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5 Ancient Beauty Tips…You Don’t Want to Try!

Posted on 23. Jul, 2014 by in Roman culture

SALVTE OMNES!

So today we will be talking about beauty tips or abduction habits. Do you personally have a beauty regiment? Do your friends or partner think are strange, because you will only buy a certain type of shampoo? Conditioner? Cologne? Hair Gel? Do you have a strict way of applying eyeliner or eye shadow? While none of these items (that I have mentioned) are extreme- in today’s era, there are some extreme methods of achieving  “beauty.”  Modern society promotes these ways for the sake of beauty; I am referring to the “starvation, nip and tuck, injections, and so on.” However, I should put the question to you- which do you think is worse? Modern day or Ancient Times?

 

Well, prepare to be amazed at what the people of antiquity use to use in their own beauty regiments!

 

COMPLEXIONS- “SKIN WHITE AS SNOW & CHEEKS ROSY AS BLOOD”

 

Mosaic showing Roman women in various recreational activities. Courtesy of WikiCommons & Disdero.

Mosaic showing Roman women in various recreational activities. Courtesy of WikiCommons & Disdero.

WHY: Romans enjoyed the look of fairer skin due to its association to the “non-working” high class. Furthermore, rosy cheeks were a sign of healthiness and vitality.

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED: (SKIN) chalk powder, white marl and white lead( which was poisonous).

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED: (CHEEKS) poppy and rose petals, red chalk, crocodile dung, mulberry juice, wine dregs, cinnabar and red lead (these two were poisonous!).

SKINCARE METHODS-:Ancient Romans had a vast number of creams and lotion to help fight and hide wrinkles, pimples, sun spots, freckles and flaking. These include: masks of lentels, barley, lupine, honey, sulphur, vinegar, goose grease, basil juice, placenta and even excrements of  the kingfisher or calves! Pimples were cured with a mixture of barley flour and butter; while, sun spots were treated with the ashes of snails (Slimy goodness?). Historically speaking, a famous method used was the process of bathing in asses’ milk which worked like a chemical peel and was used by such as historic figures as Cleopatra VII and Poppaea Sabina.

 

EYES: “BIGGER IS BETTER”

Portrait of the baker Terentius Neo with his wife found on the wall of a Pompeii house (LOOK TO THE WIFE'S EYES) Courtesy of Wikicommons & Anonimiski

Portrait of the baker Terentius Neo with his wife found on the wall of a Pompeii house (LOOK TO THE WIFE’S EYES) Courtesy of Wikicommons & Anonimiski

WHY: Romans liked large eyes with long eyelashes and eyebrows that almost met (unibrows).

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED: (EYEBROWS) They would darken eyebrows with antimony or soot.

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED: (EYES) On the eyes, they would apply kohl.  The kohl was applied with a glass, ivory, wood or bone sticks that had to be dipped into either water or oil before putting them on the eyes ( I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to put glass or bone near my eyes for any reason!).

LIPS, NAILS, TEETH- ” NOTHING TOO BIG, WEIRDLY SHAPED, or DISCOLORED!”

Fingernails before and after application of red nail polish. Courtesy of Wikicommons & Deerstop & Zitona

Fingernails before and after application of red nail polish. Courtesy of Wikicommons & Deerstop & Zitona

 

WHY: Romans enjoyed having their partners looking natural, but the best they could. No one would want someone with hideous long creepy curly nails, nor someone with scared lips, and lastly not someone with black pointy teeth. It is not an unreasonable societal ideal, because it still exists today.

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED (LIPS): Unfortunately there no such evidence has materialized to indicate that the Romans ever colored their lips, but it is not a far off speculation that if cheeks were given a rosy color that lips weren’t. Then again, I imagine most of what they were applying to their cheeks would have not tasted good on their lips.

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED (NAILS): The mixture in which is thought to have been applied to nails is red dye (imported from an Indian insect). Also, a mixture made with sheep fat and blood was used.

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED (TEETH): White teeth were prized by the Romans, and so false teeth, made from bone, ivory and paste, were popular items. One way to whiten teeth was to use powder like hartshorn, which had ammonia bleaching properties. Also, they used human urine as a mouthwash and teeth whitening substance, which also had ammonia and was used in laundering. Human urine became so valuable that the emperor Nero ( and later emperors) even placed a taxes on it.

 

PERFUME- “WHAT’S THAT SMELL?”

Perfume Bottles & Glass Bottles. Courtesy of the Getty Villa Museum, Brittany Garcia & the glass blowers who made them thousands of years ago.

Perfume Bottles & Glass Bottles. Courtesy of the Getty Villa Museum, Brittany Garcia & the glass blowers who made them thousands of years ago.

WHY: Who wants to be around someone who is smelly? The Ancient Romans were no fools; they considered that if an individual smelled good that they were in good health, socially savvy, and a pleasure to be around.

HOW WAS IT ACHIEVED (PERFUME): Perfumes were made from flowers, some food (lemon, olives, grapes), leaves, roots and kept either liquid, sticky or solid form. These mixtures were incorporated into types of deodorants made with rose petals or irises. In regard to breath fresheners, baking soda was used perhaps to masks the smell of urine.

 

HAIR-” COLORFULLY OUTRAGEOUS & ONLY ON YOUR HEAD”

Exaggerated hairstyle of the Flavian period (80s–90s CE). Courtesy of Wikicommons & Tetrakyts.

Exaggerated hairstyle of the Flavian period (80s–90s CE). Courtesy of Wikicommons & Tetrakyts.

WHY: The expectation for beauty is sometimes beyond understanding; however, beauty is often that which is considered rare and hard to attain. Thus the colored hair/wigs would be highly rare and therefore- desirable. In concerns to body hair, most men/society do not approve of their women feeling hairy like men. However, there are bound to be a few women who could care less!

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED (COLORFUL HAIR): Roman women wore wings to hide white hair or hair that was damaged by hair dyes. In addition, the Romans used dyes to accentuate hair colors. Blonde hair was created with beeches ash and goat’s fat. Red hair was done by pulverizing the leaves of the Lawsonia Inermis ( similar to henna plant). Black hair instead was obtained by black antimony with animal fat. (SO, Lots of animal fat).

HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED (BODY HAIR): Women would remove them by plucking or shaving. In alternative, they also used a resin paste to strip them or a pumice stone to scrape them (OUCH!)

 

Well I hope this was an interesting read and that you learned something that you did not know about those Latin speakers of old.

 

 

Unraveling the Dark Side of Latin’s Subjunctive

Posted on 16. Jul, 2014 by in Latin Language

Subjunctive. SUBJUNCTIVE.S-U-B-J-U-N-C-T-I-V-E……

Courtesy of Latin Memes & Quick Meme Builder.

Courtesy of Latin Memes & Quick Meme Builder.

Subjunctive usually scares and intimidates many students when learning Latin. This is usually due to the fact that students are unfamiliar with the term subjunctive or grammar within their own language. FEAR NOT! I am hoping that this guide will help and aid all of you who are worried about learning and memorizing the uses of the subjunctive.

While researching for this article, I realized that some people may learn better from a video and others from reading the material. Thus, I have provided both. These are a series of videos that explain the forms, uses, and grammar:

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-Commands & Jussives

The subjunctive is often used to express commands, an order, or prohibition.  This is seen at ne + subjunctive; while the jussive is the unique 3rd person form of the subjunctive.

EX: ne transferis= Do Not Cross!

EX: eamus =let us go OR amemus= let us make love

 

-Deliberative Subjunctive ” What am I to…”

The deliberative subjunctive is a question as shown above.

EX: quid faciam = What am I to do

 

-Wishes

When you want to wish someone good luck or wish something on someone (even).

EX: Sit Vis Vobiscum= May the Force be with you

 

- Indirect Commands or Questions

What is meant by Indirect is simply the idea that someone is relaying what they have already been told. This is usually introduced by a asking or saying verb along with ut or ne followed by the subjunctive.

EX: mihi imperauit ut abirem= She ordered me that I should go away or to go away.

EX: petebam quid dicturus esset= I was asking what he was about to say or would say.

 

-Result Clauses “so…..that”, “So….as to”

The “that” clause is expressed by “ut + subjunctive.” The subjunctive is normally present, imperfect, or perfect. The “so” portion could be accomplished with adeo, ita, tam, sic, eo, tantus, tot, talis (which all mean differing amounts of ‘so, so great, so much, thus, or of the such of sort’.)

EX: Tam fortis erat ut uini non posset  = He was so brave that he could not be defeated

 

-Causal Clauses “because, since”

The subjunctive with conjunctions such as quod, quia, quoniam, quando, cum ( which all mean since or because) are providing a clause that explains the reason or cause for an action.

EX: adsunt cum me amarent = They are present since they used to love me.

 

- Purpose Clauses “in order to/that, to”

Purpose clauses are generally conveyed with ut + subjunctive or ne+ subjunctive. The subjunctive is present in primary sequence and imperfect in secondary. (Here is a brief page on sequence and sentences).

EX: uenio ut uiderem= I come in order/so that I may see

 

-Temporal Clauses “When….” “Until…”

The subjunctive is used in temporal (time) clauses for two reasons.

1) With dum, donec (both meaning until) and antequam, pruisquam (both meaning before)- the subjunctive is used when the intending action of the clause is being expected or waited for.

EX: manebat dum Caesar ueniret= he waited until Caesar should come

2) Cum with the subjunctive (imperfect or pluperfect) when you are referring to the past.

EX: cum haec dixisset, exiit= When he had said these things, he departed.

 

Fear Clauses I fear that/lest”

Usually fearing verbs take the infinitive ( I am afraid to jump), but with a subjunctive they are translated like ( I am afraid that she will jump  on me). This is done with ut+ subjunctive or ne + subjunctive.

 

-Relative Clauses

First I should explain that a relative clause is usually introduced by pronouns like qui, quae, quod, (who, what, which, that), and is “relative” or “relates” to something/someone expressed in the previous part of the sentence.

EX: “The girls WHO like flowers.” “The cat WHICH are sleeping

However, the use of a the subjunctive in a relative clause is a bit different. When the relative clause hides a result, purpose, or causal clause- a subjunctive is used.

EX: milites  misit qui hostis circumdarent = He sent soldier who would surround the enemy.

 

- Conditions “If clauses” ( If X happens, then Y is the result.) [ X being the subject of one clauses and Y being the subject of the other]

Conditions that have subjunctive in both clauses  then it should be translated with ‘” would, should, were,”

EX:

Present Subjunctives-  future time- (If X were to happen Y would happen)

Imperfect Subjunctives-  present time- (If X were now happening, Y would be happening)

Pluperfect Subjunctives-  past time- (If X had happened, Y would have happened)

 

 

Here is a great and inspirational video for any learner, who is struggling with Grammar & Subjunctives! *Warning this may contain some adult humor since it TED Talks are usually aimed at college students.

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Some material and examples are in courtesy and alterations of thoses used in “Reading Latin” by Jones & Sidwell

 

5 Things You May Have Not Known About Julius Caesar

Posted on 09. Jul, 2014 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salvete Omnes!

I do hope everyone’s Fourth of July was safe and nice. Well moving right along- let’s talk about July and the famous man it was named after!

MONTH OF JULY

July panel from a Roman mosaic of the months (from El Djem, Tunisia, first half of 3rd century AD). Courtesy of WikiCommons & Ad Meskens

July panel from a Roman mosaic of the months (from El Djem, Tunisia, first half of 3rd century AD).
Courtesy of WikiCommons & Ad Meskens

The month of July, formerly known as Quintilis, was the fifth month or quintus mensis  of the Roman calendar.* Quintilis was renamed July after Julius Caesar in 43 BCE; this was done after Julius Caesar’s death as an honorary gesture by his adopted son and nephew Octavian or Augustus Caesar. The reason that Quintilis was picked for Julius Caesar is due to the fact that this was the month in which Julius Caesar had been born.

*For more information on the names of days and months of the Roman calendar, see our earlier post here.

CAESAR COMES FROM….

Courtesy of Wikicommons, Alexander R, and CNG Coins.

Courtesy of Wikicommons, Alexander R, and CNG Coins.

Many people know of Julius Caesar, but not many know how or where he obtained the cognomen “Caesar.” One historian postulated that it was due to the fact that one of his ancestors was born via caesarean section. The term caesarean probably derives from the Latin verb caedere “to cut” or its perfect (past) stem caes-. The famous Historia Augusta suggests three interesting proposals:

  1. Julius Caesar had bright grey eyes (Latin= oculis caesiis)
  2. Julius Caesar had thick hair (Latin= caesaries)
  3. Or, Julius had killed an elephant at some point in battle (Moorish or Punic= elephant=  caesai)

The latter point is considered to be one that Julius Caesar agreed or favored since there have been many discoveries of coin depicting Caesar’s name and elephants.

CAESAR THE PRIEST?

Flamines, distinguished by their pointed headdress, as part of a procession on the Augustan Altar of Peace. Courtesy of Wikicommons and WolfgangRieger.

Flamines, (Flamen being one priest and the highest one; flamines meaning many and usually comprising of those of less authority) distinguished by their pointed headdress, as part of a procession on the Augustan Altar of Peace. Courtesy of Wikicommons and WolfgangRieger.

According to Paterculus’ Roman History, Julius Caesar was intended for a very different life. After the death of his father (85BCE), he was nominated by his uncle, Gaius Marius, and his political ally, Cinna, to be the new high priest of Jupiter or Flamen Dialis.** However, he was striped of this title and other honors following Sulla’s victory, because Sulla was Marius rival during a civil war. Could you imagine if he had been a priest?

** The extreme honors and restrictions of this position can be found here, and they are discussed at length.

IT’S THE PIRATES LIFE FOR ME!

The traditional "Jolly Roger" of piracy. Courtesy of WikiCommons, Edward England, Manuel Strehl, and WarX.

The traditional “Jolly Roger” of piracy.
Courtesy of WikiCommons, Edward England, Manuel Strehl, and WarX.

Around the late 80′s and early 70′s BCE, Caesar was kidnapped by Cilician pirates and held prisoner. It is reported by Plutarch that Caesar maintained a haughty sense of superiority throughout his captivity.  For example, when the pirates demanded a ransom of twenty talents (measurement explained here) of silver, he insisted they ask for fifty. After that ransom was paid, Caesar was bent on revenge. He raised a fleet, pursued and seized the pirates, and imprisoned them. However, his revenged was not done there; he had them crucified ( as he had promised while in captivity…a promise the pirates had taken as a joke).  This chapter of Caesar of life has actually been taken as a topic for a Hollywood film! (More details on the film and its collaborators here).

THE MOVIES GOT IT ALL WRONG

The following clip is from HBO’s Rome series and it depicts the death of Caesar. WARNING: It may be a bit graphic from some.

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On the Ides of March (15 March) in 44 BCE, Caesar was due to appear at a session of the Senate. However, the Senate was currently meeting in the Theatre of Pompey, because the old Senate House or curia was being reconstructed (Most films and TV series do not depict this difference). Furthermore, Caesar’s famous last words “Et tu, Brute?!” are actually a Shakespearean invention.  Ancient Historian have never attributed him to saying anything when he dies. Suetonius reports that OTHERS said that Caesar said “καὶ σύ, τέκνον” ( Ancient Greek for “And you, child?”), but Suetonius does not actually agree or state that Caesar uttered a last phrase. Plutarch simply dictates that Caesar said nothing and was seen to try to hide himself (or shame) by covering his face with his toga.

 

 

Well, thank you for reading and have a wonderful rest of the week!