website statistics

Try this at home: Vestal Virgin Braids

Hairdresser and amateur archeologist Janet Stephens has recreated the 'seni crenis' hairstyle she believes was worn by Vestal Virgins and brides:

She first became interested in ancient hairdressing after what she calls an "accidental encounter" with an ancient portrait bust in Baltimore's Walters Art Museum. "I said, 'Oh, that is so cool, I gotta try this at home,'" Stephens told LiveScience. "And it failed miserably." The failure spawned seven years of research and a publication in the journal Roman Archaeology on the techniques of Roman Imperial Period hairdressing. The Vestal Virgin style, however, presented particular challenges because the Vestals' layered headdresses covered much of their hair. In sculptures and other artwork, the details of the Vestals' braids are often obscured.

Note: You need waist-length hair to pull this one off.

Another note: My favorite thing about Vestal Virgins was that the chastity requirement wasn't about purity or morality. Because they had such enormous responsibility and legal power, they couldn't be under the influence of a husband. So virginity = autonomy. Downside? Breaking your vows meant a death sentence. But that was rare, and after your 30-year service, which started when you were a girl, you retired rich.

h/t The Hairpin