If It Weren’t For 13th Century Townies, We Would All Be Ignorant & Unhygienic
As reported in The Guardian by Martin Wainright we have the development and adoption of drawers, or if you like, knickers or underwear in the 13th century as possibly the single, defining event, that lead to world literacy. As reported by Wainright, according to medieval historians, underwear ranks right up there with the printing press in terms of spreading knowledge:
Rags from discarded pants and knickers led to a 13th century breakthrough in the making of cheap paper, undercutting expensive parchment.
Research into fashion habits has shown that the use of underwear increased dramatically after 1200, both on the continent and in England, as more people moved into towns. The International Medieval Congress heard yesterday that the rural habit of wearing nothing under a rough smock or leggings was frowned on as peasants developed into tradesmen and found themselves running shops with customers of the opposite sex.
“As underwear became more popular, so the supply of rags increased significantly,” Marco Mostert of Utrecht University told the conference in Leeds. “That in turn increased the amount of paper and brought knowledge within reach of a much wider audience.”
This all makes perfect sense to us here at BFD, as the world began to become “smaller”, as exploration and trade expanded from the 13th century through the beginning of the 18th century, as men in the habit of wearing drawers began building bigger and better boats and then sailing ships. By the end of the 18th century the New World had been colonized and the United States was born by efforts of men and women in knickers and union suits.
Then of course, as underwear fashion and technology grew and expanded, so did nations from the industrial age, through the modern age of commerce and communications:
In the 20th century underpants technology lead to the breakthroughs of science and technology that gave mankind the astro-diaper and space travel:
Having acquired knowledge, technology and riches over the centuries as underpants have evolved as a technological and artistic achievement of mankind, we came to the 21st century when the minimalist undergarment known as the thong was developed and grew popular:
Unfortunately, mankind then became doomed, as drawers became de-emphasized, and skimpier and skimpier, and trashier and trashier, man began regressing,
Famine, genocide, war and Global Warming took hold of the planet, and mankind began a slow, tortuous death:
All of these developments give one pause to stop and reflect, perhaps we would be better off, back in an earlier time: