Dressing Up or Dressing Down, pt. 2: Between Diogenes and Darius

In the  the previous post, Mr. Sententiaeantiquae discussed a delightful anecdote about Diogenes which put me in mind of this passage from Edward Gibbon, who is describing the emperor Julian:

“The splendid and effeminate dress of the Asiatics, the curls and paint, the collars and bracelets, which had appeared so ridiculous in the person of Constantine, were consistently rejected by his philosophic successor. But with the fopperies, Julian affected to renounce the decencies of dress; and seemed to value himself for his neglect of the laws of cleanliness. In a satirical performance, which was designed for the public eye, the emperor descants with pleasure, and even with pride, on the length of his nails, and the inky blackness of his hands; protests, that although the greatest part of his body was covered with hair, the use of the razor was confined to his head alone; and celebrates, with visible complacency, the shaggy and populous beard, which he fondly cherished, after the example of the philosophers of Greece. Had Julian consulted the simple dictates of reason, the first magistrate of the Romans would have scorned the affectation of Diogenes, as well as that of Darius.”

-Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 2 (London : Oxford University Press, 1902) pp. 475-6

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