The handshake dates back centuries. Archaeological remains suggest that handshakes were practiced in ancient Greece in the 5th century BC. It was a symbol of peace, indicating that he was not carrying a weapon.
In Berlin's Pergamon Museum, the most visited in Germany, a 5th-century funerary relic shows two soldiers shaking hands. On the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, a 5th-century stone slab depicts Hera and Athena shaking hands.
The Greek poet Homer describes shaking hands several times as a show of faith in his epics The Odyssey and the Iliad. During the Roman era, the handshake evolved into more of an arm grab.
Knights in medieval Europe may have added waving their hands up and down as a clever way to remove any hidden weapons.
Some historians suggest that the modern-day handshake was popularized by 17th-century Quakers, who believed the gesture was more equal than a hat tip or a bow.
In some 17th-century wedding portraits, husband and wife are seen shaking hands as a symbol of their legally binding commitment. From the Victorian era, etiquette guides instructed that the handshake should be firm.
While most English and Scandinavian countries prefer a firm handshake, in some countries an overly firm handshake is considered rude and aggressive. Some Asian countries prefer a softer touch.