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!

Medieval Sources

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
More on Table Service


Handout on Viking Manners
The Havamal, a poem from the Elder Edda written in Norway around 800 CE.