Page 244. " Then she made her taller and fuller in appearance, and her skin whiter than newly sawn ivory "
An ancient Greek cosmetic or jewellery box (Pyxis), ca.470–60 BC
Public DomainAn ancient Greek cosmetic or jewellery box (Pyxis), ca.470–60 BC - Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

The ancient Greeks considered it desirable for a woman to have skin as white as possible. A tan was the mark of a poor woman who was forced to spend time working in the sun, whereas white skin indicated a sophisticated, high-class lady. Ancient cosmetics included whitening agents such as chalk powder and white lead to artificially pale the skin; they would have considered it extremely peculiar to see the women of today applying fake tan!

Page 244. " the great lady drew a fold of her shining veil across her cheeks "

A veil drawn across the face was the mark of a respectable Greek lady’s modesty when around men not of her family.

Page 248. " with loam that yielded nicely to the ploughshare "

Loam is a type of soil considered perfect for agriculture. Watch this video to see an ox-driven ploughshare in use. The wooden fastening around the necks of the oxen is called a yoke.