Saturday, August 18, 2012

More on Medieval Breast Control

Medieval Silkworks has a nice collection of written sources on the subject, including a quote from the Roman de la Rose. Here is the original French and my own translation.
Et s'elle a trop grosses mamelles,
Prengne couvrechief ou touailles,
Dont sur le pis se face estraindre,
Et tout autour ses cottes ceindre;
Puis atachier, couldre et nouer,
Lors se peut bien aller jouer.

And if her breasts are too big,
Let her take a kerchief or cloth
To bind them against her chest
And wrap it all around her ribs,
And then to fasten it, stitch it up and tie it,
Then she may well go to her sport.


Tracy said...

I think I'd translate "Puis atachier, couldre et nouer" as "Puis attacher, coudre et noeud": Then tie, sew and knot.

Also, touailles is OF for towels. Makes sense when you think about the length of medieval towels.

I'm glad you are finding written citations.

Will McLean said...

Thank you, Tracy. I think translating touailles as towels in OF is too explicit. It can mean towels, but also napkins, altarcloths and blindfolds.

Attacher could be tie, but it has other, more general senses of fastening, as in a belt or lock.