In the 3rd millennium BC, Ptahhotep wrote The Maxims of Ptahhotep.
The Maxims were conformist precepts extolling such civil virtues as
truthfulness, self-control and kindness towards one's fellow beings.
Learning by listening to everybody and knowing that human knowledge is
never perfect are a leitmotif. Avoiding open conflict wherever possible
should not be considered weakness. Stress is placed on the pursuit of
justice, although it is conceded that it is a god's command that prevails in
the end. Some of the maxims refer to one's behaviour when in the
presence of the great, how to choose the right master and
how to serve him. Others teach the correct way to lead through
openness and kindness. Greed is the base of all evil and
should be guarded against, while generosity towards
family and friends is deemed praiseworthy.
Confucius (551–479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor,
politician, and philosopher whose philosophy
emphasized personal and governmental morality,
correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
Louis XIV (1638-1718) "transformed a royal hunting lodge in Versailles, a
village 25 miles southwest of the capital, into one of the largest palaces in
the world, officially moving his court and government there in 1682. It was
against this awe-inspiring backdrop that Louis tamed the nobility and
impressed foreign dignitaries, using entertainment, ceremony and a highly
codified system of etiquette to assert his supremacy
Members of a Gentlemen's club had to conform to a socially acceptable
standard of politeness. The painting, A Club of Gentlemen by Joseph
Highmore c. 1730.
During the Enlightenment era, a self-conscious process of the imposition
of polite norms and behaviors became a symbol of being a genteel member
of the upper class. Upwardly mobile middle class bourgeoisie increasingly
tried to identify themselves with the elite through their
adopted artistic preferences and their standards of behavior.
They became preoccupied with precise rules of etiquette, such as
when to show emotion, the art of elegant dress and graceful conversation
and how to act courteously, especially with women.
The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment, or Age of
Reason) is an era from the 1650s to the 1780s in which cultural and
intellectual forces in Western Europe emphasized reason, analysis, and
individualism rather than traditional lines of authority. It was promoted by
philosophes and local thinkers in urban coffee houses, salons, and
Masonic lodges. It challenged the authority of institutions that were deeply
rooted in society, especially the Catholic Church; there was much talk of
ways to reform society with toleration, science and skepticism.
Debating saloon Coffee houses
In High-Change in Bond Street,—ou—la Politesse du Grande Monde (1796),
James Gillray caricatured the lack of etiquette in a group of men leering at
women and crowding them off a pavement.
Manners is a term usually preceded by the word good or bad to indicate whether
or not a behavior is socially acceptable. Every culture adheres to a different set
of manners, although a lot of manners are cross culturally‐
common. Manners are a subset of social norms which are informally
enforced through self-regulation and social policing and publically
performed. They enable human ‘ultrasociality’ by imposing self-restraint
and compromise on regular, everyday actions