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Personal care and hygiene

  Wardrobe and personal adornment were a clear reflection of the Romans’ social status.

  Body care wasn’t used just to get and pretend beauty or for hygienic reasons, but also for social connotations.

 

  Cosmetics were well known and used by Roman women: between the 1st and 5th Centuries the basis of what we nowadays have as beauty manners and make-up was created.

  The use of cosmetics in ancient Rome wasn’t exclusively for women. Men also used them to improve their appearance. Many of them did their make-up, brushed their hair, took baths and massages… The importance of the cult of the body was very remarkable, even sometimes becoming an obsession.

 

  Thermae or public baths were one of their favourite places: they did their complete hygiene there and their gymnastic activities. At the same time, they were meeting and socializing places.

  Through a daily scene of a family that is preparing to attend a social event, the Cohors I Gallica brings the viewer the world of cleanliness, personal aesthetics and masculine and feminine fashion of the upper classes of the end of the Empire. And therefore, the importance that the image had in Roman society.

 

  At dawn, Vesto the butler, wakes up to the dominus so he can make the morning offerings to the protective Gods of the homeplace. Then, as expert tonsor, prepares the tools for shaving (the special knife for shaving, lotions and ointments, tweezers ...), the materials for cleaning (towels, bleaches for oral hygiene ...) and clothing .

  At dawn, Vesto the butler, wakes up to the dominus so he can make the morning offerings to the protective Gods of the homeplace. Then, as expert tonsor, prepares the tools for shaving (the special knife for shaving, lotions and ointments, tweezers ...), the materials for cleaning (towels, bleaches for oral hygiene ...) and clothing .

  The domina is impatient and must be attended to correctly, since the banquet she will attend is of great importance and must stand out among the rest of the guests …

Fresco of the Tomb of Silistra (4th Century), Bulgaria

Vesto, the butler, shows the hair removal tools to the new slave

Ornatrix, in the presence of the new slave, brushing domina’s hair

Frieze of the Villa of the Mysteries (Pompeii)

"Quam paene admonui, ne trux caper iret in alas,
Neve forent duris aspera crura pilis!"


(How close I have been to warn you to take care of the smell of goat in the armpits and that your legs do not get rough on your hairs!)
                                                                                 OVID, The Art of Love - book III