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How about white toga?

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After 3 years of legal, political, and cultural pretensions as “Asia’s Latin City.” we still have not learnt to live according to the authentic customs and traditions of the citizens of the first republic of the world-the Roman Empire. Since the roller-coaster passage of CCR# 760 converting all the living and non-living organisms of Zamboanga City to Latinos and Latinas, the legislators who were responsible for baptizing us en mass as 2lst century Romans, have not yet come up with their official and standard dress code. Is this not shockingly paradoxical?  Collectively, they project the impression that they don’t have a common notion as to what should be the appropriate official attire to wear during legislative sessions of this legislatively resurrected Roman Senate.  This does not speak very highly of the prestige, stature, and eminence of our Latin Legislators. By now, they should have perfectly made our local legislature as the veritable replica of the Roman Senate, from architecture, internal rules, language of legislation, to dress code. 

But to our dismay, even the basic requirement of a dress code appropriate and befitting the exalted position of a Latin legislator, who in the days of the Roman Empire enjoyed the rank of nobles and the royals, has not yet been agreed upon. What is prominently and proudly peddled around is the classification that Chabacano is Latin which was used as the legal cornerstone for the “Asia’s Latin City” moniker.  Those Latin dances that are constantly shown as TV spots are not unique to Zamboanga  City. They are found in all countries of the world so they do not help much in promoting “Asia’s Latin City.”

It is for this reason that I took the initiative of conducting a quick research on the dress code of the Roman Senators in order for me to contribute in a small way to make our local Latin lawmakers appear authentically and appropriately dressed while they are attending and debating in the Halls of the Sangguniang Panlungsod which is the historical equivalent of the aristocratic Roman Senate. I am very confident and optimistic that wearing the authentic official costume of the Roman Senators will not only enhance the dignity, formality, respectability, and impeachability of our local lawmakers but will also be a huge tourist attraction.  Foreign and domestic spectators every session may fill the gallery of our Latin Legislature just to take close-up glimpses, photographs, and video clips of their attractive and exotic costumes which are no longer existent anywhere else in the world.

Of course, my suggestion is purely unsolicited and does not carry any element of coercion, prescription, or even the slightest persuasion. But just in case, any member of our legislature will be curious enough to know what the official costume of the lawmakers of the first Republic of the world, here’s an accurate description of the dress code of Roman Senators according to Bruce W. Winter found in the Archives of the Society of Biblical Literature:

“The status of the first-century citizens was readily identified from the dress code. Men were what they wore in Roman or Latin Law. Senators or lawmakers were the highest class and were notionally social equals of the emperor. They wore a broad purple stripe on their tunic *(latus clavus), particular sandals, and gold ring.”

“Toga is the iconic piece of masculine Roman apparel.  The toga should not be confused with the tunic. It is actually the garment typically made of wool about 20 feet long, worn on top of the tunic. The togas worn by Roman senators were white with a purple stripe.”

So there’s your historic and authentic dress code, Honorable Roman Senators. You need not argue anymore as to what appropriate costume to wear in your legislative sessions and other official functions. Please don’t forget the gold ring.

By Clem M. Bascar




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