We’ve had a lot of Cecil columns in recent days about sex. It’s now time to do a cover up.

I’m specifically talking about pants. Back in the Roman Empire days, everyone was wearing robes. By the Middle Ages, pant were now the fashion. How did this fashion change happen, and when did it occur. Also, was this just a Western phenomenon, or were other civilizations moving to pants.

I suspect it has something to do with horseback riding, but 99% of the people weren’t riding horses. So, why the switch?

I suspect it had more to do with warmth, than to riding. (The kilt is still hanging in there, though.)

I believe the Romans used to scoff at Germanic tribes, who had no concept of the civilized elegance of the toga the Romans wore. Those Germanic barbarians wore “breeches” of all things. Except, when you went up north, breeches suddenly became so much more practical. And they just caught on.

While many people think of Rome as the most advanced of pre-modern civilizations and the middle ages as “the dark ages”, the truth is that technology in Rome was very primitive, while in the middle ages it advanced a great deal. This was particularly true in the case of cloth-making. In ancient Rome, the entire process was done by hand, from “fulling” the raw material to spinning the thread to weaving the cloth. Between the seventh and eleventh centuries Europeans invented the fulling mill, the spinning wheel, and the foot-powered loom, which made is vastly easier to produce cloth. Suddenly they had a lot more cloth and it was of a much finer quality.

With the rough cloth of ancient times, loose-hanging cloths such as tunics and togas were better because they didn’t chafe. With the new cloth of the middle ages, tights became more comfortable and practical.

As well as what’s hanging in the kilt …

Kilts are warm! :slight_smile:

Before your question can be answered, are you sure that your premises are, in fact, correct?

What is the source for this assertion? The Roman Empire was around for hundreds of years and spanned large parts of three continents. I’m skeptical that “everyone” was wearing robes everywhere in the Empire for this whole period. Surely local fashions were dictated, as today, by the local cultures and climates, and by the class and occupation of the individuals.

Again, where are you getting this information? The Middle Ages also lasted for hundreds of years, and even if you mean to restrict your geographic scope to the same area occupied by the Roman Empire, I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that the predominant leg clothing fashions varied a great deal.

I got a answer similar to this one, from my history teacher. I asked her, “When did people switch, from that silly little strips o’ bronze skirt the Romans wore, to the durable steel mail coat of the Medieval knight?” Answer: The Romans did that. The history is of clothing (and arms and armor) is way more complicated than sword and sorcery epics would suggest.