I bet you never would have put “Athenians” and “hipsters” in the same sentence. Well, suspend your disbelief! It will make sense in a moment.
I suspect that nobody REALLY knows what a hipster is. We have a whole list of characteristics, such as the man-bun, or gigantic glasses, or eccentric clothing choices.
But just as boils are a symptom of the plague and not the plague itself, so it seems true that man-buns and avant-garde clothing are but symptoms and not the thing itself. This never ceases to puzzle me whenever I do think about it, which isn’t often.
Regardless of the fact that I have NO IDEA what a hipster is in any real, graspable sense, I have nevertheless been acquainted with the characteristics.
Hence, I was very amused when I was reading Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War Book 1 and I came across a word, “krobulon.”
According to Thucydides, men in ancient Athens had begun wearing a “krobulon,” along with their expensive and ornate clothing. What is a krobulon? Well, I tell you, with the LSJ as my witness, it means “a knot of hair on the top of the head.” Somehow, I wasn’t all that shocked.
Worth noting however is that Thucydides doesn’t support this change in fashion among the Athenians, since it made them soft and unprepared for battle. The Spartans were much more sensible, sticking with basic black and classic cuts.
Conclusion: the ancient Athenians were wearing man-buns. Corollary: the Athenians were the REAL hipsters, whatever hipsters are.
In case visual aid is required, we have the Athenians (I don’t know who the guy in the picture actually is, I found it on Google images):
And then we have the Spartans (from the wonderfully accurate historical documentary, 300):
Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, I’m siding with Thucydides on this one.