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The History of Body Piercing – Interesting Facts

Piercing is an ancient form of body modification. Almost every culture has practiced it at some point and today piercing is widespread in Western Europe and America and quite popular in other countries.

It is recorded that ancient Egypt was the first place where a perforated mummified body was found. The ear piercing on it is said to have been made more than 5000 years ago. There were large caliber plugs in the ears of this body. Certain types of body piercings in ancient Egypt were restricted and even the royal family followed those rules. The interesting fact about navel piercing is that only Pharaoh had the right to pierce his navel. And any man who did or would get his navel pierced would be executed. Upper-class Egyptians had the right to wear earrings, thus showing off their wealth.

Even in the Bible there are some words about piercing. In biblical times, piercing was a sign of attractiveness and status.

The Romans pierced their bodies not for beauty but for a practical purpose. They had nipple piercings to indicate their virility and strength. The pierced navel of men symbolized patient dedication to the Roman Empire and courage and even Julius Caesar had pierced nipples. Gladiators had genital piercings through the head of the penis to prevent serious injury in combat. They tied the organ to the testicles with a leather strap that was held by the ring on the penis.

In the ancient tribes of Mayans, Aztecs and American Indians, tongue piercing was part of their religious rituals. They believed that the bloodletting ritual of tongue piercing brought them closer to their gods. Septum piercing in the Mayan and Aztec warrior tribes was done to scare enemies. They also wore gold or jade labrets on their lips to show their attractiveness and enhance sexuality. In the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, septum piercing was also widespread. They used bone, feather, and fangs for that purpose. So did women in Central and South America. The holes in her lips stretched to unbelievable sizes and that was thought to be very attractive.

During the Middle Ages, the medieval church restricted piercing and this type of body modification died out. But during the Renaissance the piercing returned. It was widespread among sailors to pierce one of the ears. First, it showed his long-distance adventures, and second, the gold earring was the price for the proper Christian burial of a sailor who died in the shipwreck and was found on shore. Noblemen during the Elizabethan era had at least one pierced ear. Pierced nipples with sparkling rings and chains linking both nipples were common among royal women. The upper layer of society in Europe at the time and later pierced their nipples and genitalia for both aesthetic reasons and delicious pleasure.

Victorian era piercing was the time when piercing began to catch on with newfound strength. The Prince Albert piercing is named after Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who had his penis pierced to wear the tight pants that were very popular at the time. Later, other types of genital piercings became popular with both men and women. At the end of the 19th century, almost all women had their nipples pierced. During the first half of the 20th century, ear piercings and other piercings all but disappeared and piercings regained their popularity in the 1960s when hippies started wearing nose studs. Later the interest in body piercings grew and celebrities, singers and sports stars began to make and display their piercings. And today every conceivable type of piercing is available.

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