How dirty and smelly medieval cities

The medieval city -
The Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries. 

Center of trade and commerce - London, however, emerged as the center of European commerce and trade. Around 80,000 citizens were crammed inside the old Roman walls.

Basic living conditions -
Living conditions were basic, with few of the amenities we today would call essential.

Unhealthy lifestyle -
A population so tightly packed together would have stunk. Lice and fleas enjoyed a bonanza of blood.

Lack of personal hygiene -
Few people bothered to wash regularly, with even less having more than one set of clothes. In fact, the concept of personal hygiene didn't exist.

The river as a dumping ground - For medieval Londoners, as with those living in Paris, Venice, and other European cities, the only source of water would have been a river. 

Use of latrines -
Few if any cities in the Middle Ages had any semblance of a functioning underground sewage system. 

Deplorable detritus -
It wasn't uncommon to come across a bloated and decomposing corpse floating in the river. Dead dogs and cats also made up this deplorable detritus.

Medieval "streetlife" -
Actually, quite often streets sufficed as repositories for human waste. Chamber pots were emptied on them and, worse perhaps, the entrails of slaughtered animals.

A messy job - Their thankless task was to dig out and remove human excrement from privies and cesspits. Even so, much of it still ended up in the river.

The medieval diet -
Stews of beef and mutton, and vegetables such as cabbage and leek, were for many the mainstay of the medieval diet. 

Slaughterhouses -
Medieval slaughterhouses were notorious for the dreadful mess left in the wake of butchering livestock. 

Open-air markets -
Open-air markets drew throngs of customers to an environment seriously lacking the most basic public health requirements. 

Air pollution -
Traditional trades such as that of the blacksmith compounded the already increasing problem of air pollution. Smithies spewed toxic gases from their forges.

Putrid air -
Nasty bugs and microbes abounded to create "miasmas," a putrefied air that was invisible or sometimes identified as a mist.

Serious health concerns -
During this era, diseases including diphtheria, measles, tuberculosis, leprosy, typhus, anthrax, and smallpox were rife.

Worrying symptoms -
People began complaining of sudden high fever, chills, headaches, and weakness. Other symptoms included coughing, vomiting, and giddiness.

The Black Death -
Soon, millions across Europe had succumbed to what became known as the Black Death.

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