language.) There must have been some other motive at
work to account for the absence of a consistent routine
in these words. Such a rationale are available in the
powerful connotations of specific parts of the body,
and of nakedness. These were such that the word was
Averted, and a euphemism, or a distortion replaced.
The Greek word albotia, "shameful matters," for sexual
organs, like the Latin word pudenda, reveals that male
nudity was not always taken.14
The group of nudity as magic is closely related to
Several kinds of nudity we shall be discussing. Spiritual nudity covers a vast region of meaning. Divine
nudity qualifies gods and goddesses. The divine
nudity of the goddesses Astarte, Ishtar (frequently
shown in frontal nudity), Aphrodite, Venus, and
others signifies fertility, fecundity, and ability." Rite nudity refers to nudity as a unique style of dressing for initiation rituals for boys and girls, for sacred
grafia della madre nell'arte dell'Italia antica,"
Hookers serving at the temple, for a priest sacrificing before his god.16 Definitely dress and undress, nakedness and nudity, are connected in meaning and condition.
The Old Testament contains a famous accounts of
the origin of clothing that reveals some of the fundamental
Historical connotations of nakedness and clothes. According to Genesis (6.7), Adam and Eve devised a
garment to conceal the sex organs of men and girls-the Greek Septuagint called it a perizoma. They did
this to keep from being ashamed of-and/or shocked
by-their nakedness after they'd eaten of the Tree
of both were opened, and they discovered that they
were nude; so they sewed together fig leaves and
made themselves loincloths."
nudos, consuerunt folia ficus, et fecerunt sibi perizomata ... .)17 Whatever the meaning (or http://nudist-video.net/young-nudist/girls-tween-nudist.php ) of
nakedness in this passage, the intention behind the perizoma
was definitely to avoid seeming nude before each
other, as male and female, and before God. It wasn't
for protection; for just afterward (Gen. 3.21) did God
Just as clothes could serve different purposes, so
nakedness and nudity could have different significance.
This seems to be revealed by the story of Ishtar, the goddess who in artwork generally appeared in frontal nudity,
In the story
of Ishtar's descent into the Underworld, she's progressively stripped of her jewels and decorations as she
fertility seems fully nude, deprived of her divinity and dignity.'" Even she can be stripped and
"robe of shame," sometimes euphemistically rendered
as "robe of splendor.")19 There was apparently all the
difference on the planet, to early eyes, between a gloriously, divinely naked figure wearing jewelry, a
crown, a loincloth, even a belt, and one not wearing
anything. Being "stark naked" meant poverty, as well
In the Old Testament nakedness constantly signifies
poverty, shame, slavery, humiliation. In the ancient
Near East and elsewhere it is an indication of defeat-naked,
Bind prisoners were paraded in the king's success
celebration, and are hence signified on innumerable
monuments.20 The slain enemy, consistently stripped of
Clothing or armour, lies nude. As in a dream of tension,
nakedness exposes you to anxiety and shame. But the
Greeks were to turn the theory around and to see the
cover or adornment.
NUDITY AS A COSTUME IN ANCIENT ART
dented deviation from a norm accepted in every other
time and tribe. "Once, even in the Olympic
games, sportsmen competed with a diazoma, or perizoma. Several other customs show the Greeks
once lived like the barbarians of today." Many other
passages could be quoted to demonstrate that the Greeks believed the custom of nudity marked a break with
their own earlier convention.
What led to this change? Explanations have for the
most part referred to the Ancient period, and stressed one or another aspect of this custom: the artistic
nudity of the kouros, the monumental statue of a
standing youth, or the real-life nudity of the athlete.
I want to try and follow the origin and growth of this kind of important phenomenon.
questions entailed, several must for the moment remain unanswered; this is a work in progress. The provisional nature of some of my ideas will, I hope,
stimulate others to address this important matter. In trying to sort out the different chronological degrees of
Greek nudity and their worth, I have attempted
to do what I did for the Roman triumph,21 finding,
along the way, how differently Greek and Roman