Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Poppaea's Got Milk!

According to Pliny the Elder, Poppaea Sabina, the wife of the Roman emperor Nero (at least until he "accidentally" kicked her to death), would have shown up Charlize Theron as a rank amateur in the bathing department.  Cow's milk?  Don't be an ass!

The milk of the she-ass is the richest of all, so much so, indeed, that it is often used instead of rennet. Asses' milk is also thought to he very efficacious in whitening the skin of females: at all events, Poppæa, the wife of Domitius Nero, used always to have with her five hundred asses with foal, and used to bathe the whole of her body in their milk, thinking that it also conferred additional suppleness on the skin.
Natural History, Book 11.


  1. Check out the incredible Glyndenbourne Festival production of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, with Danielle de Niese in the title role. Available on DVD. Strangely, the 16h century--at least viewed through Monteverdi's eyes--seems utterly modern.

  2. I'm a big opera and early opera fan. I'm not familiar with the version you refer to, but you've inspired me to put on the old Harnoncourt version. Thanks!


Related Posts with Thumbnails