to the grave naked. “The maidens quit to seek a voluntary departure, deterred by only disgrace of so disgraceful a burial.”90

Literature, along with art, maintains evidence of the
apotropaic value of female nakedness in Greek
as well as Eastern mythology:
laugh by lifting her skirts and exhibiting her genitals;
the women of Xanthos bare themselves before Bellerophon.9′ Herodotus comprehends the importance of
the story of Gyges, who looks upon the king’s wife
Nude and thus must become the king himself. Artemis feels diminished by Actaeon; he’s seen her nakedness, and must die.92
In Classical Greek art, especially in Attic vase
painting, naked women are usually hookers. Decent girls didn’t go out much, they did not
attend male symposia, and they certainly did not undress in public. They were in fact shielded from the
Exceptions affirm the specific character of nudity
in women. Women sometimes participated in athletic and ritual nudity.

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Spartan girls danced naked in
certain initiation rituals, as we know from literature.93
Girls also took part in a footrace at the festival of Hera
at Olympia, as Pausanias tells us; it’s recently been
suggested that Spartan practice may have affected

NUDITY AS A COSTUME IN CLASSICAL ART

Wives, by comparison, were not shown openly in art,
not so much because they did not count, as from a regard for the seclusion of the union still found in many
Mediterranean countries. We know (Ar. Lys. 72) that
wives did undress for their husbands.102 A passage in
Theopompos’ scandalmongering accounts of the sexual customs of the Etruscans, compared with those of
the Greeks, illustrates Greek criticism of foreigners’
frankness about sexual issues, particularly between
husband and wife: “[The Etruscans] truly say,
when the master of the house is making love [hapobtand someone inquires for him, that he is unor-La~7Tat],
scenes once thought to symbolize the seclusion of the
home (including scenes of wool-working) can be seen
to deal with the world of courtesans.104
A Corinthian vase reveals the scene of Ismene who
has been found in adultery by her husband, Tydeus.’05 She is bare breasted. Her lover, who was in
bed with her, tries to escape. He is represented
naked, which is not surprising. What is astonishing is
the white color, very uncommon for a man, here used possibly
not only for visual contrast, but to emphasize his nakedness as “female,” rather than male, with connotations of eroticism and risk.
he finally makes his appearance at the end of Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, “so then you, like a girl, waited

the war outside, here in the house, shaming the master’s
?)106
Gods can afford to be naked, or to look upon nakedness, without being diminished.1’0 In Greek artwork men
But
Nude or partly nude women are defenseless. The
Distinction is clear on a red-figure vase of the fifth century B.C. on which we see a desperate woman clinging to the statue of an impassive Apollo symbolized as
a nude kouros (fig. 2).108
The difference between men and women was most
marked in Athens, as we’ve seen. There is a great
reason for this scenario.
equality on the battleground in the hoplite phalanx, widened the space between public and private life,
and consequently between the worlds of men and
Girls.10′ In public life, and in an art which was
public by its very nature, the differentiation between the
Look of men and women was emphasized, and,
in particular, the significance of the sight of their
naked bodies. Male citizens were distinguished by
their costume from I was raised in a quite traditional Jewish foundation. We were supposed to dress modestly , who participated neither
in battle nor in the assembly. A naked girl was a
slave, for hire, or about to be violated. It is a often known fact that, while male nudity in art dates back
to Archaic times, good female nudity normally
does not appear until much later; not until the Hellenistic period, in reality, and then only for Aphrodite, ac-

but in different contexts. That of When I was like 18 I had started seeing this girl who lived in an apt with her mom. After dinner along with is documentedby referencesof Ancient writers. That of the
Etruscanscan be seen in their own arts, which allow us to
Individuals to the Greek conventions viewing nudity.
This Greek innovationwas acceptedby contemporary
Etruscans, as by later Romans, as one of the signals of
“Culture.”It was never embraced in daily life, nevertheless, only in artwork, and even then unwillingly. The approach to nudity outside Greece was quite differentfrom
that of the Greeks, and it remindsus, once more, what

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