- Xen. An. 6.4.23 on things brought to rob some villages …
- Xen. Cyr. 6.2.32 always have plenty of straps (the Greek word is ὁ ἱμάς and seems to imply leather: reins, a boxer’s hand-bindings, the floor of a chariot, the flayed skin of Sisamnes the unjust judge …)
- Xen. Mem. 3.13.6 on Socrates and the man who wanted his slave to carry everything
- Aristophanes on where to keep your coins …
- Theophrastus, Characters 22 Diel (the Miser) on carrying meat and vegetables home in the breast of your tunic
- The epitaph of Hipparchia the Cynic by Antipater of Sidon (Greek Anthology 7.413, Loeb vol. 2) with walking stick (σκίπων) and double-fold sack (δίπλαξ):
οὐχὶ βαθυστόλμων Ἱππαρχία ἔργα γυναικῶν, “I, Hipparchia chose not the tasks of rich-robed woman, but the manly life of the Cynic.”
τῶν δὲ Κυνῶν ἑλόμαν ῥωμαλέον βίοτον
οὐδέ μοι ἀμπεχόναι περονήτιδες, οὐ βαθύπελμος “Brooch-clasped tunics, well-clad shoes, and perfumed headscarves pleased me not;”
εὔμαρις, οὐ λιπόων εὔαδε κεκρύφαλος:
οὐλὰς δὲ σκίπωνι συνέμπορος, ἅ τε συνῳδὸς “But with wallet and fellow staff, together with coarse cloak and bed of hard ground,”
δίπλαξ, καὶ κοίτας βλῆμα χαμαιλεχέος.
ἄμμι δὲ Μαιναλίας κάρρων † ἄμιν Ἀταλάντας “My name shall be greater than Atalanta: for wisdom is better than mountain running.”
τόσσον, ὅσον σοφία κρέσσον ὀριδρομίας.
- Petronius on where to hide coins …
Studying how people carried things is difficult. Ordinary small objects are usually hidden in art unless the artist needs them to communicate who a character is and what they are doing. The big containers used by shoppers, porters, and peddlers and the temporary containers that held a snack from a street vendor or a cut of meat rarely appear at all. Documents and literature can be more helpful: by the 18th century, a key source is records of trials of thieves and pickpockets which record exactly what was taken from where! Christian Cameron has an inspiring post on the problem Writing Fantasy: Baskets and Broadswords (2018).
Deportees in Neo-Assyrian art often carry a sack over their shoulder or in their hands in front of them. With some rope, you can rig a simple sack to be carried with your hands free.
Men in Assyrian or Elamite clothing often have necessary objects thrust through their sash: three knives, a big knife, or a stylus.
Small objects such as seals and whetstones are often pierced with a hole and sometimes a ring through the hole. This would allow them to be worn around the neck or from a belt on a thong.
- Edit 2022-01-17: added wall painting from the Villa Farnese, Rome
- Edit 2022-01-20: added reference to Theophrastus Characters