I wonder what others think of when they hear a mention of Greece. I think of the first Olympics and I think of the poison Socrates the philosopher was forced to drink. But I want to see something different today. Athens, here I come!

The Greek Barber
The Greek Barber [Illustrations by Anup Singh]
My machine says we have reached the Athens of 2005 years ago (5th century BC). I stretch myself and walk out of the machine. There is a large group of men chatting and laughing in a shop. It’s a barber’s shop! If our Indian barber shops are any indication then these barbers’ shops must be the place where men exchange the news and gossip of the day – whether it is about politics or sports, or even philosophy. Yes! My pocket guide on ancient Greece tells me it is true.

The men are wearing long tunics that reach their ankles. Some of them are wearing dull colours. They seem to be ordinary people, without rank or wealth. Others have gold or silver brooches on their tunics and the colours of their dresses are bright, so it is obvious they must be the rich ones. And what’s this? Men walking down the street wearing big hats. The guide book says it is called “petasos” and that the ancient Greeks invented the broad brimmed hat. And I thought it was the Mexicans!

The women are wearing short tunics. Their borders are embriodered. Some of them are wearing a belt. It’s called “peplose”. They look very fashionable.

A couple dressed in old greek style
A couple dressed in old greek style

The ones with the least bit of clothing are the slaves – only a loin cloth.

As for the hairstyle, both men and women have their hair long and are wearing headbands. Some of the women have their hair held up with a scarf or a ribbon.

There is a group of old people sitting and engrossed in a serious discussion. All the oldies have long pointed breads. Young men are o the other hand are clean shaven.

Hair, hair…Am I forgetting something? Oh gosh! I was supposed to go for a hair cut, to the saloon. I had better rush back.

Home to the web and the books

The ancient Greeks could buy clothes in the “Agora”, as they called the marketplace, but they were expensive. So most families, rather women, made their own clothes out of linen or wool. Then they dyed them a bright colour, or kept them bleached white. The rich always do things their own way – they had their clothes made female slaves.