Moving right along: Blog Introspection Challenge 5,6,7…


Been crazier Crazytown than usual in these parts…I keep saying things are going to calm down and than WHAM!  something new hits the fan.  The crazy eats up my thinking bits, but the least I can do is check in with my latest instrospections…

#5  Which post go the most views?

Consistently, day after day, month after month, etcetera, the page view leader is this one


‘back in the day (can I just mention here how much I hate it when students use that phrase to describe happenings in the “BC times”  ??)  Where was I…right…’back in the day, I used to be able to see where people were visiting from and what posts they were visiting.  Through mid last year, I noticed that I was getting a high number of hits from college and university servers…guess where they were headed?  Yep…college students around the globe were tapping into my “in depth” discussion of Richard Armitage and the classical sculptural canons.  The day I see this post show up as a reference on a paper that I assigned, my head will officially explode!     🙂

#6  Which post continues to give?

It has to be Semper ubi sub ubi Richard Armitage.  It cracks my s#!t up every time I see someone has viewed it…I was just thinking about it Tuesday when I actually uttered SUBLIGACULUM in class!  (and it was even in context!!)

#7 Which post got the most comments?

Definitely this one by far


82 comments on why SPANX can harsh a fan fic writer’s smexy groove.  This is a strong sign that I really need to write that John Porter SPANX spoof…Recovery is in need of an epilogue 🙂

Cruisin’ up on half way through – *snap*


Semper ubi sub ubi Richard Armitage

This is my favorite non-Latin Latin phrase…taught to me by my high school Latin teacher.  It came immediately to mind the other day when a commenter suggested that a better understanding of ancient underwear was in order.  Well, we aim to please here at Ancient Armitage, so here you go:


Ancient nudity ahead!

A sculptor's workshop

A sculptor’s workshop

Even a cursory look through the corpus of Greek art, the remaining visual record of the civilization. argues that a great deal of ancient Greek life was conducted in the nude, especially for men.  There is a fair amount of information preserved about Greek dress, and most of it agrees that even when they were clothed, the Greeks did not regularly wear any type of undergarment beneath.  This raises the question of support when engaged in the kinds vigorous athletic activities that were a large part of the culture. I knew that the Greeks utilized a sort of rudimentary “athletic supporter” called the kynodesme (κυνοδέσμη).  It consisted of a thin strip of leather that was was tied around the end of the foreskin and then secured around the waist or at the base of the penis.

An athelete wearing a kynodesme Source:  Wikimedia Commons

An athelete wearing a kynodesme
Source: Wikimedia Commons

What I was not aware of until I did a bit of reading for this post, was that this practice also resulted in an particular Greek aesthetic preference in terms of the display of scrotum and a resulting enlongation of the foreskin.  The things you learn blogging! Interestingly, unlike the Greeks who were early practicioners of “going commando”, the Über militaristic Romans were much less loosey goosey about underwear.  True to their uptight reputation, Roman men wore an undergarment called a subligaculum.  As you can see below, the finished product looks quite a bit like a diaper.

How to tie your subligaculum...

How to tie your subligaculum

Despite having very little prohibition on nudity and a strong culture of public bathing in the buff, citizen class Romans are very rarely depicted in their subligaculi.  It’s fortunate, for the purpose of illustration, that this was also the go to garment for Roman gladiators who are widely depicted in Roman art

Draba (Woody Strode) and Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) wear the subligaculum

Draba (Woody Strode) and Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) wear the subligaculum

One famous fresco depicts women, identified as athletes, wearing a similar garment along with a brassiere like strophium.

This is often referred to as the Bikini Mosaic

This is often referred to as the Bikini Mosaic
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Outside of athletics, which would have been of limited access for most, it seems that underwear of any kind were optional for Roman women.

After this brief tour through ancient underwear, I’m left with one burning question:

greek or romanRichard Armitage….Greek or Roman??