A subligaculum was a kind of undergarment worn by ancient Romans. It could come either in the form of a pair of shorts, or in the form of a simple loincloth wrapped around the lower body. It could be worn both by men and women. In particular, it was part of the dress of gladiators, athletes, and of actors on the stage.[1] Leather subligacula have been found in excavations of Roman London.[2]

Casale Bikini modified.jpg
Female athletes wearing a bikini-like combination of a subligaculum and a strophium (breast-cloth)
Bikini-like leather subligaculum found in excavations of Roman London (Museum of London).

The longer-form subligaculum that forms a loin cloth is tied as follows: First, the strings are tied around the waist with the long part hanging down back, covering the buttocks. Next, the long part is brought down between the legs and pulled up behind the knot tied in front. Then it is draped over the ties so it forms a loincloth.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Yates, James (1875). "Subligaculum". In Smith, William (ed.). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. London: John Murray. p. 1075.
  2. ^ "Leather bikinis". Living in Roman London. Museum of London. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010.
  3. ^ "subligaculum". Cómo se cubrió un cuerpo (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 June 2018.