Friday’s history event at Bristol University was a lot of fun and I’ll be blogging later for them about the trans history that I learned that day. For now I want to catch up on the dinner conversation. I was sat opposite Cath Fletcher from Swansea University. She has written a book all about Alessandro de’ Medici which should nicely explode the brains of all those idiots who think that there were no people of color in Europe before colonization started.
We also talked a lot about issues of translation. Something she mentioned to me was that Roman descriptions of how to style women’s hair kept mentioning a piece of equipment that would normally be translated as a “needle”. No one understood this, so they got some hairdressers to try to recreate Roman women’s styles. They quickly discovered that the only way you could keep those elaborate updos in place was to literally sew the style together with thread. Here’s hairstyle archaeologist, Janet Stephens, explaining how one such style was created.