Category: Other

Roman Fans & Parasols

No one really knows when fans first came into being but we do see them early and can only suspect that they came about even earlier. Some have even survived, a thin gold fan (chased – hammered metal) was found in the grave of Tutankhamen from 1350 BCE, a woven bamboo fan from the 2nd century BCE was found in China, and then there is the fan of Queen Theodolinda made of purple vellum from the 6th century CE. In Ancient Rome fans or flabellum served a few purposes: ceremonial to waft/ignite incense, to beat grain, fan cooking flames, and of course to keep cool… cooler.

Book Review: A Curious History of Sex

A Curious History of Sex written by Kate Listner is an amazingly well researched book with both humor and horror. Listner approaches the topic of sex as not just the act but the social and cultural influences around it. The book also delves into the historical evolution on the perspectives of not just sex but sexuality and pleasure. In fact, “The history of how cultures have interpreted, punished, and rewarded sex, sexuality and pleasure” may have been a more apt title, if not a bit long winded. As Listner rattles off different facts and theories you really realize how strong of a fear of sex, in all its facets, there is. The need to control this perfectly natural human/animal function. She brings across the plains of the need to be young and virile, to those that made it a point of taking away any pleasure a woman might have. the book goes in a direction that does not hide these horrors. At times the book brings the reader to a place of pity. Pity for those that have suffered because of the need to control people. It has always been plain to see that cis-women have suffered and have been regulated due to the fear that they can control cis-men by sex. That they are sirens and if they are not controlled they will have all the power and society will crumble. Here you also see how cis-men and LGBTQI+ have suffered. She also debunks some fairly well established myths.

Roman Jewelry Part IV: Necklaces

The primary style of necklace that has survived to this day, and one’s we see in images are the chain and bead style but there was also chains with some sort decoration and strung beads. The chain and bead style consisted of glass beads, gems, and/or pearls connected by wire loops. They could also have leaves, amulets, figures, or other shapes on them. String necklaces consist of glass beads, pearls, and gems or any combination therein. I theorize that linen was used as string and finds from Egypt find that linen was used to this effect. The difficult part is discerning the pattern as string doesn’t last the stress of time (Egypt is an exception). Luckily, there seems to be fairly regular patterns on the chain and bead necklaces of an every other type style. There are also images of what appears to be pearl necklaces. It’s plausible that the same type of bead was strung on a necklace as well. Lastly, there are chain necklaces. There are more details about chains in Part III but we will briefly go over them here as well.

Wreaths Upon Thy Head

In the SCA, we bestow upon those who have gained great skill or insight in the arts and sciences a laurel wreath. As we associate the laurel wreath with wisdom it makes a fitting symbol for a laurel… hopefully. A wreath worn on the head is also the stereotypical look of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as any Halloween store will show you. However,  the history of wreaths is far more complex and arcane than some might think. And the laurel wreath was only one of many kinds.

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