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?

Originally Published: June 4th, 2008

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.

  1. June 4, 2008
     Aaron Fagan

    The more things change, the more they stay the same–and nothing has changed because nothing has changed.