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Salome
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jtucker's picture

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I am all for exploiting our womanly wiles to get our way, but I think Salome may have taken that idea a little far.

Yes, Salome is one conniving (and apparently smoking hot) babe, so it should come as no surprise that she is considered the femme fatale.

According to the Gospels of Mark, Salome was the daughter of Herodias and the stepdaughter of Herod. For King Herod's birthday, Salome gives the gift of her sensual dance moves to the birthday boy and his court. While it's unsettling to think that one would engage in an erotic tango as a gift for their stepdad,  I suppose those were different times. Plus, what's that cliché about strippers and daddy issues? 

Herod was so smitten that in his boozy stupor he decided to repay Salome by offering her anything she wished. With such a good offer on hand, Salome decided to consult her mother first on what she should ask for. Herodias quickly instructed her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Prompting us to wonder if we sold ourselves short last year asking for that Sephora gift card.

Not that this request would be a difficult one; Herod had recently imprisoned John the Baptist for condemning his marriage to Herodias, hence her blood thirst. Long story short, Herod obliged and next thing John knew, his head was served up on a platter like a Thanksgiving turkey. It would appear that the man in the red robe and I have something in common: little remorse for John due to an inability to stop ogling Salome’s ta-tas. Now I understand Herod’s pitfall.

This has always been a popular story within the arts, but it was the artists of the Renaissance that fully explored the visual potential of this gruesome tale. It is also seems fitting that Corinth felt the desire to capture the salacious nature of Salome, for sexual conflict was a common theme in his work, and I would say stripping in exchange for a severed head is quite the moral battle.

Clearly Salome has tempted the heart of more than just Herod and Renaissance artists. She is still referenced commonly throughout the arts, with mentions ranging from a play written by Oscar Wilde to songs by hip hop artists such as Deca. I guess life-sucking temptresses are impervious to the changing times and will continue to be at the cornerstone of dysfunctional relationships for centuries to come. 

Girl power...?