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Re: Codpiece redux

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  • henrikofhavn
    Anyone care to document the current fashion of arming belts - especially white knight s belts in the SCA and why some are big and long, some times to the point
    Message 1 of 31 , Jul 1, 2007
      Anyone care to document the current fashion of arming belts -
      especially white knight's belts in the SCA and why some are big and
      long, some times to the point of having to be hitched up over the
      waist to prevent tripping?

      Henrik of Havn


      > Key to approaching this particular claim is to note two things:
      > 1. "Cambridge, Massachusetts _anthropologist_, Grace W. Vicary"
      > That is, this is the theory of someone who's primary scholarly
      > expertise is unlikely to be renaissance Europe, let alone European
      > renaissance costume history (even renaissance historians tend to
      > incredibly stupid things about costume history if they aren't
      > specialists, never mind anthropologists who spend most of their
      > studying some entirely unrelated time & culture)
      > 2. "All The Rage. ed. _Time-Life Books_"
      > That is, a mass market popular history (which tend to say
      > stupid things about their subject, either because they're recycling
      > old theories long ago abandoned by scholars as unsound, or else
      > because they mistook urban legend for history, otherwise decided to
      > include notions not supported by current, sound research, and/or
      > over-simplifying or simply garbling to the point of error) which
      > not even have accurately reported what Vicary actually claimed.
      > Linking cod-pieces to STDs has all the hallmarks of urban
      > legend/historical myth -- which is what happens when people who
      > know enough about a subject try to make it "make sense" based on
      > little they do know. Humans have an incredible drive to make things
      > "make sense", and if something doesn't make sense (as codpieces
      > to a modern 20th or 21st century person) they'll come up with
      > from their own experience (which usually means from their 20th or
      > 21st century experience, including all the other urban legends
      > the past, but can also be their experience as a scholar of some
      > unrelated time & culture) to explain it -- that is, they'll see
      > they can imagine, and they're imagination isn't based on all the
      > relevant historical evidence but on their own experience and
      > knowledge (however unrelated).
      > This is why criticism of historical works --whether they be early
      > 20th century costume books like Norris or late 20th century books
      > from Time-Life-- is so important. Every theory is not equal, and
      > many factors to consider when evaluating a claim include the
      > and expertise of the claimant (Norris, Vicary), the age of the
      > the nature/audience of the work (popular history, academic history,
      > etc.), and of course, especially, the evidence and logic
      > to support the claim (including consideration of what evidence is
      > being taken into account). The less of this last that is presented,
      > the more important the other considerations.
      > Finally, note that in evaluating a claim what you are evaluating is
      > not whether it is absolutely true, but whether it is something that
      > has been demonstrated, based on evidence and sound reason, to be
      > most reasonable conclusion (including consideration of how much
      > confidence we can have in the conclusion, again based on the
      > and sound reason, not the unknown absolute truth). For while in
      > studying history we are trying to get as close to the absolute
      > as we can (that is, as close as we can to what actually happened),
      > our only way of knowing and judging what actually happened is
      > evidence and sound reason. If it is not consistent with the
      > and sound reason, a conclusion is unreasonable -- even if God knows
      > that that is what actually happened. We aren't God, so we have to
      > work with the evidence we have, and have nothing but the evidence
      > have.
      > Which is to say that everyone who said there were no bananas in
      > London prior to the discovery of evidence of bananas in London were
      > right to say so, and those claiming without any evidence that there
      > were bananas in London were wrong to claim so. Only _after_ the
      > evidence for bananas in London was found was it reasonable to
      > conclude that there were bananas in London.
      > (Remember that for every lucky guess that we later find evidence to
      > support, there are millions and millions of bad guesses that we
      > never find evidence to support because they never actually
      > If you allow the former as acceptable, you are embracing the
      > too.)
      > So while I agree that people should qualify their remarks, this
      > doesn't mean people should not criticize others works/claims, or
      > all theories are equal, or that it's okay to base conclusions on
      > imagination rather than sound interpretation of the evidence.
      > Sharon
      > PS Vicary's article is apparently:
      > Visual Art as Social Data: The Renaissance Codpiece
      > Grace Q. Vicary
      > Cultural Anthropology. Feb 1989, Vol. 4, No. 1: 3-25.
      > (available from JSTOR for those who have access, which I
      > unfortunately dont:
      > <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0886-7356(198902)4%3A1%3C3%
      > Note that it is Grace _Q_ Vicary, not W.
      > --
      > Sharon Krossa, PhD - skrossa-yg@...
      > Resources for Scottish history, names, clothing, language & more:
      > Medieval Scotland - http://MedievalScotland.org/
      > Shopping Online? Help support! -
      > The most complete index of reliable web articles about pre-1600
      > The Medieval Names Archive - http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/
    • xina007eu
      ... Yes, like an additional pocket. I don t think people normally carried keys with them as there usually was somebody at home (at least in larger households).
      Message 31 of 31 , Jul 6, 2007
        --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Sandra Dodd <Sandra@...> wrote:
        > -=-
        > This is followed by a discussion of the codpiece as container, this
        > time with references to contemporary sources, codpieces as signs of
        > virility, and a description of her sources including contemporary
        > portraits.-=-
        > Container for things other than... the obvious?
        > Like keys and ID? Money?

        Yes, like an additional pocket.
        I don't think people normally carried keys with them as there usually
        was somebody at home (at least in larger households). They didn't
        have driving licenses and other ID back then. I don't know about
        passports - 18th and 19th century passports were large documents that
        one might slip inside one's coat or jacket and that one carried only
        when travelling abroad. Money and handkerchiefs, yes, this is
        Best regards,

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