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Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

By October 30, 2006

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The silly-Latin "sentence" Semper ubi sub ubi is translated 'always wear underwear,' although ubi means 'where' not '-wear'. If you were dressed as a Roman, would you "semper ubi sub ubi"? Comments on Mary Beard's latest blog address the question of what a Roman would wear under a toga. Someone mentioned the leather bikinis that have been found covering women on mosaics; another, a garment known as a subligaculum, which may be translated as a loincloth; another, a packet of underwear sent to soldiers at Vindolanda. Even if women wore leather bikinis (with or without outer garments), and soldiers wore loincloths under their armor, that doesn't answer the question of whether toga-clad Roman men wore underwear. Read more about this probably unanswerable at What Did Romans Wear Under Their Togas?

What evidence can you cite for or against the idea that Romans wore underwear under their togas?

Hadrian's Wall at Vindolanda image © N.S. Gill


October 12, 2008 at 5:41 pm
(1) Pamela Ivanova says:

Upon experimentation, we’ve found that a properly togate man could NOT have worn any type of underwear or loin cloth. The many folds of the toga being held in the left hand meant that only the right hand was available for answering nature’s calls. This is easily done provided there is no underclothing to have to deal with. It would have been quite impractical to have worn anything under a toga and the slave would not have been called upon to assist in this.

October 12, 2008 at 5:50 pm
(2) Pamela Ivanova says:

One group to have used this saying ‘semper ubi sub ubi’ was the combat support co 1st/4th infantry, 3rd infantry division Aschaffenburg, Germany. It was their motto and was to imply ‘cover your a**’.

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