Keynote Event

Official Launch of The EuroWeb Digital Atlas of European Textile Heritage

Official Launch of The EuroWeb Digital Atlas of European Textile Heritage


The EuroWeb Digital Atlas of European Textile Heritage: An overview with the occasion of its official launching

Catarina Costeira, Alina Iancu (Lisbon, Portugal / Bucharest, Romania)

The Digital Atlas of European Textile Heritage is one of the most important deliverables in the COST Action 19131 “EuroWeb – Europe Through Textiles: Network for an Integrated and Interdisciplinary Humanities”. It is intended to be built as an online free cartographic resource that is linked to a database specially adapted for the Atlas, containing vast archaeological, historical, and ethnographical data on the history of textile crafts and the development of dress cultures in Europe. The Atlas is currently a work-in-progress project, being permanently enriched with new digitized textile resources by specialists that are part of the EuroWeb network. Therefore, we argue that the EuroWeb Atlas has the potential to become a major European dissemination tool that will highly increase the accessibility of information into the textile field. This contribution aims to present insights on the content of the Atlas comprising material remains on spinning, sewing, dyeing, weaving and other aspects related to cloths and garments from Prehistory to the 20th century AD, and to show the benefits of launching such a resource online so that it can be freely accessed by a broad audience. Additionally, we will also discuss the main challenges and opportunities for storing and disseminating information related to the European textile heritage in the framework of this project.


Panel 5

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


Ergün Laflı, Maurizio Buora (Izmir, Turkey/Udine, Italy): Roman military textile garments on the sarcophagi in Cilicia (southern Turkey)

This paper covers several aspects of military textile and clothing research from detailed analyses of specific cloths, weaves or dyes to discussions of technological developments in textile manufacture and production through the figures on Roman sarcophagi in the 13 local museums of Cilicia in southern Turkey. These museums are in Adana, Mersin, Tarsus and Hatay. The aim of the paper is to report on Roman military garments in such a specific context, and their techniques in Roman Asia Minor. So far, not much effort was given to textile research in Asia Minor. Thus, this presentation will be a new approach on this subject with some key examples.


Philip Kolev (Sofia, Bulgaria): Roman soldiers, miners or others: who were the people depicted on the funerary stelae from the Middle Strymon valley?

The Middle Struma valley is located in the northeastern part of the province of Macedonia, on the border with Thrace in present-day Southwestern Bulgaria. Roman soldiers and veterans are well attested in numerous monuments from the valley. In the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, at least two Roman military units were stationed in the region. The present paper aims to examine an interesting group of funerary stelae from the Middle Strymon valley, on which figures of male characters are depicted. They are dressed in a belted tunic with short sleeves. Over the tunic is a cloak of animal skins that covers the back and upper arms. The cloak is fastened with a round ring. The men wear soft leather boots. In one hand they hold a pickaxe, axe, or spear, and in the other a strange object probably made of leather. The images have been interpreted by different authors as Roman soldiers, however their clothing and the tools they hold are not typical of soldiers. This paper offers the hypothesis that the men depicted on the funerary stelae were miners who were given privileges to carry weapons in order to defend themselves in case of need.


Adrián Gordón-Zan (Zaragoza, Spain): From milites to Augusti: The adoption of military clothing in Roman emperors’ depictions during the Third Century AD

Looking at the statues of the tetrarchs on San Marcos Cathedral in Venezia and the rock reliefs of Shapur I at Darabgird (Overlaet, 2009), we can see how a mid- and late-third century Roman emperor was dressed in a long-sleeved tunic, trousers, Pannonian hat, cloak, and spatha. This was the result of the evolution of military clothing (Gordón Zan, 2017), the development of a different style of depicting emperors (Wood, 1986), and their provenance and political support during the same period. In this paper, I intend to explain the depiction of Roman Augusti during the 3rd Century, as depicted in written sources, painting, coinage, and sculpture, in order to demonstrate that the changes in their appearance were a result of their connection with the troops. This period transformed every aspect of politics, warfare, or society, and obviously affected the way Roman emperors presented themselves. It was a gradual development that completely changed the concept of an emperor, from an optimus princeps or philosopher during the Antonine dynasty and early Severan period to a soldier and commander under Diocletian and thereafter. To achieve this, I will compare the development of more standardised military clothing during the Third Century (Coulston, 2007; Sumner, 2009) and the representation of emperors to determine when, and how, this change occurred (Heijnen, 2022).


Concluding remarks

The conference’s concluding discussions were chaired by its principal organizers, Liviu Iancu and Francesco Meo, who highighted the volume of new ground covered in the research of textile materials during Antiquity. The organizers set out a time-frame for the submission of works to be included in the collected volume of conference proceedings, and tentatively suggested several potential future dates for the discussions begun in Bucharest’s Levant Institute to be continued over the months to come.

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