What makes a person fit to be a king? In some cultures' mythology, it's as easy as pulling a sword out of a stone. In others, you have to go through the awkward process of killing your father and marrying your mom. But in the ancient Irish tradition, there was no greater royal mark than having the ability to make men nestle at your bosom and give your royal nipples a proper tweak.
Countless folks throughout history have had to prove their subservience to king and country by taking a knee and kissing the ring. But the ancient Irish may have preferred instead to have vassals kiss nature's ring, i.e., the
butthole areola. "Sucking a king's nipples was a gesture of submission in ancient Ireland," claims Eamonn Kelly, keeper of antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, a simple confirmation of the feudal parent-child dynamic. This dominant nipple play is confirmed in the writing of Saint Patrick, who proudly refused to suck the nipples of his slaver captors in a garish display of absolute power over their new servant.
Other evidence, aside from the word of a snake-charming saint, lies with the Irish focus on fertility. The ancient Irish religion focussed heavily on communion with the goddess of the earth. (Possibly Danu or Anu). Irish kings were symbolically wedded to the goddess and regarded as the physical manifestation of fertility and plenty -- which has a creamily rich tradition of being symbolized by the breast. However, a few rainstorms or failed crops would be all it took for the people to turn on their king, who would soon find no-one willing to put their lips on the royal nips.
According to Kelly, failed kings, but also fallen princelings and defeated pretenders all risked having their heir-y nipples cut off to symbolize they had lost the right to rule in this life and the next. These perils of having high-status nipples can be inferred from bog bodies, the mummified Celtic corpses found in Ireland's peat bogs. Old Croghan Man, an ancient mummy whose rich diet and manicured fingernails would indicate a royal lifestyle, was found to be ritualistically executed, with part of that ritual having been the removal of the noble nipples. A warning to all that in the game of thrones, you either win or get your nips sliced off.
For more exaggerated use of the word "nipple" until it has lost all meaning, do follow Cedric on Twitter.
Top Image: Andrew Birrell, Henry Fuseli