During the Republican period armies were frequently commanded by one of the two elected ruling consuls.
In peacetime consuls would wear a white toga and tunic decorated with purple stripes and white boots.
In times of war the toga was laid aside for the military cloak, which was a scarlet colour made from the dye of the “coccum”, and was specifically reserved for the military cloak of generals. Tunics and even boots were scarlet, along with the horse furniture.
The Consul is believed to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 BC.
Two Consuls were elected each year, serving together , each with veto power over the other’s actions. The consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata.
Consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, and in wartime often held the highest military command, which included reading auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field.