to the grave nude. “The maidens discontinued to seek a voluntary death, discouraged by mere disgrace of so disgraceful a interment.”90

Literature, as well as artwork, maintains evidence of the
apotropaic importance of female nakedness in Greek
In addition to Eastern mythology: Baubo makes Demeter
laugh by lifting her skirts and exposing her genitals;
the girls of Xanthos bare themselves before Bellerophon.9′ Herodotus understands the relevance of
the story of Gyges, who looks upon the king’s wife
naked and therefore must become the king himself. Artemis feels fell by Actaeon; he’s seen her nakedness, and must perish.92
In Classical Greek art, especially in , naked girls are typically prostitutes. Good women didn’t go out much, they did not
attend beachsexphoto , and they definitely didn’t undress in public. They were in fact shielded from the
sun, from men’s eyes, and from the evil eye by dresses
and mantels that covered them from head to foot.

Exceptions confirm the unique character of nudity
in women. Women occasionally participated in athletic and ritual nudity. Spartan women danced naked in
Specific initiation rites, as we understand from literature.93
Girls also took part in a footrace at the festival of Hera
at Olympia, as Pausanias tells us; it has lately been
suggested that Spartan practice may have affected


Wives, in contrast, weren’t revealed freely in art,
not so much because they didn’t count, as from a regard for the privacy of the marriage still found in many
Mediterranean countries. We understand (Ar. Lys. 72) that
wives did undress for their husbands.102 A passage in
Theopompos’ scandal mongering report of the sexual customs of the Etruscans, compared with those of
the Greeks, exemplifies Greek criticism of foreigners’
frankness about sexual issues, particularly between
husband and wife: “[The Etruscans] actually say,
when the master of the house is making love [hapobtand someone inquires for him, that he is unor-La~7Tat],
dergoing so and so, openly calling the action by its indecent name.”103 In a similar vein, on Attic vases even
scenes once believed to represent the seclusion of the
home (including scenes of wool-working) can be seen
to deal with the world of courtesans.104
A Corinthian vase shows the scene of Ismene who
has been found in adultery by her husband, Tydeus.’05 She’s bare-breasted. Her lover, who was in
bed with her, tries to escape. He is represented
Nude, which is not astonishing. What’s astonishing is
the white colour, very rare for a guy, here used maybe
not only for visual difference, but to highlight his nakedness as “female,” rather than male, with connotations of eroticism and danger. (Is the artist expressing
something like the chorus’s snarl at Aegisthus, when
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
bed with lust …
Gods are able to be nude, or to look upon nakedness, without being declined.1’0 In Greek artwork guys
participate to some extent in this divine nudity. But
naked or partly nude women are defenseless. The
Difference is clear on a red-figure vase of the fifth century B.C. on which we see a desperate girl clinging to the statue of an impassive Apollo signified as
a bare kouros (fig. 2).108
The difference between men and women was most
marked in Athens, as we’ve seen. That is a good
reason for this situation. The equality among male citizens in the political life of the city, based on their
equality on the battlefield in the hoplite phalanx, widened the distance between public and private life,
and therefore between the worlds of people and
Girls.10′ In public life, and in an art which was
People by its very nature, the distinction between the
Look of men and women was accentuated, and,
in particular, the significance of the sight of their
naked bodies. Male citizens were differentiated by
their costume from girls, who participated neither
in conflict nor in the assembly. A nude girl was a
slave, for hire, or about to be violated. It is a frequently known fact that, while male nudity in art dates back
to Archaic times, decent female nudity normally
does not appear until much later; not until the Hellenistic period, in reality, and then just for Aphrodite, ac-

Among barbariansnudity as a costumealso existed,
but in distinct contexts. That of the Gauls is documentedby referencesof Classical authors. That of the
Etruscanscan be seen in their own artwork, which enable us to
look at the reaction of a barbarian, i.e. non- ,
Individuals to the Greek conventions seeing nudity.
This Greek innovationwas acceptedby contemporary
Etruscans, as by later Romans, as one of the signs of
“civilization.”It was never adopted in daily life, however, only in artwork, and even then reluctantly. The attitude to nudity outside Greece was quite differentfrom
that of the Greeks, and it remindsus, once more, what