Richard Armitage’s current ‘do: Aesthetically Alexandrine

So you didn’t really expect me to let the BAFTA Tea pix to go unanswered did you?  If I thought Richard Armitage’s tease of nape curls at the Wellington premiere of World’s End were reminiscent of Alexander the Great’s famous waves, his most recent appearance with a full head of luscious, long waves is the coiffure of the conqueror

Roman period Alexander portrait Compare to profile from BAFTA Tea in LA (Getty Images)

Roman period Alexander portrait
Compare to Richard Armitage profile from BAFTA Tea in LA (available at Getty Images)

Over the years, there have been several screen incarnations of Alexander the Great which have been memorable – not necessarily for the intended reasons.   Richard Burton starred as Alexander in the 1956 release, Alexander the Great:

 Those curls are not quite right...

Those curls are not quite right…

This film was released in the heydey of the sword and sandal epics and it is ambitious in it’s scope – staying relatively true history, but (and I love “old” movies) it is deadly dull in spots and rife with hyperbole in others.  I used it in a class once…once.  (Incidently, Burton was only 31 when he played Alexander, pictured above – I would have guessed he was older, but he packed a lot of living into those years I think)

There was a rather marked revival of films set in antiquity after the success of Gladiator (2000), so I guess it was time for a new version of Alexander’s story…enter Oliver Stone with Alexander in 2004.  It looked good on paper…all star cast including Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins as an elderly Ptolemy and Colin Farrell as Alexander.

Closer, but still not right...

Closer, but still not right…

I was skeptical…not so much about Farrell, I think he really nailed the destructive self indulgence that plagued Alexander, but more with Jolie, cast as Alexander’s scheming mother Olympias (even though she is only a year older than Farrell)  I could have lived with a very young looking mother (my almost grown son has a very youthful mother 😉  ) but the weird accent for Jolie, the flashbacks, the excruciating soliloquies…ughh – Alexander was famed for being a leader who inspired men to follow him against all odds – Not this Alexander.  And…he hair was nowhere near curly enough!

I know I’m kind of belaboring this point, but I would really love someone to make a film about Alexander that successfully blends the actual history with film artistry.   Just keepin’ it classical!  Although….I am rather curious to see what Richard Armitage would look like as a blonde.  🙂

ὅ παῖς καλός – Richard Armitage: Curls, glorious curls!

*Humming the tune from Oliver…*

Curls glorious curls

Oh please can I touch them?  Everybody now…curls, glorious curls!

The Armitageworld blogosphere has been buzzing since the release of images from the red carpet for the Wellington Premeire of World’s End revealed Richard Armitage sporting slightly longer hair with delicious curls, especially at his nape.

Richard Armitage walks the red carpet in Wellington July 13, 2013 Source:

Richard Armitage walks the red carpet in Wellington July 13, 2013

Perry of Armitage Agonistes threw down the gauntlet here for me to connect those winsome waves to examples from the classical tradition – challenge accepted!  (I didn’t want to do laundry today anyway 🙂 )

References to curls are fairly uncommon in the literary tradition, but I did find a doozy!  In Book XVII of the Iliad, the action centers around the battle for the body of Patroklos, the cousin of Achilles who had been killed by the Trojan prince Hektor.  In the process of the battle, another Trojan hero, Euphorbos is killed.  Homer describes the fallen as folllows:

homer curls

For those not familiar with myrtle blossoms (I had to look them up) they do have a certain curl along the edge of each flower, and do resemble cropped curls when in bunches.  Myrtle blossoms had multiple uses in Greek ritual practice, so Homer’s metaphor would have been quite vivid to his original audience.

myrtle blossom

I found one depiction of the fight for Euphorbos’ body, but unfortunately, his notably curly hair is hidden under his helmet.

Curls obscured...Fight for the body of Euphorbos Source:  Wikimedia

Curls obscured…Fight for the body of Euphorbos
Source: Wikimedia

Greek art is littered with images of curly haired men.  Close cropped curls, long spiral curls, loose wavy curls, curls, curls, curls.  For me though, the most iconic head of hair in the classical tradition is that of Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας – Alexander the Great.  Alexander conquered much of the known world by the age of 30 and was not known for his modesty.  Portraits of him abound, and one thing is always striking – his gorgeous wavy hair.  The faces of the portraits vary to a degree, but Alexanders are almost instantly recognizable as long as the hair is intact.

Portrait Bust of Alexander - British Museum Source:  Wikimedia Commons

Portrait Bust of Alexander – British Museum
Source: Wikimedia Commons

"Alexander Mosaic" from Pompeii Even his horse has flowing wavy locks... Source:  Wikimedia

“Alexander Mosaic” from Pompeii
Even his horse (his name was Bucephalos) has flowing wavy locks…
Source: Wikimedia

Macedonia coin of Alexander as Ammon *note the nape curls everyone! Source:  Wikimedia

Macedonia coin of Alexander as Ammon
*note the nape curls everyone!
Source: Wikimedia

Let’s come in a little closer on captivating curls of Richard Armitage shall we?

Exhibit C...for curls obviously! Source: (my zoom/crop)

Exhibit C…for curls obviously!
Source: (my zoom/crop)

Pardon the pixelation, but I submit that if someone were to get his or her fingers in there and tousle up those neatly combed waves… any volunteers?  I thought so…get in line!  My blog, I get to go first 🙂 ….  Sorry, my point was that if we ran our fingers through his hair a bit he’d come out the other side with a vertibly Alexandrine ‘do.  I have to go and compose myself now…ὅ παῖς καλός!!