What Shall I Say of Clothes?: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to the Study of Dress in Antiquity (2017)

By: Megan Cifarelli & Laura Gawlinski, eds.

The essays in this volume engage explicitly in a variety of theoretical and methodological strategies for the interpretation of dress, dressed bodies, and their representations in the ancient world. Focusing on personal ornaments, portraiture, and architectural sculpture, the collected papers investigate the visual, somatic, and semantic significance of the act of getting dressed, what it meant to be dressed in various ways, and how dress contributed to and shaped identities in antiquity. Authors draw from a wide range of disciplinary frameworks, integrating literary and archaeological evidence, experimental archaeology, social theory and the study of iconography.

This volume spans a broad area both geographically and chronologically, bringing the ancient Near East into dialogue with the classical world from prehistory through late antiquity. The breadth and inclusivity of this volume provide a strong theoretical and methodological foundation for the collaborative study of the dynamic role of dressed bodies and images that depict them.

More Information


Boston, MA: Archaeological Institute of America, 2017
ISBN: 9781931909341 1931909342
OCLC Number: 962231479
Description: xvi, 223 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.

Table of contents

Table of contents



Getting dressed

Gods among men : fashioning the divine image in Assyria / Kiersten Neumann ;

Early Iron Age adornment with southern Levantine mortuary contexts : an argument for existential significance in understanding material culture / Josephine A. Verduci

Being dressed

Fascinating Fascina : apotropaic magic and how to wear a penis / Allisa M. Whitmore ;

Color-coded : the relationship between color, iconography, and theory in Hellenistic and Roman gemstones / Eric Beckman ;

Surface tensions on Etruscan and Greek gold jewelry / Alexis Q. Castor ;

Costly choices : signaling theory and dress in period IVb Hasanlu, Iran / Megan Cifarelli

Dress and identity

Neolithic blue beads in northwest Turkey : the social significance of Skeuomorphism / Aysȩ Bursalt, Rana Oz̈bal, Emmal Baysal, Hadi Oz̈bal, Baris ̧Yagc̆t ;

Fabrics of inclusion : deep wearing and the potentials of materiality on the Apadana reliefs Neville McFerrin ;

Theorizing religious dress / Laura Gawlinski ;

The costumes of late antique honorific monuments : conformity and divergence within the public and political sphere / Elizabeth Wueste ;

Western men, Eastern women? dress and cultural identity in Roman Palmyra / Maura K. Heyn.

About the author

About the author

Megan Cifarelli is currently professor and chair of art history at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. She is an art historian whose work ranges from Assyrian relief sculptures to dress items from the first millennium B.C.E. in northwestern Iran, with a theoretical focus on gender, identity, and embodied experience.

Laura Gawlinski is associate professor and chair of classical studies at Loyola University, Chicago. Her research involves combining epigraphy and archaeology to investigate how ancient Greek religion was practiced. She is active in fieldwork and has been associated with the excavations of the Athenian Agora since 1995.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Daniel-Hughes, Carly. “Review of What Shall I Say of Clothes? Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to the Study of Dress in Antiquity ed. by Megan Cifarelli and Laura Gawlinski.” Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada 15, no. 2 (2018): 331-334. https://www.muse.jhu.edu/article/701822.

Olson, Kelly. “What Shall I say of Clothes?” Bryn Mawr Classical Review (25 September 2019). bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2019/2019-09-25.html

Student reviews