Posted by: marisadedios | 15 November, 2009


I have just found this really interesting article.  I think after reading this I have stopped moaning that tomorrow is Monday and it is back to work. My job is just fantastic!

Work is getting harder and harder to find these days. No matter what your area of expertise, the recession is sucking us all dry. With the abundance of jobs and skilled workers for those jobs, the situation is exacerbated. This was not the case in ancient times where some jobs were so repulsive that no one would want them – except the scum of society or those who had nothing to lose. This list looks at ten of them.





The nomenclator held a vitally important job. He was, effectively, a living-human-calendar cum address book. Now these days we have our iPhones, our Blackberrys, and all manner of digital devices to remember the people we are introduced to at meetings or (more embarrassingly) those we meet when we drink a little too much at a work party. We have all, no doubt, had that experience where we meet a person, take down their number and name, promise to contact them soon, and, in the sober light of day, wonder who the hell they are. The ancients had a much better way of dealing with this. They dragged a slave to their parties and forced him to remember the names and numbers. Now the most important difference between the iPhone and the nomenclator is that the nomenclator could tell you who the guy was, what you talked about, and whether he is worth contacting. He can also clarify whether that gorgeous lady you met was made gorgeous by beer googles or not. Frankly, if it weren’t for an exorbitantly high minimum wage, we would all be better off tossing the iPhone and taking on a modern nomenclator. But alas, who would want the job? Who would want to be paid two bucks an hour to remain sober while everyone else was partying on down? Not me that’s for sure! Having said that, just in case I am wrong and this job does appeal to some, if there is anyone living in the Wellington region who is looking for low-paid under-the-table work and wants to go to some great parties (whilst remaining sober), check out the Listverse About page and contact me.

9 Slaver


Okay – be prepared for a sensitive topic. Recently we have had a rather unfortunate event wherein abortion was discussed on a list that caused quite the kerfuffle (it’s an English word – find the definition here). You may wonder why I mention it but if you read on you will understand. A slaver was a gentleman (used in the most liberal sense of the word possible) who sold slaves – for work or pleasure. He would either travel behind armies (who were off fighting in battle) so he could capture the losers and sell them to rich Greeks as slaves, or (and this is where we connect up with the awkward list of the last few days), he would buy “unwanted” boys (but only the handsome ones) from parents so he could castrate them and sell them as lovers to wealthy Greek men who had a taste for young flesh. They provided (in rather a repulsive way) an alternative to adoption to those parents who didn’t want their children. The downside to this (somewhat repellant) career choice, was that despite the demand for handsome young boys, the slavers were often murdered by those who didn’t approve of their trade.

8 Ornatrix


The job of a hairdresser (ornatrix) is so often looked down upon these days. And it was no less so in the ancient times. But honestly, a modern hairdresser really ought to appreciate her job – because she has it so much better now than ever in the past. Picture this: your imperial queen is balding and blonde, but the fashion this week is dark lustrous locks. If it were today, you would either shove a wig on the lady or glue in some extensions. This was, sadly, not an option for the work-weary ornatrix of days gone by. In order to provide your mistress with her coal-colored mane, you had to work with a mixture of bile, rotten leeches, and squid ink (the rotten leeches made for an especially rich black). But it gets worse. Occasionally fashion would demand blonde hair and your mistress is a natural brunette. There was no peroxide in those days. To give her a lovely golden hue you had to mix pigeon poop, and ashes together in the hopes that the chemical combination would strip out the healthy color of her hair. Oh – and to set the color – you had to pee on her hair. Worse still was being a slave with beautiful hair – this would often be cut from your head and fashioned into a wig for a rich harridan.



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