Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period
Paul Lacroix

Part 8 out of 8

mention, also, the _allacrimanti_, or weepers, who owed their name to the
facility which they possessed of shedding tears at will; and the
_testatori_, who, pretending to be seriously ill and about to die,
extorted money from all those to whom they promised to leave their
fortunes, though, of course, they had not a son to leave behind them. We
must not forget the _protobianti_ (master rogues), who made no scruple of
exciting compassion from their own comrades (Fig. 381), nor the
_vergognosi_, who, notwithstanding their poverty, wished to be thought
rich, and considered that assistance was due to them from the mere fact of
their being noble. We must here conclude, for it would occupy too much
time to go through the list of these Italian vagabonds. As for the German
(Figs. 382 and 383), Spanish, and English rogues, we may simply remark
that no type exists among them which is not to be met with amongst the
Argotiers of France or the Bianti of Italy. In giving a description,
therefore, of the mendicity practised in these two countries during the
Middle Ages, we are sure to be representing what it was in other parts of

[Illustration: Fig. 381.--Italian Beggar.--From an Engraving by Callot.]

[Illustration: Figs. 382 and 383.--German Beggars.--Fac-simile of a
Woodcut in the "Cosmographie Universelle" of Munster: in folio, Basle,

The history of regular robbers and highwaymen during this long period is
more difficult to describe; it contains only disconnected anecdotes of a
more or less interesting character. It is probable, moreover, that robbers
did not always commit their depredations singly, and that they early
understood the advantages of associating together. The _Tafurs_, or
_Halegrins_, whom we notice as followers of Godefroy de Bouillon at the
time of the Crusades, towards the end of the eleventh century, were
terribly bad characters, and are actually accused by contemporary writers
of violating tombs, and of living on human flesh. On this account they
were looked upon with the utmost horror by the infidels, who dreaded more
their savage ferocity than the valour of the Crusaders. The latter even,
who had these hordes of Tafurs under their command, were not without
considerable mistrust of them, and when, during their march through
Hungary, under the protection of the cross, these miscreants committed
depredations, Godefroy de Bouillion was obliged to ask pardon for them
from the king of that country.

An ancient poet has handed down to us a story in verse setting forth the
exploits of Eustace the monk, who, after having thrown aside his frock,
embraced the life of a robber, and only abandoned it to become Admiral of
France under Philip Augustus. He was killed before Sandwich, in 1217. We
have satisfactory proof that as early as the thirteenth century sharpers
were very expert masters of their trade, for the ingenious and amusing
tricks of which they were guilty are quite equal to the most skilled of
those now recorded in our police reports. In the two following centuries
the science of the _pince_ and of the _croc_ (pincers and hook), as it was
then called, alone made progress, and Pathelin (a character in comedy, and
an incomparable type of craft and dishonesty) never lacked disciples any
more than Villon did imitators. We know that this charming poet, who was
at the same time a most expert thief, narrowly escaped hanging on two
occasions. His contemporaries attributed to him a poem of twelve hundred
verses, entitled "Les Repues Franches," in which are described the methods
in use among his companions for procuring wine, bread, meat, and fish,
without having to pay for them. They form a series of interesting
stories, the moral of which is to be gathered from the following lines:--

"C'est bien, disne, quand on eschappe
Sans desbourcer pas ung denier,
Et dire adieu an tavernier,
En torchant son nez a la nappe."

The meaning of this doggrel, which is somewhat broad, may be rendered--"He
dines well who escapes without paying a penny, and who bids farewell to
the innkeeper by wiping his nose on the tablecloth."

Side by side with this poem of Yillon we ought to cite one of a later
period--"La Legende de Maitre Faifeu," versified by Charles Boudigne. This
Faifeu was a kind of Villon of Anjou, who excelled in all kinds of
rascality, and who might possibly have taught it even to the gipsies
themselves. The character of Panurge, in the "Pantagruel," is no other
than the type of Faifeu, immortalised by the genius of Rabelais. We must
also mention one of the pamphlets of Guillaume Bouchet, written towards
the end of the sixteenth century, which gives a very amusing account of
thieves of every description, and also "L'Histoire Generale des Larrons,"
in which are related numerous wonderful tales of murders, robberies, and
other atrocities, which made our admiring ancestors well acquainted with
the heroes of the Greve and of Montfaucon. It must not be supposed that in
those days the life of a robber who pursued his occupation with any degree
of industry and skill was unattended with danger, for the most harmless
cut-purses were hung without mercy whenever they were caught; the fear,
however, of this fate did not prevent the _Enfants de la Matte_ from
performing wonders.

Brantome relates that King Charles IX. had the curiosity to wish to "know
how the cut-purses performed their arts with so much skill and dexterity,"
and begged Captain La Chambre to introduce to him, on the occasion of a
banquet and a ball, the cleverest cut-purses, giving them full liberty to
exhibit their skill. The captain went to the Cours des Miracles and
fetched ten of the most expert of these thieves, whom he presented to the
King. Charles, "after the dinner and the ball had taken place, wished to
see all the plunder, and found that they had absolutely earned three
thousand ecus, either in money from purses, or in precious stones, pearls,
or other jewels; some of the guests even lost their cloaks, at which the
King thought he should die of laughter." The King allowed them to keep
what they had thus earned at the expense of his guests; but he forbad them
"to continue this sort of life," under penalty of being hung, and he had
them enrolled in the army, in order to recompense them for their clever
feats. We may safely assert that they made but indifferent soldiers.

[Illustration: Fig. 384.--The Exhibitor of strange Animals (Twelfth
Century Manuscript, Royal Library of Brussels).]


Origin of Modern Ceremonial.--Uncertainty of French Ceremonial up to the
End of the Sixteenth Century.--Consecration of the Kings of
France.--Coronation of the Emperors of Germany.--Consecration of the
Doges of Venice.--Marriage of the Doge with the Sea.--State Entries of
Sovereigns.--An Account of the Entry of Isabel of Bavaria into
Paris.--Seats of Justice.--Visits of Ceremony between Persons of
rank.--Mourning.--Social Courtesies.--Popular Demonstrations and
National Commemorations.--New Year's Day.--Local Festivals.--_Vins
d'Honneur._--Processions of Trades.

Although society during the Middle Ages was, as a whole, closely cemented
together, being animated by the same sentiments and imbued with the same
spirit, it was divided, as we have already stated, into three great
classes, namely, the clergy, the nobility, and the _liers-etat._ These
classes, each of which formed a distinct body within the State, carried on
an existence peculiar to itself, and presented in its collective capacity
a separate individuality. Hence there was a distinct ceremonial for each
class. We will not attempt to give in detail the innumerable laws of these
three kinds of ceremonial; our attention will be directed solely to their
most characteristic customs, and to their most remarkable and interesting
aspects taken as a whole. We must altogether lay aside matters relating
specially to ceremonies of a purely religions character, as they are
connected more or less with the traditions and customs of the Church, and
belong to quite a distinct order of things.

"When the Germans, and especially the Franks," says the learned
paleographer Vallet de Viriville, "had succeeded in establishing their
own rule in place of that of the Romans, these almost savage nations, and
the barbarian chiefs who were at their head under the title of kings,
necessarily borrowed more or less the refined practices relating to
ceremonial possessed by the people whom they had conquered. The elevation
of the elected chief or king on the shield and the solemn taking of arms
in the midst of the tribe seem to be the only traces of public ceremonies
which we can discover among the Grermans. The marvellous display and the
imposing splendour of the political hierarchy of the Roman Empire,
especially in its outward arrangements, must have astonished the minds of
these uncultivated people. Thus we find the Frank kings becoming
immediately after a victory the simple and clumsy imitators of the
civilisation which they had broken up." Clovis on returning to Tours in
507, after having defeated Alaric, received the titles of _Patrician_ and
_Consul_ from the Emperor Anastasius, and bedecked himself with the
purple, the chlamys, and the diadem. The same principle of imitation was
afterwards exhibited in the internal and external court ceremonial, in
proportion as it became developed in the royal person. Charlemagne, who
aimed at everything which could adorn and add strength to a new monarchy,
established a regular method for the general and special administration of
his empire, as also for the internal arrangement and discipline of his
palace. We have already referred to this twofold organization (_vide_
chapters on Private Life and on Food), but we may here remark that,
notwithstanding these ancient tendencies to the creation of a fixed
ceremonial, the trifling rules which made etiquette a science and a law,
were introduced by degrees, and have only very recently been established
amongst us.

In 1385, when King Charles VI. married the notorious Isabel of Bavaria,
then scarcely fourteen years of age, he desired to arrange for her a
magnificent entry into Paris, the pomp and brilliancy of which should be
consistent with the rank and illustrious descent of his young bride. He
therefore begged the old Queen Blanche, widow of Philippe de Valois, to
preside over the ceremony, and to have it conducted according to the
custom of olden times. She was consequently obliged, in the absence of any
fixed rules on the subject, to consult the official records,--that is to
say, the "Chronique du Monastere de Saint-Denis." The first embodiment of
rules relating to these matters in use among the nobility, which had
appeared in France under the title of "Honneurs de la Cour," only goes
back to the end of the fifteenth century. It appears, however, that even
then this was not generally admitted among the nobility as the basis of
ceremonial, for in 1548 we find that nothing had been definitely settled.
This is evident from the fact that when King Henri III. desired to know
the rank and order of precedence of the princes of the royal blood, both
dukes and counts--as also that of the other princes, the barons, the
nobles of the kingdom, the constables, the marshals of France and the
admirals, and what position they had held on great public occasions during
the reigns of his predecessors--he commissioned Jean du Tillet, the civil
registrar of the Parliament of Paris, to search among the royal archives
for the various authentic documents which might throw light on this
question, and serve as a precedent for the future. In fact, it was Henri
III. who, in 1585, created the office of Grand Master of the Ceremonies of
France, entrusting it to Guillaume Pot, a noble of Rhodes, which office
for many generations remained hereditary in his family.

[Illustration: Fig. 385.--Herald (Fourteenth Century).--From a Miniature
in the "Chroniques de Saint-Denis" (Imperial Library of Paris).]

Nevertheless the question of ceremonial, and especially that of
precedence, had already more than once occupied the attention of
sovereigns, not only within their own states, but also in relation to
diplomatic matters. The meetings of councils, at which the ambassadors of
all the Christian Powers, with the delegates of the Catholic Church, were
assembled, did not fail to bring this subject up for decision. Pope
Julius II. in 1504 instructed Pierre de Crassis, his Master of the
Ceremonies, to publish a decree, determining the rank to be taken by the
various sovereigns of Europe or by their representatives; but we should
add that this Papal decree never received the sanction of the parties
interested, and that the question of precedence, even at the most
unimportant public ceremonies, was during the whole of the Middle Ages a
perpetual source of litigation in courts of law, and of quarrels which too
often ended in bloodshed.

It is right that we should place at the head of political ceremonies those
having reference to the coronation of sovereigns, which were not only
political, but owed their supreme importance and dignity to the necessary
intervention of ecclesiastical authority. We will therefore first speak of
the consecration and coronation of the kings of France.

Pepin le Bref, son of Charles Martel and founder of the second dynasty,
was the first of the French kings who was consecrated by the religions
rite of anointing. But its mode of administration for a long period
underwent numerous changes, before becoming established by a definite law.
Thus Pepin, after having been first consecrated in 752 in the Cathedral of
Boissons, by the Archbishop of Mayence, was again consecrated with his two
sons Charlemagne and Carloman, in 753, in the Abbey of St. Denis, by Pope
Stephen III. Charlemagne was twice anointed by the Sovereign Pontiff,
first as King of Lombardy, and then as Emperor. Louis le Debonnaire, his
immediate successor, was consecrated at Rheims by Pope Stephen IV. in 816.
In 877 Louis le Begue received unction and the sceptre, at Compiegne, at
the hands of the Archbishop of Rheims. Charles le Simple in 893, and
Robert I. in 922, were consecrated and crowned at Rheims; but the
coronation of Raoul, in 923, was celebrated in the Abbey of St. Medard de
Soissons, and that of Louis d'Outremer, in 936, at Laon. From the
accession of King Lothaire to that of Louis VI. (called Le Gros), the
consecration of the kings of France sometimes took place in the
metropolitan church of Rheims, and sometimes in other churches, but more
frequently in the former. Louis VI. having been consecrated in the
Cathedral of Orleans, the clergy of Rheims appealed against this supposed
infraction of custom and their own special privileges. A long discussion
took place, in which were brought forward the titles which the Church of
Rheims possessed subsequently to the reign of Clovis to the exclusive
honour of having kings consecrated in it; and King Louis le Jeune, son of
Louis le Gros, who was himself consecrated at Rheims, promulgated a
special decree on this question, in anticipation of the consecration of
his son, Philippe Auguste. This decree finally settled the rights of this
ancient church, and at the same time defined the order which was to be
observed in future at the ceremony of consecration. From that date, down
to the end of the reign of the Bourbons of the elder line, kings were
invariably consecrated, according to legal rite, in the metropolitan
church of Rheims, with the exception of Henry IV., who was crowned at
Chartres by the bishop of that town, on account of the civil wars which
then divided his kingdom, and caused the gates of Rheims to be closed
against him.

[Illustration: Fig. 386.--Coronation of Charlemagne.--Fac-simile of a
Miniature in the "Chroniques de Saint-Denis," Manuscript of the Fourteenth
Century (Imperial Library of Paris).]

The consecration of the kings of France always took place on a Sunday. On
the previous day, at the conclusion of evening prayers, the custody of the
cathedral devolved upon certain royal officers, assisted by the ordinary
officials. During the evening the monarch came to the church for devotion,
and "according to his religions feelings, to pass part of the night in
prayer," an act which was called _la veillee des armes_. A large platform,
surmounted by a throne, was erected between the chancel and the great
nave. Upon this assembled, besides the King and his officers of State,
twelve ecclesiastical peers, together with those prelates whom the King
might be pleased to invite, and six lay peers, with other officers or
nobles. At daybreak, the King sent a deputation of barons to the Abbey of
St. Remi for the holy vial, which was a small glass vessel called
_ampoule_, from the Latin word _ampulla_, containing the holy oil to be
used at the royal anointing. According to tradition, this vial was brought
from heaven by a dove at the time of the consecration of Clovis. Four of
the nobles remained as hostages at the abbey during the time that the
Abbot of St. Remi, followed by his monks and escorted by the barons, went
in procession to the cathedral to place the sacred vessel upon the altar.
The abbot of St. Denis in France had in a similar manner to bring from
Rheims with great pomp, and deposit by the side of the holy vial, the
royal insignia, which were kept in the treasury of his monastery, and had
been there since the reign of Charlemagne. They consisted of the crown,
the sword sheathed, the golden spurs, the gilt sceptre, the rod adorned
with an ivory handle in the form of a hand, the sandals of blue silk,
embroidered with fleur de lis, the chasuble or _dalmatique_, and the
_surcot_, or royal mantle, in the shape of a cape without a hood. The
King, immediately on rising from his bed, entered the cathedral, and
forthwith took oath to maintain the Catholio faith and the privileges of
the Church, and to dispense good and impartial justice to his subjects. He
then walked to the foot of the altar, and divested himself of part of his
dress, having his head bare, and wearing a tunic with openings on the
chest, on the shoulders, at the elbows, and in the middle of the back;
these openings were closed by means of silver aigulets. The Archbishop of
Rheims then drew the sword from the scabbard and handed it to the King,
who passed it to the principal officer in attendance. The prelate then
proceeded with the religious part of the ceremony of consecration, and
taking a drop of the miraculous oil out of the holy vial by means of a
gold needle, he mixed it with the holy oil from his own church. This being
done, and sitting in the posture of consecration, he anointed the King,
who was kneeling before him, in five different parts of the body, namely,
on the forehead, on the breast, on the back, on the shoulders, and on the
joints of the arms. After this the King rose up, and with the assistance
of his officers, put on his royal robes. The Archbishop handed to him
successively the ring, the sceptre, and the rod of justice, and lastly
placed the crown on his head. At this moment the twelve peers formed
themselves into a group, the lay peers being in the first rank,
immediately around the sovereign, and raising their hands to the crown,
they held it for a moment, and then they conducted the King to the throne.
The consecrating prelate, putting down his mitre, then knelt at the feet
of the monarch and took the oath of allegiance, his example being followed
by the other peers and their vassals who were in attendance. At the same
time, the cry of "_Vive le Roi_!" uttered by the archbishop, was repeated
three times outside the cathedral by the heralds-at-arms, who shouted it
to the assembled multitude. The latter replied, "_Noel! Noel! Noel!_" and
scrambled for the small pieces of money thrown to them by the officers,
who at the same time cried out, "_Largesse, largesse aux manants_!" Every
part of this ceremony was accompanied by benedictions and prayers, the
form of which was read out of the consecration service as ordered by the
bishop, and the proceedings terminated by the return of the civil and
religious procession which had composed the _cortege_. When the sovereign
was married, his wife participated with him in the honours of the
consecration, the symbolical investiture, and the coronation; but she only
partook of the homage rendered to the King to a limited degree, which was
meant to imply that the Queen had a less extended authority and a less
exalted rank.

[Illustration: Fig. 387.--Dalmatica and Sandals of Charlemagne, Insignia
of the Kings of France at their Coronation, preserved in the Treasury of
the Abbey of St. Denis.]

The ceremonies which accompanied the accessions of the emperors of Germany
(Fig. 388) are equally interesting, and were settled by a decree which the
Emperor Charles IX. promulgated in 1356, at the Diet of Nuremberg.
According to the terms of this decree--which is still preserved among the
archives of Frankfort-on-the-Main, and which is known as the _bulle d'or_,
or golden bull, from the fact of its bearing a seal of pure gold--on the
death of an emperor, the Archbishop of Mayence summoned, for an appointed
day, the Prince Electors of the Empire, who, during the whole course of
the Middle Ages, remained seven in number, "in honour," says the bull, "of
the seven candlesticks mentioned in the Apocalypse." These Electors--who
occupied the same position near the Emperor that the twelve peers did in
relation to the King of France--were the Archbishops of Mayence, of
Treves, and of Cologne, the King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the
Rhine, the Duke of Saxony, and the Margrave of Brandenburg. On the
appointed day, the mass of the Holy Spirit was duly solemnized in the
Church of St. Bartholomew of Frankfort, a town in which not only the
election of the Emperor, but also his coronation, almost always took
place, though one might have supposed that Aix-la-Chapelle would have been
selected for such ceremonies. The Electors attended, and after the service
was concluded, they retired to the sacristy of the church, accompanied by
their officers and secretaries, They had thirty days for deliberation, but
beyond that period they were not allowed "to eat bread or drink water"
until they had agreed, at least by a majority, to give _a temporal chief
to the Christian people, that is to say, a King of the Romans, who should
in due time be promoted to be Emperor_, The newly-elected prince was, in
fact, at first simply _King of the Romans_, and this title was often borne
by persons who were merely nominated for the office by the voice of the
Electors, or by political combinations. In order to be promoted to the
full measure of power and authority, the King of the Romans had to receive
both religions consecration and the crown. The ceremonies adopted at this
solemnity were very analogous to those used at the consecrations of the
kings of France, as well as to those of installation of all Christian
princes. The service was celebrated by the Archbishop of Cologne, who
placed the crown on the head of the sovereign-elect, whom he consecrated
Emperor. The symbols of his authority were handed to him by the Electors,
and then he was proclaimed, "_Caesar, most sacred, ever august Majesty,
Emperor, of the Holy Roman Empire of the nation of Germany_."

[Illustration: Fig. 388.--Costume of Emperors at their Coronation since
the Time of Charlemagne.--From an Engraving in a Work entitled "Insignia
Sacre Majistatis Caesarum Principum." Frankfort, 1579, in folio.]

The imperial _cortege_ then came out from the Church of St. Bartholomew,
and went through the town, halting at the town-hall (called the _Roemer_,
in commemoration of the noble name of Rome), where a splendid banquet,
prepared in the _Kaysersaal_ (hall of the Caesars), awaited the principal
performers in this august ceremony.

At the moment that the Emperor set foot on the threshold of the Roemer,
the Elector of Saxony, Chief Marshal of the Empire, on horseback, galloped
at full speed towards a heap of oats which was piled up in the middle of
the square. Holding in one hand a silver measure, and in the other a
scraper of the same metal, each of which weighed six marks, he filled the
measure with oats, levelled it with the scraper, and handed it over to the
hereditary marshal. The rest of the heap was noisily scrambled for by the
people who had been witnesses of this allegorical performance. Then the
Count Palatine, as chief seneschal, proceeded to perform his part in the
ceremony, which consisted of placing before the Emperor, who was sitting
at table, four silver dishes, each weighing three marks. The King of
Bohemia, as chief butler, handed to the monarch wine and water in a silver
cup weighing twelve marks; and then the Margrave of Magdeburg presented to
him a silver basin of the same weight for washing his hands. The other
three Electors, or arch-chancellors, provided at their own expense the
silver baton, weighing twelve marks, suspended to which one of them
carried the seals of the empire. Lastly, the Emperor, and with him the
Empress if he was married, the princes, and the Electors, sat down to a
banquet at separate tables, and were waited upon by their respective
officers. On another table or stage were placed the Imperial insignia. The
ceremony was concluded outside by public rejoicings: fountains were set to
play; wine, beer, and other beverages were distributed; gigantic bonfires
were made, at which whole oxen were roasted; refreshment tables were set
out in the open air, at which any one might sit down and partake, and, in
a word, every bounty as well as every amusement was provided. In this way
for centuries public fetes were celebrated on these occasions.

[Illustration: Fig. 389.--Imperial Procession.--From an Engraving of the
"Solemn Entry of Charles V. and Clement VII. into Bologna," by L. de
Cranach, from a Fresco by Brusasorci, of Verona.]

The doges of Venice, as well as the emperors of Germany, and some other
heads of states, differed from other Christian sovereigns in this respect,
that, instead of holding their high office by hereditary or divine right,
they were installed therein by election. At Venice, a conclave, consisting
of forty electors, appointed by a much more numerous body of men of high
position, elected the Doge, or president of _the most serene Republic_.

From the day when Laurent Tiepolo, immediately after his election in 1268,
was spontaneously carried in triumph by the Venetian sailors, it became
the custom for a similar ovation to take place in honour of any
newly-elected doge. In order to do this, the workmen of the harbour had
the new Doge seated in a splendid palanquin, and carried him on their
shoulders in great pomp round the Piazza San Marco. But another still more
characteristic ceremony distinguished this magisterial election. On
Ascension Day, the Doge, entering a magnificent galley, called the
_Bucentaur_, which was elegantly equipped, and resplendent with gold and
precious stuffs, crossed the Grand Canal, went outside the town, and
proceeded in the midst of a nautical _cortege_, escorted by bands of
music, to the distance of about a league from the town on the Adriatic
Gulf. Then the Patriarch of Venice gave his blessing to the sea, and the
Doge, taking the helm, threw a gold ring into the water, saying, "O sea! I
espouse thee in the name, and in token, of our true and perpetual
sovereignty." Immediately the waters were strewed with flowers, and the
shouts of joy, and the clapping of hands of the crowd, were intermingled
with the strains of instruments of music of all sorts, whilst the glorious
sky of Venice smiled on the poetic scene.

The greater part of the principal ceremonies of the Middle Ages acquired,
from various accessory and local circumstances, a character of grandeur
well fitted to impress the minds of the populace. On these memorable
occasions the exhibition of some historical memorial, of certain
traditional symbols, of certain relics, &c., brought to the recollection
the most celebrated events in national history--events already possessing
the prestige of antiquity as well as the veneration of the people. Thus,
as a memorial of the consecration of the kings of Hungary, the actual
crown of holy King Stephen was used; at the consecration of the kings of
England, the actual chair of Edward the Confessor was used; at the
consecration of the emperors of Germany, the imperial insignia actually
used by Charlemagne formed part of the display; at the consecration of the
kings of France at a certain period, the hand of justice of St. Louis,
which has been before alluded to, was produced.

[Illustration: Fig. 390.--Standards of the Church and the Empire.--Reduced
from an Engraving of the "Entry of Charles V. and Clement VII. into
Bologna," by Lucas de Cranach, from a Fresco by Brusasorci, of Verona.]

After their consecration by the Church and by the spiritual power, the
sovereigns had simply to take actual possession of their dominions, and,
so to speak, of their subjects. This positive act of sovereignty was often
accompanied by another class of ceremonies, called _joyous entry_, or
_public entry._ These entries, of which numerous accounts have been handed
down to us by historians, and which for the most part were very varied in
character, naturally took place in the capital city. We will limit
ourselves to transcribing the account given by the ancient chronicler,
Juvenal des Ursins, of the entry into Paris of Queen Isabel of Bavaria,
wife of Charles VI., which was a curious specimen of the public fetes of
this kind.

[Illustration: Fig. 391.--Grand Procession of the Doge, Venice (Sixteenth
Century).--Reduced from one of fourteen Engravings representing this
Ceremony, designed and engraved by J. Amman.]

"In the year 1389, the King was desirous that the Queen should make a
public entry into Paris, and this he made known to the inhabitants, in
order that they should make preparations for it. And there were at each
cross roads divers _histoires_ (historical representations, pictures, or
tableaux vivants), and fountains sending forth water, wine, and milk. The
people of Paris in great numbers went out to meet the Queen, with the
Provost of the Merchants, crying '_Noel!_' The bridge by which she passed
was covered with blue taffeta, embroidered with golden fleurs-de-lys. A
man of light weight, dressed in the guise of an angel, came down, by means
of some well-constructed machinery, from one of the towers of Notre-Dame,
to the said bridge through an opening in the said blue taffeta, at the
moment when the Queen was passing, and placed a beautiful crown on her
head. After he had done this, he withdrew through the said opening by the
same means, and thus appeared as if he were returning to the skies of his
own accord. Before the Grand Chastelet there was a splendid court adorned
with azure tapestry, which was intended to be a representation of the
_lit-de-justice,_ and it was very large and richly decorated. In the
middle of it was a very large pure white artificial stag, its horns gilt,
and its neck encircled with a crown of gold. It was so ingeniously
constructed that its eyes, horns, mouth, and all its limbs, were put in
motion by a man who was secreted within its body. Hanging to its neck were
the King's arms--that is to say, three gold fleur-de-lys on an azure
shield.... Near the stag there was a large sword, beautiful and bright,
unsheathed; and when the Queen passed, the stag was made to take the sword
in the right fore-foot, to hold it out straight, and to brandish it. It
was reported to the King that the said preparations were made, and he said
to Savoisy, who was one of those nearest to him, 'Savoisy, I earnestly
entreat thee to mount a good horse, and I will ride behind thee, and we
will so dress ourselves that no one will know us, and let us go and see
the entry of my wife.' And, although Savoisy did all he could to dissuade
him, the King insisted, and ordered that it should be done. So Savoisy did
what the King had ordered, and disguised himself as well as he could, and
mounted on a powerful horse with the King behind him. They went through
the town, and managed so as to reach the Chastelet at the time the Queen
was passing. There was a great crowd, and Savoisy placed himself as near
as he could, and there were sergeants on all sides with thick birch wands,
who, in order to prevent the crowd from pressing upon and injuring the
court where the stag was, hit away with their wands as hard as they could.
Savoisy struggled continually to get nearer and nearer, and the sergeants,
who neither knew the King nor Savoisy, struck away at them, and the King
received several very hard and well-directed blows on the shoulders. In
the evening, in the presence of the ladies, the matter was talked over,
and they began to joke about it, and even the King himself laughed at the
blows he had received. The Queen on her entry was seated on a litter, and
very magnificently dressed, as were also the ladies and maids of honour.
It was indeed a splendid sight; and if any one wished to describe the
dresses of the ladies, of the knights and squires, and of those who
escorted the Queen, it would take a long time to do so. After supper,
singing and dancing commenced, which continued until daylight. The next
day there were tournaments and other sports" (Fig. 392).

[Illustration: Entry of Charles the Seventh into Paris

A miniature from _Monstrelet the Chronicles_ in the Bibl. nat. de Paris,
no 20,861 Costumes of the Sixteenth century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 392.--Tournaments in honour of the Entry of Queen
Isabel into Paris--From a Miniature in the "Chroniques" of Froissart,
Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (National Library of Paris).]

[Illustration: Fig. 393.--Seat of Justice, held by King Philippe de Valois,
on the 8th April, 1332, for the Trial of Robert, Comte d'Artois.--From a
Pen-and-ink Sketch in an Original Manuscript (Arch. of the Empire)]

In the course of this simple and graphic description mention has been made
of the _lit de justice_ (seat of justice). All judicial or legislative
assemblies at which the King considered it his duty to be present were
thus designated; when the King came there simply as a looker-on, they were
more commonly called _plaidoyers_, and, in this case, no change was made
in the ordinary arrangements; but when the King presided they were called
_conseils_, and then a special ceremonial was required. In fact, by _lit
de justice_ (Fig. 393), or _cour des pairs_, we understand a court
consisting of the high officers of the crown, and of the great executive
of the State, whose duty it was to determine whether any peer of France
should be tried on a criminal charge; gravely to deliberate on any
political matter of special interest; or to register, in the name of the
absolute sovereignty of the King, any edict of importance. We know the
prominent, and, we may say, even the fatal, part played by these
solemnities, which were being continually re-enacted, and on every sort of
pretext, during the latter days of monarchy. These courts were always held
with impressive pomp. The sovereign usually summoned to them the princes
of the blood royal and the officers of his household; the members of the
Parliament took their seats in scarlet robes, the presidents being habited
in their caps and their mantles, and the registrars of the court also
wearing their official dress. The High Chancellor, the First Chamberlain,
and the Provost of Paris, sat at the King's feet. The Chancellor of
France, the presidents and councillors of the Parliament, occupied the
bar, and the ushers of the court were in a kneeling posture.

Having thus mentioned the assemblies of persons of distinction, the
interviews of sovereigns (Fig. 394), and the reception of
ambassadors--without describing them in detail, which would involve more
space than we have at our command--we will enter upon the subject of the
special ceremonial adopted by the nobility, taking as our guide the
standard book called "Honneurs de la Cour," compiled at the end of the
fifteenth century by the celebrated Alienor de Poitiers. In addition to
her own observations, she gives those of her mother, Isabelle de Souza,
who herself had but continued the work of another noble lady, Jeanne
d'Harcourt--married in 1391 to the Count William de Namur--who was
considered the best authority to be found in the kingdom of France. This
collection of the customs of the court forms a kind of family diary
embracing three generations, and extending back over more than a century.

Notwithstanding the curious and interesting character of this book, and
the authority which it possesses on this subject, we cannot, much to our
regret, do more than borrow a few passages from it; but these, carefully
selected, will no doubt suffice to give some idea of the manners and
customs of the nobility during the fifteenth century, and to illustrate
the laws of etiquette of which it was the recognised code.

One of the early chapters of the work sets forth this fundamental law of
French ceremonial, namely, that, "according to the traditions or customs
of France, women, however exalted their position, be they even king's
daughters, rank with their husbands." We find on the occasion of the
marriage of King Charles VII. with Mary of Anjou, in 1413, although
probably there had never been assembled together so many princes and
ladies of rank, that at the banquet the ladies alone dined with the Queen,
"and no gentlemen sat with them." We may remark, whilst on this subject,
that before the reign of Francis I. it was not customary for the two sexes
to be associated together in the ordinary intercourse of court life; and
we have elsewhere remarked (see chapter on Private Life) that this
departure from ancient custom exerted a considerable influence, not only
on manners, but also on public affairs.

[Illustration: Fig. 394.--Interview of King Charles V. with the Emperor
Charles IV. in Paris in 1378.--Fac-simile of a Miniature in the
Description of this Interview, Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century, in the
Library of the Arsenal of Paris.]

The authoress of the "Honneurs de la Cour" specially mentions the respect
which Queen Mary of Anjou paid to the Duchess of Burgundy when she was at
Chalons in Champagne in 1445: "The Duchess came with all her retinue, on
horseback and in carriages, into the courtyard of the mansion where the
King and Queen were, and there alighted, her first maid of honour acting
as her train-bearer. M. de Bourbon gave her his right hand, and the
gentlemen went on in front. In this manner she was conducted to the hall
which served as the ante-chamber to the Queen's apartment. There she
stopped, and sent in M. de Crequi to ask the Queen if it was her pleasure
that she should enter.... When the Duchess came to the door she took the
train of her dress from the lady who bore it and let it trail on the
ground, and as she entered she knelt and then adyanced to the middle of
the room. There she made the same obeisance, and moved straight towards
the Queen, who was standing close to the foot of her throne. When the
Duchess had performed a further act of homage, the Queen advanced two or
three steps, and the Duchess fell on her knees; the Queen then put her
hand on her shoulder, embraced her, kissed her, and commanded her to

The Duchess then went up to Margaret of Scotland, wife of the Dauphin,
afterwards Louis XI., "who was four or five feet from the Queen," and paid
her the same honours as she had done to the Queen, although the Dauphine
appeared to wish to prevent her from absolutely kneeling to her. After
this she turned towards the Queen of Sicily (Isabelle de Lorraine, wife of
Rene of Anjou, brother-in-law of the King), "who was two or three feet
from the Dauphine," and merely bowed to her, and the same to another
Princess, Madame de Calabre, who was still more distantly connected with
the blood royal. Then the Queen, and after her the Dauphine, kissed the
three maids of honour of the Duchess and the wives of the gentlemen. The
Duchess did the same to the ladies who accompanied the Queen and the
Dauphine, "but of those of the Queen of Sicily the Duchess kissed none,
inasmuch as the Queen had not kissed hers. And the Duchess would not walk
behind the Queen, for she said that the Duke of Burgundy was nearer the
crown of France than was the King of Sicily, and also that she was
daughter of the King of Portugal, who was greater than the King of

Further on, from the details given of a similar reception, we learn that
etiquette was not at that time regulated by the laws of politeness as now
understood, inasmuch as the voluntary respect paid by men to the gentle
sex was influenced much by social rank. Thus, at the time of a visit of
Louis XI., then Dauphin, to the court of Brussels, to which place he went
to seek refuge against the anger of his father, the Duchesses of Burgundy,
of Charolais, and of Cleves, his near relatives, exhibited towards him all
the tokens of submission and inferiority which he might have received from
a vassal. The Dauphin, it is true, wished to avoid this homage, and a
disussion on the subject of "more than a quarter of an hour ensued;" at
last he took the Duchess of Burgundy by the arm and led her away, in order
to cut short the ceremonies "about which Madame made so much to do." This,
however, did not prevent the princesses, on their withdrawing, from
kneeling to the ground in order to show their respect for the son of the
King of France.

[Illustration: Fig. 395.--The Entry of Louis XI. into Paris.--Fac-simile
of a Miniature in the "Chroniques" of Monstrelet, Manuscript of the
Fifteenth Century (Imperial Library of Paris).]

We have already seen that the Duchess of Burgundy, when about to appear
before the Queen, took her train from her train-bearer in order that she
might carry it herself. In this she was only conforming to a general
principle, which was, that in the presence of a superior, a person,
however high his rank, should not himself receive honours whilst at the
same time paying them to another. Thus a duke and a duchess amidst their
court had all the things which were used at their table covered--hence the
modern expression, _mettre le couvert_ (to lay the cloth)--even the
wash-hand basin and the _cadenas_, a kind of case in which the cups,
knives, and other table articles were kept; but when they were
entertaining a king all these marks of superiority were removed, as a
matter of etiquette, from the table at which they sat, and were passed on
as an act of respect to the sovereign present.

The book of Dame Alienor, in a series of articles to which we shall merely
allude, speaks at great length and enters into detail respecting the
interior arrangements of the rooms in which princes and other noble
children were born. The formalities gone through on these occasions were
as curious as they were complicated; and Dame Alienor regretted to see
them falling into disuse, "owing to which," she says, "we fear that the
possessions of the great houses of the nobility are getting too large, as
every one admits, and chicanery or concealment of birth, so as to make
away with too many children, is on the increase."

Mourning is the next subject which we shall notice. The King never wore
black for mourning, not even for his father, but scarlet or violet. The
Queen wore white, and did not leave her apartments for a whole year. Hence
the name of _chateau, hotel,_ or _tour de la Reine Blanche_, which many of
the buildings of the Middle Ages still bear, from the fact that widowed
queens inhabited them during the first year of their widowhood. On
occasions of mourning, the various reception rooms of a house were hung
with black. In deep mourning, such as that for a husband or a father, a
lady wore neither gloves, jewels, nor silk. The head was covered with a
low black head-dress, with trailing lappets, called _chaperons,
barbettes, couvre-chefs_, and _tourets_. A duchess and the wife of a
knight or a banneret, on going into mourning, stayed in their apartments
for six weeks; the former, during the whole of this time, when in deep
mourning, remained lying down all day on a bed covered with a white sheet;
whereas the latter, at the end of nine days, got up, and until the six
weeks were over, remained sitting in front of the bed on a black sheet.
Ladies did not attend the funerals of their husbands, though it was usual
for them to be present at those of their fathers and mothers. For an elder
brother, they wore the same mourning as for a father, but they did not lie
down as above described.

[Illustration: Fig. 396.--"How the King-at-Arms presents the Sword to the
Duke of Bourbon."--From a Miniature in "Tournois du Roi Rene," Manuscript
of the Fifteenth Century (Imperial Library of Paris).]

In their everyday intercourse with one another, kings, princes, dukes, and
duchesses called one another _monsieur_ and _madame_, adding the Christian
name or that of the estate. A superior speaking or writing to an inferior,
might prefix to his or her title of relationship _beau_ or _belle_; for
instance, _mon bel oncle, ma belle cousine_. People in a lower sphere of
life, on being introduced to one another, did not say, "Monsieur Jean, ma
belle tante"--"Mr. John, allow me to introduce you to my aunt"--but
simply, "Jean, ma tante." The head of a house had his seat under a canopy
or _dosseret_ (Fig. 396), which he only relinquished to his sovereign,
when he had the honour of entertaining him. "Such," says Alienor, in
conclusion, "are the points of etiquette which are observed in Germany, in
France, in Naples, in Italy, and in all other civilised countries and
kingdoms." We may here remark, that etiquette, after having originated in
France, spread throughout all Christian nations, and when it had become
naturalised, as it were, amongst the latter, it acquired a settled
position, which it retained more firmly than it did in France. In this
latter country, it was only from the seventeenth century, and particularly
under Louis XIV., that court etiquette really became a science, and almost
a species of religions observance, whose minutiae were attended to as much
as if they were sacramental rites, though they were not unfrequently of
the most childish character, and whose pomp and precision often caused the
most insufferable annoyance. But notwithstanding the perpetual changes of
times and customs, the French nation has always been distinguished for
nobility and dignity, tempered with good sense and elegance.

If we now direct our attention to the _tiers etat_, that class which, to
quote a celebrated expression, "was destined to become everything, after
having for a long time been looked upon as nothing," we shall notice that
there, too, custom and tradition had much to do with ceremonies of all
kinds. The presence of the middle classes not only gave, as it were, a
stamp of grandeur to fetes of an aristocratic and religions character,
but, in addition, the people themselves had a number of ceremonies of
every description, in which etiquette was not one whit less strict than
in those of the court. The variety of civic and popular ceremonies is so
great, that it would require a large volume, illustrated with numerous
engravings, to explain fully their characteristic features. The simple
enumeration of the various public fetes, each of which was necessarily
accompanied by a distinct ceremonial, would take up much time were we to
attempt to give it even in the shortest manner.

[Illustration: Fig. 397.--Entry of the Roi de l'Epinette at Lille, in the
Sixteenth Century.--From a Miniature in a Manuscript of the Library of

Besides the numerous ceremonies which were purely religious, namely, the
procession of the _Fete-Dieu_, in Rogation week, and the fetes which were
both of a superstitions and burlesque character, such as _des Fous, de
l'Ane, des Innocents_, and others of the same kind, so much in vogue
during the Middle Ages, and which we shall describe more in detail
hereafter, we should like to mention the military or gymnastic fetes.
Amongst these were what were called the processions of the _Confreres de
l'Arquebuse_, the _Archers_, the _Papegaut_, the _roi de l'Epinette_, at
Lille (Fig. 397), and the _Forestier_ at Bruges. There were also what may
be termed the fetes peculiar to certain places, such as those of _Behors_,
of the _Champs Galat_ at Epinal, of the _Laboureurs_ at Montelimar, of
_Guy l'an neuf_ at Anjou. Also of the fetes of _May_, of the _sheaf_, of
the _spring_, of the _roses_, of the _fires of St. John_, &c. Then there
were the historical or commemorative fetes, such as those of the _Geant
Reuss_ at Dunkerque, of the _Gayant_ at Douai, &c.; also of _Guet de
Saint-Maxime_ at Riez in Provence, the processions of _Jeanne d'Arc_ at
Orleans, of _Jeanne Hachette_ at Beauvais; and lastly, the numerous fetes
of public corporations, such as the _Ecoliers_, the _Nations_, the
_Universites_; also the _Lendit_, the _Saint-Charlemagne_, the _Baillee
des roses au Parlement_; the literary fetes of the _Pays et Chambres de
rhetorique_ of Picardy and Flanders, of the _Clemence Isaure_ at Toulouse,
and of the _Capitole_ at Rome, &c.; the fetes of the _Serments, Metiers_,
and _Devoirs_ of the working men's corporation; and lastly, the _Fetes
Patronales_, called also _Assemblees, Ducasses, Folies, Foires, Kermesses,
Pardons_, &c.

From this simple enumeration, it can easily be understood what a useless
task we should impose upon ourselves were we merely to enter upon so wide
and difficult a subject. Apart from the infinite variety of details
resulting from the local circumstances under which these ceremonies had
been instituted, which were everywhere celebrated at fixed periods, a kind
of general principle regulated and directed their arrangement. Nearly all
these fetes and public rejoicings, which to a certain extent constituted
the common basis of popular ceremonial, bore much analogy to one another.
There are, however, certain peculiarities less known and more striking
than the rest, which deserve to be mentioned, and we shall then conclude
this part of our subject.

[Illustration: Fig. 398.--Representation of a Ballet before Henri III.
and his Court, in the Gallery of the Louvre.--Fac-simile of an Engraving
on Copper of the "Ballet de la Royne," by Balthazar de Beaujoyeulx (folio,
Paris, Mamert Patisson, 1582.)]

Those rites, ceremonies, and customs, which are the most commonly
observed, and which most persistently keep their place amongst us, are far
from being of modern origin. Thus, the custom of jovially celebrating the
commencement of the new year, or of devoting certain particular days to
festivity, is still universally followed in every country in the world.
The practice of sending presents on _New Year's Day_ is to be found among
civilised nations in the East as well as in our own country. In the Middle
Ages the intimate friends of princes, and especially of the kings of
France, received Christmas gifts, for which they considered themselves
bound to make an ample return. In England these interchanges of generosity
also take place on Christmas Day. In Russia, on Easter Day, the people, on
meeting in the street, salute one another by saying "Christ is risen."
These practices, as well as many others, have no doubt been handed down to
us from the early ages of Christianity. The same may be said of a vast
number of customs of a more or less local character, which have been
observed in various countries for centuries. In former times, at
Ochsenbach, in Wurtemberg, during the carnival, women held a feast at
which they were waited upon by men, and, after it was over, they formed
themselves into a sort of court of plenary indulgence, from which the men
were uniformly excluded, and sat in judgment on one another. At Ramerupt,
a small town in Champagne, every year, on the 1st of May, twenty of the
citizens repaired to the adjoining hamlet of St. Remy, hunting as they
went along. They were called _the fools of Rameru_, and it was said that
the greatest fool led the band. The inhabitants of St. Remy were bound to
receive them gratuitously, and to supply them, as well as their horses and
dogs, with what they required, to have a mass said for them, to put up
with all the absurd vagaries of the captain and his troop, and to supply
them with a _fine and handsome horned ram,_ which was led back in triumph.
On their return into Ramerupt they set up shouts at the door of the cure,
the procurator fiscal, and the collector of taxes, and, after the
invention of gunpowder, fireworks were let off. They then went to the
market-place, where they danced round the ram, which was decorated with
ribbons. No doubt this was a relic of the feasts of ancient heathenism.

A more curious ceremony still, whose origin, we think, may be traced to
the Dionysian feasts of heathenism, has continued to be observed to this
day at Beziers. It bears the names of the _Feast of Pepezuch_, the
_Triumph of Beziers,_ or the _Feast of Caritats_ or _Charites_. At the
bottom of the Rue Francaise at Beziers, a statue is to be seen which,
notwithstanding the mutilations to which it has been subjected, still
distinctly bears traces of being an ancient work of the most refined
period of art. This statue represents Pepezuch, a citizen of Beziers, who,
according to somewhat questionable tradition, valiantly defended the town
against the Goths, or, as some say, against the English; its origin,
therefore, cannot be later than the thirteenth century. On Ascension Day,
the day of the Feast of Pepezuch, an immense procession went about the
town. Three remarkable machines were particularly noticeable; the first
was an enormous wooden camel made to walk by mechanism, and to move its
limbs and jaws; the second was a galley on wheels fully manned; the third
consisted of a cart on which a travelling theatre was erected. The consuls
and other civic authorities, the corporations of trades having the pastors
walking in front of them, the farriers on horseback, all bearing their
respective insignia and banners, formed the procession. A double column,
composed of a division of young men and young women holding white hoops
decorated with ribbons and many-coloured streamers, was preceded by a
young girl crowned with flowers, half veiled, and carrying a basket. This
brilliant procession marched to the sound of music, and, at certain
distances, the youthful couples of the two sexes halted, in order to
perform, with the assistance of their hoops, various figures, which were
called the _Danse des Treilles_. The machines also stopped from time to
time at various places. The camel was especially made to enter the Church
of St. Aphrodise, because it was said that the apostle had first come on a
camel to preach the Gospel in that country, and there to receive the palm
of martyrdom. On arriving before the statue of Pepezuch the young people
decorated it with garlands. When the square of the town was reached, the
theatre was stopped like the ancient car of Thespis, and the actors
treated the people to a few comical drolleries in imitation of
Aristophanes. From the galley the youths flung sugar-plums and sweetmeats,
which the spectators returned in equal profusion. The procession closed
with a number of men, crowned with green leaves, carrying on their heads
loaves of bread, which, with other provisions contained in the galley,
were distributed amongst the poor of the town.

In Germany and in France it was the custom at the public entries of kings,
princes, and persons of rank, to offer them the wines made in the district
and commonly sold in the town. At Langres, for instance, these wines were
put into four pewter vessels called _cimaises_, which are still to be
seen. They were called the _lion, monkey, sheep_, and _pig_ wines,
symbolical names, which expressed the different degrees or phases of
drunkenness which they were supposed to be capable of producing: the lion,
courage; the monkey, cunning; the sheep, good temper; the pig, bestiality.

We will now conclude by borrowing, from the excellent work of M. Alfred
Michiels on Dutch and Flemish painting, the abridged description of a
procession of corporations of trades, which took place at Antwerp in 1520,
on the Sunday after Ascension Day. "All the corporations of trades were
present, every member being dressed in his best suit." In front of each
guild a banner floated; and immediately behind an enormous lighted
wax-taper was carried. March music was played on long silver trumpets,
flutes, and drums. The goldsmiths, painters, masons, silk embroiderers,
sculptors, carpenters, boatmen, fishermen, butchers, curriers, drapers,
bakers, tailors, and men of every other trade marched two abreast. Then
came crossbowmen, arquebusiers, archers, &c., some on foot and some on
horseback. After them came the various monastic orders; and then followed
a crowd of bourgeois magnificently dressed. A numerous company of widows,
dressed in white from head to foot, particularly attracted attention; they
constituted a sort of sisterhood, observing certain rules, and gaining
their livelihood by various descriptions of manual work. The cathedral
canons and the other priests walked in the procession in their gorgeous
silk vestments sparkling with gold. Twenty persons carried on their
shoulders a huge figure of the Virgin, with the infant Saviour in her
arms, splendidly decorated. At the end of the procession were chariots and
ships on wheels. There were various groups in the procession representing
scenes from the Old and New Testament, such as the _Salutation of the
Angels_, the _Visitation of the Magi_, who appeared riding on camels, the
_Flight into Egypt_, and other well-known historical incidents. The last
machine represented a dragon being led by St. Margaret with a magnificent
bridle, and was followed by St. George and several brilliantly attired

[Illustration: Fig. 399.--Sandal and Buskin of Charlemagne.--From the
Abbey of St. Denis.]


Influence of Ancient Costume.--Costume in the Fifth
Century.--Hair.--Costumes in the Time of Charlemagne.--Origin of Modern
National Dress.--Head-dresses and Beards: Time of St. Louis.--Progress
of Dress: Trousers, Hose, Shoes, Coats, Surcoats, Capes.--Changes in the
Fashions of Shoes and Hoods.--_Livree_,--Cloaks and Capes.--Edicts
against Extravagant Fashions.--Female Dress: Gowns, Bonnets,
Head-dresses, &c.--Disappearance of Ancient Dress.--Tight-fitting
Gowns.--General Character of Dress under Francis I.--Uniformity of

Long garments alone were worn by the ancients, and up to the period when
the barbarous tribes of the North made their appearance, or rather, until
the invasion of the Roman Empire by these wandering nations, male and
female dress differed but little. The Greeks made scarcely any change in
their mode of dress for centuries; but the Romans, on becoming masters of
the world, partially adopted the dress and arms of the people they had
conquered, where they considered them an improvement on their own,
although the original style of dress was but little altered (Figs. 400 and

Roman attire consisted of two garments--the under garment, or _tunic_, and
the outer garment, or _cloak_; the latter was known under the various
names of _chlamys, toga_, and _pallium_, but, notwithstanding these
several appellations, there was scarcely any appreciable distinction
between them. The simple tunic with sleeves, which answered to our shirt,
was like the modern blouse in shape, and was called by various names. The
_chiridota_ was a tunic with long and large sleeves, of Asiatic origin;
the _manuleata_ was a tunic with long and tight sleeves coming to the
wrists; the _talaris_ was a tunic reaching to the feet; the _palmata_ was
a state tunic, embroidered with palms, which ornamentation was often found
in other parts of dress. The _lacerna_, _loena_, _cucullus_, _chlamys_,
_sagum_, _paludamentum_, were upper garments, more or less coarse, either
full or scant, and usually short, and were analogous to our cloaks,
mantles, &c., and were made both with and without hoods. There were many
varieties of the tunic and cloak invented by female ingenuity, as well as
of other articles of dress, which formed elegant accessories to the
toilet, but there was no essential alteration in the national costume, nor
was there any change in the shape of the numerous descriptions of shoes.
The barbarian invasions brought about a revolution in the dress as well as
in the social state of the people, and it is from the time of these
invasions that we may date, properly speaking, the history of modern
dress; for the Roman costume, which was in use at the same time as that of
the Franks, the Huns, the Vandals, the Goths, &c., was subjected to
various changes down to the ninth century. These modifications increased
afterwards to such an extent that, towards the fourteenth century, the
original type had altogether disappeared.

[Illustration: Figs. 400 and 401.--Gallo-Roman Costumes.--From Bas-reliefs
discovered in Paris in 1711 underneath the Choir of Notre-Dame.]

It was quite natural that men living in a temperate climate, and bearing
arms only when in the service of the State, should be satisfied with
garments which they could wear without wrapping themselves up too closely.
The northern nations, on the contrary, had early learned to protect
themselves against the severity of the climate in which they lived. Thus
the garments known by them as _braies_, and by the Parthians as
_sarabara_, doubtless gave origin to those which have been respectively
called by us _chausses, haut-de-chausses, trousses, gregues, culottes,
pantalons_, &c. These wandering people had other reasons for preferring
the short and close-fitting garments to those which were long and full,
and these were their innate pugnacity, which forced them ever to be under
arms, their habit of dwelling in forests and thickets, their love of the
chase, and their custom of wearing armour.

The ancient Greeks and Romans always went bareheaded in the towns; but in
the country, in order to protect themselves from the direct rays of the
sun, they wore hats much resembling our round hats, made of felt, plaited
rushes, or straw. Other European nations of the same period also went
bareheaded, or wore caps made of skins of animals, having no regularity of
style, and with the shape of which we are but little acquainted.

Shoes, and head-dresses of a definite style, belong to a much more modern
period, as also do the many varieties of female dress, which have been
known at all times and in all countries under the general name of _robes_.
The girdle was only used occasionally, and its adoption depended on
circumstances; the women used it in the same way as the men, for in those
days it was never attached to the dress. The great difference in modern
female costume consists in the fact of the girdle being part of the dress,
thus giving a long or short waist, according to the requirements of
fashion. In the same manner, a complete revolution took place in men's
dress according as loose or tight, long or short sleeves were introduced.

We shall commence our historical sketch from the fifth century, at which
period we can trace the blending of the Roman with the barbaric
costume--namely, the combination of the long, shapeless garment with that
which was worn by the Germans, and which was accompanied by tight-fitting
braies. Thus, in the recumbent statue which adorned the tomb of Clovis, in
the Church of the Abbey of St. Genevieve, the King is represented as
wearing the _tunic_ and the _toga_, but, in addition, Gallo-Roman
civilization had actually given him tight-fitting braies, somewhat similar
to what we now call pantaloons. Besides this, his tunic is fastened by a
belt; which, however, was not a novelty in his time, for the women then
wore long dresses, fastened at the waist by a girdle. There is nothing
very remarkable about his shoes, since we find that the shoe, or closed
sandal, was worn from the remotest periods by nearly all nations (Figs.
402 and 403).

[Illustration: Fig. 402.--Costume of King Clovis (Sixth Century).--From a
Statue on his Tomb, formerly in the Abbey of St. Genevieve.]

[Illustration: Fig. 403.--Costume of King Childebert (Seventh
Century).--From a Statue formerly placed in the Refectory of the Abbey of
St. Germain-des-Pres.]

The cloak claims an equally ancient origin. The principal thing worthy of
notice is the amount of ornament with which the Franks enriched their
girdles and the borders of their tunics and cloaks. This fashion they
borrowed from the Imperial court, which, having been transferred from Rome
to Constantinople during the third century, was not slow to adopt the
luxury of precious stones and other rich decorations commonly in use
amongst Eastern nations. Following the example of Horace de Vielcastel,
the learned author of a history of the costumes of France, we may here
state that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to define the exact
costume during the time of the early Merovingian periods. The first
writers who have touched upon this subject have spoken of it very vaguely,
or not being contemporaries of the times of which they wrote, could only
describe from tradition or hearsay. Those monuments in which early costume
is supposed to be represented are almost all of later date, when artists,
whether sculptors or painters, were not very exact in their delineations
of costume, and even seemed to imagine that no other style could have
existed before their time than the one with which they were daily
familiar. In order to be as accurate as possible, although, after all, we
can only speak hypothetically, we cannot do better than call to mind, on
the one hand, what Tacitus says of the Germans, that they "were almost
naked, excepting for a short and tight garment round their waists, and a
little square cloak which they threw over the right shoulder," and, on the
other, to carry ourselves back in imagination to the ancient Roman
costume. We may notice, moreover, the curious description given of the
Franks by Sidoine Apollinaire, who says, "They tied up their flaxen or
light-brown hair above their foreheads, into a kind of tuft, and then made
it fall behind the head like a horse's tail. The face was clean shaved,
with the exception of two long moustaches. They wore cloth garments,
fitting tight to the body and limbs, and a broad belt, to which they hung
their swords." But this is a sketch made at a time when the Frankish race
was only known among the Gauls through its marauding tribes, whose raids,
from time to time, spread terror and dismay throughout the countries which
they visited. From the moment when the uncultivated tribes of ancient
Germany formally took possession of the territory which they had withdrawn
from Roman rule, they showed themselves desirous of adopting the more
gentle manners of the conquered nation. "In imitation of their chief,"
says M. Jules Quicherat, the eminent antiquarian, "more than once the
Franks doffed the war coat and the leather Belt, and assumed the toga of
Roman dignity. More than once their flaxen hair was shown to advantage by
flowing over the imperial mantle, and the gold of the knights, the purple
of the senators and patricians, the triumphal crowns, the fasces, and, in
short, everything which the Roman Empire invented in order to exhibit its
grandeur, assisted in adding to that of our ancestors."

[Illustration: Figs. 404 and 405.--Saints in the Costume of the Sixth to
the Eighth Centuries.--From Miniatures in old Manuscripts of the Royal
Library of Brussels (Designs by Count H. de Vielcastel).]

One great and characteristic difference between the Romans and the Franks
should, however, be specially mentioned; namely, in the fashion of wearing
the hair long, a fashion never adopted by the Romans, and which, during
the whole of the first dynasty, was a distinguishing mark of kings and
nobles among the Franks. Agathias, the Greek historian, says, "The hair is
never cut from the heads of the Frankish kings' sons. From early youth
their hair falls gracefully over their shoulders, it is parted on the
forehead, and falls equally on both sides; it is with them a matter to
which they give special attention." We are told, besides, that they
sprinkled it with gold-dust, and plaited it in small bands, which they
ornamented with pearls and precious metals.

Whilst persons of rank were distinguished by their long and flowing hair,
the people wore theirs more or less short, according to the degree of
freedom which they possessed, and the serfs had their heads completely
shaved. It was customary for the noble and free classes to swear by their
hair, and it was considered the height of politeness to pull out a hair
and present it to a person. Fredegaire, the chronicler, relates that
Clovis thus pulled out a hair in order to do honour to St. Germer, Bishop
of Toulouse, and presented it to him; upon this, the courtiers hastened to
imitate their sovereign, and the venerable prelate returned home with his
hand full of hair, delighted at the flattering reception he had met with
at the court of the Frankish king. Durinig the Merovingian period, the
greatest insult that could be offered to a freeman was to touch him with a
razor or scissors. The degradation of kings and princes was carried out in
a public manner by shaving their heads and sending them into a monastery;
on their regaining their rights and their authority, their hair was always
allowed to grow again. We may also conclude that great importance was
attached to the preservation of the hair even under the kings of the
second dynasty, for Charlemagne, in his Capitulaires, orders the hair to
be removed as a punishment in certain crimes.

The Franks, faithful to their ancient custom of wearing the hair long,
gradually gave up shaving the face. At first, they only left a small tuft
on the chin, but by degrees they allowed this to increase, and in the
sixth and seventh centuries freemen adopted the usual form of beard.
Amongst the clergy, the custom prevailed of shaving the crown of the head,
in the same way as that adopted by certain monastic orders in the present
day. Priests for a long time wore beards, but ceased to do so on their
becoming fashionable amongst the laity (Figs. 406, 407). Painters and
sculptors therefore commit a serious error in representing the prelates
and monks of those times with large beards.

As far as the monumental relics of those remote times allow us to judge,
the dress as worn by Clovis underwent but trifing modifications during the
first dvnasty; but during the reigns of Pepin and Charlemagne considerable
changes were effected, which resulted from the intercourse, either of a
friendly or hostile nature, between the Franks and the southern nations.
About this time, silk stuffs were introduced into the kingdom, and the
upper classes, in order to distinguish themselves from the lower, had
their garments trimmed round with costly furs (see chapter on Commerce).

[Illustration: Fig. 406 and 407.--Costume of the Prelates from the Eighth
to the Tenth Centuries--After Miniatures in the "Missal of St. Gregory,"
in the National Library of Paris.]

We have before stated (see chapter on Private Life) that Charlemagne, who
always was very simple in his tastes, strenuously set his face against
these novel introductions of luxury, which he looked upon as tending to do
harm. "Of what use are these cloaks?" he said; "in bed they cannot cover
us, on horseback they can neither protect us from the rain nor the wind,
and when we are sitting they can neither preserve our legs from the cold
nor the damp." He himself generally wore a large tunic made of otters'
skins. On one occasion his courtiers went out hunting with him, clothed in
splendid garments of southern fashion, which became much torn by the
briars, and begrimed with the blood of the animals they had killed. "Oh,
ye foolish men!" he said to them the next day as he showed them his own
tunic, which a servant had just returned to him in perfect condition,
after having simply dried it before the fire and rubbed it with his hands.
"Whose garments are the more valuable and the more useful? mine, for which
I have only paid a sou (about twenty-two francs of present money), or
yours, which have cost so much?" From that time, whenever this great king
entered on a campaign, the officers of his household, even the most rich
and powerful, did not dare to show themselves in any clothes but those
made of leather, wool, or cloth; for had they, on such occasions, made
their appearance dressed in silk and ornaments, he would have sharply
reproved them and have treated them as cowards, or as effeminate, and
consequently unfit for the work in which he was about to engage.

Nevertheless, this monarch, who so severely proscribed luxury in daily
life, made the most magnificent display on the occasions of political or
religious festivals, when the imperial dignity with which he was invested
required to be set forth by pompous ceremonial and richness of attire.

During the reign of the other Carlovingian kings, in the midst of
political troubles, of internal wars, and of social disturbances, they had
neither time nor inclination for inventing new fashions. Monuments of the
latter part of the ninth century prove, indeed, that the national dress
had hardly undergone any change since the time of Charlemagne, and that
the influence of Roman tradition, especially on festive occasions, was
still felt in the dress of the nobles (Figs. 408 to 411).

In a miniature of the large MS. Bible given by the canons of Saint-Martin
of Tours in 869 to Charles the Bald (National Library of Paris), we find
the King sitting on his throne surrounded by the dignitaries of his court,
and by soldiers all dressed after the Roman fashion. The monarch wears a
cloak which seems to be made of cloth of gold, and is attached to the
shoulder by a strap or ribbon sliding through a clasp; this cloak is
embroidered in red, on a gold ground; the tunic is of reddish brown, and
the shoes are light red, worked with gold thread. In the same manuscript
there is another painting, representing four women listening to the
discourse of a prophet. From this we discover that the female costume of
the time consisted of two tunics, the under one being longer but less
capacious than the other, the sleeves of the former coming down tight to
the wrists, and being plaited in many folds, whilst those of the latter
open out, and only reach to the elbow. The lower part, the neck, and the
borders of the sleeves are trimmed with ornamented bands, the waist is
encircled by a girdle just above the hips, and a long veil, finely worked,
and fastened on the head, covers the shoulders and hangs down to the feet,
completely hiding the hair, so that long plaits falling in front were
evidently not then in fashion. The under dress of these four women--who
all wear black shoes, which were probably made of morocco leather--are of
various colours, whereas the gowns or outer tunics are white.

[Illustration: Fig. 408.--Costume of a Scholar of the Carlovingian Period
(St. Matthew writing his Gospel under the Inspiration of Christ).--From a
Miniature in a Manuscript of the Ninth Century, in the Burgundian Library,
Brussels (drawn by Count H. de Vielcastel).]

Notwithstanding that under the Carlovingian dynasty it was always
considered a shame and a dishonour to have the head shaved, it must not be
supposed that the upper classes continued to wear the long Merovingian
style of hair. After the reign of Charlemagne, it was the fashion to shave
the hair from above the forehead, the parting being thus widened, and the
hair was so arranged that it should not fall lower than the middle of the
neck. Under Charles the Bald, whose surname proves that he was not partial
to long hair, this custom fell into disuse or was abandoned, and men had
the greater part of their heads shaved, and only kept a sort of cap of
hair growing on the top of the head. It is at this period that we first
find the _cowl_ worn. This kind of common head-dress, made from the furs
of animals or from woollen stuffs, continued to be worn for many
centuries, and indeed almost to the present day. It was originally only a
kind of cap, light and very small; but it gradually became extended in
size, and successively covered the ears, the neck, and lastly even the

No great change was made in the dress of the two sexes during the tenth
century. "Nothing was more simple than the head-dress of women," says M.
Jules Quicherat; "nothing was less studied than their mode of wearing
their hair; nothing was more simple, and yet finer, than their linen. The
elegant appearance of their garments recalls that of the Greek and Roman,
women. Their dresses were at times so tight as to display all the elegance
of their form, whilst at others they were made so high as completely to
cover the neck; the latter were called _cottes-hardies_. The
_cotte-hardie_, which has at all times been part of the dress of French
women, and which was frequently worn also by men, was a long tunic
reaching to the heels, fastened in at the waist and closed at the wrists.
Queens, princesses, and ladies of the nobility wore in addition a long
cloak lined with ermine, or a tunic with or without sleeves; often, too,
their dress consisted of two tunics, and of a veil or drapery, which was
thrown over the head and fell down before and behind, thus entirely
surrounding the neck."

[Illustration: Fig. 409.--Costume of a Scholar.

Fig. 410.--Costume of a Bishop or Abbot.

Fac-similes of Miniatures in a Manuscript of the Ninth Century ("Biblia
Sacra"), in the Royal Library of Brussels.]

We cannot find that any very decided change was made in dress before the
end of the eleventh century. The ordinary dress made of thick cloths and
of coarse woollen stuffs was very strong and durable, and not easily
spoiled; and it was usual, as we still find in some provinces which adhere
to old customs, for clothes, especially those worn on festive occasions
and at ceremonials, to be handed down as heirlooms from father to son, to
the third or fourth generation. The Normans, who came from Scandinavia
towards the end of the tenth century, A.D. 970, with their short clothes
and coats of mail, at first adopted the dress of the French, and continued
to do so in all its various changes. In the following century, having
found the Saxons and Britons in England clad in the garb of their
ancestors, slightly modified by the Roman style of apparel, they began to
make great changes in their manner of dressing themselves. They more and
more discarded Roman fashions, and assumed similar costumes to those made
in France at the same period.

[Illustration: Fig. 411.--Costume of Charles the Simple (Tenth
Century).--From a Miniature in the "Rois de France," by Du Tillet,
Manuscript of the Sixteenth Century (Imperial Library of Paris).]

Before proceeding further in our history of mediaeval dress, we must
forestall a remark which will not fail to be made by the reader, and this
is, that we seem to occupy ourselves exclusively with the dress of kings,
queens, and other people of note. But we must reply, that though we are
able to form tolerably accurate notions relative to the dress of the upper
classes during these remote periods, we do not possess any reliable
information relative to that of the lower orders, and that the written
documents, as well as the sculptures and paintings, are almost useless on
this point. Nevertheless, we may suppose that the dress of the men in the
lowest ranks of society has always been short and tight, consisting of
_braies_, or tight drawers, mostly made of leather, of tight tunics, of
_sayons_ or doublets, and of capes or cloaks of coarse brown woollen. The
tunic was confined at the waist by a belt, to which the knife, the purse,
and sometimes the working tools were suspended. The head-dress of the
people was generally a simple cap made of thick, coarse woollen cloth or
felt, and often of sheep's skin. During the twelfth century, a person's
rank or social position was determined by the head-dress. The cap was made
of velvet for persons of rank, and of common cloth for the poor. The
_cornette_, which was always an appendage to the cap, was made of cloth,
with which the cap might be fastened or adjusted on the head. The
_mortier_, or round cap, dates from the earliest centuries, and was
altered both in shape and material according to the various changes of
fashion; but lawyers of high position continued to wear it almost in its
original shape, and it became like a professional badge for judges and

In the miniatures of that time we find Charles the Good, Count of
Flanders, who died in 1127, represented with a cap with a point at the
top, to which a long streamer is attached, and a peak turned up in front.
A cap very similar, but without the streamer, and with the point turned
towards the left, is to be seen in a portrait of Geoffroy le Bel, Comte de
Maine, in 1150. About the same period, Agnes de Baudement is represented
with a sort of cap made of linen or stuff, with lappets hanging down over
the shoulders; she is dressed in a robe fastened round the waist, and
having long bands attached to the sleeves near the wrists. Queen
Ingeburge, second wife of Philip Augustus, also wore the tight gown,
fastened at the collar by a round buckle, and two bands of stuff forming a
kind of necklace; she also used the long cloak, and the closed shoes,
which had then begun to be made pointed. Robert, Comte de Dreux, who lived
at the same period, is also dressed almost precisely like the Queen,
notwithstanding the difference of sex and rank; his robe, however, only
descends to the instep, and his belt has no hangings in front. The Queen
is represented with her hair long and flowing, but the count has his cut

[Illustration: Fig. 412.--Costume of King Louis le Jeune--Miniature of
the "Rois de France," by Du Tillet (Sixteenth Century), in the National
Library of Paris.]

[Illustration: Fig. 413.--Royal Costume.--From a Miniature in a Manuscript
of the Twelfth Century, in the Burgundian Library, Brussels.]

Women, in addition to their head-dress, often wore a broad band, which was
tied under the chin, and gave the appearance of a kind of frame for the
face. Both sexes wore coloured bands on their shoes, which were tied round
the ankles like those of sandals, and showed the shape of the foot.

The beard, which was worn in full at the beginning of the twelfth century,
was by degrees modified both as to shape and length. At first it was cut
in a point, and only covered the end of the chin, but the next fashion was
to wear it so as to join the moustaches. Generally, under Louis le Jeune
(Fig. 412), moustaches went out of fashion. We next find beards worn only
by country people, who, according to contemporary historians, desired to
preserve a "remembrance of their participation in the Crusades." At the
end of this century, all chins were shaved.

The Crusades also gave rise to the general use of the purse, which was
suspended to the belt by a cord of silk or cotton, and sometimes by a
metal chain. At the time of the Holy War, it had become an emblem
characteristic of pilgrims, who, before starting for Palestine, received
from the hands of the priest the cross, the pilgrim's staff, and the

We now come to the time of Louis IX. (Figs. 414 to 418), of that good king
who, according to the testimony of his historians, generally dressed with
the greatest simplicity, but who, notwithstanding his usual modesty and
economy, did not hesitate on great occasions to submit to the pomp
required by the regal position which he held. "Sometimes," says the Sire
de Joinville, "he went into his garden dressed in a camel's-hair coat, a
surcoat of linsey-woolsey without sleeves, a black silk cloak without a
hood, and a hat trimmed with peacocks' feathers. At other times he was
dressed in a coat of blue silk, a surcoat and mantle of scarlet satin, and
a cotton cap."

The surcoat (_sur-cotte_) was at first a garment worn only by females, but
it was soon adopted by both sexes: it was originally a large wrapper with
sleeves, and was thrown over the upper part of the robe (_cotte_), hence
its name, _sur-cotte._ Very soon it was made without sleeves--doubtless,
as M. Quicherat remarks, that the under garment, which was made of more
costly material, might be seen; and then, with the same object, and in
order that the due motion of the limbs might not be interfered with, the
surcoat was raised higher above the hips, and the arm-holes were made very

[Illustration: Fig. 414.--Costume of a Princess dressed in a Cloak lined
with Fur.--From a Miniature of the Thirteenth Century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 415.--Costume of William Malgeneste, the King's
Huntsman, as represented on his Tomb, formerly in the Abbey of Long-Pont.]

At the consecration of Louis IX., in 1226, the nobles wore the cap
(_mortier_) trimmed with fur; the bishops wore the cope and the mitre, and
carried the crosier. Louis IX., at the age of thirteen, is represented, in
a picture executed in 1262 (Sainte-Chapelle, Paris), with his hair short,
and wearing a red velvet cap, a tunic, and over this a cloak open at the
chest, having long sleeves, which are slit up for the arms to go through;
this cloak, or surcoat, is trimmed with ermine in front, and has the
appearance of what we should now call a fur shawl. The young King has long
hose, and shoes similar in shape to high slippers. In the same painting
Queen Margaret, his wife, wears a gown with tight bodice opened out on the
hips, and having long and narrow sleeves; she also has a cloak embroidered
with fleurs-de-lis, the long sleeves of which are slit up and bordered
with ermine; a kind of hood, much larger than her head, and over this a
veil, which passes under the chin without touching the face; the shoes are
long, and seem to enclose the feet very tightly.

[Illustration: Fig. 416.--Costumes of the Thirteenth Century: Tristan and
the beautiful Yseult.--From a Miniature in the Romance of "Tristan,"
Manuscript of the Fourteenth Century (Imperial Library of Paris).]

From this period gowns with tight bodices were generally adopted; the
women wore over them a tight jacket, reaching to a little below the hips,
often trimmed with fur when the gown was richly ornamented, and itself
richly ornamented when the gown was plain. They also began to plait the
hair, which fell down by the side of the face to the neck, and they
profusely decorated it with pearls or gold or silver ornaments. Jeanne,
Queen of Navarre, wife of Philippe le Bel, is represented with a pointed
cap, on the turned-up borders of which the hair clusters in thick curls on
each side of the face; on the chest is a frill turned down in two points;
the gown, fastened in front by a row of buttons, has long and tight
sleeves, with a small slit at the wrists closed by a button; lastly, the
Queen wears, over all, a sort of second robe in the shape of a cloak, the
sleeves of which are widely slit in the middle.

At the end of the thirteenth century luxury was at its height at the court
of France: gold and silver, pearls and precious stones were lavished on
dress. At the marriage of Philip III., son of St. Louis, the gentlemen
were dressed in scarlet; the ladies in cloth of gold, embroidered and
trimmed with gold and silver lace. Massive belts of gold were also worn,
and chaplets sparkling with the same costly metal. Moreover, this
magnificence and display (see chapter on Private Life) was not confined to
the court, for we find that it extended to the bourgeois class, since
Philippe le Bel, by his edict of 1294, endeavoured to limit this
extravagance, which in the eyes of the world had an especial tendency to
obliterate, or at least to conceal, all distinctions of birth, rank, and
condition. Wealth strove hard at that time to be the sole standard of

As we approach the fourteenth century--an epoch of the Middle Ages at
which, after many changes of fashion, and many struggles against the
ancient Roman and German traditions, modern national costume seems at last
to have assumed a settled and normal character--we think it right to
recapitulate somewhat, with a view to set forth the nature of the various
elements which were at work from time to time in forming the fashions in
dress. In order to give more weight to our remarks, we will extract,
almost word for word, a few pages from the learned and excellent work
which M. Jules Quicherat has published on this subject.

"Towards the year 1280," he says, "the dress of a man--not of a man as the
word was then used, which meant _serf_, but of one to whom the exercise of
human prerogatives was permitted, that is to say, of an ecclesiastic, a
bourgeois, or a noble--was composed of six indispensable portions: the
_braies_, or breeches, the stockings, the shoes, the coat, the surcoat, or
_cotte-hardie,_ and the _chaperon_, or head-dress. To these articles those
who wished to dress more elegantly added, on the body, a shirt; on the
shoulders, a mantle; and on the head, a hat, or _fronteau_.

[Illustration: Fig. 417.--Costumes of the Common People in the Fourteenth
Century: Italian Gardener and Woodman.--From two Engravings in the Bonnart

"The _braies_, or _brayes_, were a kind of drawers, generally knitted,
sometimes made of woollen stuff or silk, and sometimes even of undressed
leather. .... Our ancestors derived this part of their dress from the
ancient Gauls; only the Gallic braies came down to the ankle, whereas
those of the thirteenth century only reached to the calf. They were
fastened above the hips by means of a belt called the _braier_.

"By _chausses_ was meant what we now call long stockings or hose. The
stockings were of the same colour and material as the braies, and were
kept up by the lower part of the braies being pulled over them, and tied
with a string.

"The shoes were made of various kinds of leather, the quality of which
depended on the way in which they were tanned, and were either of common
leather, or of leather which was similar to that we know as morocco, and
was called _cordouan_ or _cordua_ (hence the derivation of the word
_cordouannier_, which has now become _cordonnier_). Shoes were generally
made pointed; this fashion of the _poulaines_, or Polish points, was
followed throughout the whole of Europe for nearly three hundred years,
and, when first introduced, the Church was so scandalized by it that it
was almost placed in the catalogue of heresies. Subsequently, the taste
respecting the exaggerated length of the points was somewhat modified, but
it had become so inveterate that the tendency for pointed shoes returning
to their former absurd extremes was constantly showing itself. The pointed
shoes became gradually longer during the struggles which were carried on
in the reign of Philippe le Bel between Church and State.

"Besides the shoes, there were also the _estiviaux_, thus named from.
_estiva_ (summer thing), because, being generally made of velvet, brocade,
or other costly material, they could only be worn in dry weather.

"The coat (_cotte_) corresponded with the tunic of the ancients, it was a
blouse with tight sleeves. These sleeves were the only part of it which
were exposed, the rest being completely covered by the surcoats, or
_cotte-hardie,_ a name the origin of which is obscure. In shape the
surcoat somewhat resembled a sack, in which, at a later period, large
slits were made in the arms, as well as over the hips and on the chest,
through which appeared the rich furs and satins with which it was
lined.... The ordinary material of the surcoat for the rich was cloth,
either scarlet, blue, or reddish brown, or two or more of these colours
mixed together; and for the poor, linsey-woolsey or fustian. The nobles,
princes, or barons, when holding a court, wore surcoats of a colour to
match their arms, which were embroidered upon them, but the lesser nobles
who frequented the houses of the great spoke of themselves as in the robes
of such and such a noble, because he whose patronage they courted was
obliged to provide them with surcoats and mantles. These were of their
patron's favourite colour, and were called the livery (_livree_), on
account of their distribution (_livraison_), which took place twice a
year. The word has remained in use ever since, but with a different
signification; it is, however, so nearly akin to the original meaning that
its affinity is evident."

[Illustration: Fig. 418.--Costume of English Servants in the Fourteenth
Century.--From Manuscripts in the British Museum.]

[Illustration: Fig. 419.--Costume of Philip the Good, with Hood and
"Cockade."--From a Miniature in a Manuscript of the Period.]

An interesting anecdote relative to this custom is to be found in the
chronicles of Matthew Paris. When St. Louis, to the dismay of all his
vassals, and of his inferior servants, had decided to take up the cross,
he succeeded in associating the nobles of his court with him in his vow by
a kind of pious fraud. Having had a certain number of mantles prepared for
Christmas-day, he had a small white cross embroidered on each above the
right shoulder, and ordered them to be distributed among the nobles on the
morning of the feast when they were about to go to mass, which was
celebrated some time before sunrise. Each courtier received the mantle
given by the King at the door of his room, and put it on in the dark
without noticing the white cross; but, when the day broke, to his great
surprise, he saw the emblem worn by his neighbour, without knowing that he
himself wore it also. "They were surprised and amused," says the English
historian, "at finding that the King had thus piously entrapped them....
As it would have been unbecoming, shameful, and even unworthy of them to
have removed these crosses, they laughed heartily, and said that the good
King, on starting as a pilgrim-hunter, had found a new method of catching

"The chaperon," adds M. Quicherat, "was the national head-dress of the
ancient French, as the _cucullus_, which was its model, was that of the
Gauls. We can imagine its appearance by its resemblance to the domino now
worn at masked balls. The shape was much varied during the reign of
Philippe le Bel, either by the diminution of the cape or by the
lengthening of the hood, which was always sufficiently long to fall on the
shoulders. In the first of these changes, the chaperon no longer being
tied round the neck, required to be held on the head by something more
solid. For this reason it was set on a pad or roll, which changed it into
a regular cap. The material was so stitched as to make it take certain
folds, which were arranged as puffs, as ruffs, or in the shape of a cock's
comb; this last fashion, called _cockade_, was especially in vogue (Fig.
419)--hence the origin of the French epithet _coquard_, which would be now
expressed by the word _dandy_.

"Hats were of various shapes. They were made of different kinds of felt,
or of otter or goat's skin, or of wool or cotton. The expression _chapeau
de fleurs_ (hat of flowers), which continually occurs in ancient works,
did not mean any form of hat, but simply a coronet of forget-me-nots or
roses, which was an indispensable part of dress for balls or festivities
down to the reign of Philippe de Valois (1347). Frontlets (_fronteaux_), a
species of fillet made of silk, covered with gold and precious stones,
superseded the _chapeau de fleurs_, inasmuch as they had the advantage of
not fading. They also possessed the merit of being much more costly, and
were thus the means of establishing in a still more marked manner
distinctions in the social positions of the wearers.

[Illustration: Fig. 420.--Costumes of a rich Bourgeoise, of a
Peasant-woman, and of a Lady of the Nobility, of the Fourteenth
Century.--From various painted Windows in the Churches of Moulins

[Illustration: Saint Catherine Surrounded by the Doctors of Alexandria.

A miniature from the _Breviary_ of the cardinal Grimani, attributed to

Bibl. of Saint-Marc, Venice.

(From a copy belonging to M. Ambroise Firmin-Didot.)]

"There were two kinds of mantles; one was open in front, and fell over the
back, and a strap which crossed the chest held it fixed on the shoulders;
the other, enveloping the body like a bell, was slit up on the right side,
and was thrown back over the left arm; it was made with a fur collar, cut
in the shape of a tippet. This last has been handed down to us, and is
worn by our judges under the name of _toge_ and _epitoge_.

"It is a very common mistake to suppose that the shirt is an article of
dress of modern invention; on the contrary, it is one of great antiquity,
and its coming into general use is the only thing new about it.

"Lastly, we have to mention the _chape_, which was always regarded as a
necessary article of dress. The _chape_ was the only protection against
bad weather at a period when umbrellas and covered carriages were unknown.
It was sometimes called _chape de pluie_, on account of the use to which
it was applied, and it consisted of a large cape with sleeves, and was
completely waterproof. It was borne behind a master by his servant, who,
on account of this service was called a _porte-chape._ It is needless to
say that the common people carried it themselves, either slung over their
backs, or folded under the arm."

If we now turn to female attire, we shall find represented in it all the
component parts of male dress, and almost all of them under the same
names. It must be remarked, however, that the women's coats and surcoats
often trailed on the ground; that the hat--which was generally called a
_couvre-chef,_ and consisted of a frame of wirework covered over with
stuff which was embroidered or trimmed with lace--was not of a conical
shape; and, lastly, that the _chaperon_, which was always made with a
tippet, or _chausse_, never turned over so as to form a cap. We may add
that the use of the couvre-chef did not continue beyond the middle of the
fourteenth century, at which time women adopted the custom of wearing any
kind of head-dress they chose, the hair being kept back by a silken net,
or _crepine_, attached either to a frontlet, or to a metal fillet, or
confined by a veil of very light material, called a _mollequin_ (Fig.

With the aid of our learned guide we have now reached a period (end of the
thirteenth century) well adapted for this general study of the dress of
our ancestors, inasmuch as soon afterwards men's dress at least, and
especially that of young courtiers, became most ridiculously and even
indecently exaggerated. To such an extent was this the case, that serious
calamities having befallen the French nation about this time, and its
fashions having exercised a considerable influence over the whole
continent of Europe, contemporary historians do not hesitate to regard
these public misfortunes as a providential chastisement inflicted on
France for its disgraceful extravagance in dress.

[Illustration: Fig. 421.--Costumes of a young Nobleman and of a Bourgeois
in the Fourteenth Century.--From a painted Window in the Church of
Saint-Ouen at Rouen, and from a Window at Moulins (Bourbonnais).]

"We must believe that God has permitted this as a just judgment on us for
our sins," say the monks who edited the "Grande Chronique de St. Denis,"
in 1346, at the time of the unfortunate battle of Cressy, "although it
does not belong to us to judge. But what we see we testify to; for pride
was very great in France, and especially amongst the nobles and others,
that is to say, pride of nobility, and covetousness. There was also much
impropriety in dress, and this extended throughout the whole of France.
Some had their clothes so short and so tight that it required the help of
two persons to dress and undress them, and whilst they were being
undressed they appeared as if they were being skinned. Others wore dresses
plaited over their loins like women; some had chaperons cut out in points
all round; some had tippets of one cloth, others of another; and some had
their head-dresses and sleeves reaching to the ground, looking more like
mountebanks than anything else. Considering all this, it is not surprising
if God employed the King of England as a scourge to correct the excesses
of the French people."

And this is not the only testimony to the ridiculous and extravagant
tastes of this unfortunate period. One writer speaks with indignation of
the _goats' beards_ (with two points), which seemed to put the last
finishing touch of ridicule on the already grotesque appearance of even
the most serious people of that period. Another exclaims against the
extravagant luxury of jewels, of gold and silver, and against the wearing
of feathers, which latter then appeared for the first time as accessories
to both male and female attire. Some censure, and not without reason, the
absurd fashion of converting the ancient leather girdle, meant to support
the waist, into a kind of heavy padded band, studded with gilded ornaments
and precious stones, and apparently invented expressly to encumber the
person wearing it. Other contemporary writers, and amongst these Pope
Urban V. and King Charles V. (Fig. 422), inveigh against the _poulaines_,
which had more than ever come into favour, and which were only considered
correct in fashion when they were made as a kind of appendix to the foot,
measuring at least double its length, and ornamented in the most
fantastical manner. The Pope anathematized this deformity as "a mockery of
God and the holy Church," and the King forbad craftsmen to make them, and
his subjects to wear them. All this is as nothing in comparison with the
profuse extravagance displayed in furs, which was most outrageous and
ruinous, and of which we could not form an idea were it not for the items
in certain royal documents, from which we gather that, in order to trim
two complete suits for King John, no fewer than six hundred and seventy
martens' skins were used. It is also stated that the Duke of Berry, the
youngest son of that monarch, purchased nearly ten thousand of these same
skins from a distant country in the north, in order to trim only five
mantles and as many surcoats. We read also that a robe made for the Duke
of Orleans, grandson of the same king, required two thousand seven hundred
and ninety ermines' skins. It is unnecessary to state, that in consequence
of this large consumption, skins could only be purchased at the most
extravagant prices; for example, fifty skins cost about one hundred francs
(or about six thousand of present currency), showing to what an enormous
expense those persons were put who desired to keep pace with the luxury of
the times (Fig. 424).

[Illustration: Fig. 422.--Costume of Charles V., King of France.--From a
Statue formerly in the Church of the Celestins, Paris.]

[Illustration: Fig. 423.--Costume of Jeanne de Bourbon, Wife of Charles
V.--From a Statue formerly in the Church of the Celestins, Paris.]

We have already seen that Charles V. used his influence, which was
unfortunately very limited, in trying to restrain the extravagance of
fashion. This monarch did more than decree laws against indelicate or
unseemly and ridiculous dress; he himself never wore anything but the long
and ample costume, which was most becoming, and which had been adopted in
the preceding century. His example, it is true, was little followed, but
it nevertheless had this happy resuit, that the advocates of short and
tight dresses, as if suddenly seized with instinctive modesty, adopted an
upper garment, the object of which seemed to be to conceal the absurd
fashions which they had not the courage to rid themselves of. This heavy
and ungraceful tunic, called a _housse_, consisted of two broad bands of
a more or less costly material, which, starting from the neck, fell behind
and before, thus almost entirely concealing the front and back of the
person, and only allowing the under garments to be seen through the slits
which naturally opened on each side of it.

A fact worthy of remark is, that whilst male attire, through a depravity
of taste, had extended to the utmost limit of extravagance, women's dress,
on the contrary, owing to a strenuous effort towards a dignified and
elegant simplicity, became of such a character that it combined all the
most approved fashions of female costume which had been in use in former

The statue of Queen Jeanne de Bourbon, wife of Charles V., formerly placed
with that of her husband in the Church of the Celestins at Paris, gives
the most faithful representation of this charming costume, to which our
artists continually have recourse when they wish to depict any poetical
scenes of the French Middle Ages (Fig. 423).

[Illustration: Fig. 424.--Costumes of Bourgeois or Merchant, of a
Nobleman, and of a Lady of the Court or rich Bourgeoise, with the
Head-dress (_escoffion_) of the Fifteenth Century.--From a Painted Window
of the Period, at Moulins (Bourbonnais), and from a Painting on Wood of
the same Period, in the Musee de Cluny.]

This costume, without positively differing in style from that of the
thirteenth century, inasmuch as it was composed of similar elements, was
nevertheless to be distinguished by a degree of elegance which hitherto
had been unknown. The coat, or under garment, which formerly only showed
itself through awkwardly-contrived openings, now displayed the harmonious
outlines of the figure to advantage, thanks to the large openings in the
overcoat. The surcoat, kept back on the shoulders by two narrow bands,
became a sort of wide and trailing skirt, which majestically draped the
lower part of the body; and, lastly, the external corset was invented,
which was a kind of short mantle, falling down before and behind without
concealing any of the fine outlines of the bust. This new article of
apparel, which was kept in its place in the middle of the chest by a steel
busk encased in some rich lace-work, was generally made of fur in winter
and of silk in summer. If we consult the numerous miniatures in
manuscripts of this period, in which the gracefulness of the costume was
heightened by the colours employed, we shall understand what variety and
what richness of effect could be displayed without departing from the most
rigid simplicity.

One word more in reference to female head-dress. The fashion of wearing
false hair continued in great favour during the middle of the fourteenth
century, and it gave rise to all sorts of ingenious combinations; which,
however, always admitted of the hair being parted from the forehead to the
back of the head in two equal masses, and of being plaited or waved over
the ears. Nets were again adopted, and head-dresses which, whilst
permitting a display of masses of false hair, hid the horsehair or padded
puffs. And, lastly, the _escoffion_ appeared--a heavy roll, which, being
placed on a cap also padded, produced the most clumsy, outrageons, and
ungraceful shapes (Fig. 424).

At the beginning of the fifteenth century men's dress was still very
short. It consisted of a kind of tight waistcoat, fastened by tags, and of
very close-fitting breeches, which displayed the outlines of the figure.
In order to appear wide at the shoulders artificial pads were worn, called
_mahoitres_. The hair was allowed to fall on the forehead in locks, which
covered the eyebrows and eyes. The sleeves were slashed, the shoes armed
with long metal points, and the conical hat, with turned-up rim, was
ornamented with gold chains and various jewels. The ladies, during the
reign of Charles VI., still wore long trains to their dresses, which they
carried tucked up under their arms, unless they had pages or waiting-maids
(see chapter on Ceremonials). The tendency, however, was to shorten these
inconvenient trains, as well as the long hanging and embroidered or
fringed sleeves. On the other hand, ladies' dresses on becoming shorter
were trimmed in the most costly manner. Their head-dresses consisted of
very large rolls, surmounted by a high conical bonnet called a _hennin_,
the introduction of which into France was attributed to Queen Isabel of
Bavaria, wife of Charles VI. It was at this period that they began to
uncover the neck and to wear necklaces.

[Illustration: Fig. 425.--Italian Costumes of the Fifteenth Century:
Notary and Sbirro.--From two Engravings in the Bonnart Collection.]

[Illustration: Fig. 426.--Costumes of a Mechanic's Wife and a rich
Bourgeois in the latter part of the Fifteenth Century.--From Windows in
the Cathedral of Moulins (Bourbonnais).]

Under Louis XI. this costume, already followed and adopted by the greatest
slaves of fashion, became more general.

"In this year (1487)," says the chronicler Monstrelet, "ladies ceased to
wear trains, substituting for them trimmings of grebe, of martens' fur, of
velvet, and of other materials, of about eighteen inches in width; some
wore on the top of their heads rolls nearly two feet high, shaped like a
round cap, which closed in above. Others wore them lower, with veils
hanging from the top, and reaching down to the feet. Others wore unusually
wide silk bands, with very elegant buckles equally wide, and magnificent
gold necklaces of various patterns.

"About this time, too, men took to wearing shorter clothes than ever,
having them made to fit tightly to the body, after the manner of dressing
monkeys, which was very shameful and immodest; and the sleeves of their
coats and doublets were slit open so as to show their fine white shirts.
They wore their hair so long that it concealed their face and even their
eyes, and on their heads they wore cloth caps nearly a foot or more high.
They also carried, according to fancy, very splendid gold chains. Knights
and squires, and even the varlets, wore silk or velvet doublets; and
almost every one, especially at court, wore poulaines nine inches or more
in length. They also wore under their doublets large pads (_mahoitres_),
in order to appear as if they had broad shoulders."

Under Charles VIII. the mantle, trimmed with fur, was open in front, its
false sleeves being slit up above in order to allow the arms of the under
coat to pass through. The cap was turned up; the breeches or long hose
were made tight-fitting. The shoes with poulaines were superseded by a
kind of large padded shoe of black leather, round or square at the toes,
and gored over the foot with coloured material, a fashion imported from
Italy, and which was as much exaggerated in France as the poulaine had
formerly been. The women continued to wear conical caps (_hennins_) of
great height, covered with immense veils; their gowns were made with
tight-fitting bodies, which thus displayed the outlines of the figure
(Figs. 427 and 428).

Under Louis XII., Queen Anne invented a low head-dress--or rather it was
invented for her--consisting of strips of velvet or of black or violet
silk over other bands of white linen, which encircled the face and fell
down over the back and shoulders; the large sleeves of the dresses had a
kind of turned-over borders, with trimmings of enormous width. Men adopted
short tunics, plaited and tight at the waist. The upper part of the
garments of both men and women was cut in the form of a square over the
chest and shoulders, as most figures are represented in the pictures of
Raphael and contemporary painters.

[Illustration: Italian Lacework, in Gold Thread.

The cypher and arms of Henry III. (16th century.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 427.--Costume of Charlotte of Savoy, second Wife of
Louis XI.--From a Picture of the Period formerly in the Castle of
Bourbon-l'Archambault, M. de Quedeville's Collection, in Paris. The Arms
of Louis XI. and Charlotte are painted behind the picture.]

[Illustration: Fig. 428.--Costume of Mary of Burgundy, Daughter of
Charles the Bold, Wife of Maximilian of Austria (end of the Fifteenth
Century). From an old Engraving in the Collection of the Imperial Library,

The introduction of Italian fashions, which in reality did not much differ
from those which had been already adopted, but which exhibited better
taste and a greater amount of elegance, dates from the famous expedition
of Charles VIII. into Italy (Figs. 429 and 430). Full and gathered or
puffed sleeves, which gave considerable gracefulness to the upper part of
the body, succeeded to the _mahoitres_, which had been discarded since the
time of Louis XI. A short and ornamental mantle, a broad-brimmed hat
covered with feathers, and trunk hose, the ample dimensions of which
earned for them the name of _trousses_, formed the male attire at the end
of the fifteenth century. Women wore the bodies of their dresses closely
fitting to the figure, embroidered, trimmed with lace, and covered with
gilt ornaments; the sleeves were very large and open, and for the most
part they still adhered to the heavy and ungraceful head-dress of Queen
Anne of Brittany. The principal characteristic of female dress at the time
was its fulness; men's, on the contrary, with the exception of the mantle
or the upper garment, was usually tight and very scanty.

We find that a distinct separation between ancient and modern dress took
place as early as the sixteenth century; in fact, our present fashions may
be said to have taken their origin from about that time. It was during
this century that men adopted clothes closely fitting to the body;
overcoats with tight sleeves, felt hats with more or less wide brims, and
closed shoes and boots. The women also wore their dresses closely fitting
to the figure, with tight sleeves, low-crowned hats, and richly-trimmed
petticoats. These garments, which differ altogether from those of
antiquity, constitute, as it were, the common type from which have since
arisen the endless varieties of male and female dress; and there is no
doubt that fashion will thus be continually changing backwards and
forwards from time to time, sometimes returning to its original model, and
sometimes departing from it.

[Illustration: Figs. 429 and 430.--Costumes of Young Nobles of the Court
of Charles VIII., before and after the Expedition into Italy.--From
Miniatures in two Manuscripts of the Period in the National Library of

During the sixteenth century, ladies wore the skirts of their dresses,
which were tight at the waist and open in front, very wide, displaying the
lower part of a very rich under petticoat, which reached to the ground,
completely concealing the feet. This, like the sleeves with puffs, which
fell in circles to the wrists, was altogether an Italian fashion.
Frequently the hair was turned over in rolls, and adorned with precious
stones, and was surmounted by a small cap, coquettishly placed either on
one side or on the top of the head, and ornamented with gold chains,
jewels, and feathers. The body of the dress was always long, and pointed
in front. Men wore their coats cut somewhat after the same shape: their
trunk hose were tight, but round the waist they were puffed out. They wore
a cloak, which only reached as far as the hips, and was always much
ornamented; they carried a smooth or ribbed cap on one side of the head,
and a small upright collar adorned the coat. This collar was replaced,
after the first half of the sixteenth century, by the high, starched ruff,
which was kept out by wires; ladies wore it still larger, when it had
somewhat the appearance of an open fan at the back of the neck.

If we take a retrospective glance at the numerous changes of costume which
we have endeavoured to describe in this hurried sketch, we shall find that
amongst European nations, during the Middle Ages, there was but one common
standard of fashion, which varied from time to time according to the
particular custom of each country, and according to the peculiarities of
each race. In Italy, for instance, dress always maintained a certain
character of grandeur, ever recalling the fact that the influence of
antiquity was not quite lost. In Germany and Switzerland, garments had
generally a heavy and massive appearance; in Holland, still more so (Figs.
436 and 437). England uniformly studied a kind of instinctive elegance and
propriety. It is a curious fact that Spain invariably partook of the
heaviness peculiar to Germany, either because the Gothic element still
prevailed there, or that the Walloon fashions had a special attraction to
her owing to associations and general usage. France was then, as it is
now, fickle and capricious, fantastical and wavering, but not from
indifference, but because she was always ready to borrow from every
quarter anything which pleased her. She, however, never failed to put her
own stamp on whatever she adopted, thus making any fashion essentially
French, even though she had only just borrowed it from Spain, England,
Germany, or Italy. In all these countries we have seen, and still see,
entire provinces adhering to some ancient costume, causing them to differ
altogether in character from the rest of the nation. This is simply owing
to the fact that the fashions have become obsolete in the neighbouring
places, for every local costume faithfully and rigorously preserved by any
community at a distance from the centre of political action or government,
must have been originally brought there by the nobles of the country. Thus
the head-dress of Anne of Brittany is still that of the peasant-women of
Penhoet and of Labrevack, and the _hennin_ of Isabel of Bavaria is still
the head-dress of Normandy.

[Illustration: Fig. 431.--Costumes of a Nobleman or a very rich
Bourgeois, of a Bourgeois or Merchant, and of a Noble Lady or rich
Bourgeoise, of the Time of Louis XII.--From Miniatures in Manuscripts of
the Period, in the Imperial Library of Paris.]

[Illustration: Fig. 432.--Costume of a rich Bourgeoise, and of a Noble,
or Person of Distinction, of the Time of Francis I.--From a Window in the
Church of St. Ouen at Rouen, by Gaignieres (National Library of Paris).]

Although the subject has reached the limits we have by the very nature of
this work assigned to it, we think it well to overstep them somewhat, in
order briefly to indicate the last connecting link between modern fashions
and those of former periods.

[Illustration: Figs. 433 and 434.--Costumes of the Ladies and Damsels of
the Court of Catherine de Medicis.--After Cesare Vecellio.]

Under Francis I., the costumes adopted from Italy remained almost
stationary (Fig. 432). Under Henri II. (Figs. 433 and 434), and especially
after the death of that prince, the taste for frivolities made immense
progress, and the style of dress in ordinary use seemed day by day to lose
the few traces of dignity which it had previously possessed.

Catherine de Medicis had introduced into France the fashion of ruffs, and
at the beginning of the fourteenth century, Marie de Medicis that of
small collars. Dresses tight at the waist began to be made very full round
the hips, by means of large padded rolls, and these were still more
enlarged, under the name of _vertugadins_ (corrupted from
_vertu-gardiens),_ by a monstrous arrangement of padded whalebone and
steel, which subsequently became the ridiculous _paniers_, which were worn
almost down to the commencement of the present century; and the fashion
seems likely to come into vogue again.

[Illustration: Fig. 435.--Costume of a Gentleman of the French Court, of
the End of the Sixteenth Century.--Fac-simile of a Miniature in the "Livre
de Poesies," Manuscript dedicated to Henry IV.]

Under the last of the Valois, men's dress was short, the jacket was
pointed and trimmed round with small peaks, the velvet cap was trimmed
with aigrettes; the beard was pointed, a pearl hung from the left ear, and
a small cloak or mantle was carried on the shoulder, which only reached to
the waist. The use of gloves made of scented leather became universal.
Ladies wore their dresses long, very full, and very costly, little or no
change being made in these respects during the reign of Henry IV. At this
period, the men's high hose were made longer and fuller, especially in
Spain and the Low Countries, and the fashion of large soft boots, made of
doeskin or of black morocco, became universal, on account of their being
so comfortable.

We may remark that the costume of the bourgeois was for a long time
almost unchanged, even in the towns. Never having adopted either the
tight-fitting hose or the balloon trousers, they wore an easy jerkin, a
large cloak, and a felt hat, which the English made conical and with a
broad brim.

Towards the beginning of the seventeenth century, the high hose which were
worn by the northern nations, profusely trimmed, was transformed into the
_culotte_, which was full and open at the knees. A division was thus
suddenly made between the lower and the upper part of the hose, as if the
garment which covered the lower limbs had been cut in two, and garters
were then necessarily invented. The felt hat became over almost the whole
of Europe a cap, taking the exact form of the head, and having a wide,
flat brim turned up on one side. High heels were added to boots and shoes,
which up to that time had been flat and with single soles.... Two
centuries later, a terrible social agitation took place all over Europe,
after which male attire became mean, ungraceful, plain and more paltry
than ever; whereas female dress, the fashions of which were perpetually
changing from day to day, became graceful and elegant, though too often
approaching to the extravagant and absurd.

[Illustration: Figs. 436 and 437.--Costumes of the German Bourgeoisie in
the Middle of the Sixteenth Century.--Drawings attributed to Holbein.]


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