Timeline of non-sexual social nudity

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Young Spartans Exercising, depicted by Edgar Degas, Circa 1860

Prehistory - 1800[edit]

  • 170,000 BP Humans first wore clothing, a date suggested by evidence based on Lice DNA which shows when the clothing louse first began to diverge genetically from the human head louse.[1]
  • 720 BC: According to one legend, an athlete, Orsippos of Megara who discards his loincloth wins his race at the Olympic Games. A variation of the legend asserts that the loincloth accidentally falls off a runner at the Olympics who trips on it, strikes his head, and dies.[2] So for reasons of either improved athletic performance or for safety, ancient Greek Olympic athletes compete naked.[3]
  • 393 AD: Students in ancient Greece exercised and received instruction naked and athletes competed naked. This tradition ends in 393 AD, when the Christian Emperor Theodosius I bans the Olympic Games because he considers them Pagan.[5]
The Adamites, a Christian sect that practiced holy nudity, date back to the 2nd century AD
  • 1st century AD: Historian Diodorus Siculus records that the Celts commonly fought naked in battle.[6] Nudity is mentioned several times in the New Testament, although none of the examples give it the sexual meaning it carries today. For example refusal to wear clothes could be a sign of insanity during this period.[7] Nakedness was also used as a symbol of poverty or vulnerability [3] [4]. There are a few New Testament references to actual nudity, such as (Mark 14:52) in which a young man runs away naked from the Garden of Gethsemane, and (John 21:7) where Peter is described as naked while he is fishing. Some say that the term means semi-naked, arguing that it is unlikely that a Jewish person would go completely unclothed in public, although others argue that fishermen in the Sea of Galilee did actually work naked [5].
  • 100 AD to 18th century - the Adamites, were adherents of an Early Christian sect that flourished in North Africa in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries, but knew later revivals. They practiced "holy nudism", claiming that its members were re-established in Adam and Eve's state of original innocence.
  • 201 - 1500 AD: The first known liturgy of baptism, recorded by Saint Hippolytus of Rome in the early 3rd century, insists on complete nudity for all participants, even down to the removal of jewellery and hair fastenings [6]. Baptism was later segregated by sex, as indicated by a scene depicted on a 5th-century lead font [7], but still conducted on an unclothed participant. Christian groups, including the Adamites, Carpocrations, Aquarii, and Marcosians all practiced social nudity.[5][citation needed]
  • Cica 1050 AD: Leofric, Earl of Mercia, imposed a heavy tax burden on the citizens of Coventry, England, to support his grandiose public works. According to legend, his wife Godgyfu begged him to reduce the tax, and he told her that she had to ride naked through the city's market before he would do it. Godgyfu, remembered as Lady Godiva, accepted the challenge.[8]
  • In Kamakura era (1185–1333) Japan, religious bathing was provided to the public free of charge, with no concept of gender segregation. After the collapse of free services, a for-pay system emerged which later evolved to become the modern day sentō.

1800 - 1899[edit]

Finnish Sauna(1802)
  • 1840s: Nude bathing was common on the beaches of the United Kingdom by this decade.[5]
  • 1868: Approximate year of the introduction of the swimming-costume. Most swimming, if not all, was done naked up to this point, because wearing clothing of any sort was extremely cumbersome and thus dangerous to the swimmer.[9]
  • 1870s: The diary of Rev. Robert Francis Kilvert, documents the transition in Victorian England from the acceptance of nude bathing to the mandatory use of swimming-costumes. In an 1874 entry, Kilvert notes being brought "a pair of very short red and white striped drawers to cover my nakedness" after he had finished bathing at Seaton, and being so "unaccustomed to such things and customs" that he had "set at nought the conventionalities of the place".[10]
  • 1874: While surfing developed across Polynesia as a nude activity, it remained so only until 19th century missionaries forced the natives into covering themselves. This dress code, however, was often ignored; a British engraving from 1874 shows a set of waves being ridden by nearly a dozen Hawaiian surfers, male and female, all of them naked.[11]
  • 1891 Earliest known naturist club in the world. Founded by Charles Edward Gordon Crawford, District and Sessions Judge for the Bombay Civil Service at Thana, India.[12]

1900 - 1974[edit]

The Doukhobors, a sect of Russian origin marching nude in a protest in Langham, Saskatchewan, Canada, 1900s
  • 1926: Societe Internationale de Gymnosophie founded by Kenne D'Mongeot in France[17]
  • 1927: The New Gymnosophy first edition published. Author: Dr. Maurice Parmelee Publisher: F.H. Hitchcock NY[18]
  • 1929: The American League for Physical Culture was formed.[13]
  • 1931: Héliopolis, Europe's first town dedicated to naturism, founded on the Île du Levant, a French island off the coast of the Riviera, near Toulon, by Doctors Gaston and André Durville.
Organised nudism. Postcard of the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony, San Diego, California. (1935)
  • 1933: In Germany, Nazi edict banned many nudist organizations; but nudists re-formed as "sports" groups and were re-legalized.[22]
  • 1934: Men begin going bare-chested on crowded Long Island, New York, public beaches, despite the threat of arrest.[5] At the time, full-body swimming attire was mandatory.
  • 1936: Male bare-chestedness is made legal in the United States.[5]
  • 1969: 300 individuals participate in a massive naked "wade-in" at a Danish beach. As a result, the vast majority of Denmark's beaches become clothing-optional.

1975 - 1989[edit]

Nambassa hippie festival New Zealand 1978
  • 1976-1981: The Nambassa festivals in New Zealand, where thousands enjoy the festivals in little or no clothing.
  • 1976-07-28: A nude beach picnic and photo shoot is organized during Memorial Day weekend in front of the World Trade Center at "a temporarily barren, enormous construction sandfill directly on the Hudson River near Wall Street". [source: N 19.3]
  • Beachfront USA established a beach nudism organizing and advocacy forum in Los Angeles, CA, USA[when?]
  • 1985: The University of Michigan's "Naked Mile" is first organized—a run by streakers marking the last day of classes in winter. It was started by a handful of students and later grew to around a thousand participants annually. The event was cancelled in 2003 after concerted action by police and the University of Michigan administration. [source: Paul Rapoport Dec 2003]

1990 - 1999[edit]

NakedBerlin Group of nude men among hundreds of tourists at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate; photographed by Team Henning von Berg.
  • 1991: Gwen Jacobs goes topless in Guelph, Ontario, Canada on a hot day. She was eventually acquitted of public indecency in 1996 by the Ontario Court of Appeal on the basis that the act of being topless is not in itself a sexual act or indecent.[28] While this decision was only binding within Ontario, it is considered highly influential, and has been referenced and upheld several times, including in other jurisdictions.
  • 1992: Photographer Spencer Tunick starts documenting the live nude figure in public.
  • 1992: Peter Cleall addresses the Brighton Solidarity Network while naked.
  • 1992-09: Andrew Martinez attends a class—Russian history—without clothes at University of California - Berkeley. [source N 12.2]
  • 1992-10-11: X-plicit Players go nude or topfree from Smokey Joe's Cafe on Shattuck Ave. to Cafe Milano on Telegraph to support NY topfree victory. [source N 12.2]
  • 1994 - 2002: Photographer "Harvey" photographs nudes in public urban environments. [source: Paul Rapoport]
  • 1995: The Burning Man festival has since moved to Black Rock Desert, Nevada, with 4000 participants. The camp becomes the most populous settlement (albeit temporary) in Nevada's Pershing County, and is known as "Black Rock City".
  • 1997-04-06: The first demonstration in favour of Australian Belongil Beach becoming a nude beach.[29]
  • Early 1998: Two men and two women walked naked up Mt. Warning, as done similarly in 1996.[29]
  • 1998-08-24: Evangeline Godron swims bare-chested in the Wascana pool (not for the first time) in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. [source: TERA]
  • 1999-07-07: Photographer Henning von Berg organizes the world’s first and only-ever male nude photo shoot inside a parliament building as a social-political statement. The group photo series NAKED BERLIN – The Liberal Capital features six naked men inside the historical Reichstag building and at nine other famous landmarks in Berlin.[30]

2000 – present[edit]

NakedSydney Photographer Henning von Berg and his group of nude women in front of the Sydney Opera House, 2005
FEMEN in Ukraine, 2008
A Spencer Tunick Nude Installation, 2010
World Naked Bike Ride participants, 2013
  • 2003-12-06: The Durango Herald of Colorado reports that fifteen "mostly naked bike riders marked the 26th birthday of a friend with a streak through downtown Durango".[31]
  • 2005-02: Photographer Henning von Berg documents a group of naked women in Downtown Sydney, Australia. He takes photos in front of major touristic highlights, including the Commonwealth Bank, Hyde Park, Queen Victoria's statue, the National Treasure Bank, a leading TV broadcast studio, the iconic Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge.[32]
  • 2005-07-01: The first naked crossing of the European Alps.[33]
  • 2006-07-29: Daniel Johnson runs the entire length of the 5K UnitedHealthcare Torchlight Run at Seafair—wearing only bodypaint, socks, and shoes—in an attempt to encourage others to participate in a creatively adorned manner and to jumpstart a related event called the Jaybird Run.[34]
  • 2009-07-11: AANR coordinates a skinny dipping event at 3:00PM throughout North America. The event is recorded by The Guinness Book of World Records as "largest number of people simultaneously skinny-dipping".[35]

Repeating events[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Study of lice DNA shows humans first wore clothes 170,000 years ago, physorg, January 6, 2011 by Danielle Torrent
  2. ^ Swaddling, Judith (2002-02-19). "The Ancient Olympic Games". Live Online. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-08-08. 
  3. ^ "The Olympic Games". The History Channel. Retrieved 2006-08-08. 
  4. ^ http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/lycurgus.html Plutarch, the Life of Lygurgus
  5. ^ a b c d e f g [self-published source]Robinson, B. A. Nudism and Naturism, Introduction, history, glossary of terms. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (2001-11-26). Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  6. ^ Delaney, Frank (1986). The Celts. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 31. ISBN 0-316-17993-0. "Some have iron breastplates of chain mail while others fight naked!, and for them the breastplate given by nature suffices." 
  7. ^ Luke 8:27
  8. ^ "Lady Godiva: The naked truth". BBC News. 2001-08-24. Retrieved 2006-08-11. 
  9. ^ (2003). Travel Naturally, (49).
  10. ^ Cec Cinder. (1998). The Nudist Idea. Riverside, California: Ultraviolet Press.
  11. ^ Whiting, Sam (2003-10-05). "Maverick Matt Warshaw turns his passion into the definitive work on surfing". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-08-08. 
  12. ^ "A History of Naturism - Timeline". British Naturism. 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d http://open-site.org/Recreation/Nudism/History/
  14. ^ Siegelbaum, Lewis H. Soviet state and society between revolutions, 1918-1929. ISBN 978-0-521-36987-9.
  15. ^ Hamburg, Gary. Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism. The Teaching Company. ISBN 978-0-10-225024-4.
  16. ^ Russia: Down With Shame, Time Magazine, September 22, 1924.
  17. ^ Gymnosophy publication by American Gymnosophical Society Yale University Library
  18. ^ Adventures in Many Lands-Autobiographical Memoirs of Maurice Parmelee,Yale University Library
  19. ^ "The History of Fiveacres". Fiveacres Country Club. 
  20. ^ AGA statement-History,Purposeful Development and Philosophical Outlook-by Katherine & Herman Soshinsky-circa 1950,collection of Rock Lodge Club.
  21. ^ International Nude-Land Dec 1934 page30
  22. ^ Nudism in Nazi Germany: Indecent Behaviour or Physical Culture for the Well-being of the Nation
    Authors: Krüger A.; Krüger F.; Treptau S.
    Source: The International Journal of the History of Sport, Volume 19, Number 4, December 01, 2002, pp. 33-54(22)
    Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ PychCentral Nude psychotherpapy history by Marggarita Tartakovsky
  25. ^ Nude & Natural 18.4, more info in Cec. Cinder's The Nudist Idea.
  26. ^ DOWN TO EARTH CO-OP. The ConFest People
  27. ^ The Burning Man Project
  28. ^ Judgment C12668, R. vs. Jacob. Province of Ontario Court of Appeal. 1996-12-09. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  29. ^ a b c Charles MacFarland of Synetech Video, e-mail from Dec 2003
  30. ^ NAKED BERLIN – The Liberal Capital
  31. ^ Naked birthday celebrants elude Durango police
  32. ^ Montreal Mirror.
  33. ^ Article [2] by Richard Foley.
  34. ^ Jaybird Run
  35. ^ World Record Skinny Dipping

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Wight, Fred H. Manners and Customs of Bible Lands. Chicago: Moody Press. 1983