Topic for Discussion

Hair, part 2 | Female hair: descriptions

"But the mane of the other one, my kinswoman Hagesikhora, blossoms on her head like imperishable gold" How did the ancient Greeks view women's hair? In this second post of the series, we are looking at physical descriptions of women's hair: is it depicted as an object of attraction for others, and how do women themselves use it as a means of seduction? Read more

Hair, part 1 | Male hair: descriptions

"Beautiful were the locks of hair as they waved in the breeze surrounding him." How did the ancient Greeks view hair? There are many passages in which it is mentioned or described, and this series of blog posts will explore different aspects of how it is featured in some of the texts. In this first post, we are looking at physical descriptions of men's hair. Read more

Dogs for the ancient Greeks

Anger [mēnis], goddess, sing it, of Achilles, son of Peleus— disastrous [oulomenē] anger that made countless pains [algea] for the Achaeans, and many steadfast lives [psūkhai] it drove down to Hādēs, heroes’ lives, but their bodies it made prizes for dogs [kuōn, pl.] and for all birds, and the Will of Zeus was reaching its fulfillment [telos]. In this very familiar passage at the start of the Iliad we see… Read more

Ivory for the ancient Greeks

In the ancient world they made use of ivory. How did the ancient Greeks perceive it and use it? I assumed it would be for ornamental purposes, and would have been carefully carved, but what do the texts and artifacts actually tell us? Was ivory regarded as a special or precious material? What properties did the ancient Greeks associate with it? Read more