Latin for Duolingo: Clothing, Lesson 1

Salvete omnes! Welcome back to Latin for Duolingo. If you would like to catch up, you can find past lessons in the directory, a classified vocabulary list, and a Memrise course at these links:

Today we’ll learn some terms for clothing, as the Ancient Romans knew it. For today’s lesson, imagine yourself transported back in time to the streets of Rome during the time of Augustus Caesar. A future lesson, after I’ve had some time to do more research, will give terms for modern clothing equivalents.

New Vocabulary
Nouns, 1st declension
bracae, arum (pl.) = trousers, breeches, pants
caliga, ae = boot (worn by soldiers)
lana, ae = wool
palla, ae = shawl, cloak (usually for women, worn outdoors)
solea, ae = sandal, slipper
stola, ae = (woman’s) dress, robe
toga, ae = toga
tunica, ae = tunic

Nouns, 2nd declension
calceus, i = shoe, half-boot
cingulum, i = belt, girdle
linum, i = linen, flax
pallium, i = cloak, outer garment
paludamentum, i = military cloak, commonly worn by generals
sagum, i = short cloak, commonly worn by soldiers
vestimentum, i = garment, article of clothing, clothes (pl.)

3rd declension
vestis, vestis (f.) = clothing, clothes, robe

4th declension
domus, domus (f.) = home, house

honestus, a, um = respectable, upright, honest
laneus, a, um = woolen, made of wool
linteus, a, um = made of linen
scorteus, a, um = made of leather

gero, gerere, gessi, gestus (3) = have on, wear (clothing) (also, carry, carry on, wage (war))
induo, induere, indui, indutus (3) = put on (clothing), dress in

New Sentences
Toga de lanā facta est. (Toga lanea est.) = A toga is made of wool.
Primā luce tunicam caeruleam induo. = At dawn I put on a blue tunic.
Puer togam praetextam gerit. = The boy wears a toga praetexta. (Boy’s garment with a narrow purple stripe; also worn by government officials).
Toga virilis est vestimentum viris. = The toga virilis is a garment for men.
Marcus togam albam induit; est togatus. = Marcus puts on a white toga; he is toga-wearing (toga-ed).
Marcus officium consulis cupit; togam candidam induit. = Marcus desires the office of consul; he puts on the toga candida. (The gleaming white toga worn by candidates for public office).
Et feminae et viri tunicas gerunt. = Both women and men wear tunics.
Homo in viā pallium gerit. = The man on the road wears a cloak.
Tunica est linea aut lanea. (Tunica de lino aut de lanā facta est.) = A tunic is (made of) linen or wool.
Milites hodie togas non gerunt. = Soldiers do not wear togas today.
(However, the toga was originally a military garment, adopted for civilian wear after they realized it was impractical for fighting).
Miles sagum gerit. = The soldier wears a short cloak.
(A sagum was a simplified version of the toga, while being much more practical as a uniform)*
Calceos induimus. = We put on shoes.
Dux paludamentum induit. = The general puts on the cloak.
Stola est vestis feminae maritae. = A stola is the garment of a married woman.
Mulier quae togam gerit non est honesta. = The woman who wears a toga is not respectable.
Romani bracas non gerunt; bracae sunt barbaris. = Romans do not wear trousers; trousers are for barbarians.
Calcei scortei sunt. = Shoes are made of leather.
Gaius est Romanus; vestimenta sua sunt tunica, toga, et calcei. = Gaius is a Roman; his garments are tunic, toga, and shoes.
Lucia est Romana; vestimenta sua sunt tunica, stola, palla, et soleae. = Lucia is a Roman; her garments are tunic, stola (dress), palla (shawl), and sandals.
Romani soleas domi gerunt. = At home, Romans wear sandals.

Here is a pretty good article about Roman clothing, with pictures. And of course, there is the Wikipedia article

Although it has some more advanced grammar and vocabulary than we’ve encountered yet, you might enjoy this conversational Latin youtube video about a boy who misplaces his clothing

If, like me, you are fascinated with ancient clothing and how it was constructed, you may enjoy this youtube video of the reconstruction of the Lendbreen Tunic in Norway . It’s in Norwegian (with subtitles in English) so it is delightful to hear that language spoken as well. Imagine the countless hours of work that went into this most simple and basic garment, and you will appreciate why the highest praise for a Roman woman was “domi mansit, lanam fecit” (She stayed at home, she did her wool). And then for a very thorough exploration of the ancient history of textiles, you might enjoy reading Women’s Work: The first 20,000 Years.

I learned a lot making this lesson, and I hope I haven’t made any major errors. Next time, I’ll attempt to give modern clothing terms in Latin. Until then, valete et habete bonam fortunam!

Next lesson: Clothing 2

January 15, 2016


Great job! Hope Duolingo releases Latin course! I know some Latin from the university and it would be great to learn more by using Duo!

Have you applied for contributor in a future Latin course for English speakers? If not, I suggest you doing this :)

January 16, 2016

Thank you!

January 16, 2016

Latin?! I hear it's hard. :)

January 15, 2016

Not really. It's pretty logical, and it shares an overlap with many contemporary Romance languages. The challenge is that, being archaic, it isn't spoken any more and the practical part of any language (speaking and engaging with others) isn't really there to reinforce it. I do remember doing some spoken practice in my Latin classes, but not a lot - it's almost solely a textual language at this point.

Thanks to the OP for posting this series - it's great!

January 18, 2016

Every language is "hard." In reality every language has its hard components and its easy components based on your native language, learning style, say that one language is harder or easier than another is just based on perception...

January 16, 2016

Everyone says that Latin is hard. You think you are only contradicting me, but you are also contradicting A LOT of other people.

January 18, 2016

Similar things are said about Welsh being hard, although I found it easy. There are certainly reasons why Latin can be hard, just like Welsh, but there are also ways to get passed perceived difficulties: the biggest factor in learning is motivation, and how able you are to make time to do it.

January 2, 2019

I can't access the lesson on colours or the vocab list :( Can anything be done about that?

April 25, 2018

Unfortunately, this seems to be a glitch some Duolingo users experience. I don't know why it happens and I can't control it, but these posts are available to me. I recommend contacting staff on the Troubleshooting forum with specifics of what you are experiencing.

May 11, 2018
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