Say what you will about the Iranians. It might be so that many of them are Islamic fanatics. That they can be temperamental – there is probably some truth to that as well. But why is it that so many of them are dissatisfied with their own natural look? Yes, it is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I, for one, find Iranians to be quite attractive people overall. Their women are famous for their beauty, and yet Iran is the epicenter of a rhinoplasty craze.
There is much to be said about prominent, aquiline noses – especially in the Middle East. Conventional theory tells us that large noses evolved in arid regions so that they could warm cold air before it enters the lungs. I don’t buy it. To me, it is obvious that some ancient peoples simply found large noses to be attractive and here we have a case of sexual selection.
It seems that, according to some “experts”, a convex nose is a “defect”. But King Xerxes, of ancient Persia, would have been deeply offended to learn that his nose was anything but perfect. Any plastic surgeon who dared recommend that he get his “nose done”, would himself have been done in through scaphism.
The Assyrians came from the far North of the Middle East, near the Caucasus Mountain area – which was far from arid. Yet they too seemed to have no problem showing off their distinctive noses. Here we have King Ashurnasirpal proudly displaying his for all the world to see:
The ancient Hittites were famous for their noses. Even though they were counted among the seven cursed nations of Canaan, it is likely they contributed to Jewish ancestry enough to give Jews this reputation as well. On behalf of my fellow Jews, who inherited this feature, I give thanks to the Hittites. Alas! I was left out of this legacy.
Ancient Egyptians appreciated the hawkish nose of Pharaoh Ramses the Great so much that they took great pains to preserve it for eternity. Anybody caught drawing unflattering caricatures of the pharaoh, as they do now with Ahmadinejad, might have found himself buried alive.
The Mayan Indians highly valued noses that modern plastic surgeons would have considered “defective”. This is certainly a case of sexual selection. It would not surprise me if those with deficient noses were selected for sacrifice to the gods.
The “Roman nose” is famous – and probably really does go back to the Romans. The Romans actually had a name for those with a large, hooked nose: “nasones“. Anybody who ridiculed it would probably have been crucified.
The Hapsburgs, inbred as they were, may have considered their prominent noses to be evidence of their royal Roman ancestry.
Even the British seem to have appreciated prominent noses. Although English noses tend to be more modest, so many noteworthy Englishmen are shown in a manner that emphasizes their noses that it appears those who had it flaunted it. I suspect that artists would even embellish it as flattery.
I think it is interesting that the peoples whose noses were generally concave, flat, small or pug were also the ones most likely to be subjugated by other peoples. The Negroes and Slavs were both used as slaves while the Celts have spent the last 1,500 years in gradual retreat and struggle for survival. As for the East Asians, they were too far away to be affected by this Western phenomenon.