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The Importance of a Fuller's Work

After the washing is done and the material soaks well, the fabric is rinsed. This step is done with the help of clean water in a complex of large tubs that connect with each other. The material is immersed in the tub and moves in flowing water against the current.

Finally, the washed material is hung for drying. The dry wool is then brushed. If the material is to be whitened, it’s spread over a special basket. Sulfur is left under the basket to bleach the material. Finally, special presses straighten the material.

A fuller’s work was important. In the event of damage or a failure to return the goods, he was subject to penalties. Moreover, the fuller is important in “The Brother,” a short story in The Deadliest Deceptions. The magistrates used the fuller’s mark on a dead man’s tunic to identify him. Miriam, however, was not convinced the body had been identified correctly.

“They recognized the fuller from his mark and then checked his customer list against their missing persons report. Still, I’m not convinced. This body is missing a hand.”

Finally, it’s worth adding that shortly after the time of this story, urine became a real commodity. People collected it to deliver to fullers’ workshops for a fee. To learn more about the other commodities Romans valued, click here.


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