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Fashions in Emesa and the East
Hello everyone
Just a quick query.
Does anyone know what sort of style clothing would have been worn by the people of Emesa in the early Third Century AD, around the time that young Elagabalus would have been high priest at the temple there. Specifically the upper echelons of Emesene society.
Would they have been Romanised and worn short-sleeved tunics with stripes (if equestrians), or would their clothing have been more ‘Syrian’, with long sleeves and elaborates patterns? If the lattrer, do we know if they patterning would have looked like the later Roman tunics with arrows and circles, or would it have been more likely to have full length stripes down the front (if that makes sense)?
We know that Elagabalus offended Roman sensibilities by dressing in a very ‘Parthian’ fashion, so was this picked up from the nobles of Emesa, perhaps? Would they have dressed the same way? Or was it just a teenage phase he went through and could have picked up the fashion elsewhere. I know that his high priest outfit was very Parthian in style (thank you Herodian), but this was a religious garment and doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of the Emesene society would have dressed this way (this could have been quite an old fashioned style for example, that was kept through tradition).
Hoping someone may be able to enlighten me.
Many thanks in advance
David Hobday
Theres an article here about Parthian belts and belt plaques  it has a number of usefull images for clothing etc and the bibliography for further research....

Shoes worn would likely be of the turn shoe variety and would include boots, from Dura:

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
(12-08-2016, 03:22 PM)Crispianus Wrote: from Dura

That's a great idea, more generally - the paintings from Dura Europos give a very good picture, I'd say, of clothing styles in the mid-3rd century near east.

Many of the men seem to be dressed in Greco-Roman style. This is from the synagogue, I think, so the markings on the clothing might be specifically Jewish:

[Image: samuel_david.jpg]

While in other scenes there's a mixture of more 'western' and Parthian/Persian clothing - although it's not clear what significance, if any, the differences might have:

[Image: p20_Translation%20and%20Survival-1-.jpg]

There's also this scene, showing Palmyrene or Persian priests - perhaps the sort of thing that the young Elagabalus might have worn?:

[Image: scene_sacrifice_conon_family_hi.jpg]

If you go a Google image search for the Dura Europos paintings you'll find much more along those lines.
Nathan Ross
Excellent! Thank you both very much! These are most helpful.
David Hobday
There is a 2016 MA thesis on Syrian clothing in the Roman Empire, with free full text.
That looks like a fascinating read! Thank you.
David Hobday

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