(884 words)

Bathing in the early modern period belongs in the context of ideas about Health. People went to the bath-house to wash, but it was above all a place for social contact, and sometimes a practical venue for meeting prostitutes (Prostitution; Bathkeeper). People did swim, but this was rare and regarded as somewhat eccentric behavior. Continental courtesy books, such as Faret’s Honnête homme, honnête femme and Castiglione’s Cortegiano (see also Conduct literature) do list swimming as an acceptable leisure activity, but without particularly recommending it. British t…

Cite this page
Naphy, William, “Bathing”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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