With barely a week to prepare for my son's monologue speech from the "Florante at Laura" poem, I'm happy that we were able to produce a convincing (at least to us and his classmates) Roman soldier uniform - given the limited time.
So let's dissect the parts and accessories that made up the Roman General/Soldier Uniform costume that we put up together.
Homemade Costume of Roman General or Commander Uniform
Here are the parts of the homemade or improvised Roman military uniform that we were able to put together:
Tunic of the Roman General Costume
As a military garment, the tunic is any of several types of garment for the body, usually simple in style, reaching from the shoulders to a length somewhere between the hips and the ankles. The name derives from the Latin tunica, the basic garment worn by both men and women in Ancient Rome, which in turn was based on earlier Greek garments.
Creating a tunic using modern-day clothing is a challenge. Many of the tunic attire that Roman soldiers used were red, supposedly so that opponents won't see the soldiers bloodied. I have a black tunic shirt that had some Indian or Asian decorative elements on the neck and chest part. But of course it only reaches just beyond the waist area.
These kinds of tunic shirts are sold in the men's apparel section of department stores and suited for beach attire. Many come in white and beige colors with the Oriental design on the chest.
To give the impression of a thigh-length Roman tunic, I had my son wear a black pair of cotton basketball shorts. The pair of shorts look large enough for him that it looks like a skirt from afar. With the black tunic shirt and equally black pair of shorts, you might think that it is altogether a one-piece clothing, much like the Roman tunic.
Cape or Cloak of the Roman Military Uniform
Many of the commanders of the Roman military wore some kind of a cape or cloak. The style of cloaks ranged from short shoulder length styles to hip-length garments to knee length down to ankle length.
For this costume, I folded a thin piece of cloth so from the shoulder, it falls to the hips. A rough running stitch was applied to the edges so the folds don't separate. It isn't colored dull red or bright scarlet as was worn before, but the material is billowing so it's good enough.
At the bottom edge of the cloak, I added a tasseled border. I doubt if the military cloaks had this decorative material. I just thought the gold-colored tassel simply adds a semblance of nobility to the overall appearance.
At the top edge of the cloak, I fastened a couple of huge white buttons at the two corners. This would resemble the fibula or brooches that attach the cloak to the top garment at the chest.
A fibula is a brooch or pin for fastening garments. The fibula developed in a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety-pin principle. Technically, the Latin term, fibulae, refers to Roman brooches; however, the term is widely used to refer to brooches from the entire ancient and early medieval world that continue Roman forms.
(See Part 3 for the continuation of this article)