A hook nose, also known as an aquiline nose or a Roman nose, is characterized by a prominent bridge, which gives it the appearance of being curved or slightly bent. The word “aquiline” is derived from the Latin word for “eagle-like”, alluding to an eagle’s curved beak.
While it appears in people of all ethnicities, it is more common in certain regions, including Southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and South Asia.
This has triggered some debate as to what ethnicity is it “characteristic” of – this is where the term “Roman nose” comes from, but it should be noted that some have, for example, claimed it is characteristic of “Teutonic” peoples. It was also commonly associated with the Native Americans.
This type of nose has for a long time been associated with power, ambition and nobility (in the sense of belonging to the upper strata of society) as well as strong willpower and a sense of independence.
This notion appeared as early as the time of the Greek historian Plutarch (1st and early 2nd century AD), who described Mark Antony as having such a nose and the associated positive personality traits. Cleopatra is also often depicted with an aquiline nose, but this may have been influenced by the mentioned description of Mark Antony.
In post-Enlightenment racialist discourse, especially in Victorian-era physiognomy (a pseudoscience that was popular then), such a nose was considered a mark of beauty and nobility. There were even devices that could be strapped to the nose, which would then allegedly form the cartilage into the desired shape given time. In contrast, the Nazis associated hooked noses with the Jews.