Jul 23, 2012
Medieval Mondays: The Oldest Bras in the World
I try to give you lots of interesting information in my Medieval Mondays posts. Apparently everyone is most interested in the oldest condom in the world because that's by far my most popular post. So in the same vein, here's the oldest bra in the world. It was found in an Austrian castle a few years ago along with three others. They came to light during an excavation at Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol and were found amidst a pile of other clothing in a vault that was sealed off in the late 15th century. It was previously thought that bras didn't date before the 19th century, although there are vague references in medieval literature to “bags for the breasts” or “shirts with bags". I couldn't find any copyright-free images of these bras, so I'm embedding a new story from YouTube on them. Like most TV news stories, this one has a mistake. The second piece of clothing they show, which looks like a set of women's panties, isn't a bra and isn't even a women's garment. It's male underwear. According to an article on Medievalists.net, only men wore underpants because it was a sign of "male dominance and power." Why? I'm not so sure. I guess it's more that women didn't wear underwear and that made them vulnerable to knights with no sense of chivalry.