What Kind of Clothes Did People Wear in Ancient Mesopotamia?

People in ancient Mesopotamia (3,500 BC - 539 BC) wore clothes made with animal skins and wool, originally a skirt, and later a tunic with a shawl over it. Embroidery and fringes decorated the garments. Women of high status wore veils.

Mesopotamia, the area between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, saw several civilizations rise and fall. The first were the Sumerians, whose civilization prospered between 3,500 and 2,000 BC. They were followed by the Babylonians, who were replaced by the Assyrians in 1,000 BC. Mesopotamia became a part of the Persian Empire in 539 BC.

Sumerians wore skirts made with sheepskin. The longer the skirt, the higher the status of the wearer. By about 2,500, Sumerians learned the art of spinning and weaving sheep's wool and started making it into skirts and cloaks. Jewelry made of precious metals and stones completed the look.

Cloth production was an important industry in ancient Mesopotamia, in which mostly women were employed. A large fringed wrap worn over a skirt was popular, and later, Babylonians and Assyrians wore draped garments that consisted of a tunic and a shawl with fringes or tassels. The wool fabrics were dyed with bright colors. Sandals and boots were made from soft leather or fabric.