Gluttony and drunkenness in the early modern period
Gluttony and drunkenness in the early modern period: The humanists’ approach
Be sure, our father Adam and his wifeFor that same sin were driven from ParadiseTo labour and to woe. While Adam fastedHe was in Paradise, as I have read;But when he ate of the forbidden fruitUpon the tree, he was at once cast outInto the world of trouble, pain and sadness.We’ve cause to cry out against Gluttony! Geoffrey Chaucer, The Pardoner’s Tale
Master E. S., Fantastic Alphabet : N (“Gluttony”) c. 1465
Hieronymus BoschAllegory of Gluttony and Lust (1490/1500)
In Flanders there was once a companyOf youngsters wedded to such sin and follyAs gaming, dicing, brothels, and taverns,Where, night and day, with harps, lutes, and citherns,They spend their time in dicing and in dancing,Eating and drinking more than they can carry;And with these abominable excessesThey offer up the vilest sacrificesTo the devil in these temples of the devil.…Who are in fact the devil’s officers,Who light and blow the fire of lechery,Which is so close conjoined with gluttony.I take Holy Writ to be my witness,Lechery springs from wine and drunkenness.Geoffrey Chaucer, The Pardoner’s Tale When the belly is full to bursting with food and drink, debauchery knocks at the door. Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ
Gluttony: I am Gluttony. My parents are all dead,and the devil a penny they have left me but a barepension, and that is thirty meals a day, and tenbevers – a small trifle to suffice nature. O, I come of aroyal parentage. My grandfather was a gammon ofbacon, my grandmother a hogshead of claret wine.My godfathers were these: Peter Pickle-herring andMartin Martlemas-beef. O, but my godmother, shewas a jolly gentle-woman, and well beloved in everygood town and city; her name was Mistress MargeryMarch-beer. Now, Faustus, thou hast heard all myprogeny, wilt thou bid me to supper?Faustus: No, I’ll see thee hanged. Thou wilt eat upall my victuals.Gluttony: Then the devil choke thee!Faustus: Choke thyself, glutton! Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus (A-text), 2.3
Humanism/Humanist• “studia humanitatis” – 14th C: grammar, rhetoric, poetry, ethics, history• “humanista” – 15th C: a teacher of the “studia humanitatis” – 16th C: a student of classical learning• Peter Burke, in Goodman – MacKay (1990) – Humanism = the movement to recover, interpret and assimilate the language, literature, learning and values of ancient Greece and Rome – Humanist = someone actively involved in this movement, whether as a professional teacher, churchman, royal councillor, or whatever
“ad fontes” return to ancient Greek and Roman sources⇒ recovery, interpretation and imitation of ancient Greek and Roman literature and thought⇒ as a philological enterprise: - restoration of classical Latin - revival of Greek and Hebrew - “classical scholarship”, including the archaeological study of the physical remains of antiquity - innovations in the fields of grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and ethics⇒ as an intellectual and cultural movement: - influence on Protestant and Catholic reformations - major force in fine arts - influence on popular culture and vernacular literature
Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) Thomas More (1478-1535) Desiderius Erasmus (1469?-1536) 1400 1500 1600 Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) Petrus Nannius (1500-1557) Erycius Puteanus (1574-1646)
Laetatur de reditu Francisci Aelii He rejoices at the Return of Franciscus Aelius... ...Quid non pro reduci libens amico Now what would I not spend at the returnpersolvam? Puer, i, voca sodales Of such a friend? Boy, go bid the comrades,Albinum Elisiumque Compatremque Elisius, Albinus and Compateret dulcem Altilium, bonum Marullum: And sweet Altilius and good Marullusad coenam veniant, bibamus uncti, To come to dinner. Perfumed we shall drink,uncti, permadidi atque lippientes. Perfumed, soaked through and bleary-eyed.... ...Me tot pocula totque totque totque, I want cup upon cup upon cup,tot me pocula iuverint bibentem, So many goblets for myself imbibing,tot carchesia laverint madentem, So many beakers moistening mequotquot di simul et deae biberunt As all the gods and godesses drank togetherad mensam Oceani patris vocati, Called to the feast of father Oceanus,aut quot, dum illa canit, senex Homerus Or as many as, singing the while, old Homersiccavit calices, relevit obbas. Chalices drank dry and flagons drained.Dulce est ob reducem madere amicum. When a friend comes home its sweet to get good and soused. Giovanni Gioviano Pontano, Baiae, I.10
Charles de Bovelles, Liber de sapiente ([Parisiis] : [ex officina Henrici Stephani], )
To begin a meal with drinking isthe hallmark of a drunkard whodrinks not from need but fromhabit. Such a practice is not onlymorally degrading but alsoinjurious to bodily health. ...Otherwise the wages of addictionto undiluted wine are decayingteeth, bloated cheeks, impairedeyesight, mental dulness – in short,premature old age. ...When someone boorishly pressesyou to drink, promise to replywhen you have grown up. Erasmus, De civilitate
Collegium Trilingue“In the history of intellectual andcultural development, very fewinstitutes have played as glorious apart and have exercised asbeneficient an influence as theCollegium Trilingue of LouvainUniversity.”Henry De Vocht, History of the Foundation and the Riseof the Collegium Trilingue Lovaniense 1517-1550, I, p. 1
Quintus est (quem fere silentiopraeterieram) Latinius Misoparthenus, etipse quoque insignis eruditionis, et vividiingenii; quod ipsum ne ad legittimosfructus ematurescat, convivia etperpotationes cum amatoribus faciunt …The fifth one (whom I almost forgot tomention) was Latinius Misogyn. He alsopossessed noteworthy erudition, and alively mind; but this did not bring him anyproper fruits since he joined the banquetsand binge-drinking of the lovers ... Petrus Nannius, Paralipomena Vergilii & De rebus inferorum
Hae sedes vacuae, ubi tantam incolarumsolitudinem vides, Ludivaniensibusscholasticis deputatae sunt, qui aut ocio autamoribus, aut aliis nequitiis tempus perdunt,ingenia situ obducunt. Fac igitur, inquit, ut eisista vel publice renuncies, ne veniant in hunclocum poenarum; ac puto me iam implevissefidem.You see these empty spaces, where thereis so much room for inhabitants, whichare reserved for the students of Louvainwho waste their time with doing nothingand making love and other evil ways, andcover their talents with idleness. Makesure, he [i.e. Virgil] said, that you warnthem of these things publicly, so thatthey do not come to this place ofpunishment; and I will feel that I havedone my task. Petrus Nannius, Paralipomena Vergilii & De rebus inferorum
Video cementarios, lapicidas, segmentarios, quaternatores complures,quibus negocium datum fuit, ut lapides polirent, et ad normamquadrarent; sed, me miserum, illi saepe dum lapides caedunt se ipsiatrocissime vulnerabant, idque tanta insania, ut tunc manum, nuncaures, nunc pedes atque adeo ipsa capita detruncarent. … Quaerentimihi quinam illi vesani et excordes essent, responsum est grassatoresnocturnos esse, apud inferos dictos nycticoraces, qui ob publicammatulam, publicum scortum ad perniciem mutuam non rarodepugnant.I saw several masons, stone cutters, cleavers andsplitters, whose job it was to polish the stones andreduce them to the correct size. But, oh how terrible!,they frequently hurt themselves tremendously whilethey are chopping the stones, and with such insanitythat they cut off now a hand, then their ears, then theirfeet, or even their heads. ... I asked who those insaneand heartless people were, and was answered thatthey were prowlers of the night, who are called"nightravens" in the underworld because theyfrequently fight, to their mutual destruction, for apublic pot, a public harlot. Petrus Nannius, Paralipomena Vergilii & De rebus inferorum
Itane de potioribus et edonibus scire avetis? Etdecore hoc poscitis? Ita, quia in schola etiamdisserui in occasione, ut dicitis, et velletisrariora ista exempla in promptu habere, non adimitandum, sed narrandum. Addam ego etdetestandum, nam sic oportet.You desire to know about drinkersand eaters? And you demand thisfittingly? Thats true, because I havetalked about this on occasion inschool, as you say, and you now wantto have some more rare examples atyour disposal, not to imitate them,but to discuss them. I would also add:to loathe them, because that is theproper thing to do. Justus Lipsius, Epistolarum selectarum centuria miscellanea III , epist. 51
Sed qui plurimum hausit (ait Plutarchus*) Promachusquidam fuit, qui ad congios quattuor venit. ... Quodautem praemium? Talentum. Quod etiam? Mors, quaehomini post triduum advenit, itemque aliis quadragintaet uni qui miselli super vires certarant.*Plutarch, Alexander, 70. Also in Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 10,437b.Plutarch says that a certain Promachus,who managed four pitchers of three liters,drank the most of all. … What was his prize?A talent. What else? Death, which came tohim after three days, as well as to forty-oneothers who, wretched creatures, hadcompeted beyond their powers. Justus Lipsius, Epistolarum selectarum centuria miscellanea III , epist. 51
Quid Clodius Albinus Imperator? Is, Capitolino scribente*, tantum pomorum hausit quantum ratiohumana non patitur. Nam et quingentas ficus passarias, quas Graeci callistruthias vocant, ieiunumcomedisse. Cordus dicit et centum Persica campana et melones Ostienses decem, et uvarumLavicanarum pondo viginti, et ficedulas centum, et ostrea quadringenta. Hem, hem! Dii talem terrisavertite pestem.** Certe a nostris hortis, quos ille cum toto foro olitorio depascatur et vastet.* Scriptores Historiae Augustae [Capitolinus], Clodius Albinus, 11, 2-3.** Vergilius, Aeneid, 3, 620.What about emperor Clodius Albinus? According to Capitolinus, he ate somuch fruit that it is impossible to comprehend. For he, when he was hungry,also ate five hundred dried raisin-wine figs, which the Greeks call"callistruthiae". Cordus says that he also ate one hundred peaches fromCampania and ten Ostian melons, and twenty pounds of grapes from Labiciand one hundred fig-peckers, and four hundred oysters. Well, well! May thegods remove such a pest from the earth. And certainly from our gardensbecause he consumes and destroys an entire grocery store. Justus Lipsius, Epistolarum selectarum centuria miscellanea III , epist. 51
19 March 1608: Erycius Puteanus to Maximilianus Plouverius(KBR ms. 6523, f° 9) Sed de libello porro quid fiet? Recudere velim, priusquam alibi fiat, recensere et reformare, nequid vel oblique trahere ad se Antverpienses possint. … Sed o facinus! In curia Antverpiensi (ita audio, nec incerto rumore) exemplaria quaedam exusta sunt; et hoc defuit tantum, quod in auctorem pari furore non saevierint. … Non eo animo scripsisse me, ut Patriam, aut Antverpiam laederem, sed ut vitia dumtaxat accusarem. But what should be done about the booklet? I would like to reprint it, before it happens elsewhere, I would like to review it and change it, so that there is nothing left that the citizens of Antwerp can misunderstand as an attack against them … But what a crime! I hear, and it is not an untrustworthy rumour, that some copies have been burned in the Antwerp assembly and they are only a small step away from directing a similar fury against the author … I did not write this with the intention to offend my country or Antwerp, but simply to reproach vices.
16 March 1608: Erycius Puteanus to Nicolaus Damantius, Chancellor of Brabant(Ep. Att. missus secundi I, lviii): De luxu scripsi, et hoc primum velut crimen notatur; deinde edidi, et hoc secundum. … Mens mea fuit, communia aut plebeia paucorum vitia reprehendere, sobrietatem modestiamque inculcare; et in hanc metam tota illa Epistola directa. Hem! Crimen erit, pro virtute loqui? … O bone Deus, quo seculo vivimus, quo scribimus! Itane odium vitiorum profiteri non licebit? Quid reliquum est, nisi ut sacra quoque pulpita sileant, ut scholae claudantur, ut sapientia exulet? I have written about sumptuousness; and that is considered to be my first crime; afterwards I have published, and that would be my second crime. It was my intention to reproach the common and plebeian vices of a few and to stress sobriety and moderation; and that was the purpose of that famous Epistola. Alas! Will it be a crime to speak about virtue? … Good God, what world is this in which we live and write? Will it not be allowed to show disgust of vices? What is left then, but to silence the preachers, to close the schools, to ban wisdom?
1 July 1608: Erycius Puteanus to CorneliusMarcanus(ep. Att. prom. III, lvii):Mihi de luxu loqui, infaustum paene fuit. Sicvivitur. Comum sive Phagesiposia nunc edo.Somnium est, et per ludum saltem audeoPhilosophari. Quia in orbe nostro non licet, apudCimmerios, id est, apud eos qui nusquam sunt,luxum convivalem persequor.It proved almost unfortunate for me to speakabout sumptuousness. But that is life. Now Ipublish the Comus sive Phagesiposia. It is adream, and at least I dare to philosophize with ajest. Because it is forbidden to do this in ourworld, I pursue the sumptuousness of banquetswith the Cimmerians, that is, with people whodont exist.