The History of the Bikini

4th Century Roman mosaic from Villa Romana Del Casale, in Sicily
Richard Ashworth / Robert Harding World Imagery / Corbis

Roman Gymnasts
Contrary to popular belief, the bikini was actually an ancient invention, as illustrated by this 4th century Roman mosaic from Villa Romana Del Casale in Sicily, Italy. Going back even further, two-piece garments were worn by women (for athletic purposes) as early as 1400 B.C. and are depicted on Greek urns and paintings from that period.

Get the Latest Photos from
Get TIME photos and pictures of the week delivered directly to your inbox.