2,000 Years of the Necktie: Did Romans Wear Ties?

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Did Romans Wear Ties?

by David Johnson
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Neckties Through the Ages

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In 113 A.D., one of Rome's greatest Emperors, the military genius Trajan, erected a marble column to commemorate a triumphant victory over the Dacians, who lived in what is now Romania.

The 2,500 realistic figures on the column sport no less than three different styles of neckwear. These include shorter versions of the modern necktie; cloth wound around the neck and tucked into armor; and knotted kerchiefs reminiscent of cowboy bandannas.

While Roman orators often wore cloths to keep their throats warm, soldiers did not cover their necks. In fact, writers such as Horace and Seneca said only effeminate men covered their necks.

Skilled warriors

Trajan's column is the only representation of legionnaires with neckwear. Historians believe the legionnaires wore cloths for reasons similar to those of Shih Huang Ti's terracotta army. Truly great fighters must be visibly honored. And, the legionnaires were so skilled in battle that they were immune to perceptions of appearing feminine.

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