Men Wearing Earrings A Century Ago

As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
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Men Wearing Earrings A Century Ago

Postby ddevirgilio » 06 Aug 2012, 21:43

My family is from Molfetta in Puglia, and I've often heard that my 2nd great-grandfather and other men of his generation often wore an earring. Does anyone know if this had specific cultural significance? Was it simply a fashion statement?

Thanks,
Damian
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Re: Men Wearing Earrings A Century Ago

Postby carinthiangirl » 14 Aug 2012, 19:52

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molfetta
http://maps.google.at/maps?hl=de&cp=5&g ... CBEQ8gEwAg
as Molfetta is at sea (and not so far away from Greece) maybe this possibility:
...Among sailors, a pierced earlobe was a symbol that the wearer had sailed around the world or had crossed the equator. In addition, it is commonly held[citation needed] that a gold earring was worn by sailors in payment for a proper burial in the event that they might drown at sea. Should their bodies have been washed up on shore, it was hoped that the earring would serve as payment for "a proper Christian burial". Regardless of this expression, the practice predates Christianity and can be traced back as far as ancient Greece where the gold paid the ferryman, Charon, to provide passage across the river Styx to Hades.....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earring

german wikipedia states also the history about sailors and the results of this later:
Der von Männern getragene Ohrring
earrings worn by men
....Den Brauch der Seeleute hat man damit erklärt, dass die Kosten eines christlichen Begräbnisses für einen unbekannten Ertrunkenen mit seinem goldenen Ohrring gedeckt werden sollten....
....the custom of sailors has been explained by the fact that the cost of a Christian burial for an unknown drowned would be covered with his gold earring....

....Erst mit der französischen Revolution, als das Bürgertum Elemente der Sansculottenmode übernahm, scheint neben der Röhrenhose der Matrosen auch deren Ohrring als demonstratives Zeichen revolutionärer Gesinnung salonfähig geworden zu sein. Bei Soldaten und Kleinbürgern blieb er in Frankreich noch bis in die zweite Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts verbreitet....
....at the French Revolution, when the bourgeoisie took over elements of Sansculottenmode, in addition to the sailors pants seems the earring as a demonstrative character of revolutionary sentiment to have become socially acceptable. in France at soldiers and young people, until the second half of the 19th Century usual....

....Von Seeleuten, Fischern, Flößern, Gauklern und Schaustellern wurde der Ohrring auch dann noch gern getragen, als er selbst beim Kleinbürger nach der Mitte des Jahrhunderts aus der Mode gekommen war....
by sailors, fishermen, rafters, jugglers and showmen was the wearing of earring liked still than when it came out of fashion at the lower middle class to the middle of the century ....
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohrring#De ... ne_Ohrring

sorry for my english ;-)
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Re: Men Wearing Earrings A Century Ago

Postby ddevirgilio » 14 Aug 2012, 20:04

Thanks! This makes a lot of sense! Many of my ancestors were mariners. Plus, there are many cultural links to Greece in Puglia.
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