There was no war to resist him. Julius Caesar subdued Gaul, defeated Pompey in the Civil War, and even had time to conquer Cleopatra’s heart while taking charge of ancient Egypt. Come, see, Vinci He released the Roman Senate when explaining his swift and resounding victory in the Battle of Zela over the Eastern King Farnaces II.
That’s how he was, decisive, unquestionable and powerful, and not only on the battlefield. Also as a politician, speaker and even writer, as he showed in his works De bello Gallico and De bello civilians. But as he won battles, he was losing a very precious asset for him: hair. A problem that took him upside down.
Ovid points out the importance that the Roman world gave to this question in Art of Loving: “Ugly is the field without grass and the bush without leaves and the head without hair.” But it was not just a matter of aesthetics. The hair had great symbolic meaning, an aspect also present in most ancient civilizations. All you have to do is remember Samson’s story.
“In Rome hair was considered directly associated with masculinity, fertility and bravery, virtues that were represented by the lion, with its abundant hair,” explains Xavier Sierra in his study. Alopecia in ancient Rome. That is, hair loss was associated with a decrease in virility and power, something that Julius Caesar could not afford. And, also, a loss of sexual activity, another sacred aspect for the almighty consul and perpetual dictator from Rome.
His belligerent nature led him to fight against genetics. The Roman historian and biographer Suetonius tells in his main work, Vgone from the twelve Caesars, who “was not resigned to being bald, since more than once he had verified that this misfortune caused the derision of his detractors”.
The great Julius Caesar first chose to hide the entrances by combing his hair forward, a task to which he devoted his time to obtain the best result. But no matter how much he combed, he couldn’t hide the obvious. With this look he appears in many of the representations dedicated to him in his time, from coins to sculptures. Even Rubens portrayed him like that a long time later.
Julius Caesar did not give up. He could accept having his face sculpted with wrinkles, a sign of dignity and seriousness. But alopecia, for him, was another song, although the people openly recognized that his sexual vigor was not affected. The phrase is famous: “Romans, keep your wives: the bald adulterer arrives”, which used to be heard in his triumphal entries.
The invincible Julius Caesar, until the conspiracy that ended his life, finally found a solution. He asked the Senate to allow him to always wear the laurel wreath, symbol of victory, with the unspeakable aim of hiding his baldness. And who could deny it?
Source: Portada by www.lavanguardia.com.
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