Around 1650 BCE the Greek kingdom of Mycenae, in the northeastern Peloponnese, grew very powerful. Mycenae was ruled by several kings, each of whom had his own palace. Inside the palaces were workshops for potters, weavers, and metalworkers, as well as splendid rooms for the royal family. The Myceneans were a warlike people, but they were also great sailors and traders, who imported tin to make bronze for weapons, and gold and amber to make jewelry.
In the great halls of their brightly painted palaces, the Mycenean kings and queens held lavish feasts.Kings and nobles wore simple kilts with patterned borders, and usually left their chests bare. Men wore their hair loose, hanging around their shoulders, and held in place by a simple headband. Mycenean women wore multicolored dresses, with flared, tiered skirts, and close-
The famous beauty Helen of Troy was a Mycenean queen, and surviving murals show that the women of Mycenae were graceful and stylish, with artfully arranged hair. There is evidence that both women and men spent time and care on their appearance.The Myceneans produced perfumed oils, which they stored in elegant jars. Some oil was traded by merchants, but a certain quantity was kept for use at home. Inside the palaces were small stone tubs, and part of a lady’s beauty routine would probably have involved soaking in a tub and then rubbing scented oil into her skin.
Both men and women in the Mycenean cities cared a great deal for their appearance, and the women were famous for their beauty.