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A question was recently asked, in another group, about gloves. I've browsed through my resources, and can't find a single reference to any kind of hand coverings. A search on this forum revealed two pages of threads, all related to armor fitting like a glove Sad In one thread, I did find a reference to archers wearing gloves on TC.

The question that was asked was specifically about riding gloves. I had never thought of gloves at all, assuming they were a more modern convention.

So, I now have a twofold question:
Can anyone give a link to, or able to post a photo of that TC image?
Are there any other references to gloves anywhere to pursue? She's looking for a pattern.
Mittens were worn since the neolithic (at least)

According to some translations of Homer's "The Odyssey", Laërtes is described as wearing gloves while walking in his garden so as to avoid the brambles. Other translations, however, insist that Laertes pulled his long sleeves over his hands. There is occasional reference to Roman use of gloves. According to Pliny the Younger (ca. 100), his uncle's shorthand writer wore gloves during the winter so as not to impede the elder Pliny's work.

Not in a military context, but there is a mention of a glove or fingerless mitten worn by agricultural workers. (I will try to find the reference).

something like a Greek word ending in "......dactylus" IIRC
Time to bring out your goat-hair gloves all you who serve up North!!!!


Here we go:

Varro, de Re Rust. I.55

55. De oliueto oleam, quam manu tangere possis e terra ac scalis, legere oportet potius quam quatere, quod ea quae uapulavit macescit nec dat tantum olei. Quae manu stricta, melior ea quae digitis nudis, quam illa quae cum digitabulis, durities enim eorum quod non solum stringit bacam, sed etiam ramos glubit ac relinquit ad gelicidium retectos.

from: William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

Gloves with fingers (digitalia, Varro, de Re Rust. I.55) were worn among the Romans for the performance of certain manual operations.a Pliny the younger refers also to the use of manicae in winter to protect the hands from cold (Epist. III.5). Those used by the Persians were probably made of fur, perhaps resembling muffs: the Persians also wore gloves in winter (δακτυλήθρας, Xen. Cyrop. VIII.3 §17). In an enumeration of the instruments of torture used in the fourth century of the Christian era we observe "the glove" (Synes. Epist. 58 ); but its construction or material is not described.

It's been discussed before here:
Quote:Here we go:

Varro, de Re Rust. I.55

That's the one! Big Grin

many thanks Daniele. I got confused between Dactylus and Digitabulis!

Fingers eh?!" :wink:
You shouldn't use them for picking olives.

Pliny the Younger sates in his letters his uncle's shorthand writer wore gloves during the winter so as not to impede the elder Pliny's work.

"A shorthand writer constantly attended him, with book and tablets, who, in the winter, wore a particular sort of warm gloves, that the sharpness of the weather might not occasion any interruption to my uncle's studies" ... tters.html

There's also a reference to a glove being hung when the Emperor was at court on this webpage:
There's a bibliography, so I imagine it's mentioned in one of those publications.
Quote:It's been discussed before here:

Thanks Tarbicus. Can't figure out why that one didn't turn up when I did a search.

Definitely opened my eyes. Anyway, are there any indications that there might have been any form of formal glove other than that vague reference to them hanging in the Emperors court. More specifically, riding gloves?

I had actually thought Graham might have something for us...
Good question & an important safety issue, depending on what kind of sparring you do.

Stephenson & Dixon discuss this in 'Roman Cavalry Equipment' (& Romano-Byzantine Infantry Equipment IIRC). There's the manica on the tombstone of Sextus Valerius Severus in Mainz, which appears from the illustration to have an integral mitten sltyle hand covering.

The Strategikon of Maurice recommends gauntlets for cavalry & there's a c6-7th iron mitten style gauntlet from Iran, now in Mainz.

There's been talk of hand bindings used by gladiators, but I don't know the sources.

Hope that helps :-) )
Quote:I had actually thought Graham might have something for us...

In fact I wrote something last year which was published in the latest Exercitus the bulletin of the Ermine Street Guard.

This came about after I saw members of the Chester based group wearing some. They did not know the source and I had not come across any reference to gloves myself, certainly not in a military context.

However gloves have been known since at least Phraonic times as Tutankhamen was buried with some, so surely common sense dictated that the Romans must have had them and one can certainly imagine Roman sentries wearing them on a cold night.

A bit of research came up with the following which is taken from the article:

After a quick search it did appear that gloves of some sort were indeed worn in Roman times. A curse tablet from Bath mentions manicilia which have been interpreted as gloves or mittens while Manicae are recorded by Pliny Epist.iii.5. Furthermore according to the Roman historian Varro, Digitalia, were also worn to protect the hands from cold or for manual operations. So possibly when occasion demanded soldiers may have worn gloves or mittens.

Hope this helps a bit but there may be more out there somewhere, I have never heard of the hanging glove in court before!

as to mittens of fingered gloves I believe that there is some evidence that Caestus were made around what we today call fingerless gloves in that the fingers go only to the first knuckle.

There is a hand from a statue which illustrates this ...googled but cant find it today :?
To revive this old thread, has anyone ever made a modern reconstruction of a 'Roman glove'?