Thursday 5 June 2014

EARLY MODERN ETIQUETTE. Bathroom and table manners.

When invited to dinner
  • Try to please others, but not too much, or you will appear more like a buffoon or a jester or perhaps a flatterer rather than a well-mannered gentleman.
  • Dirty, foul, repulsive or disgusting things are not to be done in the presence of others.
  • Therefore relieve your needs in private, and when you return, don’t rearrange your clothing. Don’t even wash your hands in decent company, because it implies something disgusting to their imagination.
  • Don’t grind your teeth or shriek, and avoid singing -- especially solo-- if your voice is out of tune.
  • Don’t yawn, cough, sneeze loudly, or bray like an ass.
  • When you have blown your nose, you should not open your handkerchief and look inside, as if pearls or rubies might have descended from your brain.
  • Don’t offer anyone your glass of wine after you have tasted it, or offer fruit into which you have bitten.
  • Don’t smell anyone’s food or even your own, for fear that some things that men find disgusting may drop from your nose.
  • Don’t act like a pig with its snout in the swill, never raising your eyes from the food in front of you.
  • Don’t use your napkin to wipe off sweat or blow your nose.
(Source, Galateo by Giovanni Della Casa, trans. Konrad Eisenbichler and Kenneth Bartlett. Image:

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