Although they were used in unique ways, certain basic garment types appeared in a number of the ancient civilizations. In describing these garments, which had different names in different locales, the modern term that most closely approximates the garment will be used here. Although local practices varied, both men and women often wore the same garment types. These were skirts of various lengths; shawls, or lengths of woven fabric of different sizes and shapes that could be draped or wrapped around the body; and tunics, T-shaped garments similar to a loose-fitting modern T-shirt, that were made of woven fabric in varying lengths. E. J. W. Barber (1994) suggests that the Latin word tunica derives from the Middle
Eastern word for linen and she believes that the tunic originated as a linen undergarment worn to protect the skin against the harsh, itchy feel of wool. Later tunics were also used as outerwear and were made from fabrics of any available fibers.
The primary undergarment was a loincloth. In one form or another this garment seems to have been worn in most ancient world cultures. It appears not only on men, but also is sometimes depicted as worn by women. It generally wrapped much like a baby's diaper, and if climate permitted workers often used it as their sole outdoor garment.
In most of the ancient world, the most common foot covering was the sandal. Occasionally closed shoes and protective boots are depicted on horsemen. A shoe with an upward curve of the toe appears in many ancient world cultures. This style seems to make its first appearance in Mesopotamia around 2600 b.c.e. and it is thought that it probably originated in mountainous regions where it provided more protection from the cold than sandals. Its depiction on kings indicates that it was associated with royalty in Mesopotamia. It probably came to be a mark of status elsewhere, as well (Born). Similar styles show up among the Minoans and Etruscans.
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