Saturday, December 27, 2014

Rhesus, Seafaring, Red Hair and Phoenicians

A myriad of things today. Firstly, I'll start with a few things I read on the Wikipedia page about the Thracians. It states that several Thracian tombstones have the name Rufus inscribed on them, meaning redhead. And also that;
Rhesus of Thrace, a mythological Thracian King, derived his name because of his red hair and is depicted on Greek pottery as having red hair and beard.
It's mildly odd that a king named Rhesus would be described as having red hair, as red hair is often associated with the rhesus negative blood type on various sites and forums. In fact, red hair and rhesus negative blood are often weaved into the tapestry of the reptilian/grail bloodline stories of modern conspiracy lore.

In other news I also came across the word/name Leroux. According to Wiki this is;
[A] surname of French origin meaning "red-haired" or "red-skinned" and may also come in certain cases (with the spelling Le Roux) from Breton Ar Roue meaning "the King".
The fact that it possibly means both red-haired and kingly is particularly revealing.

On the topic of names I recently received an interesting email from someone with the surname Flanagan. He pointed out to me that Flan, in Gaelic, means red. He also speculated that the agan part of the name could possibly relate to seafaring - giving the general sense of the name as 'red-haired seafarer'. Like myself he was interested in the notion that the seafaring Phoenicians were red-haired.

I've also been thinking about the name Robert and its possible relation to the words ruby and ruddy.

On a different note I've also came across another red-haired figure from history. The description comes from a book titled Postcolonial Moves by Patricia Clare Ingham and Michelle R. Warren.
The great caliph 'Abd al-Rahman III, for example, had red hair, light skin, and blue eyes, and is reported to have dyed his hair black "to make himself look more like an Arab."
Al-Rahman III was a caliph who ruled in Muslim Spain during the 10th Century.

My final little bit of redhead info comes from The Phoenician Origins of Britons, Scots and Anglo-Saxons by L. A. Waddell. I read this book a few years back and at the time it really fascinated me. I recently re-found this passage relating to red hair when I was refreshing my thoughts on the Phoenicians. In it he quotes the findings of a Professor Parsons;
The upper and middle classes are fairer than the lower. Regarding Red Hair, which so frequently accompanies a fair and freckled skin and blue or light eyes, he finds it "is more common in the upper [including middle] than in the lower classes."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Diodorus Siculus - The Sacrifice of Redheads

Finally found something genuinely cool about red hair in these ancient works. This one comes from the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus and concerns the customs of the ancient Egyptians. I found it in a book titled The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian. It was published in London in 1814.
[I]t is lawful to sacrifice red oxen, because Typhon seemed to be of that colour, who treacherously murdered Osiris, and was himself put to death by Isis, for the murder of her husband. They report likewise, that antiently men that had red hair, like Typhon, were sacrificed by the kings at the sepulchre of Osiris. And indeed, there are very few Egyptians that are red, but many that are strangers: and hence arose the fable of Busiris's cruelty towards strangers amongst the Greeks, not that there ever was any king called Busiris; but Osiris's sepulchre was so called in the Egyptian language.
I guess this is where the information in James Frazer's The Golden Bough comes from.

More Ancient Quotes About Red Hair

Firstly, this one from the Roman writer Seneca;
Among his own people, there is nothing distinctive about the colouring of an Ethiopian; nor is red hair tied in a knot unbecoming to a German male. Nothing in an individual is noteworthy or ugly if it is common to his entire nation.
Next up this quote from the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus concerning the Gauls;
For stature they are tall, but of a sweaty and pale complexion, red-haired, not only naturally, but they endeavour all they can to make it redder by art. They often wash their hair in a water boiled with lime, and turn it backward from the forehead to the crown of the head, and thence to their very necks, that their faces may be more fully seen, so that they look like satyrs and hobgoblins.
I like the mention of Hobgoblins. Incidentally, I also came across another translation of this text that renders the red hair blond and the Hobgoblins as Pans :(

And finally this piece of text from the Roman historian Suetonius. It's from his work on the emperor Caligula and concerns his ceremonial parades of captives and criminals.
He now concentrated his attention on the imminent triumph. To supplement the few prisoners taken in frontier skirmishes and the deserters who had come over from the barbarians, he picked the tallest Gauls of the province —'those worthy of a triumph' — and some of their chiefs as well, for his supposed train of captives. These had not only to grow their hair and dye it red, but also to learn German and adopt German names.
Out of interest I also recently found out that the Roman emperor Vitellius was a redhead. The source given for this on the web page I found it on was Malalas, X, 259; cf. Sieglin (1935) 110, which I'll have to check out. The web page concerned the pigmentation of the early Roman emperors

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Red Hair of Grettir the Strong

The following comes from an Icelandic Saga titled The Story of Grettir the Strong. It concerns the story of Grettir Ásmundarson, an Icelandic outlaw.
Grettir Asmundson was fair to look on, broad-faced, short-faced, red-haired, and much freckled; not of quick growth in his childhood.
Another rouge one to add to the collection.

The Self-Tormenter

The following piece of dialogue comes from a play by the Roman dramatist Publius Terentius Afer titled Heautontimorumenos (The Self-Tormenter).
SOSTRATA: My son, upon my honor I'll give you that charming girl, whom you may soon become attached to, the daughter of our neighbor Phanocrata.
CLITIPHO: What! that red-haired girl, with cat's eyes, freckled face, and hooked nose? I can not, father.
I guess this can be taken as more evidence that red hair was viewed as a vice rather than a virtue back then as well.

Ahenobarbus - Bronze Beard

The following comes from the pen of the Roman historian Suetonius;
The AEnobarbi derive both their extraction and their cognomen from one Lucius Domitius, of whom we have this tradition: -- As he was returning out of the country to Rome, he was met by two young men of a most august appearance, who desired him to announce to the senate and people a victory, of which no certain intelligence had yet reached the city. To prove that they were more than mortals, they stroked his cheeks, and thus changed his hair, which was black, to a bright colour, resembling that of brass; which mark of distinction descended to his posterity, for they had generally red beards. 
The Ahenobarbus were a family line in ancient Rome noted for their red beards. The name translates as "bronze beard".

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Red Haired Urine and Making Swords

The other day I heard a peculiar bit of information about red hair on a BBC 4 programme titled Castles: Britain's Fortified History. It came in a section about making swords. The interviewed blacksmith stated that it was written that "the urine of a ginger virgin boy" was used in the tempering process.

I've previously noted another variation on this story about the urine of red-haired boys being used in the making of stained glass windows. I think it maybe intertwines with the alchemical process of turning one metal to another - hair colour, blondes and reds, symbolising various metals, most notably gold.

Red Hair and the Writer Tacitus

I've recently found a bevy of quotes about red hair from the Roman historian and senator Cornelius Tacitus. They come from three separate works.

Firstly, from The Life of Agricola, this description of the ancient Britons;
Who were the original inhabitants of Britain, whether they were indigenous or foreign, is, as usual among barbarians, little known. Their physical characteristics are various and from these conclusions may be drawn. The red hair and large limbs of the inhabitants of Caledonia point clearly to a German origin. The dark complexion of the Silures, their usually curly hair, and the fact that Spain is the opposite shore to them, are an evidence that Iberians of a former date crossed over and occupied these parts. Those who are nearest to the Gauls are also like them, either from the permanent influence of original descent, or, because in countries which run out so far to meet each other, climate has produced similar physical qualities.
Then this from Germany and its Tribes;
For my own part, I agree with those who think that the tribes of Germany are free from all taint of inter-marriages with foreign nations, and that they appear as a distinct, unmixed race, like none but themselves. Hence, too, the same physical peculiarities throughout so vast a population. All have fierce blue eyes, red hair, huge frames, fit only for a sudden exertion. They are less able to bear laborious work. Heat and thirst they cannot in the least endure; to cold and hunger their climate and their soil inure them.
And finally, this interesting passage about a chap named Civilis from The History;
Then Civilis fulfilled a vow often made by barbarians; his hair, which he had let grow long and coloured with a red dye from the day of taking up arms against Rome, he now cut short, when the destruction of the legions had been accomplished.

The Red Hair and Grey Eyes of the North

I found this nugget about red hair in The Ten Books On Architecture by the Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio.
[I]n the cold regions that are far away from the south, the moisture is not drawn out by hot weather, but the atmosphere is full of dampness which diffuses moisture into the system, and makes the frame larger and the pitch of the voice deeper. This is also the reason why the races that are bred in the north are of vast height, and have fair complexions, straight red hair, grey eyes, and a great deal of blood, owing to the abundance of moisture and the coolness of the atmosphere.
The writings of Vitruvius inspired Leonardo da Vinci's famous Vitruvian Man illustration.

Friday, December 5, 2014

King Nisus of Megara

The following passage about red hair comes from the Description of Greece, a work by the Greek geographer Pausanias.
Behind the Lyceum is a monument of Nisus, who was killed while king of Megara by Minos, and the Athenians carried him here and buried him. About this Nisus there is a legend. His hair, they say, was red, and it was fated that he should die on its being cut off. When the Cretans attacked the country, they captured the other cities of the Megarid by assault, but Nisaea, in which Nisus had taken refuge, they beleaguered. The story says how the daughter of Nisus, falling in love here with Minos, cut off her father's hair.
This is a pretty cool story about red hair. Especially as it links red hair with power - both kingly power and supernatural power.

Interestingly when I checked the Wikipedia page for Nisus (or Nisos) it gives the same story, however in this case the colour of the hair in question is purple. Again I guess it's a case of translation. I'll have to start looking into purple a bit more deeply I think. Violet hair popped up in my last post, and purple also pops up in relation to both the Phoenicians and royalty in general. Two themes we've linked with red hair before.

Purple was the colour of royalty and the Phoenicians supposedly traded a purple dye named Tyrian purple which came from sea snails - originally known by the name murex. Hence the 'divers for murex' of Aristotle's description.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Theseus - A Redhead?

I continued my searching for ancient red hair references today and came across a wealth of information on the Perseus Digital Library website. The following come from the Greek poet Bacchylides.

This first quote comes from Ode 18 (Dithyramb 4). A dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung in honour of the god Dionysus. This one concerns the arrival of Theseus, the mythical founder-king of Athens. He's described thusly;
The herald says that only two men accompany him, and that he has a sword slung over his bright shoulders ... and two polished javelins in his hands, and a well-made Laconian hat on his head with its fire-red hair. A purple tunic covers his chest, and a woolen Thessalian cloak. Bright red Lemnian fire flashes from his eyes. He is a boy in the prime of youth, intent on the playthings of Ares: war and battles of clashing bronze. He is on his way to splendor-loving Athens.
I really like the poetic style of this guy (: I really like his coloured use of language. The following two passages come from Ode 17 (Dithyramb 3). They don't quite refer to red hair, but they're close enough in theme that I can share them.
It may be that the dear lovely-named daughter of Phoenix went to the bed of Zeus beneath the brow of Ida and bore you, greatest of mortals, but I too was borne by the daughter of rich Pittheus, who coupled with the sea-god Poseidon, and the violet-haired Nereids gave her a golden veil.
Father Zeus, great in strength, hear me! If indeed the white-armed Phoenician girl bore me to you, now send forth from the sky a fire-haired lightning bolt, a conspicuous sign.
Bacchylides I salute you.

[Incidentally, in ancient times girls who were about to be married offered locks of their hair to Hippolytus, son of Theseus, as a sign of their virginity.]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Xenophanes and Red-Haired Thracians

My final ancient Greek red hair quote to reference today: this, from the philosopher and poet Xenophanes;
The Ethiopians claim that their gods are flat-nosed and black-skinned; the Thracians, that they are blue-eyed and have red hair.
Luckily this one pops up on the Xenophanes Wikipedia page. It's part of a famous quote of his where he mocks man's tendency to anthropomorphise gods.
"But if cattle and horses and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do, horses like horses and cattle like cattle also would depict the gods' shapes and make their bodies of such a sort as the form they themselves have. ...Ethiopians say that their gods are snub–nosed and black, Thracians that they are pale and red-haired."
The only minor downside is that the accompanying footnote states that sometimes the translation is given as blond rather than red.

Aristotle: Part 3

I've just been trying to find a reference for this Aristotle quote that appears on my website;
"Fishermen, divers for murex, and generally those whose work is on the sea, have red hair."
On Google Books I found this in the Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation; edited by Jonathan Barnes;
"Why have fishermen reddish hair, and divers for murex, and in short all who work on the sea? Is it because the sea is hot and full of dryness because it is salty? Now that which is of this nature, like lye and orpiment, makes the hair reddish. Or is it because they are warmer in their outer parts, but their inner parts are chilled, because, owing to their getting wet, the surrounding parts are always being dried by the sun? And as they undergo this process, the hair being dried becomes fine and reddish. Furthermore all those who live towards the north have fine, reddish hair."
This full passage is much more interesting and gives a lot more detail. The first line is identical in content to my quote too :)

This comes from an Aristotle collection titled 'Problems'. According to scholars there's some doubt as to whether this collection can be attributed to Aristotle or not. It apparently reached its final form somewhere between the 3rd century BC and the 6th century AD :/

Aristotle: Part 2

My second post concerns my attempts to find the origin of this quote;
"Those with tawny coloured hair are brave; witness the lions. [But those with] reddish [hair] are of bad character; witness the foxes." 
This appears on my website page about red hair in the ancient world. At the time I wasn't quite sure about its authenticity, but I came across it used on-line and in various books so I went with it.

It turns out the quote actually comes from a work titled Physiognomics. This was attributed to Aristotle, but it now seems that the general consensus is that it was the work of another author. According to Wikipedia this 'other author' was writing sometime around 300 BC, so it would still be an ancient quote at least.

However, searching for a free on-line edition of this work I could only find this one;

And from this one I get the sense that the quote refers more to skin colour than hair colour.
A tawny colour indicates a bold spirit, as in lions : but too ruddy a hue marks a rogue, as in the case of the fox.
I'll reproduce the whole quote for context.
"Too black a hue marks the coward, as witness Egyptians and Ethiopians, and so does also too white a complexion, as you may see from women. So the hue that makes for courage must be intermediate between these extremes. A tawny colour indicates a bold spirit, as in lions : but too ruddy a hue marks a rogue, as in the case of the fox. A pale mottled hue signifies cowardice, for that is the colour one turns in terror. The honey-pale are cold, and coldness means immobility, and an immobile body means slowness. A red hue indicates hastiness, for all parts of the body on being heated by movement turn red. A flaming skin, however, indicates mania, for it results from an overheated body, and extreme bodily heat is likely to mean mania."
Obviously all translations depend on interpretation so I suppose this isn't definitive, but until I find another translation that suggests differently I think I'll have to accept that this quote is about skin colour rather than hair colour.

Aristotle: Part 1

Got a few posts about 'Aristotle' today. This first one concerns a work called Aristotle's Masterpiece. This was first published in the late 17th century and was written by an unknown author falsely claiming to be Aristotle. I found a few choice quotes about red hair in its pages.
Q. Why doth red hair grow white sooner than hair of any other colour?
A. Because redness is an infirmity of the hair; for it is engendered of a weak and infirm matter, that is, of matter corrupted with the flowers of the woman; and therefore it waxes white sooner than any other colour.
He whose hair is of a reddish complexion, is for the most part, if not always, proud, deceitful, detracting and full of envy. 
Now onto Part 2.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jesus Was An Orange

Following on from my last post I had a look into oranges. Some interesting stuff. Firstly it turns out that oranges have been associated with Jesus. According to Wikipedia in some countries blood oranges were seen as a symbol of the death of Jesus.

There's also the tradition of Christingle where children decorate an orange with a red ribbon and a candle, to symbolise Jesus and his love for the world. The red ribbon supposedly represents the blood of Jesus and the candle represents Jesus as the light of the world. Four cocktail sticks are also pushed into the orange with dried fruit on the ends, representing the four seasons, although that seems more suggestive of a cross to my eyes. Maybe it was similar to the Rosicrucian Rosy-Cross, only in this case with an orange in substitute of the rose. An Orange-Cross.

I remember being forced to make one of these Christingle oranges as a child and thinking "what da fuck?! why are we doing this?" but looking back it seems quite interesting and worthwhile that I did it. It's only took me twenty years to realise that though.

The name Christingle is quite interesting too. According to Wiki it's from the German Christkindl - meaning Christ child. Kind obviously meaning child in German. However, my immediate sense of it was fire. Kindle as in kindle a fire, or as in candle. Kindle and candle are probably the same word anyway. Vowels are interchangeable and the C and the K are pronounced the same, so it's easy to see how candle could be pronounced kindle and vice versa (just as red and rud, as in ruddy, are no doubt the same word, just with different vowel spellings).

The idea that vowels are interchangeable might seem strange at first and a bit of a stretch, but you've just got to imagine how different people with different accents might pronounce the same word differently just to see how true this is. For example, take the word garden. Someone from Newcastle with a Geordie accent may pronounce this word to sound more like gorden, the A becoming an O sound. Whereas someone with a more southern accent may pronounce the exact same word as gerden.

When you look at language like this you realise that consonants are like the hard skeleton of words and that vowels are more like the soft fleshy tissue. When words were first put down into written language variations in speech were no doubt reflected as people simply spelled things phonetically as they spoke them. There was no standardised way of spelling and this would've led to many words being duplicated or rendered in different ways. Over time the common origin of these words would then become obscured.

Going back to Christingle though another thing which lends a little weight to the idea that kindl is candle, is the fact that the word ingle is said to come from the Gaelic word aingeal meaning fire or fireplace. (The word angel also comes to mind actually). Christ-candle would also make more sense due to the fact that it describes what it actually is - a candle symbolising Christ.

In other posts on this blog I've mentioned the relationship between the Pumpkin, red hair and the Protestant religion. It seems like we're looking at a similar thing with the orange here. The Halloween pumpkin is a round, orange vegetable with a candle stuck inside. The Christingle orange is a round, orange fruit with a candle stuck on top. Maybe they both share a common origin.

On the Wikipedia page it states that Christingle began with the Moravian Church and dates from 1747 when a bishop named Johannes de Watteville created the ritual in order to explain the meaning of Christ to children. However, I would suspect that maybe it has deeper origins. The Moravian Church was supposedly the very first Protestant church, so maybe it goes back to the heart of the Protestant movement.

On a final note regarding oranges, when looking up the etymology of the word I found that it originally came from the Sanskrit word for orange tree - nāraṅga, via Persia (nārang) and Arabia (nāranj). It eventually reached us via the Old French orenge, which they got via the Old Provençal auranja. However, looking at the word auranja I wondered if maybe it was confluent with the word aura, as in halo. Maybe the orange, like the pumpkin, was seen as a symbol of the halo around the head of Christ and the other saints. Or being an orange ball, as symbolic of the sun itself, which in turn brings us back to the son Jesus.

Maybe red (and/or blond) hair was seen in a similar light, as a physical symbol of something spiritual.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

William of Orange and Symbolic Red Hair

For a while now I've been looking for evidence linking the orange of William of Orange (and the Protestant movement in general) to the colour orange as in red hair. Not so much that William of Orange had red hair, as I don't think he did, but more that there was at some point a symbolic relationship between red hair and reformation in northern Europe. In a nutshell I've speculated that red hair became a totemic symbol of Protestantism due to the disproportionate number of redheads on the Protestant side.

Anyway, I've found a little more evidence in the last few days. I came across a book on Google Books concerning the history of England from the Revolution to the Accession of King George III. See link:

It was published in 1744 and contained a list of medals commemorating William and Mary, along with illustrations. Two were of interest.

1. The first is a satirical medal struck by his detractors. One side shows the bust of William labelling him 'Tyrant', the other depicts him as the Biblical figure Absalom. The accompanying text in the book states;
"[H]e is represented under the figure of Absalom, hanging by his red hair (in allusion to the name of Orange) to an oak-tree[.]"
I'm not totally sure how the hair colour would be apparent on a metal medal, but I'll take his word for it.

2. The second medal is much more favourable to William. This one shows him getting one over on the French :) He's likened to a red-haired fox;
"A cock and some hens (the emblems of the French King and the ladies he had taken with him to the camp) flying before a fox, the red hair of which represents the prince of Orange, King of Great Britain."

This all seems like a clear link between red hair, William and revolution, etc.

The symbol of an orange tree kept being used on these medals as well. It's kind of an obvious symbol to use for a guy called William of Orange I guess, but still it seems like something worth looking into a little bit more.

Many of the medals showed an orange tree replacing an oak tree, representing William of Orange supplanting the Stuart Kings. The oak tree became a symbol of the Stuarts supposedly because Charles II hid in an oak tree to escape Oliver Cromwell's army. Oliver Cromwell of course had red hair, as may be remembered from over posts on this topic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bog Bodies and Russian Mummies

I've recently been reading up on bog bodies as I've decided to finally start writing a book about red hair and thought I better check to see if it was true that many of the bog bodies so far discovered have had red haired. The book will probably just be a compilation of the info on the website, plus what's on this blog, re-wrote in a readable style (hopefully) with some of my own musings thrown in the mix.

It turns out some of the bog bodies do/did have red hair, but by no means is it a majority of them. The issue also seems to be complicated by the fact that the conditions in the bogs can remove dark pigments in hair making it appear more red than it would've originally been.

The two most noted red-haired bog bodies I've came across so far are Yde Girl and Neu Versen Man. Neu Versen Man is also known as Roter Franz meaning Red Franz in English - so called because of his red hair. Yde Girl is the bog body of a teenage girl who had reddish blonde hair. Interestingly, one side of her hair was thought to have been shaved off before she died - although it's been suggested that this lack of hair may be due to the way the body decayed, with one side of the head being more exposed to oxygen than the other.

I also came across this interesting article while I was searching. It concerns mummies rather than bog bodies and tells of medieval bodies found clad in copper masks in Siberia.
"The best preserved mummy was a red-haired man found in a wooden sarcophagus. He was covered chest to foot in copper plate and was laid to rest with an iron hatchet, furs and a bronze head buckle depicting a bear."

Cool (:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Simon de Montfort, Albigensians and Red Hair

Last night I came across an account of the death of Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, that stated he had red hair.
It is in Toulouse that the commander Simon de Montfort - known as "The butcher of Occitanie", or "The Crusade Lion" (depending on the side!)- finds his end his skull crushed in 1218 by a catapulted stone thrown by the women of the city (he was recognized by his distinct red hair!!).
De Montfort was one of the leaders of the Albigensian Crusade and was renowned for his cruelty. One report stated that he had the eyes gouged out of the prisoners he'd captured at the sacking of one village and then led them to the next village as a warning to its inhabitants. He left one prisoner with one good eye to lead the mutilated multitude. He was a bad ginger person.

Incidentally, his son was the famed Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester who led the rebellion against Henry III during the Second Barons' War. He is lauded as one of the initiators of English parliamentary democracy as he called parliaments during his de facto rule of England. These parliaments stripped the King of his absolute power and included ordinary townsfolk. Quite a difference between father and son it would seem. However, further down his Wikipedia page it states that he expelled the Jewish community from his lands in 1231 - banishing them "in my time or in the time of any of my heirs to the end of the world". So probably not that nice in person.

I couldn't find any reference to his hair colour, but I guess if his father was a redhead there's a possibility that he may have been as well.

While reading up on this period I came across another red 'un though. Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester was known as the red earl, apparently because of his bright red hair. He was a powerful English noble prominent during the period. Sadly, his Wikipedia entry likewise includes this statement;
In April 1264, Gilbert de Clare led the massacre of the Jews at Canterbury, as Simon de Montfort had done in Leicester.
Not exactly poster boys for red hair. I think I'll have to create a bad boy section on my website to fit these guys in :(

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Canterbury Stained Glass

I came across this image in a book about English stained glass windows. It's from Canterbury Cathedral and shows the three youngest daughters of Edward IV - Anne, Catherine and Bridget. The hair maybe tends more to blonde than red, especially the one on the left as we look, however they were all daughters of Elizabeth Woodville and she was a redhead. The image was created in the 15th century, but the heads were renewed in the 18th century.

Incidentally, the Wikipedia page on Catherine shows a larger version of this same stained glass image, which depicts another two of Edward's daughters. However, the description states that it depicts Elizabeth, Cecily, Anne, Catherine and Mary mention of Bridget.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Bit Of Red-Haired Art For Y'all

These two paintings are by the painter Edward Reginald Frampton. They both have a kind of semi-Pre-Raphaelite feel to them.

This first is called Ridophe ;-

And this one is Stone Walls ;-

Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Golden Dust, Reddish-Colour

I recently came across this cool little bit of information. I found it on the Wikipedia page for blond hair, after deciding that maybe I should expand things and start researching blond hair as well (sacrilege, I know).
In his Commentary on the Aeneid of Virgil, Maurus Servius Honoratus noted that the respectable matron was only black haired, never blond. In the same passage, he mentioned that Cato the Elder wrote that some matrons would sprinkle golden dust on their hair to make it reddish-color.
Cool (:

Charles Darwin: Redhead?

I've had a few messages recently telling me that Charles Darwin had red hair. I'd love this to be true, but I've had a search round on-line and can't find a reference for it. The one webpage describing his appearance states it was 'dark brown'. Maybe there's a contemporary description of his appearance out there somewhere that does say red, but for the time being I'll have to leave him at the door of the club.

On a related note I did find a Telegraph article stating Darwin was interested in the relationship between behaviour and hair colour. The article refers to letters found where he discusses the idea that blond women were less likely to marry than brunettes. The correspondence was with a Dr John Beddoe, who I'm guessing is the same Beddoe that provided me with so much information for this page;-

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Strawberry-Blonde Mary, John and Jesus

I came across this painting last night;

It's by an Italian painter called Gentile da Fabriano and dates to the early 15th century. The image is said to depict Jesus, the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist. All three characters look pretty ginger to me, however I suppose the colouring could be said to be more blonde than red. It's difficult to tell with these old paintings - the decay of the image and the lighting conditions when the photograph was taken no doubt having some influence. I think I'll plump for strawberry-blonde.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ginger City, USA - October 1st

I recently received an email informing me about an event taking place in the city of Troy, New York on October 1st. To celebrate an annual gathering of redheads called Night of the Walking Red the Mayor of the city has proclaimed that the city is to be known as "Ginger City, USA" for the day.

More details about the event can be found here:

The event is organised by The League of Extraordinary Red Heads. In the above linked-to article they're described thusly;
"Though the highly visible group assembles suddenly in public spaces, not much is known of the inner workings or its true purpose. It purports to be “a social get-together for those with reddish hair and those who love them,” but some suspect it may be a secret society with plans for world domination."
It all seems pretty cool actually.

I really like the way they've used the pumpkin theme. In earlier articles I've speculated that in times gone by the pumpkin was a symbol for redheads. Linking it to both Halloween and the Protestant Reformation. Maybe these guys are tapping into a similar vein. The choice of October 1st seems pretty fitting with that in mind too - the month of Halloween.

Redheads should definitely hijack Halloween :D

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lots of Stuff Today ..Where to Start?

Earlier today I was reading Anatoly Fomenko's History: Fiction or Science? Chronology 2 when I came across this;
Furthermore, the mediaeval emperor Otho III ("the Red"), who died in the alleged year 1002, can be identified as the "ancient" emperor Constance I Chlorus, the latter being the word for "ginger". We thus get a correspondence of names; both these emperors, in turn, merge into the single figure of the "ancient" Julius Caesar from the Second Empire, qv in Chapter 1 of Chron2. It would be interesting to find out whether or not Julius Caesar had ginger hair.
I should explain this quote by stating that the books main theme is that the historical record is wrong and that many stories we know from history are simply retellings of other historical narratives, just misinterpreted or told in a different language or from a different perspective. For example, Fomenko states that the Trojan War is just a retelling of the Gothic War, moved back into "ancient" history by misguided historians. It's contentious but interesting stuff. However, for the purpose of this blog I'm more concerned with the fact that he's mentioned people who may have had red hair.

I searched out Otho/Otto III ("the Red"), but came across some confusion. According to Wikipedia it's actually Otto II that was named "the Red" or "Rufus". However, the picture of Otho III on Wiki, taken from the Gospels of Otto III (10th or 11th Century), shows him with bold red hair.

Kind of a result I'd say :D

After that I searched out Constance I Chlorus aka Constantius Chlorus. I couldn't find any mention of his hair colour. However, when I looked up the meaning of Chlorus I found it was the Latin for pale, and not ginger. Although I guess pale could be interpreted that way.

Anyway, that got me thinking about the term Choleric - one of the Four Temperaments of Classical/Medieval medical thinking (Melancholic, Phlegmatic, Sanguine and Choleric). As it turned out I found that Choleric was associated with red hair. It reminds me of my other post on here about the four suits/races on Tarot and playing cards.

That finally brought me to a book on Google Books that mentions the Choleric/red hair link, along with some other interesting things about red and red hair.
The Epic Hero - Dean A. Miller
To the medieval mind the red-haired man was an object of suspicion (or even, according to Joel Grisward, a "disgrace"), not just because the red-headed man was invariably considered choleric, quarrelsome, or aggressive, but because he was likely to be "méchant" or "felon."
He also mentions this about Achilles;
The "red" warrior's persona may break out of any modifying or controlling ethos, not just from disequilibrating anger but out of its own sense of distinct, uncontrolled individuality. When Akhilleus, in his youth, is briefly disguised as a girl he is called Pyrrha, "red head." It is this same "red" essence that underlies his brittle savagery in the Iliad.
He also brings to our attention this guy;
Mstislav, a red-haired (and red-faced and intemperate) Kievan warrior-prince in a Slavic source[.].
A decent days work. Oh, and regarding my last post I did starting watching Defiance. It's pretty good actually. Season 2 starts tonight (:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Irisa, Defiance

Was just flicking through the channels when I came across this image on TV.

Quite striking. It reminded me how alien red hair sometimes seems. She looks quite hot actually. The show's a Sci-Fi series called Defiance. I don't know how good or popular it is - I tend to be a bit behind the curve when it comes to this sort of thing. I watched the last 20 minutes or so and saw enough to arouse my curiosity, so I've Tivoed the next few episodes. Luckily what I caught was a repeat of the pilot. Hopefully it'll be worth watching.

The character's called Irisa by the way. She stood out so much when I was flicking through the channels. Maybe the image pressed some primordial button in me. I guess you could say her misshapen alien brow ridge looks almost Neanderthal. I might have to adopt her as my new pin-up.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Red-Haired Mummies of Florida

I've just been reading the book reviews in this months Fortean Times. One review, about a book titled The Ancient Giants Who Ruled America, mentioned red-haired bodies discovered on the west coast of Florida. The book description on Amazon states they were buried circa 7500 BCE. I've had a look online, and although there are articles and videos about the excavations, I can't find any pictures of the mummies themselves :( The book looks pretty cool though, maybe I'll buy it.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fifty Shades of Grey Alien

My brother recently bought me a book titled The Encyclopaedia of Alien Encounters by Alan Baker. Having just devoured it I'll now share the relevant red-hair related ET-isms.

(artwork: how I imagine a red-haired
alien would look)

I'll start with the Antonio Villas Boas case. I think I mentioned this one before somewhere but it bears repeating - mainly for its Star Trek style sexual content. It apparently happened in 1957, Antonio Villas Boas was a young Brazilian farmer out working the fields when he encountered a circular spaceship. He was kidnapped by the humanoid occupants of the ship and taken aboard. After being stripped naked and subjected to medical procedures he was then left in a room where he encountered another alien being - this time a female. I'll quote directly from the book now;
...Antonio was shocked to see a beautiful woman enter the room. She was about five foot tall and completely naked. Her face was entirely human, except for her large, catlike eyes and rather pointed chin. She had long white hair, although her pubic hair was bright red ...he and the woman had sex. Her technique was rather unusual: she did not kiss him, but nipped him on the chin and made barking noises.
The woman then rubbed her belly and pointed skywards - apparently indicating that she would have his baby up in space somewhere. The book doesn't mention if Captain Kirk was jealous or not.

A more scary tale of red hair visitation apparently occurred at Dakelia Barracks in Cyprus. In 1968 a British Army NCO had an encounter there with a terrifying 'incomplete humanoid being'. It occurred at 3 o'clock in the morning after he was alerted to a strange presence by his Turkish wolfhound growling. After hearing a high-pitched humming sound..
..the soldier moved carefully and silently to the door of his room, while the wolfhound uncharacteristically scampered under the bed and began to whimper.
He opened the door and stepped on to the landing, at which point he was confronted by the thing. It's described thusly;
...only the head and shoulders were visible - dressed in a light blue suit with a collarless neck. The scowling face, inclined forward, was bright orange in colour; the hair was red, and the eyes were large and unblinking.
He ran back and hid in the room, then picked up an underwater spear and fired it through the door. The humming sound then immediately stopped. He was left shaken by the encounter but made a full recovery, the dog however 'remained fearful of the slightest noise for the rest of its life.'

Rouge hair also cropped up in another case, this time involving a guy named Jose Antonio da Silva. He was out fishing when he was accosted by some space people and dragged aboard their ship.
The beings had waist-long, reddish hair, thick eyebrows, large eyes, ears and wide mouths, and large, crooked noses. They also sported extremely long beards. These strange, dwarf-like creatures took an immediate interest in da Silva's fishing equipment.
They eventually returned him - 250 miles from where he had originally been abducted. He later discovered that he'd been gone for four and a half days.

The book also mentioned a broader category of red-haired aliens. These are called Oranges in UFO circles.
The Oranges are said to be quite similar to humans in appearance, although their hair is red, their skin has an orange tone, and there is something of the reptilian in their faces has been suggested that the Oranges are a hybrid race, but one that has been produced through the fusion of humans and Reptoids, rather than humans and Greys.

Looking at all these tales from a red-hair point of view it's interesting that they all fall under the same historic archetypes associated with red hair - sex, fear, dwarfs, dragons.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Red Hair n Tarot Cards

I was reading a book about Tarot Cards and was surprised to learn that hair colour plays a bit of a role in Tarot readings.

The Minor Arcana cards have four suits - Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles, corresponding to the Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds in a normal deck of cards. Also like a standard deck each suit contains cards numbering one (ace) to ten, then subsequent cards representing people. The slight difference being that the Tarot have an extra one - King, Queen, Knight and Page as oppose to just King, Queen and Jack.

Apparently these characters are represented differently for each suit - the Wands are ruddy, red-haired and hazel/blue eyed. The Cups fair, blond and blue-eyed. The Swords apparently fair, dark-haired and dark-eyed. And the Pentacles swarthy, dark-haired and dark-eyed. Hence the "you will meet a tall dark stranger" patois.

The book didn't illuminate on how old this tradition is - understandably so given how murky and interesting the history of the Tarot is in general. An on-line search was likewise unfruitful. However, on the Wikipedia page it states that the suits equate to different social classes. Wands = peasantry, Cups = clergy, Swords = nobility and Pentacles = Merchants.

So going by that the redheads would be the common folk I guess.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Orangejews: The Real History of Druids, Jews and Protestantism.

Sorry about the title, I couldn't resist. I've just created a page under the same title on my website. The first new one in a long while. This page is for notes, criticism and comments relating to it.


I've just read the Wikipedia page on Medieval Antisemitism. Some of the stuff on there reinforces my thinking on the subject;
From around the 12th century through the 19th there were Christians who believed that some (or all) Jews possessed magical powers; some believed that they had gained these magical powers from making a deal with the devil.
Very witchy/wizardy.
The story of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln (d. 1255) said that after the boy was dead, his body was removed from the cross and laid on a table. His belly was cut open and his entrails were removed for some occult purpose, such as a divination ritual. [my emphasis].
Of course, the Druids were accused of exactly the same thing. Blood libel/human sacrifice.
The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 was the first to proclaim the requirement for Jews to wear something that distinguished them as Jews (and Muslims the same). It could be a coloured piece of cloth in the shape of a star or circle or square, a Jewish hat (already a distinctive style), or a robe.
A man in a pointed hat and robe, decorated with a star, square or circle. It's hard not to think Merlin.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St Modwen, Red Hair and Childbirth

I've been reading a book about Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchinson. It mentions how superstitious idols were removed from churches and shrines by Cromwell and his reformers. This passage of text recording two images taken from the Midlands caught my eye;
The image of St Anne of Buxton and also the image of St Modwen of Burton, with her red hair and her staff which women labouring of child in those parts were very desirous to have with them to lean upon and walk with and had great confidence in the staff.
According to Wikipedia Modwen (also Modwenna) was an English nun and saint. The phrase with her red hair and her staff suggests to me that these were things commonly associated with her and not just arbitrary observations. It's an interesting image to contend with.

The name Modwen could be a variant of Maudlin or Magdalene. Modwenna has echoes of Madonna. The Madonna with Child no doubt.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Red Hair and Gypsy Sorcery

I came across this little bit of info today. It's from a book called Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling and I found it on the Sacred Texts website.
For easy childbirth red hair is sewed in a small bag and carried on the belly next the skin during pregnancy. Red hair indicates good luck, and is called bálá kámeskro, or sun-hairs, which indicates its Indian origin.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Red-Gold Hair of Geoffrey Plantagenet

I was recently watching a documentary on the BBC about the Plantagenets. In it the historian/presenter mentioned that Geoffrey of Anjou had reddish gold hair. Geoffrey of Anjou was the father of Henry II - founder of the Plantagenet line of English monarchs (also supposedly a redhead).

According to Wiki;
John of Marmoutier describes Geoffrey as handsome, red-headed, jovial, and a great warrior; however, Ralph of Diceto alleges that his charm camouflaged a cold and selfish character.
 This twelfth century image likewise shows a gingerish countenance.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pumpkinhead: Red Hair and Halloween

In previous posts I've mentioned links between red hair and the Reformation - orange was the colour of Protestantism and many prominent Protestants had red hair. Anyway, I recently found out that the Beatle-esq bowl-cuts, associated in history with Puritans and Roundheads, were known as pumpkin shell cuts in America. In fact, one website I came across stated that pumpkin shells were used in the actual cutting.
According to an eighteenth-century book on the history of Connecticut, dried pumpkin shells gave the colonists a head start on haircuts. A pumpkin shell was placed on top of a colonist's shaggy noggin and used as a cutting guide. People with these hairstyles were called "pumpkin-heads."
It occurred to me that maybe there was a link between Protestantism and Halloween, and that maybe the term "pumpkin-head" was a name for Protestants and Puritans in general.

Was the orange pumpkin once a symbolic totem for the Protestant movement? And more interestingly, was the moniker also inspired by the predominance of red hair amongst the bowl-headed reformists?

The old wives tale stating that pumpkin can remove freckles also springs to mind.

In Britain turnips were used for Jack-o'-lanterns before the advent of the American pumpkin. Turnips are generally purple/reddish at the top and white towards the bottom. Did they also symbolise a ruddy head?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tycho Brahe Was A Redhead

I've just found out that the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was a redhead. The information came courtesy of this red-hair website;

They state that he had blue eyes and very red hair.