The Ancient Persian Empire covered a large mass of land which consists of modern-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and even as far as Egypt.
Historians have found great evidence indicating that people in Ancient Persia were very interested in body care. They used perfume – made from soaked plants with water and oil – for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes. They kept their makeup in seashells (some of which have been discovered in tombs), containing red, white, yellow, blue, green, and a lot of black pigments.
Just like in Ancient Egypt, kohl was used as an eye protection against bacteria and the glare of the hot desert sun. Originally, Kohl was a paste made from charred frankincense resin and was worn as a mascara or eyeliner.
Women used pumice stone (or volcanic rock) to smooth their skin. Many people also painted their faces with white lead and vermillion. For lipstick, women used red henna; to colour their eyelids they used powdered manganese oxide; and to line their eyes they used turquoise. What’s amazing is the fact that the exceedingly wealthy used crushed jewels to decorate their face and eyes.
Hairstyles were also very important and it seems that their hair style changed very often. Women usually wore their hair long, it depended on the current trend whether they wore it straight, wavy or curled. Women of the royal household, mainly the queen of the time, were always the trendsetters.
DID YOU KNOW
The book of Esther tells of how a young Jewish girl (whose family had previously been taken captive from Israel) became the Queen of the Persian Empire.
In summary, the story goes like this this – Queen Vashti angered her husband (the King) so he stripped her of the crown and banished her from the kingdom. When his anger had subsided he realised he no longer had a Queen so he decided to gather all the most beautiful young virgins in the land. Before they were presented to the King they all had to undergo 12 months of beauty treatments (6 months with oil of myrrh and 6 months with perfumes and cosmetics) and after that they only had one chance to impress the King.
Esther was a very beautiful young woman but so were the hundred or so girls who were presented to the King. So, why was the King attracted to Esther more than any of the other women? How did she win his approval and favour more than any of the others? God had a purpose in setting her up as Queen.
Certain people (one official in particular, Haman) plotted to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire, he even managed to get a royal decree sent out to every nation under the Persian rule – “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, women and little children – on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month…. And to plunder their goods.” (Esther 3:13)
However, despite her fears, Esther was willing to follow God, she was willing to risk everything and seek an audience with the King, even though it could cost her life, in order to save her people.
Although she must have been a very beautiful young woman she also had an inner beauty – and God looks at the heart,