previous next


COSME´TAE (κοσμηταί), a class of slaves among the Romans, whose duty it was to dress and adorn ladies (Juv. Sat. 6.476). Some writers on antiquities, and among them Böttiger in his Sabina (1.22), have supposed that the cosmetae were female slaves, but the passage of Juvenal is alone sufficient to refute this opinion; for it was not customary for female salves to take off their tunics when a punishment was to be inflicted upon them. There was, indeed, a class of female slaves who were employed for the same purposes as the cosmetae; but they were called cosmetriae, a name which Naevius chose as the title for one of his comedies. This interpretation of the word is in accordance with its Greek usage, for Xenophon (Cyr. 8.8, 20) explains κοσμηταὶ as “those who anoint and paint” the Persian nobles, “and perform the rest of their toilet.” (See Heindorf, ad Hor. Sat. 1.2, 98.)

[L.S] [J.H.F]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: