Morbid Monday: Deadly Beauty
Due to technical difficulties, yesterday’s #morbidmonday recap is reaching you today… Yes, we realize today is Tuesday.
Ovid wrote about the dangers of beauty, and the longing for same in the third book of his famous Metamorphosis. It tells the story of a formerly chatty nymph named Echo who fell in love with the beautiful and vain Narcissus. Condemned by Juno to only be able to repeat back words spoken to her, she followedNarcissus quietly though the woods as he hunted.
Finally he heard her steps and called out to find out who was following him, but all she could do was repeat his words back. Finally she threw herself into his arms, but the self-obsessed Narcissus pushed her away and left her.
Thus rejected she lies hid in the deep woods, hiding her blushing face with the green leaves; and ever after lives concealed in lonely caverns in the hills. But her great love increases with neglect; her miserable body wastes away, wakeful with sorrows; leanness shrivels up her skin, and all her lovely features melt, as if dissolved upon the wafting winds—nothing remains except her bones and voice—her voice continues, in the wilderness; her bones have turned to stone. She lies concealed in the wild woods, nor is she ever seen on lonely mountain range; for, though we hear her calling in the hills, ‘tis but a voice, a voice that lives, that lives among the hills. [source]
Of course, that story doesn’t end too well for Narcissus, either.
Starting with the ill-fated not-quite lovers, today’s #morbidmonday was an exploration into beauty, vanity. and deadly consequences thereof. Turns out, beauty and poison seem to go hand in hand, and there was a lot to be feared in old-school beauty regimens.
Selections from yesterday’s #morbidmonday:
- Those dramatic dark eyes the Egyptians loved were accented with Kohl, made from galena (lead sulfide)
- Hans Christian Andersen had his own special flavor of creepy: The Red Shoes
- Atropa belladona (aka. deadly nightshade) was used both a poison & dilate the pupils of the eye for beauty
- Arsenic-laced holy water or lady’s cosmetic: the most feared (& likely fictional) of the Italian poisons
- Venetian Ceruse (white lead mixed with vinegar) was a popular & deadly 16th century skin whitener
- Soliman’s Water was a popular & effective Elizabethan freckle remover. Also removed skin and loosened teeth
- Countess Elizabeth Bathory was reputedly so vain, she sought eternal youth found in the blood of virgins
Join us every Monday on Twitter for a new #morbidmonday.
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