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Swords flash as a shield rises to turn aside a deadly blow. A gladiator turns his head towards the marbled imperial box embracing the Roman Emperor. The weary warrior looks for guidance on whether he should dispatch his foe or show mercy on this day. When you think of the Roman Colosseum, visions such as these tease the mind. The Colosseum was constructed by order of the Roman emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, in the year AD 72. It was during the construction of the Colosseum (also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre) that lays the origins of the world-renowned window coverings, the Roman Shade.

Roman Shades: In the Beginning

Being tied to the construction of the Roman Colosseum, the story of Roman Shades is less grandiose than its historical parentage may suggest. They were not designed by Roman artisans to show off the power and prestige of mighty Rome. Their origins are much humbler. You see, during the construction of the Colosseum, dust and debris were ubiquitous in the shops and homes in the vicinity of the construction site. This pollution prompted industrious Romans to cover their windows with wet cloths. These wet cloths caught most of the impurities making the air breathable and keeping the inside of buildings clean. There was also an additional benefit. The damp, dyed material also kept heat from the sun at bay. Historically, Roman Shades are purported to be some of the earliest recorded window coverings.

The FascinatingBeginnings of the Roman Shade

The Roman artisans quickly caught on to this new window covering “fad,” and soon Roman buildings were displaying Roman Shades in a variety of richly intricate patterns and beautiful, eye-catching colours. Roman Shades were some of the first custom made window coverings known to the world. Even in those early days, the people of Rome used their window coverings to represent their style and their beliefs. The Roman Shade would soon make its debut on a substantially larger stage, the Roman Colosseum.

Construction of the Colosseum was completed in AD 80 under Vespasian’s son, Titus Caesar Vespasianus. The open roof, crowded space, day-long events, and Mediterranean local soon proved to the Colosseum’s patrons that it was an unbearably hot venue. Once again, Roman ingenuity reared her beautiful head. Designers drew upon the success of the Roman Shade and built a sprawling awning, which they dubbed, the Velarium (curtain). The Velarium, like the Roman Shade, protected patrons from direct sunlight. The Velarium provided a welcome and cool respite from the heat of the day.

The Velarium was pleated to allow it to expand or contract quickly. While modern Roman Shades typically hang vertically, the Velarium was extended horizontally on poles. The pleating, along with a system of ropes and pulleys, enabled an accordion-style stacking to take place, much like the design of today’s Roman Shades.

The Modern Roman Shade

Modern Roman Shades are found in three main styles: a relaxed type, a waterfall type, and a flat fold. A relaxed Roman Shade has a casual overture that is suitable for tranquil areas such as sitting rooms and libraries. A more traditional type of Roman Shade is the waterfall style. Its design features gentle flowing pleats that wave down the fabric’s face. Lovers of big, bold patterns may prefer the flat fold type of Roman Shade. Flat fold shades are constructed from one continuous piece of fabric. Flat Roman Shades hang flat in a window’s front. They are great for showcasing colourful patterns. Choose Roman Shades if you require a window covering that is stylish and diffuses sunlight. We hope that you enjoyed learning a little history on one of our favourite window coverings, the Roman Shade.

Author Bio: Custom Window Coverings is a provider for blind installation in Calgary, Alberta. They are your drape, blind, shade, and curtain professionals. You can visit their secure website at https://www.cwindowcoverings.ca/. Contact them by calling 403-452-3999 or emailing them at info@cwindowcoverings.ca to see how they can help you with selecting fashion-forward window coverings.

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