chapter  XI
5 Pages

Of the Ornaments of the Body

IT is no marvel if the ladies of our time do paint themselves; for of a long time and in many places that trade hath had beginning. But it is reproved in the Holy Books, and made a reproach by the voices of the Prophets, as when Jeremiah threateneth the city of Jerusalem [iv. 30]: When thou shalt be deftroyed (saith he), what wilt thou do? though thou clotheft thyself with scariet, though thou deckeft thyself with ornaments of gold, though thou painteft thy face with colours, yet shalt thou trim thyself in vain; for thy lovers will abhor thee and seek thy life. The Prophet Ezekiel [xxiii. 40] maketh the like reproach to the cities of Jerusalem and Samaria, which he compareth to two lewd harlots, who, having sent to seek out men coming from far, and being come, they have washed themselves, and painted their faces, and have put on their fair ornaments. The Queen J esebel, doing the same, was for all that cast down out of a window, and bare the punishment of her wicked life [2 Kings ix. 30]. The Romans did anciently paint their bodies with vermilion, as Pliny saith [lib. xxxiii., cap. 7], when they entered in triumph into Rome,andhe addeth that the Princes and great Lords of lEthiopia made great account of that colour, wherewith they wholly painted themselves red; also both the one and the other did serve themselves therewith to make their god fairer; and that the :first expense which was allowed of by the censors and masters of accounts in Rome was of the monies bestowed for to colour with vermilion the face of Jupiter. The same author reciteth in another place [lib. vi., cap. 30] that the

Anderes, Mathites, Mosagebes, and Hipporeens, people of Libya, did plaster all their bodies over with red chalk. Briefly, this fashion did pass as far as to the North. And thereof is come the name that was given to the PiCl:s, an ancient people of Scythia, neighbours to the Goths, who in the year 87 after the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the Empire of Domitian, made courses and spoils through the isles which lie Northward, where having found men who made them resistance, they returned back without doing anything, and lived yet naked in their cold country until the year of our Lord 370. At which time under the Empire of Valentinian being joined with the Saxons and Scots, they tormented very much them of Great Britain, as Ammianus Marcellinus reciteth [lib. xxvi., xxvii.]; and, being resolved to remain there (as they did), they demanded of the Britons (which now are Englishmen) wives in marriage. Whereupon, being denied, they retired themselves to the Scots, of whom they were furnished upon condition that, the masculine race of the Kings coming to fail among them, then the women should succeed in the realm. Now these people were called PiCl:s because of the paintings which they used upon their naked bodies, which saith Herodian [bk. iii.], they would not cover with any clothing for fear to hide and darken the fair painting they had set upon it, where were set out beasts of all sorts, and printed with iron instruments, in such sort that it was impossible to take them off. Which they did (as Solin saith) even from their infancy: in manner that as the child did grow, so did grow those fixed figures, even as the marks that are graved upon the young pompions.106 The poet Claud ian doth also give us many witnesses of this in his Panegyrics, as when he speaketh of the Emperor Honorius his grandfather:

llle leves Mauros, nec falso nomine PiClos Edomuit. 107

And in the Gothic war: Ferroque notatas

This hath been noted by Monsieur de Belleforest, and afterward by the learned Savaron upon the observation that Sidoine de Polignac maketh thereof. And albeit that our Celtic Poitevins, called by the Latins Pit/ones, be not descended from the race of those (for they were ancient Gauls even in Julius Cresar's time), nevertheless I may well believe that this name hath been given them for the same occasion as that of the Picts. And as customs once brought in among a people are not lost but by the length of many ages (as we see yet the follies of Shrove Tuesday to continue), so the uses of painting, whereof we have spoken, remaineth in some North~rly Nations. For I have heard sometimes Monsieur Le Comte d'Egmond109 . tell that he hath seen in his young years them of Brunswick come into his father's house with their faces greased with painting, and their visage all blacked, from whence peradventure this word of " bronzer " may be derived, which signifieth in Picardy to black. And generally I believe that all those Northerly people did use painting when they would make themselves brave. For the Gelons and Agathyrses, nations of Scythia like the Picts, were of this fraternity, and with iron instruments did colour their bodies. The Englishmen likewise, then called Britons, by the saying of Tertullian [De veland. virgin.J. The Goths, besides the iron instruments, did use vermilion to make their faces and bodies red [Iornandes, De Bello Got.; Isidor., lib. xvi., cap. 23J. Briefly, it was a sport in the old time to see so many antikes, men and women; for there are found yet old pictures which he that hath made the history of the Englishmen's voyage into Virginia hath cut in brass, where the Picts of both sex are painted out,

with their fair incisions, and swords hanging upon the naked flesh, as Herodian describeth them.