Medieval Monday – What Did the Middle Ages Smell Like?


Merry Farmer

So there I was the other day, driving home from work, caught in traffic, stuck behind a car whose exhaust system needed serious attention.  As I wrinkled my nose and said, “Eew, gross” the thought hit me:  We like to think that we live in a pristine, modern world that smells sweet while looking back in time and assuming everything stank like sewage all the time.  But did it?

Uneducated modern thinkers might assume that because there was no running water in the Middle Ages everything was dirty and smelly.  Well, if you’ve known me and heard me talk about history long enough then you know that nothing galls me more than this completely false assumption.  As I discussed at length last year in my blog post about how medieval people did bath, frequently, hygiene was far more advanced a thousand years ago than modern people assume.

True.  Running…

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