Roman hair-do, ca 350 A.D.

Glyptoteket - Roman woman

Date: About 350 A.D.
Place: The Roman Empire
Exhibited at: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Photo: Mine
Description: This is a late Roman piece (late as in "everything of importance to the Roman empire happened in the first 150 years after the year 1 A.D.", not as in that the western Roman empire wouldn't survive for another hundred years) and it shows a hair-do quite as complicated as they could be earlier. Romans might not have heard of hair-spray or -gel, but they still managed to create some amazing coiffures - and some where you wonder how anyone could have worn it. This hair-do is rather easy to understand - the sculpture offering a clear view of it (though it does not reveal if she had hair extensions - which we know were sometimes used).

With or without the help of extra hair, the hair was gathered into two long braids which was curled around the head to form something not totally unlike a basket (though a crown might be a more suitable term, if you want to sound fancy). This meant that the top of the head (not seen here) was left exposed, but framed by braids, and the face, in turn, was framed by a curly fringe, going from ear to ear and leaving just a couple of slightly bigger curls at each ear. It is obviously a hair-do for the very rich - and only the very rich would have afforded to immortalize themselves in a piece of stone like this - but at the same time it might very well have been a hair-do that would survive day-to-day business quite well.


Joakim said...

Hello Rebecka,

my name is Joakim Wennlund and I live in Stockholm, Sweden. My paternal grandfather's mother is Karin Wennlund from Gävle. My paternal grandfather was born in the 1910's, so Karin's date of birth should be in the 1880's-1890's. Supposedly she is related somehow to Ada and Ragnhild Wennlund.
Did you know the name Wennlund origins from the parish of Wendel near Gävle added with the swedish word for grove, which is lund?

I would be delighted to learn more about your(my?) swedish ancestors. My emailaddress: jwennlund@hotmail.com. Feel free to contact me.
Kind regards
Joakim Wennlund

mty said...

Wow this is quite the interesting post. How exactly did you come across this and decide to share it?

DameBoudicca said...

I have an extensive collection of photos I have taken of ancient sculptures in museums and analysing them is something that amuses me a great deal and I thought I might as well share some of it with others.