Seventeenth Century

Halitosis and friends….

The Early Moderns were not big on baths. These were the people of the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Witch Craze, the Inquisition, and they did not smell very nice.   In fact, perfume was big among the early moderns—not to make themselves smell good, but rather to mask the smell of others around them. Elizabeth I only bathed once a month. She was sixteenth-century; the seventeenth century was worse. Water was not viewed as a reliable means to cleanliness. It was, in fact, downright hazardous to one’s health. Medical opinion of the day held that a thick layer of...

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