As manners have created the world. Part I
Look at this Banquet hall from the early middle Ages, sit around, enjoy the dinner. At one end of the table is a dish with a whole wild boar roasted on a spit – if he looks at you. At the other end of the table is fallen from the arrows game, its feathers remained intact. Your companions for dinner, breathe the air, feast and snort in approval.
The host carves the meat and passes down. Each man was holding a knife in one hand and the other grabs the piece of meat, stuffing in a second in your mouth. All I was eating, talking with his mouth open. Grab what you like – no napkins, no, my friend. The soup splashes in the common bowl, and you can drink it straight from the vessel, although it can be spoon to scoop. The wine also drink from a common vessel, what do you think? Will have to wait your turn before you kiss.
On the left sits a nobleman, he pauses in eating, blowing his nose into his fingers and wiping them on his pants. And the old right and quite all the time it spits it across the table. The hall itself is filled with the pleasant noise of nature: people don’t just slurp, spit, blow their noses, but regularly break wind and burp.
Bones of pig, baked with much love, lying on the floor. And there found rest for all sorts of hryaschik or overly rigid caruncle, which is not medieval teeth. Bottom sniffing dogs that scare away the rats. Many people do not get up from the table until the master will be the first, so, sorry, the room gives off a smell of urine and vomit. Well, all this is mixed, stirred, but the people are happy, happy and eat.
If you see a picture in our time, you’ll be bored and disgusted.
Why? Did the change in manners is so huge that we would never have been able to find a common language with our ancestors?
First of all comes the idea that the changes associated with understanding of hygiene. But table manners began to change in the Middle ages, and its peak these changes reached in the Renaissance. If no one knew about the connection between germs and hygiene, even the existence of bacteria, no one knew. Of course, in the 18th century, everything became clear, but then it was already laid all the Foundation in the form of etiquette.
In fact, «hygiene is not a tenable argument. Today we eat solid foods, not only fork but also hands. For example, do you prefer the meat to absorb, spitted it on a fork, but when it comes to potato chips, cakes or Shawarma, then the reality becomes different. The truth is that we hate certain things like chewing with your mouth open or fart at the table. This behavior is disgusting to you. And we are back to our question.
Why do we find certain things are terrible, while our medieval counterparts considered them the norm?
Perhaps you believed manners inevitability of a developed and advanced society in the economic, scientific and political terms. Someone thinks that manners are a by-product of human achievement. But what if manners is a necessary condition for these achievements? If manners are the key to our progress?
The court origins of politeness
We can all call themselves the representatives of Western civilization. There is nothing bad or good, it is a reality that he cannot change. For the Western civilization has been critical of the feudal period, which was a confusion and vacillation without clear vertical authority.
Armed gangs conquered new lands, secured them for his territory, and then settled in their possessions. The leaders were local magnates, owners, and their warriors became courtiers. Their status was earned by the war. But then the word took the place of the sword. The nobility sought to gain the king’s favor, to conclude an Alliance with him, to get rid of rivals.
To be successful at court, had to go to a peaceful people far from the war, but close to treachery and intrigue. The court had carefully monitor their own behavior and the behavior of others, interpreting motives that helped to predict significant consequences. He had to maintain constant awareness of their status in relation to others: he raised up in their eyes, or, on the contrary, has become the latest stooge? It is now possible to say: «I don’t care what others think about me». But in those days such a position was like a death and often led to the prison blocks. The courtier must be sensitive to the needs and inclinations of others, to be attentive to people that they do not inadvertently offended. All of this is important, the Union with the wrong person – and expect trouble.
In the end, gradually began to form a code of conduct that increased the influence of the aristocracy and helped her to maintain their status. Manners allow us to determine who is in front of you: commoner, merchant or representative of blue blood. Everyone knew that the elite of society should differ in behavior from «dirty and uneducated» masses.
The formation of courtesy
The Renaissance has increased the interest in the observance of manners. Merchants, artisans and clergy gradually began to form the layer of the population, which is now called the middle class. They tried to mimic the land aristocracy. And when last did everything based on the need for behavior at court, the middle class has learned courtly manners in order to, again, prove your worth. Social contacts developed, widely spread schools where children were taught etiquette, which had become an integral part of life of wide layers of the population.
The increasing democratization of society led to the emergence of the same courtesy, which we all know. Several centuries ago, the etiquette was a sign of noble origin, but gradually he began to lose his marker of identity class. But here we meet with an interesting fact. The fact that the common people imitated their masters, due to which these gentlemen had to improve their manners, to complicate them in such a way that they were beyond the reach of ordinary people. Rules of conduct to buy more often absurd.
In the Victorian era of the spread of customs moved in the opposite direction. If at first it can be described as a movement from the top down (from masters to peasants), the new realities talked about bottom-up. The fact that all the wealth of noble customs spread to millions of people, creating a sense of egalitarianism. There was such a thing as a gentleman. He was not an aristocrat, but nothing was lost. The middle class gave rise to this very gentleman – a real man of that time. It was an important virtue, and aristocratic etiquette he considered frivolous fun people who are all inherited.
The Victorians of the middle class sought to sobriety, morality, they had a special sexual morality and modesty in relation to money. To show their state was considered in bad taste, vulgarity. It’s all distinguish them from the aristocrats. This new form of etiquette was due to the need in the economy. Aristocrats were proud of that have nothing to do with normal operation. Gentlemen were proud of the fact that they have a direct attitude to work. Ultimately, these two concepts mixed up among themselves and came to the lower classes.
From fingers to handkerchiefs
Refinement of manners is manifested in various areas of behavior. As a result, they become a social structure for the entire European society.
The evolution of etiquette at the table is just one of the most obvious examples. Until the 17th century the fork was almost a luxury item; made of silver or gold, they were a status symbol of the highest class. But later the plugs were a good tone for the lower classes. The rich were not satisfied and invented for himself a new pastime: they developed special tools for each course. A separate fork for salad, a separate dessert fork, separate the bread knife, a separate knife for meat. All the utensils were located in a certain way in the bowl and was used only at the appropriate time of the meal. Of course, I added a bunch of other things: napkins, spoons, cups and small parts.
In modern times all this ammunition is only used in formal settings, nice restaurants and sometimes at banquets. In ordinary life, and billionaires, and the hostess grocery Cass eat as they see fit – only use the minimum amount of tools.
Refinement of manners focused not only on food but also other body functions.
In the 16th century, for example, your nose could serve as a class marker. Commoners blowing his nose without a handkerchief. Among the merchants was made to blow his nose in the sleeve. As for the aristocrats, they always wore a handkerchief in his pocket. So, if you were in 16th century and see the guy sticking out a handkerchief from his pocket, he is very rich Lord, or belongs to the higher world.
The shawls became more and more popular. As a rule, people today prefer to use disposable paper handkerchiefs, but before they could be used repeatedly.
As for the toilet, in the middle ages it was all just. It consisted of lava and holes, which was connected to the chute. All wastes were dumped into the moat or cesspit. People of the middle ages much less worried about privacy than we do.
In the early middle Ages, the people urinated and defecated in the street, far beyond the cesspools. Some did their dark matter directly in the room, sometimes in the corners of rooms, closets, hallways, stairs – everywhere. It was acceptable for men and women to talk to each other, when one of the participants in the conversation squirts out processed foods.
Until the early 18th century there was a rule that stated as follows: if you came across a man who urinates in front of you, then you have to pretend not to see it. Gradually, there were public toilets that were locked from the inside.
Even the etiquette of blowing gases had different stages of development. In the early middle Ages is generally not considered a problem. People thought that to hold back is unhealthy. In the 16th century began to appear the first «perginya ban». For example, were advised to compress the buttocks to suppress a natural process. If the «explosion» can not be avoided, then follow the advice of Erasmus: «Let a cough hide the explosive sound.» And until the 18th century, experts on etiquette were sure to produce gases impolite in any case, even if it happened without noise.
Today, of course, to discuss this issue is silly. Take it on faith that you’re not going to do that in the company under any circumstances. Even with the cough.
Of course, etiquette is not associated only with the natural impulses of the body. It plays a significant role from the point of view of social communication. The rules were developed with respect to speech, conversations, clothing, courtship, parties, work, sports. So, these are human relationships.
All of these detailed and strict codes of behavior have much in common. First, they prefer to keep the animal nature of man behind the scenes. Second, they create space between people, allowing them greater privacy. Third, they require people to restrain their impulses and showed great sensitivity towards the feelings of others. To meet all these requirements people had to improve, to be better, to develop personal discipline and self-control.