sources deal with essential features of their cultures:

Commonly, Roman tradition views continuity, . The result is schematic, but
I hope, helpful.
The Greek word for naked, or nude, is gymnos, and
Reveals something fresh in the historical world. The word
refers to complete nudity. In Classical times, a guy was
not gymnos if he wore a perizoma. In a military context gymnos meant “unarmed” (II. 16.815, etc.), not
covered by armour, exposed (Thuc. 3.23, 5.10.71; Xen.
Hell. 4.4.12); and “light-armed,” as opposed to the
heavy-armed hoplite. The gymnon stadion (Pind.
Pyth. 11.49) was the race run without armour, in contrast to the hoplitodromos. By far the most common
usage, however, was especially “exercising in the
nude.”22 The word had become something fresh, just as
the Greeks had made something awesome of the early so-


In Homer’s poems, of around 800 B.C., nakedness
Means shame, vulnerability, passing, and dishonor. of the hero must be saved. Thersites is threatened with being stripped and run nude
through the assembly. Odysseus covers himself with
leaves before Nausicaa.23 The latter instance, of
course, may be because of the unique situation. The
hero is meeting a young, single woman for the
first time, and it would barely be appropriate for him
to appear before her totally naked. Homer presents us, it seems, as so often, with the old and the
Fresh, the conventional and the earliest instance of what
is to come.
An essential passage appears to exemplify this kind of coexistence. In the 22nd novel of the Iliad, Priam and Hecuba
in turn attempt-in vain-to dissuade Hector from
going to struggle and to certain death. Both appeal to his
Empathy, and respect, by facing him with the scene of their nakedness. The sight of one’s parents’ nakedness is amazing.24 Priam paints a picture of his
own departure and abasement. An old man’s departure is
Horrible: “When an old man is dead and down, and the
dogs mutilate the gray head and the gray beard and the
Components that are black (albi^), this, for all depressed mortality is the sight most pitiful” (II. 22.74-76). Instantly
after this, Hecuba shows her breast and holds it outside
for Hector, in entreaty (79-81). This pitiable value refers to the traditional sense of nakedness.
What’s awesome is what Priam compares with the
grisly, shameful, hideous death of an old man: the attractiveness
of the nakedness of a young man. “For a young man
all is decorous when he is cut down in conflict and torn

with the sharp bronze, and lies there, and though dead
all that shows about him is amazing… ” (II.
22.71-73). The picture is startling at this kind of early
date. It was intelligibly famous. Echoes of the
passage sounded down the centuries, among them
Tyrtaios’s well known poem, with its comparison of horrible
and amazing.
For this is black, for an old guy fallen in conflict
One of the front line fighters to lie before the young
men, an elderly guy with his hair white and beard silvery, breathing his virulent life into the dust, his
bloody genitals in his hands and with his skin all bare.
This sight is black for the eyes to beholdand reprehensible. But in comparison among young men all these
things are proper as long as he beams in the blooming of
Wonderful youth manhood. They’re admirablefor men to
see and fantastically attractivefor women while he is
Living-and he seems additionally honorable and beautiful
fallen in the front line.25
There is no indication of any difference between Greeks
and barbarians in Homer in relation to language, religion (the Trojans’ sacrifice at the temple of Athena),
dress, or nudity. In the athletic competitions, the
heroes “gird their loins” to prepare for the wrestling

match. Ancient authors presumed this meant that they
wore the perizoma. Lately others have indicated
that they were engaged in belt-wrestling, known from
the ancient Near East, where nude man bodies wearing thick belts were common in early or protohistoric

cover their genitals. Absolute nudity for guys could signify service to the god, a rite “costume.”
The nude woman, always revealed in front view, was
a very common theme that could have different significance at different times. In Near Eastern art goddesses
were so signified, chief among them Ishtar
(Astarte), whose powerful, naked picture was broadly
Spread, and influential in many places and intervals.28 The most common connotation of female nudity
in historical times appears to have been service rendered
in the temple.29 For guys, nevertheless, in the early
Near East and elsewhere it was a sign of defeat. As in
the Old Testament, nakedness signifies poverty,
shame, captivity, humiliation.30
Greek prehistory offers fewer examples of entire
nudity. Lively younger men and heroes were represented in artwork wearing the perizoma or short pants31
throughout the Aegean and the whole Mediterranean,
in contrast to old guys, dressed in long chitons and