Altar showing the use of an umbrella. The object is located in the museum in the Baths of Diocletian in Rome | Photo: Michał Kubicz - Sekrety Rzymu
The umbrella is not an innovation of modern times. Already in ancient Greece and Rome umbrellas-like items were used. In Rome they were called umbraculum.
Umbraculum was made of leather and was used by women who wanted to protect themselves from the intense sun or keep their valued white (unburned) complexion. It seems that the “ancient umbrellas” really held slaves and made sure that their lady had adequate comfort.
It is suspected that antique umbrellas had a construction extremely similar to our modern ones. They appeared in Rome thanks to either Greeks or Etruscans.
Smith William, A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities, 1873
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