"CLEANLINESS is next to Godliness" ... was Ovid's advice to young men setting out on amorous conquests in his poem Ars Amatoria.
A clean body and a well-groomed appearance was not only indispensable in the art of love, but was also considered a fundamental feature of Roman self-esteem, frequently contrasted with the uncleanliness and unkempt appearance of Barbarians living outside the borders of the Empire.
The third Friday in August is Men's Grooming Day and the ancient Romans apparently considered Antinous to be their role model because a BALSAMARIUM (bath unguent jar) in the form of the head of Antinous was hugely popular.
Any well-groomed Roman male owned an array of bathing implements, combs, strigilae, lamps, water-resistant flip-flops and other articles ... including a balsamarium to hold his bath oils or skin lotions.
Antinous balsamaria were exceedingly popular in Rome. Suitable for holding bath oils or moisturizers, an Antinous balsamarium suggested that its owner would emerge from the baths looking like a God.
And we thought modern advertising came up with that gimmick!
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