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Posted by / 20-Aug-2017 22:11

Perhaps due to its erotic association, hair was often linked with Roman ideas of female modesty and honour.

We know that veils were important in this case, as they protected (or encouraged according to Seneca the Elder) against solicitations by men.

Lengthy grooming sessions for women were tolerated, despite writers such as Tertullian and Pliny commenting on their abhorrence for time and energy women dedicate to their hair.

For more than just attractiveness, hairstyling was the leisure pursuit of the cultured, elegant female.

Hairstyles were determined by a number of factors, namely gender, age, social status, wealth and profession.

A woman's hairstyle expressed her individuality in the Ancient Roman World.

But in instances where a wig was worn for the purpose of showing off, naturalism did not play much of a part.

In fact, obviously fake wigs were preferred, sometimes intertwined with two contrasting hair colours with blonde hair from Germany and black from India.

But unlike modern-day hairstyles, comfort and naturalism for the Romans took a back-seat to hairstyles that displayed the wearer's wealth to a maximum.Due to the nature of hair and the relatively wet climate in the upper reaches of the Empire, there are very few examples of wigs that survive to this day.We do know that women wore wigs whether they were bald or not.Incidentally, the association with barbarians was why Roman men kept their hair cut short.Apart from society, hair was used symbolically to mark rites of passage; for instance, loosened hair was common at a funeral, and the seni crines was the hairstyle worn by brides and Vestal Virgins; divided and plaited into six braids, and in the case of the bride, it was parted with a spear.

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In other words, having a complex and unnatural hairstyle would be preferred to a simple one, because it would illustrate the wealth of the wearer in being able to afford to take the time to style their hair.