stirringwind

stirringwind:

yes, all the daily showers, deodorants and antiseptic handwashes ubiquitous to the developed world weren’t always so :D The queen who bathed only twice referred to by Iran and Spain is Spanish Queen Isabel I :P

European civilisations like Rome and Greece were pretty clean- they had lots of public baths and a sophisticated plumbing system to pump water to houses. But from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, there was a mistaken belief that bathing too much was unhealthy and left one susceptible to the various plagues sweeping Europe, such as the bubonic plague (aka Black Death). Alas, they had zero idea of the germ theory. Also, there was some Christian interpretations that bathing too much was kind of worldly. Renaissance Europe did have bath houses, but at that time, they were seen as centres of moral degeneration because prostitution took place there, total nudity while bathing became frowned upon, and women in general were discouraged from visiting them. By contrast, the Asian civilisations were a lot cleaner for various reasons. 

In Ottoman Turkey and Safavid Persia/Iran washing oneself was very integral to Islamic ritual. This would have been the case for Mughal India, which was Islamic too- and anyway, Hinduism also placed emphasis on cleanliness. Japan and China have always had a long history of bath houses, (also hot springs in the case of Japan). In China, it was thought that taking in the waters was good. Turkey’s last comment is a reference to how the idea of Turkish bath houses would eventually become popular in Victorian England :P