Manners and Courtesy Through the Ages
This website is devoted to the topic of good manners, courtesy, and
right behavior as practiced historically from about 600 to
1600 CE. Our format is to try to cover the following major areas
for each time period covered:
This is a work in progress, look for more information as it appears!
How to behave in court -- or, dealing with your king,
Meeting and greeting -- how to address others of your social
as well as those above and below you.
Table manners -- always a big part of social interaction!
Moral principles -- some of the guidelines you should
learned at your mother's knee...
Sources -- where to look for more information
The following are transcriptions of medieval courtesy books. These are
primarily aimed at educating young people.
A note on the transcriptions: these are simple ascii character text.
You will see a number of tildes (~) in the text. They represent a
character in the original document with a tilde superscript over the
previous letter. It is a printer's convention that a following letter
"n" or "m" has been omitted to save space.
Caxton's "Book of Courtesye"
Erasmus's "DE CIVILITATE MORVN PVERIlium" in English and Latin. (Note that the original
document contained the English translation followed by the Latin text
in one volume. I've separated them for convenience).
Handout on Elizabethan Manners
on Table Service
Handout on Viking Manners
The Havamal, a poem from the Elder
written in Norway around 800 CE.