Clothing in Anieth and Ancient Times
Costumes and Clothing
Caste and Clothing
Other than basic protection, people wear clothing to differentiate them from other groups. Even in watching the first movies made in London of street scenes, it is obvious who are the poor, the working class, and the gentlemen. In ancient Indo-European society, there were four castes: peasants, merchant classes and landed farmers, nobles and priest/scientists. Artisans and musicians were often of the priest category although they had their own three ranks. Later the military followed a similar model. In this drawing, it is very clear that the man is a priest (here called eola, a kind of professor or master) and the woman is of the noble class. Nobles usually wore more clothing, of greater variety in color and dressed for show and family affiliation.
Among the Clans who lived in the Wood, clothing was to differentiate groups, for the population was too small to allow for much in the way of caste. In the larger groups of Oak and Ash, there was some grouping of warrior and slaves, but each Clan was so different from the others that costume was more for Clan markings than for caste identification.
Among the Horse People, the most remarkable costume was for the members of the Colleges. The Colleges combined musicians, doctors, craftsmen, lawyers and priests who were all adorned in light colored plain wool or linen. Master or eolas wore a sash of the color of their speciality decorated with pins showing achievements. Upon mastery, they shaved the front part of their foreheads and were tattooed with their particular craft. (More on tattooing.) Journeymen were usually known for their light colored clothing and sash. Clothing was practical, but few of this caste spent a lot of money on anything more than an outer cloak, robes for the intellectual professions or tunics and trousers for the working professions.
The Horse People were comprised of many extended families of nomads who manned large territories. They raised sheep, cattle, horses and very little in the way of crops. Around Anieth, lived nine of these families, called the Nine Nations, because they were interbred and hostaged by the Wood Clans after a long war with the Clans that they lost. They were of nine colors and nobles were allowed to wear the nine colors. Sub-nobles wore as many colors as they could. Usually one had to show some relation to another Nation to wear their colors with your own Nation's colors. Other than the National colors, nobles wore a variety of colors in those shades or of two or three. Thus a noble of the Summer Nation (Green) might wear several colors of green, but also white or gold. Each of the ruling families of the Nine Nations tended to look like their Clan sponsors and dress in ways that readily marked them out. Here are two nobles wearing the favored stripes, both on their trousers of nine colors. A sign of great wealth was to wear jewelry of metal, which was still very rare.
The Summer Nation noblewomen tended to favor the silk shawl, imported from Zelosia. They lived in a pocket of hills surrounded by lakes, one of the few mild areas near the Plain of the Horses and the Slevrana Lia (Gray Mountains.) They wore long dresses and tended to jewelry and makeup, influenced as they were by Zelosian customs coming in on the trade route, which they controlled. Lesser noble women wore fine linen shawls and jewelry of any metal they could afford or the rare glass beads that had been so popular before Zelosian influence. Men tended to favor the old costume of tunic and trousers, practical for the horseman. They did adorn themselves in elaborate jackets and cloaks pinned with great brooches of gold. All wore shades of green, and oiled their richly curled hair.
The Moon Nation was surrounded by the Wood, and their color was white, but the Queens tended to favor the color blue where the rest of the nobles wore more white. Famous for their nettle linen, they also had a fairly mild climate, being close to the sea. Furs were not usual and they favored the traditional clothing for much longer than the other nobles of the Horse People. In particular, the women tended to dress both in more female clothes, but also in trousers if it suited them.
As a group, the Moon Nation were pretty obsessed with sports of every kind, including dancing, running, racing, and any game both team games and single competitions. They were a large people, and very athletic. Both men and women were champion hurlers, and raced their ponies most of the summer. Among them, there was little distinction between men and women sportsmen, but in the lower classes, the women still did most of the fabric production while the men guarded the herds. Both produced their famous cheese. Both men and women were warriors and often women wore their hair short while the men grew their black hair very long. It was rare that a man could grow a beard, which further blended the sexual differences. The usual outfit was a vest of leather or linen over a shirt and trousers, or a tunic over trousers.
The Sun Nation was closer to the tribes of the Plain of the Horses and dressed in the splendor of the nomads before Zelosian contact. They wore mostly furs and dyed leather and were famous all over the area for their different leathers. Nearer to the shelter of the mountains they grew linen and hemp, but clothing made of fabric was still rare. The rulers of the Sun Nation were closely associated with the Ash Clan and so, were blond, very much like we would expect to see of Vikings, Goths, or other nomads of Northern Europe.
Most of the people dressed like the middle class and peasants of Europe have dressed for thousands of years. Up until the Romans, most of these people dressed in trousers, for they were often on horseback. Although they had some settled areas, most of them lived in tents and moved with the herds during the year. Hats of felt or fur were common, and the cloak was used all year, trimmed or lined with fur if it was available. Usually the cloak was leather and treated with birch oil and wax for waterproofing. Most wore shirts of fabric or soft leather; most had only one set of clothes. Shoes were made of felt, leather, and wood. When we look back, we think of the Middle Ages where people did look a bit different, and we think of the rich, who could afford fashion. For the ancients, fashion was a short vest or a long vest, embroidery, or colored strips, and hats. Most ancient peoples used their wealth for show in buying furs or elaborate hats. Nobles were known for their hats, which were often ridiculous as they are today.
The rulers and warriors of the Nations dressed like the ancients: for show. Above a certain practical aspect of helmet, spear, shield, cuirass, and other protective armor, the warrior dress in a kind of intimidation uniform, highly decorated. Rather than flouting all the colors of the Nations, the King tended to dress in their National color with the insignia of their throne in plain sight. They were not target warriors, so to speak, but luck charms, so were fairly immune to being killed. To kill a king was such bad luck that in any skirmish, the supporting royals were killed and the king captured. As you can see from this drawing, the ponies were small and the saddles were built high on the back of the horses. Metal helmets were very rare. Armor was made of leather set with studs.
The Kings of the Nations had several functions and costumes as such. In the Queen's Court, the King usually dressed in his full costume, often armored like this King on the left. In his own Court, he wore the "kurta" and hat and scarf of the senior judge, the scarf always of his Nation's color. In the King's Court, he was considered a senior eola. In the Queen's he was considered the senior noble. The two Courts were a division of power and served different functions: the King's for Law against the person, the Queen's for taxes and money disputes.
About eight generations after the war with the Clans, the Horse People were again threatened, not by the Wood, but by an expanding Empire from the southeast. The early Bronze Age was a time of war in Europe where the idea of empire had taken hold of Mediterranean and Near Eastern tribes, making them take over their neighbors and then keep expanding until defeated. The Romans were the last of this kind of Empire in Europe, but in the East this style continued with the Mongols, Persians and Chinese. The Horse People's Kings had their own "fianna" or warrior groups. The Queen had her relations who acted as a warrior group. Many nobles had guards for their herds, who were a kind of glorified cowboy/punk who rode in bands to protect the herds from marauders and wild animals. Warriors tended to have some armor and expect to be treated with some respect by the commoners who supported them. But they were fairly common except those near the Queen who could claim noble blood. This was not so in the Zelosian Empire, where soldiering was a profession and soldiers were a police force. However, except for weapons, both wore helmets and some kind of body armor.
Unlike among the Horse People, the caste system in Zelosia was rigid. Because of population pressure, humans were not as valuable as they were in the North. In the North, being a slave was being a captive, taken by another tribe. But your children were dependents on the tribe that took you, considered valuable members of the family according to skills and individual attributes. Members of the tribe were not sold off unless the family was impoverished and being broken up. The idea of selling people out of the tribe only came with the Zelosians, where the demand for metal became so high that children began to be sold to work in the Mines at Massona. In Zelosia, it was almost impossible to buy your freedom and changing castes took generations. Professions also showed a marked caste system. The soldier was a commoner, served by army slaves; officers were of the merchant or ruling caste. It was extremely rare for an officer of adon (merchant) caste to rise above a certain rank. Commanders were almost always of kuros (ruling) class. The soldier had his kit, and Zelosian soldiers were almost exactly like the common hoplite of the Greek and Trojan armies: leather helmet and linen cuirass, wood shield and spear. Knives were common, but swords were extremely precious and owned only by offers, who often flaunted wealth with metal helmets. To be chosen as a commander's guard meant looking like an officer and the positions were fought over.
The lower ranks of the Zelosian army were red, including lower ranked officers. The commissioned officers wore white and yellow. Some were engineers or quartermaster generals, or other functions of the army that required a skill set and education. Commanders wore royal blue. Often a commander's bronze cuirass was emblazoned with the sign of his command, like the eagle wings for the Decian League. Often a high-ranked officer had several sets of armor, slaves to attend him, and functional clothing that consisted of a tunic, wrapping cloak, and lace-up sandals, sometimes long robes. Few adopted the trousers. Helmets of bronze were highly adorned and the short bronze sword was longer or shorter depending on wealth. Most officers wore white their entire carriers, only rising to saffron colors if their skills were highly valued or they had performed some feat that demanded their promotion. The ranks of officers were often seen in the size of their horsehair helmet decoration, and their earrings, which were larger for kuros class.
Caste also ruled the Zelosian priests. They had slaves, and lower ranked priests usually wore plain robes and cloaks. They wore the colors of their gods: blue for Kaelistos (Zeus) white for Alaton (Mithras) and green for Devoros (Cronos) to name a few. The high priests wore elaborate costumes, often with layers of rare fabric, headdresses and jewelry.
Priests differed from rich merchants and nobles only in their use of color. For a noble, the more rare color the better. The rich merchants, like the nouveau riche today, overdressed and treated their slaves in demeaning ways. Richly embroider silks were a sign of wealth as well as elaborately oiled hair, jewelry, and headdresses of opulent folds and styles.
Costume for women varied quite a bit between Zelosia and Anieth in class rather than in style except that women in Zelosia were expected to keep covered as much as possible. An upper class woman was almost invisible in the streets. As Zelosia influenced the Horse People, women began to eschew trousers and opt for the long skirts even for everyday wear.
In the above picture, you can see Queen Sceta before she married the Zelosian commander and after. Although the Summer Queens wore elaborate dresses and shawls, it was nothing like the wrap Sceta had to wear as a Zelosian wife of rank. In the right picture, this girl is wearing a typical costume of the peasant or normal class, the dress, petticoat, felt socks, clogs, apron and "brat" or scarf/cloak wrap.
Most everyone in Anieth wore similar clothes to the Horse People, with three exceptions. The first were animal shapers, who wore their "skins" or "feathers" as a kind of tunic, usually fur side inward.
The Holly wore nettle linens, but their champions wore a coat over long boots with gloves made of oiled and waxed linen. The ash warriors decorated themselves in elaborate netted clothing made by their women. The more elaborate a man's costume the more favored he was in his group. All through the Wood, costumes were very individual, from feather cloaks to horned fur hats, great piles of scarved dreadlocks, turbans, fringed and knotted clothing, furs, skins and shelled vests were to be found, all highly decorated.