and imperial Rome
, the paludamentum
was a cloak
fastened at one shoulder, worn by military commanders and (less often) by their troops. As supreme commander of the whole Roman army, Roman emperors were often portrayed wearing it in their statues (eg the Prima Porta Augustus
) and on their coinage, until the 7th century (when the Byzantine emperors switched from the military paludamentum to the civil chlamys
on their coins).
The paludamentum was generally crimson, scarlet, or purple in colour, or sometimes white. It was fastened at the shoulder with a clasp, called a fibula, whose form and size varied through time. Putting on the paludamentum was a ceremonial act on setting out for war.