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Odds and Ends
31 5, 4:03am
By the way, the fact that Norsemen were particularly clean is a myth created in 19th century by British scholars (like a lot of misconceptions concerning Middle Ages) who tried to reconcile the grooming practices of the Norsemen with the idea that everyone in the medieval period was dirty. The truth is, that people were always taking care of their hygiene and looks, as well as they could. Vikings were not outliers - depictions, accounts and archeological findings strongly suggest that Gauls, Slavs and Balts put as much importance to their looks as Norsemen did. And yes, they perfectly knew that being dirty is a good way to get sick, especially in the heyday of miasma theory. They simply didn't bathe as often as we do, because heating several dozen liters of water is not a small task if all you have is a fireplace, iron cauldron, bucket and wooden tub, and a river is 10 minutes walk away.
By the way, the relative lack of cosmetics and uniform short hair with lack of facial hair among Western (European) men is really a long-standing fad rather than any norm and is only slightly older than the Great Male Renunciation that happened in early 20th century resulted in the uniformization of male clothing. It is very likely that Georgian dandy or a French noble from the era of Sun King would consider modern male fashion trends an 'unrefined peasant's taste'.