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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The Building of Eumachia


1st c. AD

The largest building on the Forum belonged to a woman!

A stone inscription reads : "Eumachia, daughter of Lucius, a public priestess, in her own name...made this building with her own money and dedicated it to Duty and Harmony."

Eumachia was born into one of the wealthiest families of Pompeii.

Her father had made his fortune in bricks, tiles and amphorae and she married into one of the oldest families of the city.

Her wealth and influence helped her to become a priestess.

She was also the patron of tanners, dyers and cloth-makers.

It's thought that the building was a market for cloth and dyes, and the headquarters of the guild of cloth merchants.

But what would Romans wear?

Both men and woman would wear light linen tunics for everyday life.

Men's were short-sleeved and knee-length.

Women's were long-sleeved and ankle-length.

Rich Romans could customize their tunics with silk and embroideries.

For formal occasions, all Romans would have to wrap a woollen toga over their tunic.

These were much thicker and longer - typically 7 meters-long!

They were so expensive, hot and uncomfortable that most people would only wear them on special occasions.