Babylonian Costumes

Costumes of PreHistory through
Phoenician times
As seen through a Social and Economic lens
Compiled 2012 by Nathan Wichman for Costume
Brief history of major events
• ~8000 BCE-- Agricultural Revolution
• ~3100 BCE--Beginning of the City-State
• ~2350-2000 BCE-- Sumerian Empire
• 1792-1750 BCE-- Hammurabi
• ~1200 BCE-- Sea Peoples, switch to
• 1100-900 BCE--Phoenicians
Nomads (Pre 8000 BCE)
• Probably only wore animal skins
• Only clothing was a simple skirt for
everyone, except where environments
were too extreme
• Began around 8000 BCE
• Started settling areas permanently and
domesticating animals and plants
• Flax and Cotton probably discovered
shortly after settling
• Wool probably found quickly in areas
with wooly animals
• As people concentrated into larger
towns clothing probably became more
• As the towns got larger and the
hierarchy got more defined clothing and
accessories became symbols of status
• Development of writing, change from
pre-history to history.
Standard of Ur, Dated 2600 BCE.
This side depicts a scene of prosperity, the king and his friends are
banqueting with entertainment of singing and lyre
A procession of men is bringing animals and other goods somewhere
everyone is wearing a skirt except for some in the bottom panel
• Jewelry probably were religious items in
pre-City-State times
• Consisted of clay and glass beads plus
pretty stones before the Phoenicians
brought more exotic gems from
Sumerian Empire
• First empire of the Western World
• During this time the Priestess of An and
Nana, Gods of Heaven and the Moon
respectively, were sometimes the only
legitimating link between one dynasty
and the next. (Ancient World, P.9)
• During the duration of the empire
several nomadic groups from farther
north moved into the area, creating
rapidly changing cultures
Hamurabi (1792-1750
• First person to instate a cohesive code
of laws in multiple cities
• Gave women a firm legal standing
within the laws
Phoenician influence
• Came from the eastern coast of the
Mediterranean, north of Israel, with few
natural resources
• First western people to conquer the seas
• started trading as far west as spain by
950 BCE
• Trade goods included: Purple Dye,
imported cloth, ivory, ebony, gold, silver,
ornaments, furniture, jewelry, wine, olive
oil, and later glass and silk
Dated around 880 BCE, depicts two gods anointing the tree of life
Cover of sun god tablet, dated 850 and 610 BCE, from indentations
we can see a use of robes and large conical headgear
Assyrian dated 640 BCE, there is a line on the arm that could easily
be construed as the ending of a sleeve on each man
Assyrian, dated 640 BCE, In this scene we see several classes of
people, some probably slaves going before the king or general, note
the simple robes worn by lower class and usual robes worn by
• The Ancient World,
A Social and
Cultural History By D. Brendan Nagle,
Print book
• Encyclopedia Britannica online