Chastity belts as a historical fact have been discussed many times and have become the object of not only serious works, but also many memes and jokes. But did these things, whose task was to prevent adultery, really exist?
The main source cited by those who believe in the existence of these bulky torture devices is Konrad Kayseri’s 1405 book Bellifortis. This is an illustrated tract on military engineering. But the fact is that the book, like many other eras of the Middle Ages, is replete with metaphorical illustrations and plots. Like any other epic, in which the forces of nature personified powerful gods, the hero is the people, the antihero is the enemy, etc.
Where did the topic with the chastity belt come from? Until recently, it was believed that the task of a woman is solely to procreate, give birth and raise children. And it was impossible to think of any pleasures accompanying the process of conception. Women were even subjected to absolutely savage operations (and in some countries they still do this to this day) in order to kill their sensuality.
And the chastity belt – a terrible iron structure, which the knight solemnly attached to his wife in order to protect himself from horns, other people’s children and all sorts of ridicule, is even presented in many museums. By the way, a beautiful lady could die in anticipation of the return of her husband in the presence of such a contraption for one or two: after all, no one canceled the physiological needs. Rash, bedsores and a terrible smell are at least, and death from infection, gangrene, sepsis is the maximum of wearing such a chastity belt. And, then, no one canceled the sudden death of a knight in a foreign land. And then what?
Adherents of the existence of belts refer to engravings in which the knight leaves the castle, and around his neck hangs the key to the chastity belt of his wife, waving a handkerchief after her beloved. And at this time, a lover with exactly the same key is already peeping out of the bushes
Yes, allegory. It is she, because many paintings and engravings of this era were created on their basis. This does not mean that the author personally met with the angel and the devil before capturing them in the picture. These and other characters are symbolic personifications. And no more. Accordingly, such a plot is an allegory about adultery: they say, no matter what belt you hang on a woman, she will figure out how to get rid of it if she wants.
The tradition of chastity did exist in some countries. In some areas, mainly in rural areas. The girls who became brides, as a sign of fidelity to their future husband, wore a thin woven strap – something like an engagement ring. Sometimes he played the role of a kind of amulet or talisman. But nightmarish metal briefs with a lock are a fantasy that spread after the 16th century.