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Old 11-16-2012, 06:30 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is online now
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Gladiator (movie): what's up with Cassius and his wig?

In the 2000 movie Gladiator, Cassius (played by David Hemming) dons a wig whenever he is announcing at the Colosseum. Is this a historically accurate thing, or did Ridley Scott just feel like the movie needed a transvestite?
Old 11-16-2012, 08:25 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Originally Posted by wikipedia - Roman hairstyles
WigsDue to the nature of hair and the relatively wet climate in the upper reaches of the Empire, there are very few examples of wigs that survive to this day. We do know that women wore wigs whether they were bald or not. So too did men, Emperor Otho wore a wig, as did Domitian.[11] Wigs allowed women to better achieve the kind of 'tall' styles that particularly punctuated the Flavian and Trajanic eras (e.g. the periods of 69-96 and 98-117 CE). In fact, so tall were these hairstyles, that ancient writer Juvenal likens them to multi-storey buildings.

So important is the business of beautification; so numerous are the tiers and storeys piled one upon another on her head!
—Juvenal, Satires[12]
Wigs were made from human hair; blonde hair from Germany and black from India were particularly prized, especially if the hair came from the head of a person from a conquered civilisation.[13] In the cases where wigs were used to hide baldness, a natural look was preferred supposedly using a wig with a hair colour similar to the user's original. But in instances where a wig was worn for the purpose of showing off, naturalism did not play much of a part. In fact, obviously fake wigs were preferred, sometimes intertwined with two contrasting hair colours.[14]

A main advantage of wigs for the Romans is that they could be directly pinned onto the head of the wearer, meaning that a style could be achieved a lot faster than if it had been done with the sitter's own hair. Further it would lessen the inconvenience of having to grow one's own hair too long. It has been suggested that the necessary length to be able to create these hairstyles daily would be well below the shoulder, perhaps to the waist.[15]

There were two types of wig in Roman times, the full wig, called the capillamentum, and the half wig, called the galerus.[16] The galerus could be in the form of a fillet of woolen hair used as padding to build an elaborate style, or as a toupee on the back or front of the head. Toupees were attached by pins, or by sewing the toupee onto a piece of leather and attaching it as a wig. Further, glue could be used to affix it to the scalp or alternatively, as a bust from the British Museum illustrates, the toupee could be braided into the existing hair.
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