Medieval Monday: Bathing

Information not to be sniffed at? 😄🐵

Allison D. Reid

It is pretty commonly known that medieval times would have been full of unpleasant smells, including but not limited to body odor. There are some historical accounts of people bathing only once or twice a year, yet others that say it was a weekly, or at least regular, practice.

There seems to be no dispute that daily washing of the hands and face was common. Even though medieval physicians hadn’t quite linked specific diseases with poor hygiene, (and didn’t thoroughly begin to question that until after the Black Death ravaged Europe) they were starting to understand that dirt and filth should be washed away.

Still, there were certain barriers to bathing, some practical, others rooted in medieval belief systems. It was a subject fraught with uncertainty in terms of both health and morality, and was only recommended at certain times of the year. In summer, when we would think people…

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8 thoughts on “Medieval Monday: Bathing

  1. It really depends on the country in the Middle Ages because the Scots and the Scandinavians were pretty much daily bathers and the English sometimes only bathed twice a year whether they needed it or not. Scots allegedly always knew where the English were before a battle because they said they could smell them coming. This pissed the English off because they couldn’t smell the Scots.

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