Photo credit: James Grout

Are you a lady looking to stand out from the crowd, to set yourself above your competition? Then Roman women of the Flavian era (AD 69–96) have some advice for you: Pile your hair on your head in an imposing mass of rings. The satirist Juvenal describes how “numerous are the tiers and storeys piled one upon another on her head!” Aristocratic ladies of this time would have kept a specially trained slave, an ornatrix, for the task of teasing their quiffs ever higher. If a rich Roman woman lacked sufficient hair to produce the desired look, she could turn to wigs made from slave hair.[6]

Fashions in hairstyle could change quickly, so a bust carved from marble could certainly end up depicting a lady with a passe hairdo. To combat this, some busts were made with detachable stone wigs to allow more up-to-date styles to be attached at a later date.

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