Genuinely curious about something

Genuinely curious about something.

How IN THE FUCK did soldiers deal with "hygiene" in medieval times? Like, I had some nail fungus some time ago and it was hell getting rid of it with modern medicine.

Did they just not give any fucks whatsoever? I can't imagine what their feet/privates were like....

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Muslims used advanced surgery, wax and olive oil.

There are simple and even primitive ways to keep yourself clean, so how clean you are really just depends on where you are, and whether hygiene is considered necessary/worth the effort.

What about prayers? They were devoted Christians and with God mercy, anything can be cured.

yeah but I don't suppose they were bringing olive oil, wax and other stuff to the field of battle were they?

What about a Viking warrior who went to ransack and burn Paris down? They didn't have anything and were probably facing humidity throughout the journey.


>depends on where you are

if you're in a filthy place, you'll be filthy. Hygiene is when you're back in camp, by a water source.

>"hygiene" in medieval times?
You'd be surprised to learn, but hygiene was often better in medieval times than in early modern ones. that said, a soldier on campaign always had a tough time and often more soldiers succumbed to sickness than to enemy force

I don't think any wars had more soldiers fall to the enemy than disease. It was only in 20th century that disease stopped being the biggest killer.

>I don't think any wars had more soldiers fall to the enemy than disease
Yes there was plenty, as long as you can keep the fighting to war season and avoid long sieges and swampy camp sites you're ok most of the time. Iirc Sun Tsu wrote a chapter about this.

>You'd be surprised to learn, but hygiene was often better in medieval times than in early modern ones

This. The filthy European stereotype is from after medieval times. When the Americas were discovered, we killed the natives with all sorts of diseases, but they also passed along some of theirs, the big one being syphillis. It spread really quickly throughout Europe because of public bath houses. When they understood the connection, they stopped frequenting, and this ultimately led to the end of public baths in Western society, and to Euros simply not bathing much after they went away.

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Thats not correct. Syphilis and bathing was not connected, fucking whores that worked in bath houses was connected. Also, this did not kill bathing. What killed hygiene in Europe was the Reformation and the Inquisition, the first one having problems with nudity in general, the second one mistakes bathing as crypto-ritual by Jews and Muslims. "He likes to bath" was one of the worst slurs you'd say back in those days, because it could really get you into deep shit with whatever religious authorities.

P.S. you are correct that Syph killed the public bath house culture and its century old tradition of whoring round.

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> Muslims used advanced surgery, wax and olive oil.

*Wealthy Muslims used...

*Wealthy Muslims from specific civilized urban areas used...

I wonder how long hair/ long beard barbarians got rid of dandruffs and itches

In western Europe Jews were generally considered the best medics during the medieval.

Up until the 11th century perhaps, but after that the Hospitaller order was far superior to anything any travelling merchant could give you.

Their order was literally the first international health organization in history, with immense funding and research, founding over 700 hospitals in Europe within a span of just 140 years.

Even Bagdad scholar sources praised them.

They used these ancient, mystical sources of water called rivers.

hospitals didn't offer much medical care at the time, they was more of an asylum for the sick and weak. As far as surgery goes you find Jewish doctors up to the modern age in a prominent position. There is tons of old documents about the regulation of medieval cities and especially Jews, and you'll find in nearly every European city special exemptions for the ubiquitous Jewish doctors.
One of the main reasons for this was the access to Arab (read Persian translations of Greek books) medical knowledge, as Christians were banned from that after the crusades.

Hot springs were more popular.

And much less frequent.

>Even Bagdad scholar sources praised them
If that's true, remarkable. Some Islamic medical texts were unrivaled for centuries. The Royal Book of al-Majusi saw widespread circulation in European medical schools from the 11th C. But I guess some were more receptive than others.

This is from Usama ibn Munqidh's autobiography, and it recounts a story told by a Muslim doctor named Thabit after he was requested by invading Crusaders to see to some their troublesome cases:

"They took me to see a knight who had an abscess on his leg, and a woman with consumption. I applied a poultice to the leg, and the abscess opened and began to heal. I prescribed a cleansing and refreshing diet for the woman. Then there appeared a Frankish doctor, who said: ‘This man has no idea how to cure these people!’ He turned to the knight and said: ‘Which would you prefer, to live with one leg or die with two?’ When the knight replied that he would prefer living with one leg, he sent for the strong man and a sharp axe. They arrived, and I stood by to watch. The doctor supported the leg on a block of wood, and said to the man: ‘Strike a mighty blow, and cut cleanly!’ … The marrow spurted out of the leg (after the second blow) and the patient died instantaneously. Then the doctor examined the woman and said: ‘She has a devil in her head who is in love with her. Cut her hair off!’ This was done, and she went back to eating her usual Frankish food … which made her illness worse. ‘The devil has got into her brain,’ pronounced the doctor. He took a razor and cut a cross on her head, and removed the brain so that the inside of the skull was laid bare … the woman died instantly. At this juncture I asked whether they had any further need of me, as they had none I came away, having learnt things about medical methods that I never knew before."

I love that last line. The polite digs of olden times.

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Yes, but they hot springs in Europe all turned into leisure enterprises, whole towns have been founded because of them.

> This is from Usama ibn Munqidh's autobiography

Yes, but this is also from his autobiography, something far less quoted but equally important;

I have, however, witnessed a case of their medicine which was quite different from that.

"...a horse kicked him in the leg, which was subsequently infected and which opened in fourteen different places.

Every time one of these cuts would close in one place, another would open in ancther place. All this happened while I was praying for his perdition.

Then came to him a Frankish physician and removed from the leg all the ointments which were on it and began to wash it with very strange vinegar. By this treatment all the cuts were healed and the man became well again. He was up again like a devil.

Another case illustrating their curious medicine is the following: In Shayzar we had an artisan named abu-al-Fath, who had a boy whose neck was afflicted with scrofula.

Every time a part of it would close, another part would open. This man happened to go to Antioch on business of his, accompanied by his son.

A Frank noticed the boy and asked his father about him.

Abu-al-Fath replied, "This is my son." The Frank said to him, 'Wilt thou swear by thy religion that if I prescribe to you a medicine which will cure thy boy, thou wilt charge nobody fees for prescribing it thyself?

In that case, I shall prescribe to you a medicine which will cure the boy."

The man took the oath and the Frank said:

Take uncrushed leaves of glasswort, burn them, then soak the ashes in olive oil and sharp vinegar. Treat the scrofula with them until the spot on which it is growing is eaten up.

Then take burnt lead, soak it in ghee butter and treat him with it. That will cure him.

The father treated the boy accordingly, and the boy was cured. The sores closed and the boy returned to his normal condition of health.

I have myself treated with this medicine many who were afflicted with such disease, and the treatment was successful


There are quite a number of Muslim sources describing Europeans doing weird hippy shit with herbs that worked miracles, to their amazement.

They lived in pretty much permanent discomfort. Everyone did even royalty.

When we find skeletons from the pre modern era, pretty much all of them show signs of the person being racked by some kind of permanent low level disease or parasite or disorder.

It's no wonder everyone was so angry all the time.

It's not unusual or unnatural though, its the same for most wild animals, full of parasites and problems. It's a constant battle in nature between disease and host.

We're the abnormality, with our very high level of hygiene, extremely clean food, and modern medicine.

You are wrong and just being reactionary.

Sure, they weren't covered in mud and wore the same clothes for years like the media makes out, but they weren't hygiene, at least not Christian Europe.

They did not wash often, they often did not separate living and working quarters, they had no concept of germs and many treatments were actually completely disgusting, such as the plague "cure" of snorting dried human shit.

Turns out that acid kills bacteria lel

You wouldn't last a week in their shoes. But you're "evolved".

Explain that to me.

They bathed around once to twice a weak during large parts of the medieval. Washing clothes was done equally frequently. Thats not too bad. In the early modern things got worse, so much that some people wouldn't bath at all.

Depends where, in Spain they basically never washed out of fear and custom of being accused of being muslim.

That is ridiculous.

Nearly every larger city in Spain had public baths.

Hell, medieval Paris had 22 of them.

The no wash filthy European begins at the very end of the Medieval period, into the late 15th century and after.

Well let's talk about that period.

"The 16th-century Iberians inherited that pan-European fear of water, but they had an additional, peculiarly Iberian aversion to cleanliness. Like every other part of the Roman empire, they had had their own well-patronized bath-houses. But when the Visigoths conquered Iberia in the 5th century, they scorned hot baths as effeminate and weakening, and they demolished the bath-houses. By the time the Moors invaded the country in 711, the Iberians had lost the old, bath-loving link. At that point, they saw the Moors’ well-washed ways as part of their heretical convictions, and their own dirtiness as a Christian virtue. (Some early Christians had regarded cleanliness as a dangerous luxury, along with good food, wine and sexual enjoyments, and tried to abstain from it; Iberia continued in this austere tradition longer than most.)

Arab Iberia sparkled with water, whether in fountains, pools or hundreds of bath-houses. Christians in the north of Spain, not under Arab rule, continued to revel in their squalor, washing ‘neither their bodies nor their clothes which they only remove when they fall into pieces,’ according to a contemporary observer. The more their Arab conquerors washed, the more suspicious, decadent and un-Christian the practice seemed to the Iberians, and their dislike endured long after the Arabs had left".

"Richard Ford, a 19th-century English traveler who knew Spain well, spoke for many when he connected a centuries-old Spanish distaste for washing with the Moorish occupation. He wrote:-

The mendicant Spanish monks, according to their practice of setting up a directly antagonistic principle [to the Arabs], considered physical dirt as the test of moral purity and true faith; and by dining and sleeping from year’s end to year’s end in the same unchanged woolen frock, arrived at the height of their ambition, according to their view of the odor of sanctity, the olor de santidad. This was a euphemism for ‘foul smell,’ but it came to represent Christian godliness, and many of the saints are pictured sitting in their own excrement.

Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros, himself a Franciscan - wrote Ford - persuaded King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to close and abolish the Moorish baths after their conquest of Granada. They forbade not only the Christians but the Moors from using anything but holy water. Fire, not water, became the grand element of inquisitorial purification.

Sure enough, one of the first things the Spaniards did during the Reconquest was to destroy the Moorish baths (just as the Visigoths had destroyed the Roman ones). Even after that, suspicions remained: Moors who converted to Christianity were forbidden to bathe. During the Inquisition, one of the worst things that could be said about Jews as well as Moors was that they were ‘known to bathe.’ As Richard Ford noted, these attitudes were still current in the 19th century. He tells the story of the Spanish Duke of Frias, who visited an English lady for a fortnight and ‘never once troubled his basins and jugs [on his washstand in his bedroom]; he simply rubbed his face occasionally with the white of an egg.’ This, Ford assures us, was the only ablution used by Spanish ladies in the time of Philip IV, and apparently it was good enough for the Duke."

what the hell are you on about

Just take a look at third worlders today

They actually have much more hygiene than 1rst worlders

In the best case you ignore it in the worst you are plain laying if you think there was a bathouse culture in Extremadura, the conquerors, the pilgrims they were filthy as hell and considered cleanliness a depravity of pride and thus uncristian

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Neato. Thanks