French letters versus Capote Anglaise: Family business

Was the condom invented by a doctor, Mr Condom, personal GP of womanizer Charles II King of England (1660-1685), or did the name originate in the small village of Condom in France ? No. Condom, it seems, comes from the Latine « condere », meaning to protect or to hide. It became widely used over Europe in order to avoid deadly Syphillis which spread at a speed of 50 km per week in 1495 in Naples.

After the austere Cromwellian Republic and a forced stay in exile in Versailles at his cousin's, Louis XIV (1643-1715), Charles II came back to London with a great appetite for mistresses. One should not forget, both kings were grand sons of Henri IV, known as the Vert Galant (the Green Gallant), a great womanizer himself with a taste of garlic.

The condom, made of animal intestine, was given its credentials in the XVIII th century by Giacomo Casanova, who made great use of it to avoid the French Pox and pregnant partners. He used to call the condom, the « English redingote » or « capote anglaise » making fun of English prudery.

In old French a « capote » is a hooded coat worn to protect the head...

Like Chernobyle’s radioactive cloud in 1986, which went all over France without stopping according to French News, the French disease was supposed not to have landed in Britain. But as the English aristocracy was doing her Grand tour of Europe from Rome to Paris, the prophilaxy against the venereal disease was sometimes discreetly hidden in an envelop and thus became the « French letter ». The writer for children, the Marquise de Sévigné, described the object with a distinctive aphorism : "c'est une cuirasse contre le plaisir, une toile d'araignée contre le danger ", ( it is an armour against pleasure and and a spider web against danger »


1capote is an ancient word for hooded coat, which is meant to protect the head or what looks like it...,CmC=1008200.html


Leave Comment

Leave a Comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.