Ancient Roman Women Wore Bikini In 1400 B.C. - We tend to think bikini is a modern fashion invention, but there is evidence ancient Roman women were familiar with two-piece garments already in 1,400 B.C., if not even earlier.

The modern bikini was introduced in 1946. French fashion designer Jacques Heim created a two-piece design which he named the "Atome," after the smallest known particle of matter. At the same time, Louis Réard, a French engineer Louis Réard, who had taken over running his mother’s lingerie boutique near the Folies Bergéres at Paris came up with a two-piece swimsuit, the modern ‘bikini’.

mosaic that depicts ancient bikini girls

Ancient Roman mosaic that depicts bikini girls.

Over the years, bikini became more and popular and today we can find it all fashion shops.

The precursor of bikini was a band called strophium (or fascia, fasciola, taenia, and mamillare), probably a long piece of cotton or linen cloth wrapped around the breasts to hold them or even compress them. It was a typical item in female underwear. The bottom, however, was not a normal element of underwear of the Roman citizen because the subligar was worn by athletes or slaves.

Ancient Roman Women Wore Bikini In 1400 B.C.

The ancient Roman women were athletes. 

During an excavation of the ancient Roman villa near Piazza Armerina in Sicily archaeologists found an intriguing mosaic that depicts ancient bikini girls.  The Villa Romana del Casale on Sicily today is a UNESCO world heritage site, containing a collection of Roman mosaics that is considered one of the finest yet discovered.

In the artwork "Coronation of the Winner" done in floor mosaic in the Chamber of the Ten Maidens 10 bikini girls are depicted engaged in a number of activities, such as long jumping with weights in their hands, throwing discus, running and playing a form of handball.

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One girl is wearing a transparent golden dress and holding a crown over the head of an athlete, while presenting her with a victory palm. To produce an image that has a depiction of a transparent garment in a design discipline fashioned from tiny stones pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials, requires talent and hard work.

This fantastic artwork dates back to the Diocletian period (286-305 AD). Similar mosaics have been discovered in Tellaro in northern Italy and Patti, another part of Sicily.

It is often said that there is nothing new under the Sun and it’s certainly true when it comes to the invention of bikini.