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Braccae — (Calf-length pants)

Two Types

Roman legionaries on Trajan's Column depicted wearing Braccae.Both long and short trousers were known as braccae. Short trousers, apparently from southern Gaul, were also known as femenalia, from the Latin word femen meaning thigh — NOT from femina or woman! In illustrations they are tight-fitting and reach to just below the knee.

<<<< Roman legionaries on Trajan's Column depicted wearing Braccae.

Braccae — (Calf-length pants)

Trousers were favored by the tribes of Northern Europe where the weather was colder, but they were referred to as "barbarians" and their fashion shown great disdain. Yet, as the soldiers of the Roman Empire began to venture and conquer these cold and distant lands, they began to understand just why the peoples of Gaul, present-day France, and Britain wore long pants known as braccae. Soon, the Romans saw the usefulness of these garments as one cannot function in sandals and short garments.

Leg coverings were seen as crude items, something that was worn by the barbarians who lived beyond the borders of Roman civilization or as the leg protection of the very poor or old. Long pants, like long sleeves were seen as effeminate.

Thoughts on Bracae

In Caesar's day braccae were considered effeminate and barbarian-wear — something to avoided by civilized Roman men. As the Romans conquered more Northern lands, they found that these garments were not only nice to have, but needed in the wet and cold.


Modern writers often describe them as being mde of leather, but wool is warmer. Long trousers, from northern Gaul, Germany, and Britain, were close-fitting but not as tight, and could be ankle-length or have feet. No trousers survive from Roman sites, but several pairs have been found in Danish bogs. They are quite complex and some have belt loops..

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