Let us return to the subject of chastity belts. In the Wikipedia entry for “Chastity Belt” one finds the following:
Gregory the Great, Alcuin of York, Bernard of Clairvaux and Nicholas Gorranus all made passing references to ‘chastity belts’ within their exhortatory and public discourses, but meant this in a figurative or metaphorical sense within their historical context.
The first detailed actual mention of what could be interpreted as “chastity belts” in the West is in Konrad Kyeser von Eichstätt’s Bellifortis (1405), which describes the military technology of the era.
As we have seen, Rashi and R. Ephraim are not referring to chastity belts in a metaphorical sense. Thus, their mention of the item is of general historical significance, and Rashi (1040-1105) might be the earliest recorded example of someone referring to a chastity belt. Eric John Dingwall wrote an entire book on the subject of chastity belts entitled The Girdle of Chastity (Scranton, 1959). On p. 14, he writes: “There can be little doubt that the idea of such a device, at least in a somewhat modified form, was current at least as early as the second half of the twelfth century.” He then cites the late twelfth-century Guigemar Epic, written by Marie de France, as a source of this. Yet Rashi’s mention of the chastity belt predates this source by around a century.
See also here where, as part of a museum exhibition on chastity belts, it states:
Until the 12th century, there are no textual memories related to chastity belts at all (not even any allusions without actually using the term) where the reference is not in a theological or mythological context.
This sentence is incorrect for, as we have seen Rashi referred to chastity belts many decades before Marie de France, who is also cited in the museum exhibition as the first one to refer to the item. What we have here is a good example where scholars make judgments based exclusively on their knowledge of medieval Latin, Romance and Germanic literature. Exposure to what appears in medieval Hebrew texts would have caused them to alter these judgments.
Marc B. Shapiro, “Artscroll and More”, The Seforim Blog (29 July 2015) [http://seforim.blogspot.com/2015/07/artscroll-and-more.html]