ancient Greek and Roman armies


Textile items were absolutely necessary for ancient Mediterranean armies. Waging war was unimaginable without adequate supplies of garments for soldiers, linings for metal armours, tents, ropes for war machines, sails and cordage for ships. Whereas for military operations conducted over short periods of time such as the frequent border skirmishes between neighbouring tribes and cities or petty plundering expeditions, the initial supplies of textiles items were sufficient, protracted wars between major powers required their constant replenishment. War booty and tribute imposed over defeated foes were convenient sources for meeting the needs of campaigning troops and for refilling arsenals. Despite their importance for waging war, military textiles items captured as booty or received as tribute were very rarely mentioned explicitly in ancient literary sources and in inscriptions. Their occurrence is less frequent than that of the expensive (poluteleis) textile articles such as robes and carpets and much rarer than that of weapons, not to speak of precious metals, captives and cattle. It might be inferred though that capturing such type of objects was more frequent and specific mentions emerge either by accident or because of the novelty and the importance of the articles, such as the spartum reserves of the Carthaginians, seized by the Romans in Spain in the second Punic war (Liv. 22.20.6; 26.47; cf. App. Iber. 23). This paper lists and discusses the available evidence found in ancient authors such as Herodotus, Xenophon, Diodorus Siculus, Plutarch, Livy and Appianus and in few inscriptions in order to support and develop the abovementioned conclusions.


Francisco B. Gomes, Teresa Rita Pereira, Carlos Pereira, João Pimenta (Lisbon, Portugal  / Madrid, Spain): Textiles on the March: Textile Activities in Roman Republican Military Contexts of Western Iberia (1st century BCE)


The Iberian Peninsula has become a crucial scenario for the study of the Roman army during the Late Republic. Many sites related to the Roman military presence of the 3rd to 1st centuries BCE have been studied from different perspectives, among which strategic issues of supply have been paramount. However, the supply of textiles has been overlooked, mostly due to a persistent lack of data. This presentation focuses on selected military contexts in Western Iberia in order to widen the evidence for the production, import and maintenance of textiles in Roman military contexts. Available evidence may relate both to local production and to the maintenance and recycling of textiles. The former situation could be attested in Cáceres el Viejo (Cáceres, ES), a military camp in which a significant number of tools was retrieved pointing to textile production and transformation activities at the service of the army. The latter, on the other hand, could be illustrated by the four spindle whorls of Cáceres Viejo de Santa Marina (Cáceres, ES), likely related to the maintenance of clothing. The site of Cabeça de Vaiamonte (Monforte, PT), a contemporary indigenous site with a military occupation, has yielded one of the most complex assemblages of textile tools in the Iberian Peninsula. Despite its contextual issues, this material shows that textile activities are present both in ex novo military camps and in others which settled within indigenous settlements, raising specific issues regarding the presence of women in these military contexts, as recently discussed for the case of Chibanes (Palmela, PT). The existence of substantial textile activities has also been documented in Monte dos Castelinhos (Vila Franca de Xira, PT), where a substantial assemblage of textile tools was retrieved distributed by the various architectural units detected throughout the site. This suggests a domestic, self-sufficient production pattern, in line with other data from the Lower Tagus valley suggesting an increased volume of production relating to the Roman military presence.


Iulia Dumitrache (Iași, Romania): Dressed for (Military) Success: Official and Private Suppliers for the Roman Army during the Empire


The supply of the Roman army is a subject as interesting and complex as it is difficult to reconstruct, given, on the one hand, the lack of consistent mentions in written sources, and, on the other hand, the difficult corroboration of different types of available sources. Various types and models of provision of what is needed for the Roman military personnel have been 9 identified, models that may vary according to the nature of the troops, their stationing place, but also the nature of the context (e.g. peace vs. war). A soldier ready for action at all times, loyal and full of confidence can only be a wellequipped soldier. The effort to provide this equipment was a constant concern both at the band level, but also in the "agenda" of the administrative managers. Many firms from the Roman world must have obtained contracts with the state; indeed, it was enough that some provincial production centres emerged that had the advantage of being closer to military bases. This is the model that will be applied most often in the western provinces, where the troops were on the frontiers far from the Mediterranean; in the east, these centres were associated with existing cities that could have served the needs of the troops. The presentation analyses different types of documents that demonstrate, at the same time, the contractual involvement of the state through its representatives, the assignment of some procurement works made not only from the surroundings, but also at greater distances, but also some logistical defects. At the same time, where the state failed to meet needs, or where personal choices exceeded supply, a parallel market could always develop, providing superior products to the common soldier or officer and generating not inconsiderable income for the merchants involved.


Kerstin Droß-Krüpe (Bochum/Kassel, Germany): Private textile supply and personal appearance of Roman soldiers in Imperial times

Lecture delivered by Margarita Gleba


Even though research on the Roman army has been extensive for decades, this research has primarily focused on armour and food. Textiles, even though being gelegentlich researched, have been dealt with far less intensely. Scholars usually focused on iconographic evidence of the individual soldier and a general logistic strategy of the Roman State. And indeed, military accounts demonstrate that a large percentage of a soldier’s stipendium went to garments, papyri and tablets demonstrate that the Roman State was responsible for supplying its soldiers with clothing (e.g. BGU 7/1564 or Tab. Vindol. 2/255). However, documentary sources demonstrate that Roman soldiers additionally covered their textile needs via other distribution channels as the open market or a network of friends or relatives. The proposed paper investigates the modes of textile supply other than official logistics of the Roman Imperial army. It focusses on documentary sources such as the papyrological record and writing tablets and combines the evidence provided with the information to be obtained from literary sources and archaeological findings dating from the first to third centuries CE.


Panel 4

Elite cloaks and standard uniforms: the iconography of Italic military textile items and dress


Francesco Meo (Lecce, Italy): Woven and engraved military dress from Daunia


Body ornaments and clothes represent gender and ethnicity, and are a mirror of the social interactions between Greeks and the many indigenous populations of the South of Italy. The recent discovery of a garment in an extraordinary state of preservation inside the warrior’s tomb 382 at Ordona (ancient Herdonia), dated to ca. 400 BC, opens new perspectives on many aspects of military dress in Daunian area. First of all the weaving technique seems to demonstrate a long term tradition, as twill is common in the Iron Age but it starts to disappear after the Greek colonisation of the South of Italy, mainly from the 6th century BCE onwards. Also, the wonderful decorative pattern, most probably embroidered on the cloth, has an incredible similitude with the one engraved on some Daunian anthropomorphic stele of the late 7th century BCE. Further suggestions derive from the representation of a Daunian warrior on a red-figured vase. Leading from these data, this paper will try to face if the decorations discovered can be linked to the funerary sphere, if they can be typical of the Daunian population, if and how they can be linked to a social status and in particular to warrior’s dress.


Carlo Lualdi (Warwick, United Kingdom): Mantles, drapes and other textiles: echoes of military hierarchy on the proto-Lucanian Hydria from tomb 2 of Gravina di Puglia – Botromagno?


Depictions showing large battle scenes can offer the opportunity to widen our knowledge about the representation of military ranks of the fighters. Indeed, images showing conflicts including more combatants gave the opportunity represent the complex world of war showing fighters, officers and military leaders fighting on the battlefield. Today we can see this crowded context mostly through the iconographies provided by craftsmen, artists and patrons. The battle scene depicted on the upper register of the proto-Lucanian red-figure hydria attributed to the Painter of Amykos found in the tomb 2 part of the necropolis near the settlement of Gravina di Puglia can offer an interesting starting point of reflection about this topic. Indeed, the eight fighters can be distinguished by their equipment mainly consisting of fabrics as short chitons without sleeves, mantles and drapes. A detailed analysis of these details of the iconography can provide a new view about military imagery, artistic licenses and the links between the real military experience, the models part of the cultural mindset of indigenous people settled in Peucetia region and the cultural interactions which took place in Apulia region.


Textiles and War in Europe and the Mediterranean from Prehistory to Late Antiquity


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