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Евсеенков А.С.

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Sagum (Latin sagum) — a woolen cloak of Roman soldiers and officers. It was usually fixed on one shoulder with a fibula. Unlike the penula, it had a simpler pattern: the sagum was a rectangle, not a semicircle, and did not have a hood. The cloak could be decorated with embroidery around the perimeter or at the corners, and sometimes the fabric was loosened into a small fringe at the bottom.

Stele of M. Aurelius Neon, military in Saguma from legio II Traiana fortis. Brucel Museum, inv. no. A. 2246. 222-235 AD
Bas-relief from Adamklisi depicting standard bearers in sagums, early 2nd century AD.
Stele with auxilarium Aurelius Sabius, from legio II Traiana fortis. Alexandria, inv. No. 252. 222-250 A.D.

Sagum was not very popular with legionnaires and auxiliaries, but they used penula more often, as it is more practical. Sagum was more typical of officers, most often it depicted centurions. Traditionally, the cloak was fastened with a fibula under the neck or at the shoulder, it could also be attached to faleras or worn over the arm.

Bas-relief with a primipil in sagum, worn over the arm. Quintus Sertorius Festus-Primipil of the 11th Claudian Legion. Inv. no. 28160. 1st century AD
Part of a bas-relief with the sagum of a centurion from the Museo Civico agli Eremitani, Italy. 25-0 BC.

Sagum-like cloaks were also found among other peoples of the ancient era, in particular, among the Celts and ancient Greeks, and they were mainly worn by the military.

μακεδονικός τάφος ΑγίΟυ ΑθΑνασίΟυ is an ancient Macedonian from the tomb of St Athanasios, fourth quarter of the 4th century BC.
Statue of a Gaelic warrior with a sagum. Naudeno in Mondragon (Mondragon, Vaucluse, France). 1st century BC


Sagum is made from a rectangular piece of woolen fabric. The Romans wore cloaks in shades of red, brown, gray, and blue, and the imperial color was purple, although emperors more often wore paludamentum. The characteristic color of the auxiliaries ' cloak is green. Celts should choose shades of gray, blue, and green, while Greeks should choose shades of red, gray, and terracotta.

Option of wearing sagum over the arm, reconstruction
Classic version of wearing sagum with fibula attachment at the neck, reconstruction
Option of wearing a sagum with fastening through the falera, reconstruction

Related topics

Penula, Paludamentum, Legionnaire, Centurion, Falers, Toga, Chlamydia, Himantium, Fibula


William Ramsay, «Sagum», in William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875 pp. 1002.


Tombstone of P. Flavoleius Cordus, a legionnaire from legio XIV Gemina. Kleinwinternheim. 1st century AD
Sagum patterns of various sizes. One of the exhibits is decorated with sewn "corners"