Mind Your Manners

The Renaissance saw a rise in the appreciation of manners and respectable behavior as the growth of cities and trade brought together men of diverse backgrounds. This led to the publication of many books on the subject, even though the topic itself may have been seen as somewhat crass. As Erasmus says in De Civitate:

“I do not deny that external decorum is a very crude part of philosophy, but in the present climate of opinion it is very conductive to winning goodwill.”

Still, this doesn’t prevent one from looking on with a sophomoric appreciation at some of the great minds of the 16th century opining on such subjects as sneezing and farting:

“When you have blown your nose, you should not open your handkerchief and inspect it, as though pearls or rubies had dropped out of your skull.”

Giovanni della Casa, Il Galateo (1558)

“There are some who lay down the rule that a boy should refrain from breaking wind by constricting his buttocks. But it is no part of good manners to bring illness upon yourself while striving to appear polite. If you may withdraw, do it in private. But it not… cover the sound with a cough…, it is more dangerous to refrain from breaking wind than it is to constrict the bowels.”

Desiderius Erasmus, De Civitate Morum Puerilium (1530)

» Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2006 | Comments (4) | Permanent Link


I found a lot of renaissance table manners would you like them

» Posted by Aiyana on April 30, 2007 12:33 PM

“Turn away when spitting lest your saliva fall on someone. If anything purulent falls on the ground, it should be trodden upon, lest it nauseate someone.”
“To lick greasy fingers or to wipe them on your coat is impolite. It is better to use the table cloth or the serviette.”

“Some people put their hands in the dishes the moment they have sat down. Wolves do that.”

“You should not offer your handkerchief to anyone unless it has been freshly washed. Nor is it seemly, after wiping your nose, to spread out your handkerchief and peer into it as if pearl and rubies might have fallen out of your head.”

“If you cannot swallow a piece of food, turn around discreetly and throw it somewhere.”

“Retain the wind by compressing the belly.”

“Do not be afraid of vomiting if you must; for it is not vomiting but holding the vomit in your throat that is foul.”

“Do not move back and forth on your chair. Whoever does that gives the impression of constantly breaking or trying to break wind.”

» Posted by Aiyana on April 30, 2007 12:35 PM

those are funny

» Posted by Anonymous on July 31, 2007 08:21 PM

they are awesome. i found another one “do not remove clothing in front of important people”

» Posted by mia on February 28, 2009 09:06 PM