However, the Romans did not pierce their nipples and the person behind the myth thought that it would simply make a great story!
How the Myth Started
This myth is largely popular due to a man named Richard Simonton, otherwise known as Doug Malloy. His theory after seeing the statue of Versailles was that the Roman Legionnaires must have pierced their nipples. To him the rings were clear signs that the nipples were pierced, however to others it just didn’t make sense.
However, that is not to say that the Romans knew nothing about piercings. In fact, a few breastplates have been found with piercings through them. So, there may have been one or two Legionnaires who pierced their nipples, but as a whole most of them didn’t.
The History of Nipple Piercing
Ancient tribes were thought to be responsible for the first nipple piercings. The tribes that lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas used to pierce both nipples with a small piece of cane. After the piercings were done they would cover their bodies in dirt and alligator grease to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Sailors from both Britain and America have also told of how they have had their nipples pierced after passing through a certain longitude. It was done as an initiation ceremony. However, it wasn’t until the 1950’s-1960’s that nipple piercing really took shape. It was a time for self experimentation and two men in particular are known to have made piercings popular. These include Jim Ward and Fakir Musafar.
It is female nipple piercing that has the most notable history. They can be dated back to the 14th century and it was Isabeau of Bavaria who introduced nipple piercing as low neckline costumes were introduced. These garments often went right down to the navel and eventually they were worn with boobs freely on show! 🙂
Well, nipple piercing has been around for a long time and it is possible that SOME Roman Legionnaires pierced their nipples. However, Doug Malloy has freely admitted that his findings make for a good story. So really it is simply a myth that all Roman Legionnaires pierced their nipples.