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Hermes wearing a chlamys
For the scallop genus, see Chlamys (genus). The beetle genus described as Chlamys is now Neochlamisus.

The chlamys (Ancient Greek: χλαμύς, gen.: χλαμύδος; also known as the ephaptis [ἐφαπτίς])[citation needed] was an ancient Greek piece of clothing, a type of cloak.[1]

The chlamys was made from a seamless rectangle of woolen material about the size of a blanket, usually bordered. It was normally pinned with a fibula at the right shoulder. Originally it was wrapped around the waist like a loincloth, but by the end of the 5th century BC it was worn over the elbows. It could be worn over another item of clothing, but was often the sole item of clothing for young soldiers and messengers, at least in Greek art. As such, the chlamys is the characteristic garment of Hermes (Roman Mercury), the messenger god usually depicted as a young man.

The chlamys was typical Greek military attire from the 5th to the 3rd century BCE. As worn by soldiers, it could be wrapped around the arm and used as a light shield in combat.

The chlamys continued into the Byzantine period, when it was often much larger and worn sideways. It was held on with a clasp at the shoulder, and nearly reached the ground at front and back.


See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Ancient Greek Dress Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  • Sekunda, Nicholas (2000). Greek Hoplite 480–323 BC. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-867-4
  • Ridgway, S. Brunilde (1990). Hellenistic Sculpture: The Styles of ca. 331–200 B.C. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-16710-0