Post by constabledavid on Oct 26, 2017 17:00:40 GMT
Having looked at the descriptions, and in some cases pictures of roman cloaks (paintings etc.), it looks like a "yellow-brown" makes sense, so "Russet apple" not red is correct. The general description varies but for a waterproof cloak then sheep skin, unwashed and unbleached is a good start, it might start off-white, but as it gets dirtier it will darken. If the cloak does not particularly need to be waterproof then unbleached cloth washed occasionally would be OK.
Post by menacussecundus on Oct 26, 2017 18:36:10 GMT
Graham Sumner's "Roman Military Dress" quotes Isidore of Seville who lived in the 7th century AD - so not hardly an eye-witness and apparently "not always considered to be very reliable". For what it is worth, Isidore wrote that there was a dye called "russata" in Roman times, which the Greeks called "Phoenicea" (hence the Phoenicians, who traded a dark red/purple dye) and in Isidore's time was called "coccina" (possibly a cognate with cochineal if the bugs are named after the colour of the dye they produce, so a crimson or scarlet colour).
Flicking quickly through, there are references to depictions of cavalry wearing both yellow-brown cloaks and red cloaks, so I think you're reasonably safe with either.
Post by constabledavid on Oct 28, 2017 9:42:35 GMT
Thanks, 7th century is another few hundred years on, but might in part explain the problem, the Byzantine/Romans used Greek (most of the time), now if in Byzantine Greek it is different, then we could arrive at red, so I would suspect in northern climes of Europe waterproof sheep skins, in the East cloth, possibly with officers and elite troops using red.
In Latin it would appear "russus" is red, however, in late Latin (probably our period) "russeta" means rough wool cloth. So probably it should say "russeta" not "russus".