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Codpiece: When the Cure is Worse Than the Disease.

Invented in the 15th century, the codpiece's initial purpose was to preserve men’s modesty (“cod” meant scrotum). However, by the 16th century, the modest pouch grew into somewhat of a fashion statement, as well as a whopping symbol of virility and masculinity. We can safely assume the codpiece eventually became a measuring device of sorts as later designs indicate padding and enlarging of questionable proportions.


While Henry VIII and many of the Italian royalty were famously proud wearers, I came across the thing during my research of Landsknechts — Germanic mercenaries of that historical period.


Warning: You will not be able to unsee the following images :)


Codpiece, 15th century, 16th century
Parmigianino, Pedro Maria Rossi, Count of San Secondo, 1535-39. (Source: Pinterest)

Codpiece, 15th century, 16th century
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. (Source: Pinterest)

Codpiece, 15th century, 16th century, Henry VIII
Hans Holbein, Portrait of Henry VIII, 1547. (Source: Pinterest)

Codpiece, 15th century, 16th century
Agnolo Bronzino, Portrait of Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, 1530-32. (Source: Pinterest)


Codpiece, 15th century, 16th century, Landsknecht
Landsknecht Art. (Source: Pinterest)

 



 



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