A revolving earth (earthani.gif--64x64) Beaverland Net
Erotica in History
Menu in Japanese (japanv.gif--100x36)


Beaverland Net Brand-new Ancient Japanese History logo (jhist03.gif--140x138)

Beaverland Net HTML Made Easy! logo (html02.gif--140x160)

Beaverland Net JavaScript Made Easy! logo (javascrx.gif--140x233)

Beaverland Historica logo (histbanr.jpg--140x360)

Beaverland Mythology logo (mythbanr.jpg--140x255)

Beaverland Stries logo (stories.jpg--140x276)

Beaverland Webs & Internet Secrets logo (web100.jpg--140x250)

Beaverland Cleopatra Gallery logo (galleryt.gif--177x275)

Beaverland Ciold War Years logo (coldwrbn.jpg--140x320)

onstore.gif (140x93)

beavbook.gif (120x160)

beavcomp.gif (120x160)

beavmovi.gif (120x160)

beavgift.gif (120x160)

beavtrav.gif (120x160)

music.gif (50x50) Beaverland Music

Wanna read more about Presidential Scandals? (presidents.gif--140x800)

Mysteries and Wonders in History
When did women start to put on panties?
    August 16, 2003

Mascot girl Himiko clad in a diazoma and a strophion (thong005.gif--200x390) Hi, there.
As you see, I’m wearing a modern-looking underwear, and you might think that I’m wearing a bikini. Actually, this bikini comes from the ancient Greek garment called “diazoma” and “strophion”.

You probably say, “No, I don’t think so, ’cause looks too modern.”

In fact, a diazoma is a loincloth and a strophion is a bra-like breast band. Those pieces of garment were indeed worn by the ancient Greek women as I show you the evidence later.

The “dia” is a prefix meaning “passing through”. And a zoma means band or passageway. So, a diazoma also means a band walkway or circular passageway used in an ancient theater. A zoma alone could mean a loincloth.

The word strophion comes from the Greek word strephein meaning to wind, turn, or twist. A simple strophion had no straps. You can find the strapless variety in a number of Roman paintings or mosaics as shown below:


3 ancient Roman girls in bikini (spacer.gif--1x1)

Hall of the Girls at Exercise (Detail: three girls)
Wall mosaic from the Roman villa at Piazza Armerina, Sicily.
Early 4th century AD.

The girl on the left holds what looks like a parasol, but it is in fact the wheel used in the game called “circus races”. The girl in the center holds her wreath and palm while the girl on the right prepares to catch a ball.


loincloth—the first undergarment

The loincloth becomes the simplest form of underwear, and it was probably the first undergarment worn by human beings. A loincloth may take three major forms.

The first consists of a long, triangular piece of fabric with strings or strips of cloth sewn to the corners. The strings are tied around the waist, and the cloth is brought up between the legs and tucked into or otherwise fastened to the resulting band.

The other form appears more skirt-like. A cloth is wrapped around the hips several times and then fastened with a girdle. In warmer climates, the loincloth may be the only clothing worn (making it effectively not an undergarment), but in colder temperatures, the loincloth often forms the basis of a person’s clothing and is covered by other garments.

The third form consists of a single long strip of cloth just like the one called “roku shaku” or six feet in Japan, because it streches out about six feet. This one is first wrapped around the hips, and then brought up between the legs and, finally, tucked into the resulting band.

In most ancient civilizations, the loincloth remained the only undergarment available. In fact, King Tutankhamun was buried with 145 of them. The loincloth continues to be worn by people around the world. It was indeed the traditional form of undergarment in many Asian societies.

Women in ancient societies also wore loincloths. As shown above, ancient Greek and Roman women often wore straps of cloth across the breasts to support and hide them, and many Roman women wore legless panty-like garments around the hips and crotch.


The Bikini Style
in the Ancient Greece

Like so many other cultural aspects of Western Civilisation, the invention of a bra and panties traces back to the ancient Greeks. Our evidence is, however, surprisingly sparse. Ancient writers rarely mentioned bras and panties even in erotic literature, and ancient painters and sculptors presented the female form as either fully clothed or completely nude.

Please click me to see some books about Atalanta.
You can get some idea of what looked like from the few instances in Greek art of semi-clad females. The late archaic Laconian bronzes show young girls wearing nothing but the diazoma—the nearest equivalent to the Victorian drawers.

The Attic vase-painting of Brauronian arktos or Atalanta at right shows a girl stripped for athletics down to their diazoma and strophion.

Unless girls did some exercise, they seemed to wear only a simple form of tunic called chiton without any undergarment. The painting by Degas below illustrates what the Spartan girls wore in those ancient days when girls took a coed Spartan gym class.

Spartan girls challenging boys by Edgar Degas (spacer.gif--1x1)

Spartan girls challenging boys by Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

However, the Spartan girls appeared a bit different from other Greek women, who showed more prudishness. In ancient Greece, the people were sufficiently used to the sight of nakedess, but the costume of the Spartan girls in the above picture was ridiculed as the boys called them “thigh-showers”, “those with bare thighs”, and “gals dressed in Doric fashion”. Like the Spartan girls, the Doric women bared a great part of their body.

Dorians or Doric people:
one of the ancient peoples in Greece.

Their name was mythologically derived from Dorus, son of Hellen. Originating in the northwestern mountainous region of Epirus and Southwestern Macedonia, they migrated through central Greece and into the Peloponnesus probably between 1100 and 950 B.C., defeating and displacing the Achaeans.

They rapidly extended their influence to Crete and established colonies in Italy, Sicily, and Asia Minor. Sparta and Crete are generally considered as having had the most typical form of Dorian rule in the sense that the invaders maintained their separate societies and subjected and enslaved the conquered population.

The arrival of the Dorians marked the disruption of the earlier Greek culture and the beginning of a period of decline. Although the cultural level of the Dorians was below that of the Achaeans, the Dorians did contribute to the culture of Greece in drama, poetry, sculpture, and especially in the huge stone buildings that marked the beginning of the Doric style of architecture.

In gymnastic and bodily exercises, Spartan girls put off this single piece of clothing and appeared completely naked.


Revival of Panties

A woman rides sidesaddle on a horse (riding2b.gif--200x176) It is during the Renaissance when French women first put on panties. It was the fashion brought by Catherine de Medici who got married to the French prince from the Medici family in Italy, and who eventually bacame the queen of King Henry II.

Proud of her shapely legs, she came up with a new way of riding called “Amazon style” in place of the uncouth sidesaddling that the pompous ladies preferred. With her left foot on the stirrup and her right folded leg placed on the front of the saddle, she rode a horse in a more stylish way.

While she rode in this manner, her shapely legs were seen on and off from within her skirt. In their delight, the men glued their eyes on Catherine’s curvaceous legs without giving even a thought on their hunting.

This Amazon style became an instant fad and the ladies of the royal court came to imitate it.

However, the ladies came across one big problem. Since the women had not yet put on panties, once their skirts were flared up, they became stark-naked below the waist. So, naturally, when a skirt gets turned up on horseback-riding, what should not be seen could be seen.

Therefore, the women started to put on caleçon as the so-called panties. The caleçon had been men’s underpants so far. Nonetheless, the caleçon spread out at once as a new fashion like a wild fire among the ladies of the court.

Deprived of a great pleasure in a “peep show”, however, the men became disappointed and argued seriously whether to admit putting on panties for a month.


The Underwear in Modern Times

A woman in bikini buring her bikini top (ba0105.gif--219x410)

In modern society, female underwear has become both a practical part of everyday dress and a subject of fascination to the male viewer. The bra, in particular, becomes the quintessentially female garment and carries layers of meaning associated with the part of the anatomy it covers. The breast both symbolizes maternal nourishment and provides a focus for erotic interest.

Hello boys wonderbra (won355.jpg--355x180)

In the 1960s feminists used to burn their bras as a symbol of emancipation from male control. In the 1990s, however, the notorious “Hello boys” advert for Wonderbra played on the idea of reclaiming the garment as a symbol of women’s empowerment.

While demonstrating its potential for reflecting broader social trends, the bra as well as panties will stay with the women—probably, forever.


Wanna read more?
Please select one
from the
following topics:


Related Links

Rate article:
Excellent Good Neutral Poor Worst

Your Name:
Your Email Address:

Copyright June Adams
About this author:

June Adams (juneada2.gif) She has been gone through many jobs such as a girl Friday, a short-order cook, a waitress, an aerobics trainer, a bit-part actress, a model, a receptionist, a bookkeeper and a saleslady at a boutique. She now works as freelance-writer and counselor for foreign students.

She took some courses for journalism and creative writing at community college. Though not educated extensively, June has been quite active in writing since her childhood. More than anything else, she loves to read fascinating, intriguing and yet amusing stories, and now decides to turn her life experiences into stories.

In addition to writing, she likes listening to nice music, traveling in Europe and Far East as well as meeting people with different cultural background.

Wanna Thank Your Girlfriend,
Sister, or Mother
With a Touch of Difference?

A woman in a black leotard (208x355)   A woman in nice langerie (208x353)

She deserves the Best,
doesn’t she?
Find it out for yourself here!

A banner for surpriseyourwoman.com

Beaverland Forum
Featuring thought-provoking
columns and stories
inserted by FC2 system