February 26th, 2008


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Discussion (12)¬

  1. Rags says:

    When in Rome, smell like the Romans.

  2. Raptor-Chick says:

    Lol, actually, for the most part Romans smelled quite nice. They had better plumbing and bathing facilities than some cities today. And probably had better hygene than some people I know.

  3. Saphroneth says:

    The Celts had lots of soap, and used it in huge quantities. Also, they had hair gel.

  4. Kasper says:

    Add that the celts were known for bathing twice a day, with their soap. The romans had hot water though, I imagine that must have been nice in winter in the cold areas of the empire.

  5. Saphroneth says:

    Overall, when the Romans coming meaning you forget how to make soap, and then the Romans going away again means you lose the Olive Oil and can’t make hot water, the Dark Ages were clearly also a bit smelly.

  6. Tarnish says:

    Also: When in Hell, do as the Hellions.

  7. Trogdog says:

    lol, panel two. awesome body language and faces.

  8. Lord the 22nd says:

    Clearly. When you go somewhere, smell like the locals.

  9. Fnord Prefect says:

    @Lord the 22nd, I read that as “smell like the lolcats”.

  10. JET73L says:

    The Test of Odor has been passed! The Test of Banter has been passed! On to the Third Test!

  11. BunnyRock says:

    @Saphroneth: The Vikings made soap out of conkers, for some reason. That’s got to be one small ray of light in the early medieval period ( the phrase “Dark Ages” is out of fashion fat the moment, for some reason). Vikings also had very modern-looking divorce laws where women were guaranteed them the right to leave their husbands at will, and take back their share of the household property (until they all converted to Christianity of course), Plus the Vikings had parliaments and, provided you played by their arbitrary rules of honour and weren’t disqualified by reason of being foreign, poor, mad or a woman, were pretty democratic compared to many places at the time (until Christianity of course). Pagan Norse kingship was flexible and widely challenged and even kings had to respect the rights of Land-holding males (helped by the fact the land-holding males had swords and were related by blood or honour ties to lots of other sword-carrying middle-class Vikings who didn’t like kings to get ideas too far above their station). If you had to live in the dark ages in Europe, be a Viking or an Irish monk, both get of better than most (provided they don’t meet). However even given that even comparatively well off Vikings traditionally lived in one end of a longhouse and stalled cattle in the other, I’d imagine the dark ages would not have been fun in Scandinavia unless you liked the smell of cows and enjoyed a good side-helping of lice, fleas and bovine TB. Then again there was a good chance some-one would set fire to your thatch and kill you as you ran out because you set fire to their cousins thatch and killed him after he insulted your sister after that messy divorce she had, but paid a less than adequate blood money (Vikings having a very hands-on and, compared to some approaches I’ve seen in the wilds of Surrey, remarkably amiable approach to setting civil lawsuits), so the lice and illness might end up the least of your troubles. The Saxons and various denizens of continental Europe were, if anything, even worse when it came to hygiene on account of being no better of on their farms, but also having a few big civilised cites were you could come for the culture, visit a shrine, buy some exotic luxuries like soap and pick up dysentery from the drinking water on your way home, were as Hedeby and other Scandinavian centres were quite small, spread out and generally fairly well organized so far as towns went in the period. Covered with a universally thick layer of cattle-dung in Hedeby’s case, but given it was preserved as a single archaeologically recorded strata of uniform depth and thickness it must have been from a single event, so if you avoided Hedeby in that one big cattle-market in the 700’s, or at least remembered to bring shoes you were happy to never wear indoors again, you’d be okay. Besides that’s practically food-preparation leaves of cleanliness compared to London, Paris or Rome at the time. And besides, say what you like about quaffing mead from a horn dedicated to the heathen gods and edged with the gold looted from burning monasteries: at least with mead you’re well protected from water-borne illness!

  12. Bob's Your Uncle says:

    I’d imagine for a few years around 1348, the Middle Ages were very smelly indeed, that is being up to your ass in corspes and what not.