History of pants #1 - how pants boosted literacy - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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End of Roman society, feudalism, rise of religious power, beginnings of the nation-state, renaissance (476 - 1492 CE).
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#1264309
How discarded pants helped to boost literacy
Martin Wainwright
Thursday July 12, 2007
The Guardian

The role of pants in the spread of western culture has been wrongly sidelined, according to medieval historians, who are starting to rank the underwear factor alongside the invention of printing.

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.

"Parchment really was a luxury item. For a few sheets, you had to kill a sheep and cure its skin in the same way as leather, and for a complete book, you'd be talking about quite a few sheep. Now the papermakers found themselves with all the old pants, and they produced a product which has lasted remarkably well."

Cheap paper was available when William Caxton set up England's first printing press in 1476. His work has long been credited with the dramatic spread of learning, but Dr Mostert said: "Paper deserves a share of the credit. Its development through the increase of rags undoubtedly helped to increase literacy."
User avatar
By Rojik of the Arctic
#1833470
So basically every time I ask my wife to remove her underwear the world gets a little bit sillier? Makes sense coz I stop making thinking straight at that point.
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By Potemkin
#1833606
This thread is pants.

Or in other words....

I'm in a pants thread. :p
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By QatzelOk
#1833616
I think maybe I misunderstood what "Middle Ages" meant in the title of this forum.

The article also leads me to reconsider all those protests (before my time) where women showed up to school IN PANTS, and then were expelled. Were these "feminists" actually protesting illiteracy?

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