Why people in medieval Europe believed that bathing is dangerous

History 31/12/19 Why people in medieval Europe believed that bathing is dangerous

In the Western world throughout the twentieth century it was considered good form to blame Soviet Russia for dirt and poor living conditions. These charges were utterly false. However, the Europeans must have forgotten that for several centuries they almost did not wash, and in the streets of their towns it was possible to faint from the stench caused by human waste is drained by the residents on the street.

Unwashed Europe

it’s amazing how the Europeans, who boast of their historical memory, forgot about the centuries spent in mud and filth. It is not an exaggeration. In historical literature we can find references that Queen Isabella of Spain, whose reign fell at the end of the XV century, were washed only twice in my life. There were these two significant events during the birth and before the wedding. Especially did not like to wash the European clergy. Pope Clement V died of dysentery, and ascended after him to the Catholic throne of Clement VII died of casotti. Such examples are numerous.

Russian ambassadors residing at the court of Louis XIV, with contempt wrote home that his Majesty “stinks like unto a wild beast.” However, how could it be otherwise, when the king, according to historical Chronicles, took a bath, and Isabella only twice in her life.

Yes, what can I say, if the French king Philip II Augustus once came out of his Palace, fainted from the stench exuded by the streets of Paris. The fact that sanitation in the city was not. All trash, including human waste, poured from the Windows onto the street. Dirty, stinking rivers flowed waste of the big city through the narrow streets of Paris that are occasionally removed only one janitor – rain. It is symbolic that in Paris appeared Merceron river, whose name in Russian translates as “shit.”

to WashXia – dangerous and sinful

Why are the inhabitants of European capitals, not suffering from lack of water, avoided to take a bath or visit a sauna, as it was practiced, for example in Russia? The thing in the medieval doctors of the Church and superstition. Surprisingly, even in the XVIII century in the European guide courtesy directly is not recommended to use water as hygienic procedures. Supposedly in the summer it makes a person susceptible to heat, and in winter to cold. Baths are Europeans and not considered dangerous to health.

Medical treatise of the fifteenth century was reported to everyone that Bani expand the pores on the human body, through which it penetrates a dangerous infection causing terrible disease and ultimately death. Not surprisingly, terrified the people of Europe, preferred not to bathe at all. Until the second half of the XVIII century all the hygienic procedures of the French was limited to the washing of hands and ablution of the mouth. The question is, what about the terrible smell the unwashed bodies of the inhabitants of the same Paris. Came to the aid of perfumery. Residents rubbed their bodies with perfumed tissue and under the armpits wore pouches with aromatic herbs. However, all these tricks helped a little. It was all over, a terrible plague wiped out a third of the population of France.

Dmitry Sokolov

© Russian Seven

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