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Getting the Roman Look

Cheap & Easy: Eyeshadow

Here’s your Roman makeup hack of the day, which I will eventually do a class on.

ALL THAT BLING (SUN)

ALL THAT BLING: AN INTRODUCTION TO ROMAN JEWELRY 1 BCE to 2 CE

A Peak At The Fascinum

The fascinum (or phallus or Divine Penis) was a cult like object. It was used to ward off evil (the evil eye) and for protection, versus something sexual as one may think. It was celebrated, worshiped, and its likeness was used in celebrations. It has been found depicted on rings, pendants, wind chimes, and buildings (often thought to be brothels but more likely to protect the residents of the home). Carvings were also found in places of possible danger such as on street corners and bridges. They were also placed on the front of carriages and possibly worn by soldiers for presumably the same reason. Rings and pendants were worn by boys (sometimes even bestowed on them at birth) to protect their health and virility. Overall, the fascinum, when worn especially, was believed to be a powerful form of apotropaic magic. Given its prevalence it was obviously an important part of Roman society. It can be surmised that the reason it has been omitted from modern literature is due to its modern taboo nature. Luckily its importance and meaning can be found in cultural, religious, and archaeological finds. So, if you’re worried about the evil eye…

Sex Workers in Ancient Rome

To discuss sex workers in Ancient Rome is to part with our ideas and ideals of the modern view of sex work and sex. For in Ancient Rome, sex work was a vital part of both the economy and the social structure. It was an accepted, and considered necessary, part of society, and every gender could be found in the profession. With that being said, many sources cite women (likely cis women as we have little evidence of sex workers outside the cis male/female binary) were in the majority. Regardless of gender, sex workers — especially with Rome being a patriarchal society with a strong emphasis on the masculine — it was the “receiver” that was considered the weaker, lesser, and/or more effeminate of the participants. Cis women, within the strict gender roles, were naturally assumed as thus. 

SCA Jewelry

One of the many special things about the SCA is that we get to be nostalgic. Which is not something you always get to do with re-enactment. And what I mean by nostalgic is that we can display those symbols associated with awards that have been bestowed upon us in a not so always historical manner.

Roman Cosmetics & Getting the Look

Full disclosure, I am not an expert in regards to Ancient Roman cosmetics, or modern cosmetics for that matter. I thought it best to put that out on the table right away. However, it is something I am trying to master, which is usually when everything goes horribly wrong.

The Images of Pompeii

The images of Pompeii have given us an unprecedented glimpse into the past. When Mount Vesuvius erupted and devastated the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, time froze. And while there is always the possibility, and likelihood, of artistic license, these images provide us with a well preserved glimpse into how they inhabitants dressed, their habits, beliefs, social environment, and status.

Having A Sex Worker Persona

Everyone has their own approach to developing a sex worker/courtesan persona. What ever your journey is, remember, you represent a strong confederation of people who have worked hard to gain ground and respectability in the SCA. What you do as a sex worker/courtesan persona, or wearing the symbols of the Knowne World Courtesan, reflects on everyone. No pressure. I just highly recommend taking awhile to study the history of sex work, courtly etiquette, misogyny, sexism, and whorephobia before taking that leap. And then make your entrance on your own time, when you’re ready. I spent a year before I donned the red veil and hart pin (psst… that’s not a requirement).

Everything Your Hart Desires

A list of items with the Knowne World Courtesan hart (badge/symbol) on them, and some things just for fun.

Sourcing Roman Supplies

Here is a list that I’m continually adding to of items and supplies for the Roman persona.

Sources: Ancient Rome

Online Articles

History

Getting My Hart On

Doing courtesan shit with my courtesan friends, and other things.

Sources: Sex & Rome

Books

Berg, R., & Neudecker, R. (2018). THE ROMAN COURTESAN: ARCHEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS OF A LITERARY TOPOS (Vol. 46). Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae. https://www.irfrome.org

Sources: Ancient Roman Jewelry

Books

Calinescu, A., & Indiana University, Bloomington. Art Museum. (1996). Ancient jewelry and archaeology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 

Knowne World Courtesans

It’s probably not what you think… Well, if you think it’s about an independent group of living history re-enactors portraying, studying, and educating others about pre-17th century sex-workers, then you’d be right. The Knowne World Courtesans (KWC) is one of the many diverse groups in the Society of Creative Anachronisms. An inclusive group, consisting of all genders, who portray a sex-worker persona, and of course their supporters. The KWC also stands against whorephobia, slut-shamming, bigotry, racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and all other forms of prejudice. Members of the KWC do not have sex for money or trade under any circumstances.

Roman Age Mummy Portraits

These are excellent examples of Roman Age jewelry and how it was worn.

Reproducing Roman Jewelry

Here is a collection of Roman jewelry that I have tried to recreate. Unfortunately, most of the original pieces went through auction houses (as the shiny jewelry tends to) and they specified that their photos could not be displayed in any public form. Even though this is non-commercial and educational site, displaying the photos would violate copyright law. Some pictures, when clicked, will bring you to the original source.

ALL THAT BLING

AN INTRODUCTION TO ROMAN JEWELRY 1 BCE to 2 CE

Fashion Across the Ages

Sources for Pre-17th Century Patterns, Outfits, Resources, & Supplies

Norse Articles & Websites

Please keep in mind that archeological evidence is continually being cataloged, studied and interpreted. In which case, there is always the chance of conflicting results or changes in theories. It’s something to keep in mind for when ideas clash. There is also so little known that a lot of speculation has to happen. One of the neat things about being in the SCA or any historical reenactment group is that we get to go test drive a lot of these theories. That being said, here are some sources for you to begin with.

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