How would a priestess have been dressed compared to a slave in ancient greece at the time of the first olympic games?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The book Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece, by Joan Breton Connelly is one of the main sources of information regarding life for females in the Ancient Greece period.

The age of Pericles, which is known as the most fruitful of that era, shows four basic types of clothing.

  • Doric and Ionic chiton (long robe; Ionic is a shorter version)
  • Himation piece of clothing that folds across the chiton 
  • Peplos - full-body veil

These were the "staple" clothing items worn by both men and women. Linen is worn in hot temperature while wool was the material used for the winter

The priestess Demeter Chamyne would have been one of the few women allowed to attend any public event. Since her role in the Olympics would have been to ensure that all ceremonies to the gods were conducted properly, she more than likely wore similar clothing as those stated above. 

However, slaves were distinct in that their hair was most often cut very short. They also did not have many choices as far as the material of their clothes. Their tunics were always shorter, they had a piece of leather underneath presumable to aid when the climate was colder and keep them warm. Also to protect them from the rough material of their tunics. 

 

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