- Oct 2013
Hi, my friend!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.
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):
Lynn Thorndike, Sanitation, Baths, and Street-Cleaning in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Speculum, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Apr., 1928), pp. 192-203www.jstor.org
Anyway since 1928 possibly many developments were made in this regard. I will take a look to my printed books.
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