2014-16, Oil on Italian Linen, 120 x 100cm

Calleen Open Art Prize 2014, Finalist and Highly Commended
Kennedy Art Prize 2014, Finalist

Julius Caesar was a vain man. Unhappy about his thinning hair, he would brush the thin strands forward in version of today’s “comb over.” Unfashionable then as now, his enemies teased him about it.

Luckily a solution was at hand; the laurel wreath - the perfect thing to hold a comb-over in place. During the Republic period wreath’s were awarded to all soldiers in recognition of military victories (a custom, like so much of Roman culture, actually nicked from Greece). However following Caesar’s successes in Asia Minor, the Senate and People awarded him privilege that he alone may wear a wreath all times.

Of all the honours voted to him, none pleased him so much as this minor accolade. In fact this act of vanity became the precedent for all subsequent Emperors.

Perhaps Caesar should have paid more attention to what his enemies were plotting rather than saying.