Station: [232] Clothes in the Time of the Imperial Period - Man of Zauschwitz

This mirror transforms you into a 20 to 30 year-old man from the time of the later Roman Empire.  You are wearing a fancy belt with bronze fittings, each of them featuring a leaping lion.  For the Romans, lions were held to be attributes of Victoria, the goddess of victory, and to bring good fortune to their wearers.  The other openwork bronze ornament probably formed part of a shoulder strap. The special thing about this one is its inscription, IOVIS, which refers to the Roman god Jupiter.  The sword in its sheath was attached to your shoulder strap. Only the iron sword strap holder, which fastens the sword strap to the sheath has survived.  Your clothes have also been reconstructed; you probably wore trousers and a tunic.  The two bronze disk brooches served to pin your cloak to your shoulders.    

Was the deceased capable of reading this IOVIS inscription while he was still alive?  Did he win his extravagant bronze fittings as booty or were they obtained by honest means?  Whatever the case, the clothes and weapons that the man of Zauschwitz is wearing testify to his connections with the Roman Empire.  Maybe he served as a mercenary in the Roman army and took these foreign items back with him to his native land when his term of service ended?

How do we know, though, what the materials, patterns and colours of the Iron Age and Roman Imperial period were like?  For a start, tiny remnants of cloth have been found in damp sites, which provide information about the patterns, colours and texture of the woven materials. Sometimes, scraps of cloth are found on metal items.  In North Germany and on the Danish moorlands, a few graves have been found, which contain entire items of clothing. And last, but not least, there are ancient sculptures, images and accounts which also help give us an idea of what people were wearing, back then.