The Chastity Belt

The Medieval Torture Museum

San Gimignano, Italy

This instrument dates back to 1400, when it appears in Italy under Francesco II from Carrara. It was mostly used in Italy, but it suddenly spread all over France as well.

There have always been three different interpretations about its possible use. Some historians even state that the chastity belt was not an instrument aimed at inflicting suffering but on the contrary a particular device to prevent women (for example when their partner was away for a long time) from the possible risk of being raped. As chastity belts were mostly made of precious materials (inlaid silver with engravings), some historians assert they were given to women as a present from their husbands or lovers in order to encourage them to be faithful.

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