On the origin of the pants.

German origin pants. gothic fashion. 15th century. Middle ages costumes

German fashion, late 15th century

On the origin of the pants by Max Marcuse.

The pants are the characteristic garment of the male sex. Its history reaches back to the earliest antiquity, as Persians and Hebrews wore long pants. They carried on the one hand, to the rough air-exposed Legs to protect them from cold, on the other hand, from the need to bare legs and genitals to escape the sight. The Greek and Roman costume was originally foreign to the pants, and put the Romans nothing more astounding than the Bottoms of the defeated Gallic of them. Therefore they called the conquered country braccata Gallia (Gallic-supporting trousers).

Teutonic costumes prehistoric period, third and fourth centuries. Prehistoric textile finds.

Fig. 1.,2.,3. Reconstructed Teutonic clothes

Ancient Teutons costumes

Ancient Germans, Teutons Clothing.

The original Germanic trousers consisted initially of loose cloth (See today’s puttees), later of two separate, sleeveless shaped, long stockings, which covered only the lower leg, the abdomen but left completely free. To cover the pubic area and thighs but usually a shorter long pants, “breaks” was called, worn, which was put in those long stockings. But even these are often summoned to the exposure, once the “bruche” slipped out of the pantyhose.
A passage in the Chronicle of Mainz from 1367 states that the dishonest parts already appeared when walking or sitting, and if someone is bent, the buttocks was visible. In the Middle Ages changed the fashion of trousers from the sense that they were sometimes long, sometimes short, sometimes well, sometimes worn tight. And with the development of fashion came to light as in the medieval women and among men with the intention of sexual incitement Exhibition and clear accentuation everywhere.
Already in 927 the Archbishop Adalbert summoned a synod of Reims, in which he inveighed against the shameless dress of the clergy. The priests wore trousers, he said, among other things, would have a width of six feet, yet because of the transparency of the material would escape even the private parts from view. No less “shameless” was the end of the 14th Century worn tight “breaks” through which the natural play of the muscles of the buttocks was visible down to the feet and the genitals clearly marked.

Indian pikemen. Military medieval clothing. 15th century fashion history.

Indian pikemen. 15th century

Persian general costume 15th century

Persian general 15th century

Italian Gothic costumes. Medieval fashion 15th century. Burgundy fashion era.

Italian costumes 1460 – 1500.

Around the middle of the 15th Century were sewn together, the two legs. As a result, but the narrowness of the pants, the voltage across the lower abdomen was unbearable, the pants were provided with a bib or a codpiece. The shape of these pants (braguettes) “seized the men what they should cover it, according to cheeky” (John Scher). The preachers were zealous of the Middle Ages in vain against this fashion, sought to imitate the external male genitalia.

Lackey runner costume. 15th century clothing. Renaissance era.

Lackey runner XV century.

Costume des Chevalier de l'Ordre de L"Etoile. .12th century costume. Middle ages knight

Costume des Chevalier de l’Ordre de L”Etoile. XIIe siècle. Règne de Louis VII.

The “Braguette” was originally a leather sheath, connected very separate from his pants and only through this node, or needles. She was originally a means of protecting soldiers in battle. This protected their genitals by a sponge always provided with a metal box, which was later replaced by a steel mesh and a leather pouch. Finally, these pants bibs made of linen and silk fabrics were made and then a part of the bourgeois clothing.
To draw even more attention to it, decorated it with ribbons, and even with gold and jewels. And even today, are the pants of leather pants bibs in Bavaria usually equipped with striking embroidery! These breeches in the bare knees of the sinewy and strong mountain man by the short pants and a necessary addition to be forming tight-fitting knee stockings (Stutzen, socks) to the eye made very apparent, was only re-declared in 1913 by the archbishop’s chair in Munich as immoral. Flags of leather pant-wearing men were denied the church’s consecration, even if this flag was religious pictures!

Royal Page costume. Reign Louis XII. 16th century. Medieval clothing

Page in the Reign of Louis XII., 1500.

The trousers as female garment can be found working as a costume for dairy maids or female oystercatchers. As the main item of clothing she is still worn today by women of the Eskimos and the Indo-Chinese and Mohammedans in three continents. And when riding a bicycle at the end of the last century, came into fashion, you could see almost more women in trousers than in skirts on the street. Despite this however, in 1911 by Frenchman Poiret used “Jupe – culotte” (Culottes), not naturalized in the women’s world because so wrote a lady … we lose the divided skirt, the interest of man on our bodies. “

Now, not only today but pants, but also lower – trousers, the “unspeakable” worn. The women’s trousers is much older. It is twice as old as the men’s underpants. Because even in the 18th Century were women, but only the dancers, like Casanova writes, “upon the exercise of their profession” trousers. That it was not before, and more generally, makes the many medieval dance prohibitions explained. So you had to be preferably limited to chastise dance. A general achievement were the only female trousers since the days of crinoline.

At that time, had as a result of the widely projecting skirts all women must wear trousers that reached almost to the ankles. Gradually they moved up higher and higher, and an elegant woman of today (1920), they may never reach below the knee, the most fragrant lace may still fall over.

Source: Max Marcuse (1877 – 1963), Handbook of sexology. Encyclopedia of natural, cultural and scientific sex education of the people, 1923.

Related:
(Ancient Egypt, Minoan, Assyria, Roman, Levante fashion history)




  1. Assyrian and Babylonian culture and fashion.
  2. Egyptian costume history.
  3. Minoan costume history.
  4. The Amazons.
  5. Ancient Roman costume history. B.C. 53 to A.D. 450..
  6. Ancient Costumes of the Persians and other Asiatics.
  7. Ancient Costume History of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and others.
  8. The Roman Tunica or Greek Chiton.
  9. The Roman Paenula. The cowl or hood.
  10. On the origin of the pants by Max Marcuse
  11. The Toga and the manner of wearing it.
  12. The Gallic and Gallo-Roman costume period.
  13. The shields of the Gauls. Clans in the Roman Empire.
  14. The Barbarian Invasions. The Migration Period in Europe, 395-527 A. D.
  15. Roman legionary in full armor.
  16. Roman Britain. Maps, Places, Tribes. Historical atlas.
  17. Celt and Roman. History of England 43 BC to 440 AD.
  18. Gallic and Gallo-Roman helmets of Celtic warriors.
  19. The Roman Paenula. The cowl or hood.
  20. Roman, Greece and Egypt. The Corset and the Crinolin fashion history.
  21. Frankish Merovingian costume history. 4th and 5th century.
  22. Byzantine costume history. 5th to 6th century.
  23. The Carolingian fashion period 752-987. Reign of Charlemagne.
  24. The Carolingian Fashion Period 987 to 1270.
  25. Europe in the time of Charles the Great 768 – 814. Maps and Places.
  26. Alfred the Great. The first English king.
  27. King Harold II. Last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
  28. Monachism. Monastic costumes history.

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