The kestos or bra

When Hera wants to seduce Zeus with the aim of sending him to sleep so that he won’t notice that she is helping the Greeks against the Trojans against his wishes, she goes to Aphrodite and asks for her help. Aphrodite gives her an stitched embroidered band. Later this band became part of the mythology of Aphrodite and was called the kestos – the word for stitched. This is where it is originally mentioned.
ἦ, καὶ ἀπὸ στήθεσφιν ἐλύσατο κεστὸν ἱμάντα
ποικίλον, ἔνθα δέ οἱ θελκτήρια πάντα τέτυκτο:
ἔνθ᾽ ἔνι μὲν φιλότης, ἐν δ᾽ ἵμερος, ἐν δ᾽ ὀαριστὺς
πάρφασις, ἥ τ᾽ ἔκλεψε νόον πύκα περ φρονεόντων.
τόν ῥά οἱ ἔμβαλε χερσὶν ἔπος τ᾽ ἔφατ᾽ ἔκ τ᾽ ὀνόμαζε:
τῆ νῦν τοῦτον ἱμάντα τεῷ ἐγκάτθεο κόλπῳ
ποικίλον, ᾧ ἔνι πάντα τετεύχαται: οὐδέ σέ φημι
ἄπρηκτόν γε νέεσθαι, ὅ τι φρεσὶ σῇσι μενοινᾷς.
Iliad 14.214
She spoke and undid the stitched embroidered band from her breast where she kept all her charms. In it were love, desire, flirting, seduction which steal the minds of even the very sensible. She put it her hands and said to her “Put this stitched embroidery in which all things are kept into your bosom. I do no think that you will go without achieving what your heart desires.
Later Kestos (stitched) became a noun and the word for this band. As in this passage where it is unhooked not from the general chest area (or loosely breast) but from the actual breasts. It has transformed itself into a sort of bra.
antiphanes
αὐτή σοι Κυθέρεια τὸν ἱμερόεντ᾽ ἀπὸ μαστῶν,
Ἰνώ, λυσαμένη κεστὸν ἔδωκεν ἔχειν,
ὡς ἂν θελξινόοισιν ἀεὶ φίλτροισι δαμάζῃς
ἀνέρας: ἐχρήσω δ᾽ εἰς ἐμὲ πᾶσι μόνον.
Greek Anthology 6.88
Cythera (Aphrodite) herself undid the lovely kestos (stitched) from her breasts and gave it to you, Ino, so you could always conquer men with your seductive charms but you used it on me only among all men.
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The kestos or bra

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s