Ewwww!!! or Ahhhh!!!???
Although popular in some ancient cultures, bathing fell out of favor in Europe during the Middle Ages. (Imagine how you would smell after a few days, not to mention a few months!)
You see, people believed bathing was a health risk. They didn’t understand how germs spread and thought disease could enter the body’s pores from sitting in dirty water.
The Church did not help the cause of personal cleanliness either, concluding that bath houses were dens of sin. While it didn’t stop Charlemagne, it stopped plenty of other people from regular bathing.
For starters, for your next time traveling adventure, I’d make sure to visit a time and place with acceptable bath houses in good working order. After all not all of the past was sweaty and smelly. In fact, the word “hygiene” comes from Hygeia, the Greek Goddess of Health. The ancient Greeks must have taken hygiene seriously… they pioneered showers!
If you are looking for some more sweet, clean time travel tips, here is some info to help you.
Did you know:
- Neanderthals used shells to tweeze their hair
- The Jomon people of Japan trained their dogs to use pit toilets
- Mohenjo-Daro had a sewer system
- Evidence of soap goes all the way back to Babylon
- Wealthy Romans began wiping their derrieres around 300 BC/BCE, with wool and rosewater.
- The Romans had hot water in their public baths
- Charlemagne enjoyed bath parties…sometimes with as many as a hundred men
- Steam bathing was popular in medieval China and Japan
- The miswak, a stick used for brushing teeth during the Islamic Empire, has been shown to be as effective as tooth brushing in a modern study
Not so bad, right?! Now, if we can get our kids to brush their teeth, and our dogs to poop outside, we will be right up there with the cleanest people in history!