Our Ancestors Used to Stink

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Let’s face. Our ancestors used to smell. You probably won’t read about personal hygiene in history books but the historians all will tell you attention to one’s body odors was more-or-less unknown until recent years. The “good old days” may have been good but they also were smelly.

Writing in the Irish Examiner, Robert Hume investigates what our ancestors did to keep themselves cool and deal with body odor. Or, as the Irish write it, “odour.”

Here are a few of Hume’s statements:

“The fondness for bathing stopped once the medieval church warned of the evils of nudity. In Europe, bathhouses were closed down in the 14th century as a way of trying to check the spread of plague.”

“Aristocrats were often as dirty as peasants. A visitor to King Louis XVI’s court at Versailles described it as a ‘stinking cesspit’”.

View original post 207 more words

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.