Sare-Agturk T.

OLBA, vol.22, pp.251-280, 2014 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Journal Name: OLBA
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.251-280
  • Keywords: luxurious textiles, ancient textile industry, purple dye, ancient clothing fashions, ancient Western Anatolia
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


The fame of the high quality textiles produced in Western Anatolia during the Roman Empire is well attested in a variety of literary and epigraphic sources. As one can deduce from these sources, certain cities of Western Anatolia have become so famous with the textiles they produced that their highly prized products took on the cities' name. The Laodikene chlamys, for example, was a highly priced clothing item produced in Laodikeia of Western Anatolia and exported to all around Roman Empire. This article aims to trace the origin of the tradition of luxurious textile production in ancient Western Anatolia through Bronze Age to the fourth century BCE, with an emphasis on the textual evidence, material evidence, and artistic evidence related to the Archaic and Achaemenid Periods of the region. The overall examination shows that starting with the Bronze Age, Western Anatolia had a significant role in the production and in some cases in the export of luxurious textiles and raw materials used in the manufacture of these textiles in interregional markets. The study also reveals four major specializations in high-quality textile production in Western Anatolia: textile dyes (especially the royal purple-dye), gold woven textiles (embroidered with golden threads or decorated with golden appliques), high quality wool, and fine linen. Starting with the Bronze Age the industry is controlled by the elite. The essay consists of two main parts, a chronological overview of the textile production, followed by a short discussion of the elite clothing fashions in Western Anatolia between the fourth and seventh centuries BCE.