Why in the middle Ages women wore the iron mask.
The middle ages is known for its sophisticated torture and humiliation “of peace,” and iron mask, which was worn on the women of the middle and low class, too, of course, was used only “for good cause.”.
The sixteenth-century, Scotland. The mask is kept in the Museum of Glasgow.
Iron mask was similar to a bridle, which they put on horses to control their behavior. And women at that time tried using such masks to “teach wisdom.” If a woman was accused of backbiting or spreading rumors, it could make such a terrible “outfit” and spend through the entire settlement is the so-called “walk of shame.” Usually a woman led by the leash by her husband. Since she dared to desecrate his honor, so he it and will punish such behavior was regarded as quite logical. The husband led his wife to the mask through the main square and the gathered people called him a woman screamed at her hurtful words and spat in it.
The eighteenth century, the mask is now in a Museum in Berlin.
Despite the brutality of this punishment, slander and gossip were not then considered so serious a crime to use physical violence. People in the main square were not allowed to throw stones at the accused or any way to push it. It was believed that a woman is not responsible for the language – it is as if by itself. And therefore penalized rather the mouth of a woman than she is.
Mask with a bell – thus the punishable woman was attracted more attention.
For this reason, most of the masks had a small metal “pull tab”: put the mask on, the tongue was in the mouth of a woman, not giving her a chance to speak. For the most skvernoslovit persons had a special mask that has the tongue spikes, so that even attempt to say anything led to injury. But then again – nothing personal, “all punishment gets the language, not the woman.”
Lithograph 1885. A masked woman in New England.
The first mention of such a punishment belongs to 1567 and it was in Scotland. This barbaric tradition was spread mainly in the UK, but eventually also became popular in Germany, where the woman, in addition to the mask, another wore a bell that was ringing during the passage of the “road of shame.”
Mask with iron tongue, which was supposed to immobilize the language of women.
Interestingly, such were punished only women, only poor women. To backbite and spread rumors among the aristocracy was not considered shameful, and the punishment for this speech could not be. On the other hand, women who had to walk in the iron mask through the town again, we can say, relatively lucky. At that time, and not the wrong time for the spoken word could have been to get accused of witchcraft and to be burned alive at the stake.
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