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Etymology[ edit ] The word virgin comes via Old French virgine from the root form of Latin virgogenitive virgin-is, meaning literally "maiden" or " virgin "—a sexually intact young woman  or "sexually inexperienced woman". As in Latin, the English word is also often used with wider reference, by relaxing the age, gender or sexual criteria. In the latter usage, virgin means uninitiated. The Latin word likely arose by analogy with a suit of lexemes based on vireo, meaning "to be green, fresh or flourishing", mostly with botanic reference—in particular, virga meaning "strip of wood".
Most of the OED1 definitions, however, are similar. The German word for "virgin" is Jungfrau. Jungfrau literally means "young woman", but is not used in this sense, anymore.
Instead "junge Frau" can be used. Jungfrau is the word reserved specifically for sexual inexperience. As Frau means "woman", it suggests a female referent. It is, however, dated and rarely used.
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The English cognate "maid" was often used to imply virginity, especially in poetry - e. Maid Marianthe love interest of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood in English folklore. German is not the only language to have a specific name for male virginity; in French, male virgins are called " puceau ". Although typically applied to women, like English, it is also applied to men, in both cases specifically denoting absence of sexual experience.
When used of men, it does not carry a strong association of "never-married" status. This distinction is necessary due to there being no specific word for wife or husband in Greek. By extension from its primary sense, the idea that a virgin has a sexual "blank slate",  unchanged by any past intimate connection or experience,  can imply that the person is of unadulterated purity.
Concept[ edit ] The concept of virginity has significance only in a particular social, cultural and moral context. According to Hanne Blank"virginity reflects no known biological imperative and grants no demonstrable evolutionary advantage.
They argue that no standardized medical definition of virginity exists, there is no scientifically verifiable proof of virginity loss, and sexual intercourse results in no change in personality. The traditional view is that virginity is only lost through vaginal penetration by the penis, consensual or non-consensual, and that acts of oral sexanal sexmutual masturbation or other forms of non-penetrative sex do not result in loss of virginity. A person who engages in such acts without having engaged in vaginal intercourse is often regarded among heterosexuals and researchers as "technically a virgin".
Carpenter, many men and women discussed how they felt virginity could not be taken through rape. They described losing their virginities in one of three ways: And if you're a gay woman, then you're supposed to have oral sex, because that's what gay women do. And so those become, like markers, for when virginity is lost. In a peer-reviewed study by sociologists Peter Bearman and Hannah Brueckner, which looked at virginity pledgers five years after their pledge, they found that the pledgers have similar proportions of sexually transmitted diseases STDs and at least as high proportions of anal and oral sex as those who have not made a virginity pledge, and deduced that there was substitution of oral and anal sex for vaginal sex among the pledgers.
However, the data for anal sex without vaginal sex reported by males did not reflect this directly. Sexual initiation at an earlier age has been associated with: These medical consequences consist of an increase in STDs, cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, fertility and unwanted pregnancies. Its significance is reflected in expressions such as "saving oneself", "losing one's virginity," "taking someone's virginity" and sometimes as "deflowering.
Feminine sexual practices have revolved around the idea of females waiting to have sex until they are married. In those cultures, female virginity is closely interwoven with personal or even family honor, especially those known as shame societiesin which the loss of virginity before marriage is a matter of deep shame. In the past, within most societies a woman's options for marriage were largely dependent upon her status as a virgin.
Those women who were not virgins experienced a dramatic decrease in opportunities for a socially advantageous marriage, and in some instances the premarital loss of virginity eliminated their chances of marriage entirely. The Bible required a man who seduced or raped a virgin to pay her bride price to her father and marry the girl. In some languages, the compensation for these damages are called " wreath money ". Virginity test Some cultures require proof of a bride's virginity before her marriage.
This has traditionally been tested by the presence of an intact hymen which was verified by either a physical examination usually by a physician, who provided a "certificate of virginity" or by a "proof of blood," which refers to vaginal bleeding that results from the tearing of the hymen after the first sanctioned sexual contact. It is flexible and can be stretched or torn during first engagement in vaginal intercourse. However, a hymen may also be broken during physical activity. Many women possess such thin, fragile hymens, easily stretched and already perforated at birth, that the hymen can be broken in childhood without the girl even being aware of it, often through athletic activities.
For example, a slip while riding a bicycle may, on occasion, result in the bicycle's saddle-horn entering the introitus just far enough to break the hymen. Some call themselves born-again virgins. There is a common belief that some women are born without a hymen,   but some doubt has been cast on this by a recent study.
Some medical procedures occasionally may require a woman's hymen to be opened hymenotomy. Male virginity[ edit ] Historically, and in modern times, female virginity has been regarded as more significant than male virginity; the perception that sexual prowess is fundamental to masculinity has lowered the expectation of male virginity without lowering the social status.
In one study, scholars Wenger and Berger found that male virginity is understood to be real by society, but it has been ignored by sociological studies.
The Pigeon as a Source of Food: Ancient Dove Houses, Cappadocia Turkey Rock Doves are believed to have been domesticated by Neolithic man over 10, years ago, but it is likely that Stone Age man exploited pigeons for food much earlier.
The rock dove would have lived alongside Stone Age man, sharing caves and roosting and breeding on cliff faces alongside man, proving easy access to pigeon nests to take eggs and squabs pigeon chicks.
The first historical mention of domesticated pigeons being used for food was in Egypt in BC; a menu that included pigeon as a dish was found during an excavation. Early Clay Pigeon Breeding Pots During another excavation of an Egyptian tomb dating back to BC the remains of a funerary meal were found which included pigeon bones, further confirming that pigeons were used for food during this period.
During an excavation at Palestrina in central Italy a Roman mosaic was found, dating back to BC, depicting an early mud dovecote with entry holes in a thatched roof and pigeons flying around it and perching on it.
The mosaic shows the River Nile in the foreground and it has been suggested that the doves housed in the dovecote may also have been used to send messages giving advance warning of the flooding of the Nile. The Sicilian historian Diadorous, writing about an even earlier period circa BCalso described a mud building with a reed thatched roof that was used to house domesticated pigeons.
Dovecote in Karanis Egypt AD 65 Although little is known of the domestication of the pigeon in China, an excavation of a tomb at Chang-Chou, near Honan, dating back to the 1st century AD found pigeon lofts built into towers around a central courtyard. This appears to confirm that pigeons were domesticated over two thousand years ago in China and used either for food or for sacrifice, or possibly as messengers. In the same century, the Roman writer Varro, who wrote extensively about animal husbandry, described the domestic pigeon in some detail and the types of buildings in which they were housed.
His description of the interiors of the lofts or dovecotes are quite detailed, describing the ledges upon which the birds roosted and bred as well as the smooth surfaces around flight holes designed to deny access to predators. He also confirmed that pigeon cotes were numerous, with some housing as many as birds.
Pigeons were also mentioned in cookery books written by the Roman gourmet Apicius, dating back to the 1st century AD, confirming that the birds were considered to be a delicacy. The pigeon was also consumed both as a delicacy and as a part of the staple diet in Medieval England post 5th century.
The earliest remains of dovecotes found in Britain date back to the 12th century, with one early example uncovered during an archaeological excavation in Raunds, Northamptonshire.
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These early dovecotes were built mainly to service the culinary needs of monasteries, castles and manors, but were the sole preserve of the wealthy and almost certainly beyond the means of the poor.
In Medieval and Norman times the building of a dovecote was a feudal right restricted to lords of the manor, abbots and barons, with these privileges eventually extending down to the humble parish priest. Today very few of these structures remain intact. It must be assumed that the pigeon was farmed in quite large numbers from the 13th century onwards and this is confirmed in the domestic household records kept by Dame Alice de Breyne in Records of the daily provisions for the household included the following entry: Pigeons were also eaten in large numbers at banquets, and records of one banquet, held by the Earl of Warwick inconfirm that 4, pigeons were served.
In 16th century England, pigeon production for meat became commercial, with some pigeon farms housing anything up to 30, birds.
The wide popularity of pigeon meat resulted in the bird becoming part of the daily diet rather than being considered only as a delicacy. In the main it was the squab pigeon chick that was consumed, with young birds being killed at approximately 4 weeks old for the table.
Although most ancient dovecotes are believed to be round in shape, the 17th century saw rectangular and octagonal dovecotes being built, some with incredibly intricate designs and housing many thousands of birds. The interior of a dovecote is usually a large open space with the breeding cubicles or ledges in rows around the internal walls.
The birds would be encouraged to roost and breed within the structure, and as pigeons are quite prolific breeders, bringing up to 8 young into the world each year, competition for breeding cubicles within the cote would be high. Although pigeons were farmed in the main for meat, their by-products were also in great demand. This was particularly the case in the 16th century when pigeon excrement was found to contain saltpetre, a substance used in the manufacture of gunpowder.
As a result, pigeon excrement became even more widely prized than pigeon meat. In some cases, armed guards were posted outside dovecotes to stop thieves stealing pigeon excrement. Production of saltpetre from pigeon excrement ended in the late 18th century when saltpetre was Restored 17th Century Dovecote found to be naturally occurring in South America.
In the Middle East where eating pigeon flesh was forbidden dovecotes were built simply to provide manure for growing fruit and this practice continued for centuries. In France, Italy and Spain guano was used extensively on hemp crops and for the fertilisation of vineyards. In the 19th century the rearing of pigeons for meat fell into decline, which continued into the 20th century.
However, during the First World War the American government encouraged people to breed pigeon squabs for meat, telling them: Take little room, grow quickly, are easy to raise.
The pair of pigeons Noah took into the Ark could nest, hatch and raise a pair of squabs in the forty days the rain lasted. The eggs of pigeons hatch in 17 days. The squabs are ready to eat in three to four weeks. No other domestic bird or animal can make its meat product in so short a time and repeat 7 or 8 times a year. Nothing easier to raise. Nothing better to eat. Ironically, the pigeon is now wrongly perceived as a disease carrier, in the main as a result of commercial propaganda pumped out by the pest control industry, with America being the source of a majority of this misinformation.
However, it was less than years ago when Americans were told that there is 'nothing better to eat' than the pigeon, confirming absolutely the myth that the pigeon is a disease carrier.
Back to top Pigeons for Sport: The first historical mention of pigeons being used for the purposes of sport is in the Jewish Talmud AD — The Talmud is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history. Within the Talmud there is a definition of a pigeon trainer as being someone who deploys decoy birds to attract other birds from another loft or dovecote.
This reference suggests that the ancient pigeon flying sport of Triganieri, or a version of this sport, may have been first practiced as far back as AD The sport of Triganieri is thought to have originated in Modena in northern Italy during the 14th century.
Modena Pigeon The Modena breed of pigeon, as it is known today, was known as the Triganica when mentioned in the chronicles of Modena dating back to Breeders of the Triganica pigeon were known as Triganieri, the term that is now used to describe the sport itself.
Having originated in Italy, the sport became widely followed in many countries, including Persia, Spain and Egypt. The sport is still followed today, with references to it being actively pursued in New York. In the Turkish city of Urfa the sport can involve over flocks in a single event. The sport was normally undertaken by those pigeon keepers who owned rooftop pigeon loftsand highly organised events involved large numbers of participating pigeon keepers and birds.
Flights of pigeons were released at the same time and allowed to fly together before being brought back to their respective lofts by their owners, normally by signalling to the birds with flags and whistles.
Crimean Falconer The sport was usually amicable, with birds being returned to their rightful owners. However, the sport could be highly competitive, with rules for the game varying depending in what part of the world it was played. Dovecote-bred pigeons were commonly used for the sport of falconry. Of course hawks and falcons were commonly used to kill wild pigeons and in fact still are today in many countries worldwide, particularly the Middle East and the UK. Pigeons were also used to train falcons, using a live pigeon as a lure rather than the more common feathered lure.
Medieval Falconry When trying to catch a hawk or falcon that was reluctant to return to its handler, particularly when young birds were being trained, a live pigeon was sometimes tethered to a post in an effort to tempt the hawk back.
In Holland this method was also commonly used to tempt wild migrating raptors into traps for resale. At the end of the 17th century the sport of falconry started to die out with the advent of the firearm. Queen Elizabeth 1st Hawking, In the late 18th century, organised pigeon shooting became a popular sport in England, with tame dovecote-bred birds being used as targets.
Up to birds were used during one event. Later, organised pigeon shooting clubs were established, with the famous Hurlingham Club being founded in London in The birds that were used as targets in these shoots became quite highly prized, with members of clubs like the Hurlingham Club paying as much as half a crown per bird. Olympic Games Poster, Paris This was a considerable sum in and it therefore comes as no surprise to learn that members of these clubs were wealthy, with the sport attracting individuals from the House of Commons and the House of Lords and even royalty.
Incredibly, the Summer Olympic Games held in Paris in included live pigeon shooting as a demonstration event, but due to public outrage, it was never granted official status.
Even more incredible is the fact that over years after the shooting of domesticated pigeons for sport first started in England, the state of Pennsylvania in the USA continues the tradition.
Several shooting clubs in Pennsylvania host pigeon shoots where captive feral pigeons are released from traps and shot at point-blank range with automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
A majority of the pigeons sold to these clubs are feral pigeons that have been illegally netted for the purpose. Pest control companies also cage-trap feral pigeons for their clients, supposedly as a method of bird control, and sell the live birds to shooting clubs.
Pigeon Cage Trap Pigeon racing as we know it today is the sport most commonly associated with pigeons and a sport which is still enjoyed by large numbers of enthusiasts worldwide. The modern day sport of pigeon racing started in Belgium in and within 20 years had made its way across the Channel and was being enjoyed in the UK. Pigeon Loft Pigeons are released to fly over a carefully measured distance during a race and the time it takes the animal to cover the specified distance is then measured.
The bird's rate of travel is then calculated and compared with that of all the other pigeons in the race to determine Old Timing Clock which pigeon returned at the highest speed. The winner is the bird with the highest velocity. The calculation is the distance flown divided by the time taken. The traditional method of timing pigeons in a race is to place a rubber band on the leg of each bird — each ring has a unique serial number. From this timestamp an average speed is measured and the winner can then be identified.
As races can be won or lost by seconds rather than minutes, this system is not ideal. Furthermore, as the pigeon is aware that the removal of the ring may be uncomfortable, it may not be as willing as it might otherwise be to be caught by its owner to have the ring removed. Pigeon Racing Rings In an effort to update the system of recording arrival times, an electronic timing system is now more commonly used where the arrival of the bird is recorded automatically.
Each bird is fitted with a band that contains an RFID chip radio-frequency identificationwhich is automatically read as the bird arrives at the loft. A pad or antenna is placed at the entry point to the loft and this scans the RFID chip as the bird arrives.
The electronic clock is linked to the pad or antenna and the serial number on the transponder ring is recorded along with the precise time of arrival. In the early part of the 20th century, pigeons were transported to release sites in horse-drawn carriages, but today huge articulated lorries with all modern conveniences for both pigeons and owners transport thousands of birds to a single race.
Playboy won the mile Barcelona race ina high point in the pigeon racing calendar, and as a result Mr Van Roy had been inundated with offers for him. It is common for pigeons to fail to return home after a race, with large numbers of birds falling prey to exhaustion, weather conditions and birds of prey. Many of the survivors join feral flocks in urban areas and integrate quickly with feral birds.
Some experts believe that the considerable numbers of racing birds lost annually to feral flocks has a significant impact on the size of feral flocks and pigeon-related problems in urban areas. A major disaster befell tens of thousands of racing pigeons released from Nantes in France as part of a race held to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Racing Pigeon Association in England Pigeon Race Some 60, pigeons were released in Nantes but only a few birds ever arrived back at their lofts throughout southern England.
It is not clear what happened to the birds, or whether any survived, but one theory put forward is that the sonic boom created by Concorde as it flew over the English Channel, at the precise time the pigeons would have been at the same point, completely disorientated the birds and compromised their inbuilt navigation system.
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