Search This Blog

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pale skin and light hair were described as signs of barbarism

Most ancient writers were from the Southern European civilisations, and generally took the view that people living in the north of their lands were barbarians. Pale skin and light hair were described as signs of barbarism by Polemon of Laodicea in his book Physiognomica.[5] Pseudo-Aristotle[6] noted differences between Greeks and the people of the north, believing that Greek superiority was visible in their medium skin tone, as opposed to pale northerners and dark southerners and Africans. Aristotle himself claimed that blue eyes had less liquid in them than darker eyes, and that they indicated poor eyesight, especially in daylight.[7]
Despite this, Aphrodite was often depicted with blonde hair, as were deities associated with the sun.[8] Likewise, the Roman historian Tacitus idealized the Germanic tribes (which he considered autochthonous to their land) for qualities such as superior warlike ardor and chastity, in contrast to the Romans of his day - though his portrait is not unmixed - as he also portrays them as incurably lazy and addicted to gambling.[9][10]
Many Romans believed that fair features were beautiful. Wealthy Romans paid for blond and red wigs made from the hair of captured Germanics or Celts.[11]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive