Costume Ideas for Roman General or Soldier Uniform

It's that time of the year again in school when students are gearing up for speech contests. In the recent past, speech choirs have been the trend. It seems that this year, individual speeches are on the comeback.

Personally, I'd rather have students give individual speeches rather than perform in speech choirs. Speech choirs require them to meet together at an agreed place and practice a set choreography for the group. Individual speeches give the students the freedom to be more creative on their own. And individual speeches may be practiced conveniently at home.

Monologue Speech in School

This time, a speech will be delivered from the "Florante at Laura" (Florante and Laura) poem. The poem has a total of 399 stanzas. A student is required to memorize and deliver 8 consecutive stanzas out of the 399. There are 4 main characters and the student is allowed to pick and portray one in the speech: Florante or Aladin for the boys, and Laura or Flerida for the girls.

My son chose the character Florante and it was his sister who chose the eight stanzas to memorize and deliver. He is one of the first few students among 40 who will be delivering the piece.

I have very vague ideas about this Florante character because we never took up the Florante at Laura poem when I was in high school. All I know is that Florante was tied to a tree and there were two hungry lions ready to devour him.

Search for the Florante Costume

With just a week before the speech date, we scrambled to find an appropriate costume. We searched the internet for some clues as to what Florante wore. There didn't seem to be a "standard" costume.

From a comic book below, he is illustrated as some kind of Roman General, Centurion, Praetorian Guard or any soldier in the Roman Military. As it appears to be a warrior costume, something that looks like a gladiator costume may even be considered.

In another, he is sometimes portrayed as a nobleman of some sort. He is after all, the son of a duke, Duke Briseo.

How about real people who actually portrayed him? The epic poem has been acted out in plays and a search for that revealed a costume that looks like the one below.

There are many other actors who played the part, but it seems though that the thin gold headband they wear is a recurring head accessory.

Homemade Costume or Rent a Costume

With just a week to go before his actual speech delivery, I doubt if we could even find and rent a Roman General or Soldier costume. The best that we could find would probably a nobleman's costume. Even then, I didn't want to spend too much if we could somehow approximate the Gladiator or Roman Soldier uniform we had in mind.

There are too many variations and there is no real definitive look, we might as well make up our own, I thought. We'll just have to make do with materials we have at home. Yes, this costume will be a DIY project. In fact the ideas we got from the internet would qualify as Halloween costumes or that you'd wear from a Christmas Costume Party or a Halloween Costume Parade.

Improvised Costume for a Roman General, Warrior, Gladiator, Soldier Uniform

After a few brainstorming sessions with DH, we came up with the following completed version of our Roman Soldier costume. My son seems happy with it. The accessories we added to the improvised Roman Soldier uniform definitely helped project the character.

In the next parts of this article, I'll discuss how each of these Roman Soldier uniform accessories were made and how the is costume put together.

(See Part 2 for the continuation of this article)

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