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Mary Beard: How our western body image tyranny began with the ancient Greeks

Just as Ancient Greek art held up an impossibly ideal image of beauty, so we in the modern world grapple with the idealised images of advertising and the movies

By Mary Beard   March 2018

Draw me like one of your ancient Greeks

In Villahermosa in southern Mexico—in an archaeological park that is disconcertingly paired with a zoo—stands a colossal severed head. It is a couple of metres high and made from basalt, one of seventeen or so such heads produced some 3,000 years ago by the earliest known civilisation in central America. We now call this civilisation “the Olmec,” but the name dates from the Aztec period, a millennium or more later. What they called themselves we have no clue.

What the…

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