Today is Actually the 1700th Anniversary of the Bikini, not the 66th | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Today is Actually the 1700th Anniversary of the Bikini, not the 66th

July 5th, 1946 is classically regarded as the birth date of what we now call the bikini. But that version of history misses the long view.

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Bikini-clad women adorn a mural in the Villa Roma de Cesale. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

July 5th, 1946 is classically regarded as the birth date of what we now call the bikini. Designed by Jacques Heim, the two-piece suit was given its name just a year later by another frenchman, Louis Réard.

But that version of history misses the long view. From A History of Women’s Suits, the true story of the bikini,

…begins in the 4th century when the Villa Roma de Casale in Sicily was decorated with the first known representation of women wearing bathing suits. As the Roman mosaic-makers would have it, those early Sicilian women were portrayed exercising in what appears to be bikini-like suits, bandeau top and all.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Swimsuit Series, Part 1: A History of Women’s Suits

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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