23/iii mmxii

The ancient Greeks were fond of eating thistles, which they imported from Sicily.

1794 Delisle Map of Southern Ancient Greece, G...

1794 Delisle Map of Southern Ancient Greece

Amsterdam is built on about 90 islands, connected by about 1,000 bridges.

According to insurance statistics, the most dangerous cars are green and driven by the Chinese.

Men dining at Bangkok’s Cabbages and Condoms restaurant are entitled to a free vasectomy at the clinic next door. All diners get a condom with coffee instead of an after-dinner mint and the innovative Thai menu includes “Spicy Condom Salad”.

In Japan, when the traffic light is green the Japanese say it’s blue.

Agnès Sorel and Toplessness

Perhaps surprisingly, in many European societies between the Renaissance and the 19th century, exposed breasts were more acceptable than they are today, with a woman’s bared legs, ankles or shoulders being considered to be more risqué than her exposed breasts.

As a result of the Renaissance, many artists were strongly influenced by classical Greek styles and culture, and images of nude and semi-nude subjects in many forms proliferated in art, sculpture and architecture of the period. In aristocratic and upper-class circles the display of breasts also invoked associations with classical Greek nude sculptures and art and was at times regarded as a status symbol, as a sign of beauty, wealth or social position. To maintain youthful-looking bosoms women could employ wet nurses to breastfeed their children.

Agnès Sorel, Dame de Beauté, the Favourite Mistress of King Charles VII of France, to Whom She Bore Three Daughters.

Breast-baring female fashions have been traced to 15th-century courtesan Agnès Sorel, mistress to Charles VII of France, whose gowns in the French court sometimes exposed one or both of her breasts.

As reflected in contemporary art, she was an extraordinarily beautiful young woman, and was also of above-average intelligence. The French king was immediately enamoured of her and she soon became his mistress. The King gave her the Château de Loches (where he had been persuaded by Joan of Arc to be crowned King of France) as her private residence.

Soon, her presence was felt at the royal court in Chinon where her company was alleged to have brought the king out of a protracted depression.She had a very strong influence on the king, and that, in addition to her extravagant tastes, earned her a number of powerful enemies at court.

Agnès gave birth to three daughters fathered by the King: Marie de France, Charlotte de France, and Jeanne de France. (Charlotte’s son, Louis de Brézé, seigneur d’Anet, in turn married Diane de Poitiers, herself ultimately a famous royal mistress.)

While pregnant with their fourth child, she journeyed from Chinon in deep midwinter to join Charles on the campaign of 1450 in Jumièges, wanting to be with him as moral support. There, she suddenly became ill and died at the age of 28. While the cause of death was originally thought to be dysentery, scientists have now concluded that Agnès died from being poisoned by mercury, possibly the victim of murder, although mercury was also used to treat worms. She was interred in the Church of St. Ours, in Loches.

Charles’ son, the future King Louis XI, had been in open revolt against his father for the previous four years. It has been speculated that he had Agnès poisoned in order to remove what he may have considered her undue influence over the king. It was also speculated that French financier, noble and minister Jacques Coeur poisoned her, though that theory is widely discredited as an attempt to remove Coeur from the French court. In 2005 French forensic scientist Philippe Charlier examined her remains and determined that the cause of death was mercury poisoning, but offered no opinion about whether she was murdered. Mercury was sometimes used in cosmetic preparations and this could therefore have been the reason for her death. Her cousin Antoinette de Maignelais took her place as mistress to the king after her death.

In general; aristocratic women sought to immortalise their breasts in paint, as in the case of Simonetta Vespucci, whose portrait with exposed breasts was painted by Piero di Cosimo in c.1480. During the 16th century, women’s fashions displaying their breasts were common in society, from Queens to common prostitutes, and emulated by all classes.

Similar fashions became popular in England during the 17th century when they were worn by Queen Mary II and by Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England, for whom architect Inigo Jones designed a masque costume that fully revealed both of her breasts.

From the mid-19th century onward, however, social attitudes shifted to require women’s breasts to be covered in public, especially in the United States. This attitude has been reflected to a more limited degree in the arts. In the 1930s, the Hays Code brought an end to nudity in all its forms, including toplessness, in Hollywood films. Although a degree of liberalization took place in the later 20th century, contemporary Western societies still generally view toplessness unfavourably, with the very term topless often carrying the connotation of sexual licentiousness or deliberate defiance of cultural taboo.

See other: Hall of Fame Posts


Sheer fabric is fabric which is made using thin thread and/or low density of knit and which results in a semi-transparent and flimsy cloth. Some fabrics become transparent when wet.

John William Godward's The Mirror

The sheerness of a fabric is expressed as a numerical denier which ranges from 3 (extremely rare, very thin, barely visible) to 15 (standard sheer for stockings) up to 30 (semi opaque) until 100 (opaque).

The materials which can be made translucent include gossamer, rayon or nylon. Sheer fabric comes in a wide variety of colors, but for curtains white and shades of white, such as cream, winter white, eggshell, and ivory are popular. In some cases, sheer fabric is embellished with embroidered patterns or designs.

Ultra sheer refers to very light deniers of stockings or pantyhose, usually 10 or less. The denier of a stocking refers to the thickness of the nylon yarn used in the fabric. The greater the denier, the more durable the material and less prone to tearing. Ultra sheer stockings have a very light transparency and a high sheen.

The Bikini in Ancient Times

Active women of ancient Greece wore a breastband called a mastodeton or an apodesmos, which continued to be used as an undergarment in the Middle Ages. While men in ancient Greece abandoned the perizoma, partly high-cut briefs and partly loincloth, women performers and acrobats continued to wear it. In ancient Rome, the bikini-style bottom, a wrapped loincloth of cloth or leather, was called a subligar or subligaculum (literally: little binding underneath), while a band of cloth or leather to support the breasts was called strophium or mamillare.

bikinimädchen, römisches Mosaik in der Villa d...

bikinimädchen, römisches Mosaik in der Villa del Casale (Sizilien) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Artwork dating back to the Diocletian period (286-305 AD) in Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily, depicts women in garments resembling bikinis in mosaics on the floor. The images of ten women, dubbed the so-called bikini girls,exercising in clothing that would pass as bikinis today, are the most replicated mosaic among the 37 million coloured tiles at the site. The bikini girls are depicted weight-lifting, discus throwing, and running. Interestingly, there has been no evidence that these bikinis were for swimming or sun-bathing.

Some academics maintain that the nearby image of Eros, the primordial god of lust, love, and intercourse, was added later, demonstrating the owner’s predilections and strengthening the association of the bikini with the erotic. Prostitution, skimpy clothes and athletic bodies were related in ancient Rome, as images were found of female sex workers exercising with dumbbells or clappers and other equipment wearing costumes similar to these bikini girls.

There are references to bikinis in ancient literature as well. Ovid, the writer ranked alongside Virgil and Horace as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature, suggests the breastband or long strip of cloth wrapped around the breasts and tucked in the ends, is a good place to hide love-letters.

Martial, a Latin poet from Hispania who published between AD 86 and 103, satirized a female athlete he named Philaenis, who played ball in a bikini-like garb quite bluntly, making her drink, gorge and vomit in abundance and hinting at her lesbianism.

In an epigram on Chione, Martial strangely mentions a sex worker who went to the bathhouse in a bikini, while it was more natural to go unclothed.

Reportedly Theodora, the 6th century empress of the Byzantine Empire wore a bikini when she appeared as an actress before she captured the heart of emperor Justinian I.

The archaeologist George M.A. Hanfmann stated that the bikini girls made the learned observers realize how modern the ancients were.

-kini Variety

The bikini is typically a women’s two-piece swimsuit. One part of the attire covers the breasts and the other part covers the crotch and part of or the entire buttocks, leaving an uncovered area between the two.

While two-piece bathing suits had been worn on the beach before, the modern bikini was invented by French engineer Louis Réard in 1946. He named it after Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, the site of the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapon tests in July that year.

The shapes of both parts of a bikini resemble women’s underwear, and the lower part can range from revealing thong or g-string to briefs. So, let’s explore how many varieties there are and ask ourselves why a garment like the bikini exhibits this extensive variety phenomenon so clearly in women’s clothing.

A Standard Bikini

A string bikini is scantier and more revealing than a traditional bikini. It gets its name from the string characteristics of its design. It consists of two triangular shaped pieces connected at the groin but not at the sides, where a thin string wraps around the waist connecting the two parts. String bikini tops are similar and are tied in place by the attached string pieces. String pieces can either be continuous or tied. A string bikini bottom can have minimal to maximum coverage of a woman’s backside.

A monokini, sometimes referred to as a unikini, is a women’s one-piece garment equivalent to the lower half of a bikini. The term monokini is also now used for any topless swimsuit,particularly a bikini bottom worn without a bikini top.

A microkini is an extremely skimpy bikini. The designs for both women and men typically use only enough fabric to cover the genitals. Any additional straps are merely to keep the garment attached to the wearer’s body. Some variations of the microkini use adhesive or wire to hold the fabric in place over the genitals. These designs do not require any additional side straps to keep the garment in place. The most radical variations of the microkini are simply thin straps which cover little or none of the wearer’s body.

The tankini is a swimsuit combining a tank top, mostly made of spandex-and-cotton or Lycra-and-nylon, and a bikini bottom. The tankini is distinguished from the classic bikini by the difference in tops, the top of the tankini essentially being a tank top. The tankini top extends downward to somewhere between just above the navel and the top of the hips. The word is a neologism combining the tank of tank top with the end of the word bikini. This type of swimwear is considered by some to provide modesty closer to a one piece suit with the convenience of a two piece suit, like the entire suit need not be removed in order to use a lavatory.

The sling bikini is a one-piece suit which provides as little, or even less coverage as a bikini. Usually, a slingshot resembles a bikini bottom, but rather than the straps going around the hips or waist, the side straps extend upwards to cover the breasts and go over the shoulders, leaving the entire sides of the torso uncovered, but the nipples and pubic area covered. Behind the neck, the straps join and reach down the back to the buttocks to become a thong.

The trikini appeared has comically been defined as a handkerchief and two small saucers. It consists of a bikini bottom with a stringed halter of two triangular pieces of cloth covering the breasts. The trikini top comes essentially in two separate parts.The name of this woman’s bathing suit is formed from bikini, replacing bi-, meaning two, with tri-, meaning three.

The veilkini is a type of swimwear designed with modesty in mind. It is usually worn by Muslim women who wish to swim and remain modest as well as for other reasons. The veilkini resembles a tracksuit, although with a headpiece. The suit is loosely fitting and the pants attach to the shirt. Although modest, some pools do not allow wearing of it on both gender bias and hygienic reasons.

The pubikini is a bathing suit meant to expose pubic hair. The pubikini is a small piece of fabric that hugs the hips and buttocks but leaves the pubic region exposed, described as a tiny V-shaped fabric strip and a piece de resistance totally freeing the human body.

And did Those Feet in Ancient Time

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

– William Blake

I Corinthians 11:5-6

5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head—it is the same as having her head shaved.

6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.

See other: Often Ignored Bible Verses