Forms of Greek Dress

Fotothek_df_tg_0003893_Architektur_^_Säule_^_Ordnung.jpgI have a degree in Architecture, and when I was a student I hoped to work as a historical or restoration architect. I ended up in the publishing industry, and the graphic design and drafting skills I learned are mostly applied to heraldic art and the design and creation of clothing and armor. I found a series of images showing how to pin and drape various forms of Greek dress, and I was surprised at how the Doric and Ionic chitons corresponded to their column capitols.

I made mnemonic devices to help me remember the three types of column capitols:

The Doric Order is simple and square, and I like to think of it as the Dumpy Order.

The Ionic Order looks like a scroll, and is often used in libraries and universities. My favorite history teacher liked to say, “It’s ironic that they didn’t know Ionic,” and knowledge is full of irony.

Tops

The Corinthian Order is the fanciest, and it looks like carved leaves springing from the top of the column. Since the Corinthian’s detail is often used in state and country Capitol buildings. In America, the founding fathers like to carve Corinthian leaves in the shape of corn and tobacco, because these plants are native to North and South America.

This image is from a Vignola illustration published in 1640.  I cropped this version to highlight the differences in the column capitols.

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Now to address the point of this post: Greek Dress for men and women. Much like the simplicity of the Doric Order, the Dorian Chiton (pronounced KIE-tin) is constructed from two folded cloth rectangles, and is held together with two pins and a cord around the waist. This is comfortable to wear in the heat of Pennsic.

 

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The Ionian Chiton is fancier than its Doric counterpart. Because it does not require a folded over front flap, the Ionian requires less fabric than the Doric.

This chiton is also comfortable to wear at Pennsic.  I prefer buttons and small loops of fabric instead of buttonholes, both for the look of the garment and because buttonholes are annoying to make.

In contrast, men wore the Peplos (left) and the Himation (right). The peplos can be worn instead of the chiton, and is belted at the waist. The himation can be worn over the the peplos or chiton. It can be made of a heavier material, and pulled over the head to form a hood in bad weather.

 

 

If you are interested in sewing a chiton or peplos, I have instructions in my post discussing how to turn bath sheets into Greek-inspired garments. Showering: Scadian Style