Chiton (costume)

A chiton (Greek: χιτών, khitōn) was a form of clothing.

There are two forms of chiton, the Doric chiton and the later Ionic chiton.

Young man exomis Musei Capitolini MC892
A statued man with a chiton
Charioteer in an Ionic chiton

History and usage

The Doric chiton is a single rectangle of woolen or linen fabric. It can be worn plain or with an overfold called an apoptygma, which is more common to women. It can be draped and fastened at the shoulder by pins (fibulae) or sewing, or by buttons.[1] The Ionic chiton could also be made from linen or wool and was draped without the fold and held in place from neck to wrist by several small pins. A large belt called a zoster could be worn over the chiton, usually under the breast ("high-girdled") or around the waist ("low-girdled") or a narrower "zone" or girdle could be used. The chiton's length was greater than the height of the wearer, so excessive fabric was pulled above the belt, like a blouse.

A double-girdled style also existed. The chiton was often worn in combination with the heavier himation over it, which had the role of a cloak. When used alone (without a himation), the chiton was called a monochiton. A long chiton which reached the heels was called a chiton poderes, while a longer one which dragged the ground was called a chiton syrtos or an elkekhitōnes (Greek: ἐλκεχιτώνες) (literally, a chiton that drags the ground).[2] A woman's chiton would always be worn at ankle length. Men wore the long chiton during the Archaic period, but later wore it at knee length, except for certain occupations such as priests and charioteers, and also the elderly.

A sleeved form was worn by priests and actors. The colour or pattern would often indicate status, but varied over time. The chiton was the outfit of Aphrodite because it was considered very feminine, although men also wore it. Dionysus is often depicted wearing it. The chiton was also worn by the Romans after the 3rd century BCE. However, they referred to it as a tunica. An example of the chiton can be seen, worn by the caryatids, in the porch of the Erechtheion in Athens. A charioteer's chiton can be seen on the Charioteer of Delphi (474 BC).[3]


Spartan women's clothing was simple and notoriously short. They wore the Dorian peplos, with slit skirts which bared their thighs.[4] The Dorian peplos was made of a heavier woolen material than was common in Ionia, and was fastened at the shoulder by pins called fibulae.[5] When running races, Spartan girls wore a distinctive single-shouldered knee-length chiton.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Kate Elderkin. "Buttons and their Use in Greek Garments". The American Journal of Archaeology. 2 (3): 333–345.
  2. ^ Autenrieth, Georg (1984). Homeric Dictionary. Duckworth Press. p. 330. ISBN 0-7156-1773-7.
  3. ^ "Charioteer of Delphi, Museum of Antiquities, Delphi". Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  4. ^ Pomeroy 1994, p. 36
  5. ^ Pomeroy 2002, p. 134
  6. ^ Pomeroy 2002, p. 31


  • Pomeroy, Sarah B. (1994), Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity, London: Pimlico, ISBN 978-0-712-66054-9
  • Pomeroy, Sarah (2002), Spartan Women, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-195-13067-7


External links

Chiton (disambiguation)

Chiton is a sub-family of marine molluscs in the family Chitonidae.

Chiton may also refer to:

Chiton (costume), a form of clothing

Chiton (genus), a genus of marine molluscs in the family Chitonidae

Chiton, South Australia, a locality


A himation (Ancient Greek: ἱμάτιον) was a type of clothing, a mantle or wrap worn by ancient Greek men and women from the Archaic through the Hellenistic periods (c. 750–30 BC).

It was usually worn over a chiton and/or peplos, but was made of heavier drape and played the role of a cloak or shawl. When the himation was used alone (without a chiton), and served both as a chiton and as a cloak, it was called an achiton. The himation was markedly less voluminous than the Roman toga. It was usually a large rectangular piece of woollen cloth. Many vase paintings depict women wearing a himation as a veil covering their faces.The himation continued into the Byzantine era as "iconographic dress" used in art, worn by Christ, the Virgin Mary, and biblical figures.

Index of fashion articles

This is a list of existing articles related to fashion and clothing.

For individual designers, see List of fashion designers

Zone (vestment)

The Zone (Greek: ζώνη, zonē) is a form of girdle or belt common in the ancient eastern Mediterranean. The term occurs in Homer, for instance, as (Greek: ζώνην, zonēn) girdle and can also refer to the waist itself. Classical Greek had a verb (Greek: ζώννυσθαι, zonusthai) put a girdle around the loins, or "gird one's self."

In modern Greek and Church Slavonic the zone or (Поясъ, poyas - belt) is a liturgical belt worn as a vestment by priests and bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches. It is made of brocade with an embroidered or appliquéd cross in the center, with long ribbons at the ends for tying around the waist. It is worn over the sticharion and the epitrachelion and keeps them in place as the priest performs the Divine Liturgy. In this regard it is similar to the cincture of the Roman Catholic Church.

The zone is not worn for services when the priest is not fully vested, e.g. vespers or matins.

The zone worn by priests of the Old Believers of the Russian Tradition, have a unique design, with four pendant strips, two on each hip. This was the result of legislation passed under Empress Catherine the Great, mandating that the vestments of Old Believer clergy be sufficiently different from those of clergy belonging to the State Church, in order to avoid confusion.

See also

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