A subligaculum was a kind of undergarment worn by ancient Romans. It could come either in the form of a pair of shorts, or in the form of a simple loincloth wrapped around the lower body. It could be worn both by men and women. In particular, it was part of the dress of gladiators, athletes, and of actors on the stage. Leather subligacula have been found in excavations of Roman London.
The longer-form subligaculum that forms a loin cloth is tied as follows: First, tie the strings around your waist with the long part hanging down back, covering buttocks. Next, bring the long part between your legs and pull it up behind the knot you tied in front. Then drape it over the ties so it forms a loincloth. 
- William Smith: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875. (art. Subligaculum)
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