The Middle Ages was a period that spanned from the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 to the end of Constantinople in 1453, so it was a very long period in history marked by some customs that are surprising today. Let us know below some of the curiosities of the Middle Ages that will surprise you.
Curiosities of the Middle Ages that will surprise you
The lack of hygiene, witchcraft , the belief in satanic music or the imposition of silence in churches are just some of the curious facts about the Middle Ages as we detail below.
Bath once a year
In today’s times we are used to showering daily, but in the Middle Ages the lack of hygiene was more than evident and in fact, the custom was that people only bathed once a year. Specifically, the day of his birthday since it was a special date and it was celebrated in this way.
Some people, however, preferred to reserve their annual bath for the month of May, the month dedicated to weddings . In this way it was avoided to have a bad smell in the case of having to get married.
Accusations of witchcraft
The custom of persecuting those considered as “witches” is one of the “customs” of the Middle Ages that is best known and most portrayed in cinema. Let us remember the existence of the Holy Inquisition , the institution that was created in France in 1184 and that spread to several countries in Europe and America until 1808 when it was abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte in Spain, the last country to practice this doctrine in which women accused of witchcraft were killed.
To guide oneself as to who was a witch and who was not, the Malleus Maleficarum, also known as the “witch’s hammer”, was used. This abominable text originally from Germany described all kinds of torture, which had to be practiced on those women who practiced witchcraft.
The Pontifical Inquisition even came into existence, created in 1231 by Pope Gregory IX, in which it was the bishops who persecuted heretics and witches.
Laughing is not allowed in churches
During the Middle Ages, religiosity was taken very seriously, to the point that laughter was forbidden in all religious places. The reason for this veto has as its origin the belief of a malevolent and even diabolical origin in human laughter.
The origin of this controversial theory lies in the lack of laughter of Christ in the Holy Scriptures. Additionally, a sense of humor was associated with lewd behavior, bad habits, and other behaviors inappropriate for religious events. The ultimate purpose of this restriction was to show the greatest possible seriousness during the stay in religious temples, as a demonstration of respect and fear of God.
The belief of connecting music with infernal entities comes from the Middle Ages, since according to ancient texts, there was a musical interval called a tritone whose sound seemed to come from hell itself . The penalties for using these musical notes ranged from high taxes that had to be paid to the crown, to imprisonment.
This was motivated by the disruptive sound that the “SI-FA-SI” notes had and the difficulty they presented when making them sing. The lack of symmetry in these notes was considered an invocation that attracted demonic presences.
The perforated teeth provided strength.
During the Middle Ages, many men used to make holes in their teeth , because they believed that this technique gave them greater strength than nature has.
But that’s not all, since the recommended toothpaste was neither more nor less than urine. These bodily secretions were believed to provide the necessary protection against all oral infections, according to the traditions of the time.
And much more surprising is knowing about the tooth and molar extraction techniques of the time that were carried out by barbers. Obviously, the large tweezers used for this purpose did not have adequate hygiene; and in some cases they ended up contaminating gum infections, which were usually cured by drinking wine.