Reading Lucian this morning*, I came across this:
"She said that Stratonice the wife of Seleucus had done something much more ridiculous....She set up a poetry contest with a prize of one talent. The theme was 'an encomium of Stratonice's hair'....
"Actually, she was bald and hadn't a hair of her own. Even so, though this wa the condition of her head and everyone knew that it had happened because of a long illness, she actually listened to the wrteched poets calling her hair 'hyacinthine,' braiding curly ringlets and using the wavy celery as an image for the non-existent locks."
—"In Defense of Images" (transl. Keith Sidwell), ca. A.D. 169
*Do you like how casually I introduced this information?
Ed Park is the author of the novel Personal Days (Random House, 2008) and a founding editor of The Believer. His work most recently appears in Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book (Da Capo). He blogs at The Dizzies.