you are quite right. However there are two reasonable accounts
suggesting that menstrual cloths were not used by at least some people
and I've yet to see anything to say they were used before the modern era.
On the other hand, I'm sure it was a bit like handkerchiefs and runny
noses. Didn't the navy put buttons down the coats to prevent the wiping
of noses onto sleeves? Clearly implying some provided other means to
wipe their noses!
But the real test comes when society changes so that the red becomes a
problem. Obviously, we've gone away from rush mats to carpets which
probably largely explains the sudden emergence of menstrual pads in
But it happened before .... Can you imagine the scene at the Roman
banquet, when it is discovered that there are blood drips all over their
new mosaic? Imagine a foreign diplomat presenting their wife/daughter to
a wealthy Roman in their best room only to leave tell-tale marks all
over the floor.
Can anyone tell me whether there is any evidence women were banned from
rooms with mosaics?
On the other hand, mosaics would get wine spilt on them - hell of a
cleaning job - or is it?
David Bowler wrote:
> May I sound a note of caution?
> Many travellers tales, official reports and other documents record
> examples of unusually coarse behaviour. This can be motivated for
> example by prurient curiosity, racial and regional stereotypes, social
> and religious compassion, or a political agenda.
> For example, it was notorious that the industrial towns of northern
> England had expanded very suddenly, without what we would now call
> infrastructure, eg drains, clean water, churches or schools, and that
> some of them contained enclaves of almost 'savage' conditions. (The
> enormous baggage attached to that word illustrates the problem.) There
> is a huge contemporary literature, ranging from Friedrich Engels to
> Elisabeth Gaskell, and the sources often make the context and motivation
> We must be careful not to take accounts of unusual behaviour, recorded
> as such, and assume that this was normal at the time. A similar caution
> has to be applied to accounts of life in the pre-clearance Highlands or
> Ireland, or pre-colonial Africa. As always, context is everything!
> David Bowler