Flavian Roman Hair

recreated Flavian hairdo

My friend and fellow Endeweardian Lord Sprvivs Flavius asked me to be his consort in the fall Crown Tourney of AS45.  I agreed, but I’m not Roman, and didn’t know much about how to be Roman, especially in northern Vermont in late October.  (brrr!)

I managed Roman garb with a wool-blend underdress and a wool piece used as a peplos-like item, but decided that what I really wanted was ROMAN HAIR.  Like THIS:


Portrait Bust of a Flavian Woman
Portrait Bust of a Flavian Woman
Flavian woman, bust
Flavian bust from side.

So I practiced.  First attempt was hair, fake hair (well, the Romans used *real* fake hair) attached to a diadem-like thing.  Total disaster. There is just no way to make that look good.  My second attempt at attaching made me go for the glue gun in desperation.  That’s not good either.  The thing was weird, heavy, unwieldy and ugly as sin.

So, enter attempt two.  Back to the eighties!  The 1980s.  I pulled my hair up in a high ponytail and poofed it the way I did back in Jr. High. Lo!  It kind of worked!  Alessandra came over to supervise and entertain, and we came up with this:

recreated Flavian hairdo
The Flavian re-do, live, and on my head.

The morning of Crown, I got up, pulled the front part of my hair on top of my head and pinned it there.  Using a curling iron on damp hair (the Romans had curling irons! Seriously!) I put the top part into ringlets with very light spray, and then put a hair-ribbon in my hair, and braided and clipped the rest up. I added a large false braid in the back to be like the large bun I’d seen in the statuary.  We pinned in a veil because it looked more right, and more like the portraits of Roman women which were painted and not sculpted, and it worked remarkably well!

women standing near a lake
Flavian hair, blurry, but big!
SCA roman couple
Aneleda, her hairdo, and Sprivis process at the EK Crown Tourney.


Now, did I have a single photo of this hair? No. Of course not. Not a close shot, and the day was windy, so it looks wild in every photo.  But I did wear it and looked a reasonably decent Roman lady.  And I was toasty warm!  So it was a very Good Hair Day!

Italian Renn Hair

Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1488.  I wanted Italian hair to go with my dress, this was the basic inspiration, though I’m still mystified a little at the crimping and style… I used pearl beads in mine, because I felt that way, and my curls were larger and less organized. However, I think the idea was there.

Photo of Aneleda Falconbridge by Anne Wilder, 2009.
Photo of Aneleda Falconbridge by Barbara Turner, 2009