Ancient Greece Costume

The Island Crete, was the centre of the Minoan civilization. A lifestyle full of Time, Leisure, Art Culture and Unthreatened (for a time) The Minoans had built up significant navy power, not to be threatened by external countries. The Minoans traded with Egypt/Mesopotamia and were known by the name “Kafitiu”-People in the island in the midst of the sea.

Much of the trading made an influential impact on the Minoan culture. The Minoans are credited as the first European civilization.

Minoan palace of Knossos, discovered by archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Birth place of the “Labyrinth” of Theasus and the Minotaur legend.

The Minoan/creatan man, portrayed with a dark skin, very fit and masculine.

Main garment worn was a multi layered woven linen wrap. Very simple and with bare chest.

The wraps may have a layered length pointing down one leg and very tight coiled belts were worn, some made from metal. Knee length leather boots were also worn .Hair was very long and curly. Many elaborate headdresses were worn, all shapes and sizes. Feathers were often added.

Minoan/createn women were portrayed with light, finer skin.  Wearing a belled shaped tiered skirt, highly decorated. Brilliant colours, red, yellow and purples.

Worn with tight fitting bodice, tight sleeves and exposing most of the breast. A ceremonial apron was also worn to decorate their garments. Gold jewellery, earrings and belts. Hair long and curly, with ribbons in their hair also many head bands “Filet Band” were worn.

Hair implements and cosmetics were also used.

The main characteristics of Cretan costume, Women portrayed with very small waist, tiered bell shaped skirts and breasts very large and exposed. Men also with small waist and bare chest.

Approx 2000 BC, The Achaeans occupied and dominated mainland. The Achaeans-Mycaneans were very war like, powerful and aggressive, concurred Crete.

They were impressed by the createn lifestyle and this therefore radically changed their culture. The Achaeans introduced fortresses, sporting, fighting and hunting.

During 1200 BC the Dorians (Became Sparta, Main city.) and The Ionians (Became Athens).

Invaded creating social unrest, Dark Age. Loss of wealth and society.

As society began to settle again, new technology began to advance. Potter’s wheel, Kiln,

Alphabetic writing and shipping became more modern.

775 BC the first Olympic games was held, athletic battle of marathon.

Athens had a very strong economy, Sparta tried to stop the growth but lost, Athens becoming major city.

Architecture was very significant, Greek aesthetic– elegant, line, and makes sense, natural form, proportion and beauty. Beginnings of the Hellenic Classical Period 510 BC– 336 BC

Doric Chiton, made from fine wool. The fabric was draped, producing grace and beauty, showing movement of the body. The Doric has a deep over fold at the top and is fastened by a Fibula (jewelled clasp) at the shoulder. A belt was worn around the waist to control the fullness.

Ionic Chiton, made from silk or linen. Has no over fold and is longer and fuller, than the Doric Chiton. The fabric is fastened at the arms and shoulders by small brooches, giving an appearance of sleeves. A belt also worn around the waist. Some other garments worn “Himaton”, large cloak, “Chiamys”, small cloak, worn by soldiers or athletes. Vegetable dyes were used and produced many colours. The bridal costume would often be red.

A “Stephane” was worn as decoration head wear. It is a tiara type head piece used to hold up the hair, as more complicated hairstyle were being tried. Made from gold and decorated with jewels the “peplos” was tubular in shape; the upper edge was turned down at the waist. Was secured at the shoulder and waist. Open at the right side, and hung in folds from the shoulder.

There were many different styles and designs, checks, stripes and floral fabric may have been used. Grecian’s loved decorative motifs, using them on many of their artefacts including clothing.

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