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Celts - Dreadlocks?

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I know I haven't been around for a bit, but I have a question and I can't think of any group more likely to have the answer.

 

I recently, for personal reasons, decided to dreadlock my hair. While searching for information on this, I kept coming across the same undocumanted mention of the Romans describing the Celts as having "hair like snakes"

 

Does anyone know where this was said, or know of any documentable mention of Romans, Celts Greeks or Egyptians having dreadlocked hair?

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I know I haven't been around for a bit, but I have a question and I can't think of any group more likely to have the answer.

 

I recently, for personal reasons, decided to dreadlock my hair. While searching for information on this, I kept coming across the same undocumanted mention of the Romans describing the Celts as having "hair like snakes"

 

Does anyone know where this was said, or know of any documentable mention of Romans, Celts Greeks or Egyptians having dreadlocked hair?

 

While most "dreadlock" sites seem to attribute the quote to Caesar, after a bit of digging, it would seem that the "hair like snakes" quote is not attributable to any ancient source. Caesar doesn't seem to have said it anyway.

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I know I haven't been around for a bit, but I have a question and I can't think of any group more likely to have the answer.

 

I recently, for personal reasons, decided to dreadlock my hair. While searching for information on this, I kept coming across the same undocumanted mention of the Romans describing the Celts as having "hair like snakes"

 

Does anyone know where this was said, or know of any documentable mention of Romans, Celts Greeks or Egyptians having dreadlocked hair?

 

While most "dreadlock" sites seem to attribute the quote to Caesar, after a bit of digging, it would seem that the "hair like snakes" quote is not attributable to any ancient source. Caesar doesn't seem to have said it anyway.

 

 

I wonder if it is one of those quotes that became history because someone said it in a movie.

 

 

In any case, I would like to hear of any ancient references to dreadlocked hair that are from good sources.

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Salve, V! THIS LINK gives some historical data about dreadlocks, including what I consider a valid point; Caesar probably never said the "hair like snakes" quote, as it is commonly claimed. I hope you find this stuff useful.

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I do feel like I've seen that somewhere... But for some reason I want to say it was attributed to tribe near the Black Sea?

 

However, in regards to the Gauls specifically, I checked Strabo which would have been a likely source and this is all he says (4.4.3): "The Gauls wear the sagum, let their hair grow, and wear short breeches."

 

I will concede that it may show up somewhere else anecdotally in a discussion regarding another country but in his book on Gaul it does not.

 

When I get a chance I'll see what Pliny says.

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I do feel like I've seen that somewhere... But for some reason I want to say it was attributed to tribe near the Black Sea?

 

However, in regards to the Gauls specifically, I checked Strabo which would have been a likely source and this is all he says (4.4.3): "The Gauls wear the sagum, let their hair grow, and wear short breeches."

 

I will concede that it may show up somewhere else anecdotally in a discussion regarding another country but in his book on Gaul it does not.

 

When I get a chance I'll see what Pliny says.

 

 

I'd appreciate that.

 

Have you ever read about anyone in Rome wearing their hair this way?

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I've never heard the "hair like snakes" quote before and can't say anything about it, but ...

 

Some Celtic groups used chalk to make their locks stand up stiffly like spines, to present an alarming appearance during battle. I would suspect the practice was most common among the fanatical elements (the ones who fought naked and seem to have been in some sort of frenzy or ecstacy during battle, like the gaesatae).

 

There are several depictions of the practice. It does not resemble dreadlocks. It is depicted well in the statue of The Dying Gaul, although I believe his hair is supposed to be shorn because he is vanquished:

 

Pergamon1.jpg

 

Here it is on a pre-Roman Iceni coin from Britain, presumably unshorn:

 

000336.jpg

 

The style featured on the coin appears to have been recorded by Diodorus Siculus, who wrote:

 

The Gauls are very tall with white skin and blond hair, not only blond by nature but more so by the artificial means they use to lighten their hair. For they continually wash their hair in a lime solution, combing it back from the forehead to the back of the neck. This process makes them resemble Satrys and Pans since this treatment makes the hair thick like a horse's mane.

 

This sounds every bit like what is depicted on the Iceni coin. I've heard it said somewhere that they used chalk (and Siculus says lime), but several of the bog bodies feature something different, a mixture of oils and resins that would have stiffened the hair in the same manner. But the style does not appear to resemble dreadlocks - it seems to stand on end for one thing - it is something altogether different. Nor does it look quite like spiked hair.

Edited by edgewaters

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I've never heard the "hair like snakes" quote before and can't say anything about it, but ...

 

Some Celtic groups used chalk to make their locks stand up stiffly like spines, to present an alarming appearance during battle. I would suspect the practice was most common among the fanatical elements (the ones who fought naked and seem to have been in some sort of frenzy or ecstacy during battle, like the gaesatae).

 

There are several depictions of the practice. It does not resemble dreadlocks. It is depicted well in the statue of The Dying Gaul, although I believe his hair is supposed to be shorn because he is vanquished:

 

The Gauls are very tall with white skin and blond hair, not only blond by nature but more so by the artificial means they use to lighten their hair. For they continually wash their hair in a lime solution, combing it back from the forehead to the back of the neck. This process makes them resemble Satrys and Pans since this treatment makes the hair thick like a horse's mane.

 

This sounds every bit like what is depicted on the Iceni coin. I've heard it said somewhere that they used chalk (and Siculus says lime), but several of the bog bodies feature something different, a mixture of oils and resins that would have stiffened the hair in the same manner. But the style does not appear to resemble dreadlocks - it seems to stand on end for one thing - it is something altogether different. Nor does it look quite like spiked hair.

 

 

How very interesting! Thank you for gathering all of that for me!

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This sounds every bit like what is depicted on the Iceni coin. I've heard it said somewhere that they used chalk (and Siculus says lime), but several of the bog bodies feature something different, a mixture of oils and resins that would have stiffened the hair in the same manner. But the style does not appear to resemble dreadlocks - it seems to stand on end for one thing - it is something altogether different. Nor does it look quite like spiked hair.

Thanks for reminding me of that Edgewaters, the Clonycavan man (and his mohawk) brings up an interesting point in regards to Ireland not being as isolated in the 4th ~ 3rd Centuries BC as people once assumed.

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Thanks for reminding me of that Edgewaters, the Clonycavan man (and his mohawk) brings up an interesting point in regards to Ireland not being as isolated in the 4th ~ 3rd Centuries BC as people once assumed.

Salve, P! Thank you for that nice link.

It appears that using hair tricks to appear taller is a perpetual fashion.

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Sometimes the Celt-Iberians put their hair into plaids, although this is the only example I can think of, and it's hardly dreadlocks at any rate. Braided hair of this sort would have been popular throughout the Iberian peninsual and its neighbouring islands - we can see the style used by the Balearics and the Lusitanians. So it might not even be a Celtic style at all.

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Do bear in mind the combat -ready look for Celts..woad on the body (as a sort of portable wound salve and first layer anti-bacterial barrier) and malachite paste on the hair to give a bleached- blonde "stiffened " dreadlock finish (to emphasise height and threataning colouration) .Insofar as this combination is Celt-Iberian (and woad (a fearsomely healthy "weed") and malachite are readily available) then a wide geographical usage does not seem so strange.

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