Friday, June 7, 2019

How to Pest-Proof Your House, 1639

Vincenzo Leonardi, Common Hoopoe (c. 1619)
To repel flies, spiders, scorpions, and other animals from your house. Take hoopoe feathers, and burn them in the room, and when these animals smell the odor, they will leave, and never return, and this is proven. 
De' Secreti del R. D. Alessio Piemontese 
You'll rest easy tonight in your pest-free, hoopoe-charred bedroom.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

How to Bathe in January, c. 7th century

Morgan Library, MS G.74, f. 19r
"January... Four baths in the course of the month; soap with sodium carbonate diluted in wine. Make a compound skin lotion by mixing 3 lb. weight aloes, 1 lb. myrrh, 2 egg yolks; combine these and apply to the skin. This is the quantity per person. Apply it before you enter the bath, and have three bucketfuls [of water] poured over you, then sweat, then go into the open air and sponge the ointment off thoroughly. After washing the ointment off, rub down with cooling wine and egg yolks mixed with hot rose oil, then make love." 
Hierophilus the Sophist, Dietary Calendar
If your bath routine does not involve pounds of lotion and fragrant mayonnaise, you are not living your best January.