Viking hygiene?

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,816
Europix
Since there were bathing houses in the cities, I don’t know if that is a generalised myth. As, eventually, the idea that the people from the North had worse habits in the terms of hygiene, than the ones in the Mediterranean. Have you sources that most European Christians bathed twice a year? I think we had a thread about it some time ago. Don’t recall any conclusion. I also read some articles, but now my memory fails me.

EDIT:
I made a quick search, and the first article that popped out is from 1928, by Lynn Thorndike, and its first page is quite curious and worth its reading (unfortunately I don’t have free access to the entire article):


Anyway since 1928 possibly many developments were made in this regard. I will take a look to my printed books.
Hi, my friend!

Your link reminded me two things:

-Victor Hugo, in "Les Misérables" has a fascinating extensive reflection on the sewage system of Paris, talking about the wasted "brown gold". (*)

-Brussels (as many cities) had "intra muros" agriculture, and it had an extraordinary productivity based on ... the "brown gold" , the "waste". The introduction of the revolutionary sewing system produced almost in Brussels as an entire category lost its revenues: the waste collectors. They collected the waste (forcibly, ecological at the time ;)) , transformed it into compost and sold it to the gardeners. (I never managed to figure if Hugo had the idea by itself, or it came during his exile in Brussels).




The image we have in mind, on the medieval cities with streets full of pipi-caca-waste-aso, it's very far from reality, IMHO. If nothing else, simple logic should make us think twice on it's veracity: no normal , healthy animal, nor human is poohing/peeing where (or even near) the place he lives/sleeps.

______________
* still, it's good this wikipedia thing: I found the passage, and in English, if You please: Les Misérables/Volume 5/Book Second/Chapter 1 - Wikisource, the free online library
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,459
Portugal
Hi, my friend!

Your link reminded me two things:

-Victor Hugo, in "Les Misérables" has a fascinating extensive reflection on the sewage system of Paris, talking about the wasted "brown gold". (*)

-Brussels (as many cities) had "intra muros" agriculture, and it had an extraordinary productivity based on ... the "brown gold" , the "waste". The introduction of the revolutionary sewing system produced almost in Brussels as an entire category lost its revenues: the waste collectors. They collected the waste (forcibly, ecological at the time ) , transformed it into compost and sold it to the gardeners. (I never managed to figure if Hugo had the idea by itself, or it came during his exile in Brussels).

The image we have in mind, on the medieval cities with streets full of pipi-caca-waste-aso, it's very far from reality, IMHO. If nothing else, simple logic should make us think twice on it's veracity: no normal , healthy animal, nor human is poohing/peeing where (or even near) the place he lives/sleeps.

______________
* still, it's good this wikipedia thing: I found the passage, and in English, if You please: Les Misérables/Volume 5/Book Second/Chapter 1 - Wikisource, the free online library
I read "Les Misérables" when I was in High School, barely recall it. Recall much better the 1998 movie. Interesting passage. In some way I have a darker image of the cities of the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution then the Medieval ones. Maybe indirectly this idea comes from the 19th century novels, like "Les Misérables" or “Oliver Twist”.

Well, quite in the 20th century, in the 1980’s, I recall a beach near Lisbon, where the people bathed near a sewer, and many where surprised that I didn’t want to bath. Today, even if many more people live there, there is a treatment station, that at least gives the waters a clean look.

The Medieval cities were certainly not clean at today’s eyes, but often we probably have even a darker image of them. Let us also recall that, usually, they were quite small compared to later cities, and had those green spaces like vegetable gardens and orchards that we still can see today in some small hidden corners of the older cities.
 
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deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,816
Europix
Let us also recall that, usually, they were quite small compared to later cities, and had those green spaces like vegetable gardens and orchards that we still can see today in some small hidden corners of the older cities.
IDK, tulius, hadn't read a study on it (if there is one).

But Brussels' gardening is recorded since the 13th, and it was not a hobby, but a flourishing, productive, innovative business, that fed the city (btw, there are still a couple of gardeners and farmers even today in Brussels, as odd as it my sound ;))
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
Hi, my friend!

Your link reminded me two things:

-Victor Hugo, in "Les Misérables" has a fascinating extensive reflection on the sewage system of Paris, talking about the wasted "brown gold". (*)

-Brussels (as many cities) had "intra muros" agriculture, and it had an extraordinary productivity based on ... the "brown gold" , the "waste". The introduction of the revolutionary sewing system produced almost in Brussels as an entire category lost its revenues: the waste collectors. They collected the waste (forcibly, ecological at the time ;)) , transformed it into compost and sold it to the gardeners. (I never managed to figure if Hugo had the idea by itself, or it came during his exile in Brussels).




The image we have in mind, on the medieval cities with streets full of pipi-caca-waste-aso, it's very far from reality, IMHO. If nothing else, simple logic should make us think twice on it's veracity: no normal , healthy animal, nor human is poohing/peeing where (or even near) the place he lives/sleeps.

______________
* still, it's good this wikipedia thing: I found the passage, and in English, if You please: Les Misérables/Volume 5/Book Second/Chapter 1 - Wikisource, the free online library
In regards to animals and even people sleeping/standing/living in their own waste. Can’t we just look to modern agricultural practices to confirm that animals do do this? Yes, pigs, chicken and cattle are often times in enclosed areas and may not have the option to find some secluded, unsoiled part of the field or forest to do their business, but let’s remember, we’re not talking about wild animals.... we’re talking about livestock and beasts of burden who do live in these conditions.
The article I linked earlier mentioned 50 cows living in the same building as people, albeit in a different room. I think it would be nigh impossible to keep that place clean 24/7.

And in regards to people, I agree that no same person is going to wallow in their own filth, but wasn’t it just within the last few hundred years that armies for instance, started to take very seriously the matter of disposing the collective waste? There may be some exceptions among the Romans, etc, but iirc, pre modern armies routinely experienced negative effects from being too close to their latrines.
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
And.... don’t millions of people till this day bathe in the Ganges? That may be strictly for religious reasons, but still.......
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
Also, the collection of night soil for fertilizer probably carries quite a bit of risk for those involved, i.e. it isn’t hygienic.
 
Aug 2018
697
london
someone wrote a
I appreciate the distinction, but how much did this fact mitigate the pollution problem? Just how “separate,” were the cattle really?
well they were at one end of the building behind a wall. Like having a barn attached to a house.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,816
Europix
In regards to animals and even people sleeping/standing/living in their own waste. Can’t we just look to modern agricultural practices to confirm that animals do do this?
The article I linked earlier mentioned 50 cows living in the same building as people, albeit in a different room.
I would say that is a false image, a projection. Modern agricultural practices are modern.

The animals didn't lived inside. That's a moder, industrial-like practice. They were broght/came only overnight (in some cases -cows, sheep - only during the winters). And anyway, the stables were cleaned, the waste was deposited in the backyard (sometimes burried/covered with earth) and used as a fertilizer.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,405
Welsh Marches
In mountain districts, the animals would be brought inside on the lower floor, while the family would live upstairs on another floor; they were not all mixed up together. I think in cold snowy weather, the animals colu;ld be kept inside for soem time, not just overnight.