Based on Roman art and literature, small breasts and wide hips were the ideal body type for women considered alluring by Roman men.[151] Roman art from the Augustan period shows idealized women as substantial and fleshy, with a full abdomen and breasts that are rounded,[152] not pendulous.[153] Prostitutes depicted in Roman erotic art have fleshy bodies and wide hips, and often have their breasts covered by a strophium (a sort of strapless bra) even when otherwise nude and performing sex acts.[154] Large breasts were mocked as humorous or a sign of old age.[155] Young girls wore a strophium secured tightly in the belief that it would inhibit the growth of breasts,[156] and a regimen of massaging the breasts with hemlock, begun while a woman was still a virgin, was thought to prevent sagging.[157] Breasts receive relatively minimal attention in erotic art and literature as a sexual focus;[158] the breast was associated primarily with nursing infants and a woman’s role as a mother.[159] In times of extreme emotional duress, such as mourning or captivity in wartime, women might bare their breasts as an apotropaic gesture.[160]

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