The Parliament of Women

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The Parliament of Women is "an allegorical sixteenth-century description of the wisdom and magic that belongs particularly to women." It was put up for sale when the library of the Duke of Roxburghe was auctioned off in 1812 [28].


This being said, on the other, non-magical, side of the spectrum, the 16th century had other things to offer.
A guide written in 1505 contains ‘secrets’ about females that take political incorrectness to extremes.
Perhaps the worst of the advice is that ‘females are failed males’. The book, De Secretis Mulerium (On The Secrets Of Women), also suggests men wanting to check if a woman is a virgin should ask her to sniff a lettuce. If she then wants to go to the loo she is ‘corrupted’.
Other revelations include women being able to kill animals with a glance during their time of the month and odd food cravings in pregnancy being down to ‘evil humours’.
Husbands who want a male child are told to give their wives wine that contains the pulverised womb and intestines of a hare. Once pregnant, the female will have a girl if her left breast is bigger than her right, and a boy if it’s the right.
The book was found in the archives of the Royal Society of Chemistry in central London.
It is thought to have been written by Albertus Magnus, a theologian and ‘scientist’, and to have been given to a priest to help him understand women.
Strangely, the guide is seen as progressive compared with earlier ideas about men’s other halves.
‘The author aimed to provide information enabling men to avoid women instead of putting them to death, as had been urged by earlier writers,’ said Helen Rodnite Lemay, who translated the book from Latin.
‘Nevertheless he sets down a rationale eventually to justify torture and burning at the stake.’

[File:http://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/article-1303805164244-0bc6671300000578-933442_223x148.jpg Want to test a woman’s virginity? Make her sniff a lettuce!]

Want to test a woman’s virginity? Make her sniff a lettuce!