) was the general
term to signify the paint which the Greek and Roman ladies employed in
painting their cheeks, eyebrows, and other parts of their faces. The
practice of painting the face was very general among the Greek ladies, and
probably came into fashion in consequence of their sedentary mode of life,
which robbed their complexions of their natural freshness, and induced them
to have recourse to artificial means for restoring the red and white of
nature. This at the least is the reason given by some of the ancient writers
themselves. (Xen. Oecon.
10.10; Phintys, ap.
74.61.) The practice, however, was
of great antiquity among the Greeks, and was probably first introduced among
the Asiatic Ionians from the East, where the custom has prevailed from the
earliest times. The resemblance between the Heb. pūch,
“paint,” and (φῦκος,
probably not accidental; the connexion is accepted by Gesenius, s.v. the
original meaning of both words being sea-weed, from which an alkaline dye
was prepared. Compare Keren-hap-puch = Cornu
Job 42.14; and Dict. of Bible,
In the Homeric poems both sexes use oil freely after washing [UNGUENTA], but there is no mention of paint or
other cosmetics; the phrase ἐπιχρίσασα
explained by ἐπιχρίεσθαι ἀλοιφῇ
179. The ladies at Athens, as might have been
expected, did not always paint their faces when at home, but only had
recourse to this adornment when they went abroad, or wished to appear
beautiful or captivating. Of this we have a striking example in the speech
of Lysias on the murder of Eratosthenes, in which it is related ( §
17) that the wife, on leaving her husband to visit her paramour, painted
herself, which the husband observed on the following morning, remarking,
ἔδοξε δέ μοι ἡ γυνὴ ἐψιμυθιῶσθαι.
(Comp. Aristoph. Lysistr. 149, Eccl.
1064; Plut. Alc. 39
order to produce a fair complexion, white lead (ψιμύθιον,
) was employed (Alexis, fr.
96, 17 M.; Xen. Oecon.
10.2; Aristoph. Eccl.
; Nicostr. ap. Stob.
74.62). In order to give a blooming
tinge to the cheeks, “rouge” was prepared from vegetable reds:
a plant named ἄγχουσα,
pure Att. ἔγχουσα
; Xen. l.c.
), now variously called
anchusa, alkanet, oxtongue or bugloss, the root of which yielded the dye;
a flower (apparently not
identified) resembling the rosy hue on the cheeks of young children (Alexis,
96, 18 M.; Alciphr. Ep.
3.11); the crushed fruit of the mulberry (συκάμινον,
97 M.; Philippid.
19 M.; Phot. Lex.
p. 547, 7); and φῦκος,
for paint in general, but properly a seaweed, moss or lichen (Aristoph. fr.
309 Dind.=316 M.; and possibly Theocr. 15.16,
but cf. FULLO
). Modern cosmetics
are not always free from noxious drugs; and besides ψιμύθιον
already mentioned, red lead (μιλτός,
§ 5) and mineral alkali (νίτρον,
Aristoph., Theocr. ll. cc.
) were employed. The usual word for applying
paint is ἐντρίβεσθαι,
“to rub in,” whence the dyes themselves are called ἐντρίμματα
). The eye-brows and eyelids were stained black with ,
a sulphuret of antimony, which is
still employed by the Turkish ladies for the same purpose. (Pollux, 5.101.)
The eye-brows were likewise stained with ἄσβολος,
a preparation of soot. Thus Alexis says (l.c.
16), τὰς ὄφρυς
πυῤῥᾶς ἔχει τις᾿ ζωγραφοῦσιν ἀσβόλῳ.
(Comp. Juv. 2.93
ff.) Ladies who used paint, were
occasionally betrayed by perspiration, tears, &c., of which a
humorous picture is given by the comic poet Eubulus (l.c.
), and by Xenophon (l.c.
§ 8; cf.
1.3, 119). It would appear from
§ 5) that even in his time
men sometimes used paint, and in later times it may have been still more
common: Demetrius Phalereus is expressly said to have done so. (Duris, ap.
Among the Romans the art of painting the complexion was carried to a still
greater extent than among the Greeks; and even Ovid did not disdain to write
a poem on the subject, which he calls (A. Am.
“parvus sed cura grande libellus opus;” though the
genuineness of the fragment of the Medicamina
ascribed to this poet, is doubtful. The Roman ladies even
went so far as to paint with blue the veins on the temple, as has been
inferred from Propertius (2.18
=3.9, 31=3.11, 9, L. Müller), “si
caeruleo quaedam sua tempora fuco tinxerit ;” though this is
susceptible of another explanation. The favourite rouge was from a kind of
moss (lichen rocella,
Linn.); another was purpurissum,
a mixed composition (Plaut. Most.
1.3, 104; True.
2.3, 35; Plin. Nat. 35.49
). For the more repulsive
substances used as cosmetics, see Orellius on Hor. Epod.
11; Clem. Al. Paed.
iii. p. 255 P., κροκοδείλων ἀποπάτοις χρώμεναι καὶ σηπεδόνων ἀφροῖς
The ridiculous use of patches (splenia),
which were common among the English ladies
in the reign of Queen Anne and the first Georges, was not unknown to the
Roman ladies. (Mart. 2.29
.) [p. 1.881]
The more effeminate of the male
sex at Rome also employed paint. Cicero speaks (in
11.25) of the cerussatae
of his enemy, the consul Piso; where, however, as buccae
are more likely to be rouged than whitened,
is a not improbable conjecture
On a Greek vase (Tischbein, Engravings,
2.58) we see the
figure of a female engaged in putting the paint upon her face with a small
Female painting the face. (From a vase.)
(Comp. Böttiger, Sabina,
1.24 ff.; 51
ff.; Becker-Göll, Charikles,
1.261 ff.; Gallus,
3.164 ff. ; Hermann-Blümner,
p. 200 ff.; Marquardt,