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Libertines, Lotharios or Bastards?

Cleanliness next to Godliness

Cleanliness next to Godliness
A fifteenth century Bath House or "Stew"

1498

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll tell you boys, if you want to live like a king with gold in your purse and all the cunny you can handle, become a monk.

If you don’t believe me, ask the Pope.

Pope Alexander VI watching a Chestnut Festival. Pope Alexander VI watching a Chestnut Festival.

There’s a rumour going around that Pope Alexander VI attended a banquet held by his son (!) which became known as The Banquet of Chestnuts. They invited fifty prostitutes to the Vatican, got them to strip and then watched as they crawled around on their hands and knees eating chestnuts which had been sprinkled on the floor. Afterwards all the male guests competed to see who could swive the most, the winner getting some fine silks and a hamper of food.

[The sons name was Cesare Borgia so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.]

It certainly is a man’s life in the clergy.

You do have to follow a Vow of Poverty but let’s face it who ever met an Abbot who didn’t dine on roast swan and drink French wine?

There’s also the Vow of Obedience but we’re sure God doesn’t mind if you pick and choose which of his rules you follow. There are so many you’d have to be some kind of dullard to think you could stick to them all (don’t tell that to the public obviously).

Finally, it is mandatory that you obey a Vow of Chastity but as we all know, many monks have unofficially been married for years, others enjoy a procession of mistresses. A lot of them frequently visit prostitutes; you can’t go into a stew these days without seeing some man of God wallowing away atop a whore with his cassock round his waist.

Not obeying a Vow of Chastity,obviously. Not obeying a Vow of Chastity,obviously.

Saint Augustine had the right idea. He said “If you expel prostitutes from society, prostitution will spread everywhere…the prostitutes in town are like the sewers in the palace. If you take away the sewers, the whole palace will be filthy” The carnal urge is simply too powerful to ignore even for men of the cloth. Apparently some women claim to enjoy physical pleasures too, but they are strange, disruptive and possibly mad.

You only have to look at the state the most pious of Christians got into whenever they had an erection, to see what he meant.  Macarius of Alexandria spent six months naked in a swamp deliberately getting bitten by midges, Saint Benedict jumped into a thorn bush, Antonius who founded the Antoine Order covered himself in pig shit and “Dominican” Domingo du Guzman whipped himself unconscious.

Misguided Misguided

 

 

Five minutes with a wench in a bath house and they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble.

Nuns can be just as bad. Giovanni Boccaccio who wrote Decameron tells of one abbess who was surprised while enjoying the attentions of a virile priest. She was in such a state of confusion that in her haste to dress she put his braies on her head instead of her Psalter. Walk into most nunneries these days and you will see children running around, where do you think they came from eh?

"But darling I thought you knew i was married" “But darling I thought you knew i was married”

The clergy have such a reputation for licentiousness you get writers like Geoffrey bloody Chaucer making fun of them all the time. Just read “The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales, he paints the monk and the friar as a right pair of drunken whore mongers. He was just a civil servant so it was probably jealousy; I wouldn’t have minded meeting The Wife of Bath though.

"I think i feel a sin coming on" “I think i feel a sin coming on”

While we’re on the subject of bath houses, once you’ve been ordained, put on your best cloak (the one with the fur lining) and get youself down to Bankside in London. The stews along Maid Lane are the finest in the country. One of the best things to come from the Crusades (apart of course from all the loot) was the return of the Bath House. Crusaders came back from The Holy Land bursting with tales of Turkish hamams and before you could say “Ora pro nobis” they were everywhere.

Music while you bathe Don’t tell the minstrel that no ones here for the music.

The Bankside stews are on land owned by The Bishop of Winchester which is why the whores who work there are called “Winchester Geese”.  You can’t miss them; the outsides are painted white so they can easily be seen from across the river and unlike taverns which have wooden signs, stews have their names painted straight onto the walls. The Beares heade, the Crosse Keyes, the Gunne, the Castle, the Crane and the Cardinals Hatte are particularly good.

For a reasonable price you can share a hot bath with a companion and eat and drink your fill while discussing events of the day. Once you have caught up with all the gossip you then adjourn to a canopied bed to enjoy a harlot. Of course,you could always arrive alone and dally with a woman (or women) of your choice as you relax in the tub.

Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness

Don’t be worried that people will think less of you for visiting such places. For a start you are Gods representative on earth which gives you an awful lot of licence. The public also think that as long as you are paying for sex or sleeping with nuns, at least you’re not trying to seduce its wives and daughters.

 

 

“Bonus opus si vos can adepto is”

"Can i talk to you about God?" “Can i talk to you about God?”

 

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