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Greek Social Life

athenian, wore, hair, beard, time, foot and professional

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GREEK SOCIAL LIFE. The Athenian did not turn night into day, but rose at dawn and went early to bed. He made his calls im mediately after he took his first meal, which was literally a Threakfast,D and nothing more, consisting of a few mouthfuls of bread dipped in wine. At noonday he took a substantial, but not an elaborate meal, for the Athenian was not a glutton. His dress was simple, although all did not dress exactly in the same style or color. There was little change of fashion either for men or women through all Greek history. The male attire consisted of two articles— tunic and mantle. These were oblong, of woolen material (generally), draped around the body. One or both were worn according to taste, occupation, or the weather. Some wore white, others purple, red, green or black. Yellow was reserved for the women. Often these tunics and mantles were adorned with colored borders, embroidery or stripes. Hats were practically unknown, for they were un necessary, except when a journey was to be undertaken, when a cap or a hat with a brim was worn. The head was well protected by a fine covering of hair, and, we may rest assured, there were fewer baldheads than in modern times. In the house the men went barefoot, or wore slippers; outside each could do as he liked. Socrates regularly went barefoot, even in winter. The simplest foot covering was the sandal, which was nothing more than a leather sole held to the foot by a strap, which passed between the big toe and the next and was fastened. to other straps running along the foot and down the heel. But the hunter and the traveler wore boots.

When the Athenian went out in the morn ing, he usually carried a cane, and wore at least one seal ring, which was for both use and ornament. If he could afford it, he was accompanied by two slaves, to carry his belong ings or to run errands. If he was poor, he had to be content with one slave. When he met an acquaintance, he did not bow and shake hands, for to do the former was considered beneath his dignity as a citizen of a free repub lic, while the latter was reserved for making solemn pledges, or as a demonstrative welcome after a long separation. The usual greeting

was gHail P) or ((Glad to see you,)) or *I hope you are The first place visited was usually the agora, or market. Here the Athenian ladies who could afford to stay at home never appeared. The buying was done by the husband or by slaves. Poor women, however, stood behind the stalls dealing chiefly in bread, figs, vege tables and flowers. The Athenians did not eat much meat, but they had a preference for fish, and the fishmarket was generally crowded when a fresh catch came in. The marketing time was from 9 till 12. During business hours every sociable Athenian spent some of his time in the agora. Often the business that called them there was to employ a professional caterer for a dinner they proposed to give. After this duty was performed each citizen might visit his banker; and between 10 and 11 -he would be ready for a turn in the colonnades, or a visit to the barber shop, or the perfumer's shop, or he might even repair to the shoe maker's, where he knew he would be sure to meet some friends with whom he could discuss the latest news, political questions, or even purely abstract questions, Tor, as Saint Paul said, the Athenian spent his time in trying to find out some new thing.

The barber trimmed his hair or beard, let him look at himself in a bronze mirror, and then gave him a manicure — for the Athenians were extremely fastidious about the appearance of their hands, as well as the hair and beard. The hair was never cut short, nor allowed to grow long. A closely cropped head was a sure sign of a slave, or a professional athlete or mayhap a Stoic or Cynic, who tried to flout fashion and public opinion. Sometimes the professional philosopher would wear a long and untrimmed beard for the same reason. Shaving was unusual down to the Macedonian conquest, but no Greek ever wore simply a moustache without a beard. This was a mark of barbarism. The razor used was in shape somewhat like the moon just before it is half full.

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