Would you be beautiful in the ancient world?

In ancient Greece the rules of beauty were all important. Things were good for men who were buff and glossy. And for women, fuller-figured redheads were in favour – but they had to contend with an ominous undercurrent, historian Bettany Hughes explains.

A full-lipped, cheek-chiselled man in Ancient Greece knew two things – that his beauty was a blessing (a gift of the gods no less) and that his perfect exterior hid an inner perfection. For the Greeks a beautiful body was considered direct evidence of a beautiful mind. They even had a word for it – kaloskagathos – which meant being gorgeous to look at, and hence being a good person.

Not very politically correct, I know, but the horrible truth is that pretty Greek boys would have swaggered around convinced they were triply blessed – beautiful, brainy and god-beloved. So what made them fit? For years, classical Greek sculpture was believed to be a perfectionist fantasy – an impossible ideal, but we now think a number of the exquisite statues from the 5th to the 3rd Centuries BC were in fact cast from life – a real person was covered with plaster, and the mould created was then used to make the sculpture.

Read more at BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30746985

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