In 2005, she had a breakthrough. Studying translations of Roman literature, Ms. Stephens says, she realized the Latin term "acus" was probably being misunderstood in the context of hairdressing. Acus has several meanings including a "single-prong hairpin" or "needle and thread," she says. Translators generally went with "hairpin."
He showed it to an expert, who found the needle-and-thread theory "entirely original," says Mr. Humphrey, whose own scholarly work has examined arenas for Roman chariot racing.
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