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Евсеенков А.С.

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Balteus, or balteus (from Lat. balteus-belt) - a common name for a belt in antiquity. It should be borne in mind that such a type of belt as the cingulum (Roman military belt with suspensions) is a special case of it. In ancient Greece, it was called zωστήρ (zoster). There are other meanings of this term: - A leather sword belt, which was usually worn over the left shoulder, so that the sword was firmly attached to the right side, without changing its position. This sling fitted snugly to the warrior's body, thanks to the weight of the sword itself. - Elongated Roman tip a toga that swung from his right shoulder to his left.

Balteus in civilian hands

Ordinary citizens of Rome, men and women, actively used baltei for belting tunics, to ensure the convenience of wearing and beautiful drapery of fabric that corresponds to fashion. They made a baltey out of almost anything - it could be a braided belt, a piece of cloth, a strip of leather.

Statue of Melpomene in Baltheus. It is located in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The original is in the Louvre, France. Mid-1st century BC
Statue of Fortune with balteus. Chiaramonti Musei Vaticani. 1st century BC - 1st century AD

Balteus at the gladiators

Among gladiators, the baltei was made of leather and was a mandatory element of clothing, and unlike ordinary citizens of Rome, they were more often tied up not with a tunic, but with a subligaculum. This is due to the fact that not all types of gladiators wore the tunic, but almost all wore the subligaculum. The subligaculum could also be belted in different ways. Bas-reliefs and mosaics have been preserved, where the subligaculum above protrudes from under the baltei, and where the baltei completely overlaps the subligaculum above. It should also be noted that the gladiator baltei could be decorated with classical ornaments.

Figure of the gladiator murmillon made of bone. Found in Lexden, Colchester. British Museum of Roman History. 1st-2nd century AD
Mosaic with Thracian in decorated Balthea. Saint-Rémi Museum, Reims, France. 2-3 century AD
Gladiator in baltea on top of the subligaculum. House of Gladiators. Kourion, Cyprus. 3rd century AD

Related topics

Cingulum, Legionnaire, Gladiator, Toga, Tunic


A woman and a man with balteys. 4th century AD
Gladiator fight with tunics and balteas. Floor mosaic. Nennig on the Moselle. Germany. Roman villa. Mid-3rd century AD