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The Female Breast and the History of Western Civilization Throughout the ages the female body has been revered as a work of art and beauty and as a source of life from which all people are born The breast is one of the most predominate features of a woman and stands out as a symbol of womanliness and livelihood Eroticism nourishment abundance hunger feminine power as well as feminine subservience are different contradicting themes of the breast played out in time Different repeating views of its importance and the way it should be displayed are used to reflect upon the views of women of the time and life in Western society in general At times it is near-worshipped as a sign of sexuality or as a sign of nourishment Other times it is secured down sometimes a sign of the inferiority of women or conversely as a sign of womens liberation and their equality to men Whether it is intentional or subconscious how the breast is viewed throughout history is a direct reflection of the views of the timeLegends about the breast have appeared in a variety of cultures Greek Indian and Native American myth all contain stories which involve biting a breast For example Hercules was said to have gotten his extra-human strength from biting the breast of Hera as an infant This and other such stories can be symbolic of an attack on Mother Nature or the earth goddess and of mans ability to overcome her Latteier 146 Women with multiple sets of breasts are a reoccurring theme in Western society symbolizing fruitfulness The Greek goddess Artenis of Ephesus had nearly twenty breasts on her chest Medieval Christian stories often involve the breasts and breast milk of the Virgin Mary Next to the blood of Jesus Christ her milk was the most holy and most miraculous of fluids its wonders retold in numerous poems stories and songs Yalom 44 She was said
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