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The head that the old Greek goddess the love, Aphrodite. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ public Domain

Beauty was extremely vital in ancient Greece, both for men and women. However who, exactly, was thought about beautiful in ancient Greece? Were their beauty standards much various from our own?

The plenty of works that art illustrating the human form, and philosophical treatises ~ above the nature of beauty from classical times attest come the reality that beauty was undoubtedly much prized in old Greece.

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In fact, ancient Greeks thought that physics beauty had a direct correlation with interior beauty, definition that good-looking civilization were additionally morally good, if those considered “ugly” were lacking character.

Ancient Greeks who were beautiful, specifically men, were often defined as “kaloskagathos,” one adjective that combines “kalos,” meaning beautiful or handsome, and “agathos,” which mean virtuous or good.

This ide is complicated when it concerns female beauty, however.

Women who were stunningly beautiful, and even females generally, were frequently either “bad” numbers or, in ~ best, morally ambiguous persons in Greek mythology and literature.


The most beautiful woman in the world, Helen the Troy, is the perfect example of this phenomenon.

While scholars may argue the extent to i beg your pardon Helen to be a willing participant in leaving she husband Menelaus for Paris, an action which caused the Trojan War, there is tiny doubt that she was no a beloved figure in ancient literature.

It seems that beautiful females were doomed native the start. Hesiod, an ancient Greek poet that was a contemporary of Homer, described the an initial woman as “kalon kakon,” or the beautiful, angry thing, in his occupational “Theogony,” which defines the origins of the Greek gods.

The nature the beauty was a subject of great debate in ancient Greece. Philosophers, mathematicians, and artists in antiquity explored the object endlessly.

Unibrows and also the pursuit for the opposite in old Greece


Famously, the excellent mathematician Pythagoras arisen the gold Ratio, a geometrical formula that linked balance and symmetry come beauty — and not just among humans, yet in everything. According to this ratio, symmetrical encounters are the many beautiful.

This devotion come symmetry even extended come eyebrows. In old Greece, those through eyebrows that joined in the middle — in a so-called “unibrow” — were considered much more symmetrical, and also therefore more beautiful.

Those that did not already have a unibrow were well-known to usage kohl, or black shadow-like eyeliner, to to fill in the an are between your eyebrows. Females in ancient Greece would additionally use this come line your eyes and also darken your eyelashes.

While countless beauty requirements from the past are not appealing come our contemporary sensibilities, there are some that undoubtedly are.

According to Pythagoras’ golden Ratio, the supermodel Bella Hadid is the many beautiful woman on planet — also without a unibrow.

Pythagoras may have had actually a point. Neurological and psychological trial and error has presented that people do tend to prefer encounters that are symmetrical, yet not unnaturally so.

Male beauty requirements in ancient Greece

Much like today, beauty beauty pageants, or “kallisteia,” were renowned in ancient Greece. In antiquity, however, numerous were reserved for men.

However, ~ above the islands of Lesvos and Tenedos, there are records of beauty beauty pageants in which ladies participated.

They to be so necessary that they to be often connected to the Olympic Games, either taking place around the very same time or in ~ the same venue.

Male beauty was concentrated on the body. Athletic physiques, through rounded, firm muscles and small fat, were taken into consideration most attractive.

Men v reddish-blonde hair, complete lips, and also glistening tans were thought about to be the most beautiful in ancient Greece.

Big butts were sought ~ in ancient Greece

In old Greece, a corpulent behind, on both men and women, to be prized.

The famous Aphrodite Kallipygos, literally translating come “Aphrodite of the beautiful buttocks,” mirrors the goddess (although some argue it might be a mortal woman) showing off her rounded behind.

While some might say this mirrors our present Kardashian-inspired fixation with prodigious rumps, perfect female bodies in old Greece frequently came with more fat generally.

While this day women emphasis mainly top top the buttocks and chest, and hope that there is very tiny to be uncovered anywhere else, old Greeks wanted curvaceous women with bellies and a nipped waist.

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The Venus de Milo native the side. Credit: publicly Domain

This is exemplified by the many depictions of Aphrodite, goddess the love, through a distinct pouch of fat on her reduced stomach and also larger hips that were not completely rounded.

Until an extremely recently, having actually extra fat was taken into consideration extremely attractive on a woman, together it served as one indication of she class.

Women who were thin were most likely slaves or job who involved in physical job all day and could no afford to eat sufficiently.

Fair skin was the beauty conventional in old Greece

Similarly, pale skin to be sought ~ in ancient Greece, a beauty typical that might seem unattainable, and much different than our current fixation with glowing, tanned skin.

In a country known for its intense heat and many sunny days, one can easily assume that continuing to be pale was an overwhelming for old Greek women, especially considering the those with Mediterranean complexions tan very easily.

However, women, conserve for slaves and those of the lower classes, were largely restricted to the home, specifically in Athens. Numerous of them can only leaving the house on the event of distinct festivals or other vital events.

Slaves and also lower class women could leave the residence much more freely, therefore they were often tan.

Otherwise, females to be stuck in ~ home, meaning that they came in little contact through the sun. Naturally, this resulted in pale skin, but it likewise caused a sallow, unhealthy appearance together well.

There are countless ancient texts advising females to don powdery white makeup, i beg your pardon was largely lead-based, on your skin to keep a pale complexion when covering any blemishes.

In the old world, as a matter of fact, lead was among the most widely-used substances in makeup. Well-known today to cause severe developmental delays, infertility and dementia, the was provided in a paste form, lot like today’s foundation, come whiten the complexion and make a mrs look much more youthful.

They regularly used blush and lipstick make of natural sources choose beets and berries to add a do the washing up of shade to their faces.

Golden-red hair taken into consideration the most beautiful

Frequently, the most sought-after traits are those the are least common. In ancient Greece, blue eyes and also reddish-blonde hair were taken into consideration extremely beautiful.

Considering that contemporary Greeks share a an excellent genetic similarity to the Greeks that antiquity, the is for sure to assume the the ancients resembled modern inhabitants that the country, where blue eyes and also light hair are still uncommon.

Even heroes were given this distinction, relating come the idea the physical beauty related to inner kindness in ancient Greece. The Mycenean king Menelaus, one integral figure in the Trojan War, was described as “red-haired” in the Odyssey.

His wife, Helen that Troy, taken into consideration the many beautiful mrs in the world, was fair, v long, golden-red hair and also blue eyes, follow to the old Greek poets.

Some scholars have actually posited that the descriptor the blondish-red or reddish-blonde hair might not refer to the strawberry blonde hue that we think that today.

Rather, it might refer to a light-brown shade that glimmers golden red in the Mediterranean sunlight.

Women wore lengthy wigs, conditioned their hair and also skin with olive oil

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Caryatid’s braid. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

In terms of hair styles, Greek females of the top classes wore your hair long, frequently braided and also coiffed right into intricate styles. If they did not have actually long, special hair, females in antiquity often wore wigs.

Slave women and women the the reduced classes to be not permitted to have long hair, and often had their hair cut very short.

Ancient Greek women used olive oil to condition their hair and also skin, however of food this to be only used by females who can afford it.

While blue eye were an especially rare and prized in old Greece, therefore were big brown eyes v long, dark eyelashes.

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In Homer’s Iliad, Hera is defined as “cow-eyed,” one epithet that might seem insulting today, however was highly free in antiquity. It referred to those large, ring brown eyes through rows of thick eyelashes that are more common 보다 a blue eye, yet were simply as striking, in ancient Greece.