Hygiene in the Middle Ages
June 13, 2003 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Filthy secrets of medieval toilets: Featuring the Royal Water Closet of French King John the Fearless. "Lesser mortals of course had less sophisticated apparatus... Some were no more than holes built into the wall, others were primitive outhouses perched with wooden supports onto an upper story. A series of mediaeval illuminations at the exhibition shows that accidents in these contraptions were common." Mon dieu!
posted by eyebeam (9 comments total)
Talk about getting medieval on your ass!!
posted by jonson at 12:18 PM on June 13, 2003

I love learning about the social aspects of medieval history. I read a couple books a month about medieval history-but they never cover the basics-hygine and toilets and such enough. Give me more!!!

I'd hate to imagine the types of "mishaps" that happen with falling feces. Yuck.
posted by aacheson at 12:41 PM on June 13, 2003

This is why you have to build aqueducts and sewers to get your city to grow past level 5.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 12:55 PM on June 13, 2003

And settlers can be added to grow the city, but not past level 10.
oh god the original civ for dos... my soul burns!
posted by ac at 1:41 PM on June 13, 2003

Good article :)
posted by PigAlien at 1:42 PM on June 13, 2003

The pit had a permeable floor to allow liquids to drain and solids to settle. These would then be removed periodically by a tradesman who went by the nickname Monsieur Fifi.

So, now we know what to call the shit-stirrers!

Very interesting, eyebeam. Now, I just have to link to this page with an image of some nice, comfy medieval toilets found during an excavation, not because the image is especially good, but because it comes to us from the Dungarvan Museum web site... Dung arvan museum...
posted by taz at 2:11 PM on June 13, 2003

Good find, eyebeam.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:02 PM on June 13, 2003

Great post.
posted by plep at 10:43 PM on June 13, 2003

An entertaining post, eyebeam! Like aacheson, I like learning the homely little details in history.

Plumbing World has quite a comprehensive historical overview of water closets, toilets and plumbing, and there is even more from theplumber.com - most interesting!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:06 PM on June 14, 2003

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