When did people begin to pierce their ears?

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Piercing the ears to wear earrings goes back to prehistoric times. The ancient East Indians, Medes, Persians, Egyptians, Arabians, and Hebrews wore earrings.

Earrings became expensive and artistic ornaments in ancient times. The Etruscans, for example, made gold earrings that took the form of flowers, fruits, vases, shields, rosettes, crescents, peacocks, swans, and so on. The Greeks made beautiful gold earrings, and even put them on statues of the goddesses. In those days, Greek men wore earrings until they reached the age of adolescence.

The ancient Romans copied the Greeks in wearing earrings, and some of the Roman women had very expensive ones made with pearls and jewels. Roman men began to pierce their ears to wear earrings, and this became so popular that in the 3rd century A.D. the Roman emperor issued an edict forbidding men from doing so.

After the Middle Ages, men began to wear earrings in the left ear only. Then the hair styles for men and women changed; and when hair was worn long and over the ears, earrings went out of style. But they came into vogue again in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Earrings for women have been popular ever since that time. Earrings for men have not been popular in recent times, but there are certain groups that still wear them. Those include gypsies, sailors, and some men in Italy and Spain. At one time, doctors said that it was good for ears to be pierced, but they no longer believe that it helps the ear.