READING FOR DETAILS
Answer the following questions:
1. What do you know about hairstyles in ancient times?
2. What kinds of things do you think people did to their hair in ancient times?
3. Do you think that hairstyles and colors were important for both men and women?
People have been concerned with their hair since ancient times. In 1500 B.C., the Assyrians, inhabiting the area known today as Northern Iraq, were the world’s first true hairstylists. Their skills at cutting, curling, layering, and dyeing hair were known throughout the Middle East. In fact, they were obsesses with their hair, which was oiled, perfumed, and tinted. A fashionable courtier wore his hair cut in neat geometric layers. Kings, soldiers, and noblewomen had their hair curled with a fire-heated iron bar, probably the world’s first curling iron. So important was hair styling, in Assyria that law dictated certain types of hairstyles according to a person’s position and employment. Facial hair was also important. Men grew beards down to their chests and had them clipped in layers. High-ranking women in both Egypt and Assyria wore fake beards during official court business to show their equal authority with men.
Like the Assyrians, the early Greeks liked long, scented, curly hair. Fair hair was favored over dark, so those who were not “natural blonds” lightened or reddened their hair with soaps and bleaches. The Romans, on the other hand, favored dark hair for men for high social or political rank. Early Saxon men were neither blond nor brunet. Instead they dyed their hair and beards blue, red, green, and orange.
Over the centuries, societies have combed, curled, waved, powdered, dyed, cut, coiffed, and sculpted their hair (or someone else’s during times of wig crazes). Churches and lawmakers have sometimes tried to put a stop to the human obsession with hair, with little success. It seems hairstyling is here to stay, and the future will likely prove no exception.