Part of what drew me to studying Roman portraiture in college was my fascination with fashion. When growing up, if I wasn’t pouring over floorplans of Victorian houses, I was pouring over Victorian photographs and fashion plates.
So of course, when I found out that hairstyles were so important in portraits of women in ancient Rome, I was thrilled! Sabina, the wife of Hadrian, wore lovely waves similar to sculptures of Greek goddesses. Meanwhile, Septimius Severus’s wife, Julia Domna, is known for her helmet-like rolls of hair. The timeline of the Roman world unfolds before the fashion-conscious.
But what makes this topic even more fascinating is that, in true Roman-style, hairstyles are not just about beauty. Read on for a closer look at the political importance of Roman hairstyles (yes, you read that right), as well as a video how-to so you can give the hairdo a try yourself.