Photo by The Art Archive/Archaeological Museum Salonica/Dagli Orti.

The wine god Dionysus languidly reclines in an arbor of grapevines in this detail from a 3-foot-tall, fourth-century B.C. gilded bronze crater from northern Greece. Although not visible in the photo, Dionysus is shown completely (and graphically) naked—which was common for men in the Greco-Roman world, but not for women, who were depicted more circumspectly. Strangely, this was reversed in the ancient Near East, where female gods were depicted graphically naked while male gods were depicted clothed. In “The Naked and the Nude,&rd Larissa Bonfante asks, What did the ancients think of the naked body? And why the uproar today?