Elizabethan Era Vs The 21st Century A Humorous Point of View

Elizabethan Era The age of unknown scents

Imagine life without electricity, plumbing, vehicles. computers, ipods , Wii, Xb360, and cell phones , HD Tv's did not exist and the closest movie theater was, you go it!The stage. It was the height of the "English Renaissance" and English poetry and literature was the rage. It was an age of expansion and exploration abroad and for a period the battle between the Catholics and Protestants was settled for a time by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement.

Most foods were spiced with cinnamon, ginger. cloves, garlic and god only knows what galingale is, but they were compelled to add it to there dishes. People from that era didn't understand germs or what it was like to take a bath or shower everyday. They believed that in order to prevent disease you had to keep bad smells away, so in turn the ladies would carry flowers or bouquets not realizing that the smells were normally body odor and the process of elimination was soap and water.

Queen Elizabeth I never married and was known as the virgin queen, really? Women would strive to have curly red hair and utilized different recipes to achieve it. Hard to believe but one of the key elements in the hair color was urine! Imagine the scent of the hair, when cuddling with your partner. What a rancid smell so many wore wigs since they were easier to maintain and descendants in that period did not bathe nor wash there hair often.

Finally going to the dentist could literally cost you your life and if you came out alive your teeth may not have lasted to long. Teeth were ruined in order to keep them clean. Dentists during the Elizabethan era created a mixture of powder, pumice , stone brick and coral to rub the teeth clean. Not only did the concoction clean the teeth, but it removed them too. I wonder if baking soda existed then? Parsley? Mint leaves? Living in the Elizabethan era would not have been my cup of tea, but for some of you rugged hubbers you would have survived!!


21st Century the age of Technology and Cleanliness

Fast forward 400 years and you will find that we are pampered or some may say spoiled. We have vehicles that guide you when you travel and back themselves into tight spots, central heat and air for those freezing cold days and extreme heat moments. Plumbing inside and baths and showers that can do intrical things. Televisions in all sizes and computers with the internet that will allow you research just about anything. Going to the dentist is a breeze and guaranteed you will not lose your teeth when you leave. Hairstylists who can cut your hair just the way you want and hair dye without urine. An array of spices to chose from and we receive flowers because someone cares, not because the smell of the air is foul and nobody has bathed in days. Doctors who know how to cure many diseases and multiple religions to choose from. I can only imagine what another 400 years will bring, but I can guarantee that people in the future will be discussing our lifestyles too. Wouldn't many of us love to be there, when they talk about us?


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Comments 35 comments

madbrk 7 years ago

I like it. IT shows us as a generation how lucky we are but at the same time , I feel our society has lost focus and take things for granted. Great Hub AS ALWAYS AE


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

I believe some of us do take if for granted I certainly agree and writing this had me re-evaluate I could not imagine having to live in those conditions no wonder everyone seemed to die young.:) Thank you so much for commenting.:)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

The smell would be pretty hard core, but they had a lot more free time than we do now, so, I don't know. Trade off some rat-race time for some time to live time, might be worth it once you got used to the aroma. (The plague would have sucked though... and so would drinking water out of lead pipes lol).


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

We for sure take it all for granted. We are spoilt and don't realize how it used to be. Though some really good things that di dcome out of that era, too.

Good hub!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Shades interesting comment but life expectancy was short, around 45 years. If you got a virus you died, if you got a lung infection you died. An abcess on tooth or body was generally fatal. Not to mention that dalliance could cost your life at the point of a dagger or sword and the wordsmiths had to hack it with goosefeathers and soot/oil mixture (blood too in some cases) no LCD screen. Methinks not a great trade off.

AEA Great hub very thougt provoking.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

But Shades forgets that everyone drank beer back then-- even the kids. Alcoholic beverage was safer than the often polluted water, since the sewerage system wasn't too effective.

As far as free time, that may have been true of the royals, but everyone else had to work their bums off just for the necessities of everyday life.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

lol Rochelle, Shades forgot to mention, but did not forget.  Queen Elizabeth had a thick mug of Stout most mornings for breakfast.  She is my idol.

And Sixty, I could deal with the quil and ink.  I hand wrote my first novel and can tell you, there is something more intimate and thoughtful about that process.  I'm not saying I would trade a 90 word per minute process for a feather pen gladly, but I am saying there are still balances in place.  Plus, the women wore cool bodices with lots of bubbling décolletage spilling forth sumptuously everywhere you looked.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

But wore no underwear and the floor was covered in straw to soak up the en-passant bodily functions (aargh).


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Shadesbreath, the plague and lead would have been horrible I don't know if i could have honestly handled it, however only the nose would have known and we would not have thought of it any differently. :)

RGraf, You are correct some good things did come out of the era and we are spoiled what a reflection of yesterday and today. :)

Rochelle Frank, You are correct there were more alcoholics and common for kids to drink beer , nowadays it is an absolute no-no for children to drink beer although some parents do allow it. Funny how times have changed.

Sixtyorso: I agree not a great trade off and straw on the floor imagine what that smelled like after sitting for a while (yuck!)


Eddie Perkins 7 years ago

AE, always enjoy reading material that gives me new information.

Thank you. ~ eddie


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Eddie, I also look forward to you reading them and tell your wife I said hello as her articles on your vacations are beautiful.:)


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

AE-- the beer may not have been so strong- but enough to keep the bacteria and bad stuff from being overwhelming. Today, municipalities put chlorine in the water-- which might be worse, and doesn't improve anyone's mood.

The Pilgrims (of all ages), voyaging to freedom in America drank beer-- not to party, but to preserve their health.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Rochelle, I didn't realize that beer could preserve their health in those days, that is a very interesting fact and I am happy that you provided it.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

As a matter of fact beer was in fact brewed to replace bread on seafaring and other long journey's as bread would go mouldy. It was rarely cooked (baked) enough to go stale. Hence the development of beer. Also brewing is easier than baking.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

sixtyorso, That is another wonderful fact as it is great to learn something new. I definitely could see it going moldy , how disgusting would that be? You should write an article on how beer is made, that would be interesting. :)


DeniseDH 7 years ago from Texas

Awesome article!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Denise,

I am certainly glad you enjoyed it!! It was a lot of fun to write :)


wltrallen2 profile image

wltrallen2 7 years ago from San Diego, CA

Great hub... I'm in agreement with a lot of the other posted comments. It would have been nice to have the free time but not the life expectancy. It would be nice to wear the amaziingly fashionable clothes but not to smell the grotesqueness of the latrines. Eh, in many ways, it's six of one, half a dozen of another. Let's just split the difference and go back 200 yrs. Somehow, I don't think that's a solution either. :(


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

But it could be fun to go back for a day :) but only one day ::::)


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

I think I could last a day without bathing or a bathroom but I don't think I would eat anything!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Me neither we would more then likely get sick and could you imagine the mess we would be in, it is hard to think about.:)


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

March on brave new world. Let the past just be interesting history.


KDorfman profile image

KDorfman 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I think a lot of people fail to realize what life would be like for the commoner in these idealized times. In Elizabeth's time, let's think about it: Very few children lived to adulthood, and the average lifespan was about 50. A cold wasn't the annoyance it is today: it would have been nearly crippling. Influenza, pneumonia, staph aureus infection, diseases easily cured by a short course of antibiotics were lethal to more than 50% of subjects. The commoner worked on land, not owned by them, to produce crops for a local noble - read: warlord - who had a squad of hired goons with armor that would shake down the local populace whenever they saw fit. Fear and Loathing in heaps. The royalty could enact whatever rules they thought of, and there was no reprisal. Oh yeah, and this is just the English commoner I'm trying to get at. Never mind the Welsh or the Scots. Oh yes, and Elizabeth was one of the first Protestant monarchs of England, which meant some REALLY BAD NEWS for the Irish. In the wake of her rule, Catholic discrimination began, and perpetuated for almost four centuries, to the point where an Irish catholic couldn't even own the land they were born on. She may have been a Virgin Queen, and it may have been the days of Marlowe, Johnson, and Shakespeare, but don't go romanticizing it too much.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

I believe the romanticizing is mediocre, as I certainly wouldn't choose to live in those conditions or times. Thank for the comment as it is sincerely appreciated:)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Elizabeth I used a mixture of white lead, vinegar and other nasties as face powder....


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Londongirl: Thanks so much for letting us know maybe you should write an article on homemade cosmetics, as that is a wonderful idea. :)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Hmmm. Might avoid the white lead, meself!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Yes do avoid the white lead , I couldn't not imagine what would happen if that were used.:)


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

wow AE I should link my latest to this.Have no idea how to do it though grrrr


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

BP: You are so funny you know who it is done...but it is all good as this hub is quite old, fun but old...lololololo:)


amc443 5 years ago

what are the simielarities?


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...my goodness you must be the greatest sister and brother team in the history of hubpages , and my LORD, that is quite a hall of fame brother you have there - a true gentleman and a scholar - and so very nice to meet with you once again - I really love the intellectual appeal of your very eclectic assortment of hubs - I see that it obviously must run in the family - and this particular subject is ingenious in how you contrast two totally different eras in not only a witty perspective but also as a teaching tool which makes it both educational and enlightening for your readers - in one of epi's original words - hubbravo!!!!!

lake erie time ontario canada 8:14pm


AEvans profile image

AEvans 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

epigramman: I remember writing this one. You brought it out of the archives and gave me an opportunity to review it again, edit and correct the hub. It was fun writing it and sometimes we have to make it fun to read and not so boring. I am glad that you also enjoy my brother. We are miles apart but always chatting and together in mind and spirit. He is a wonderful brother and I am blessed as a sister to have him. Lord De Cross is the best brother a sister can have. :)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Thanks sister..love always...!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

lord de cross: Always my brother. I see you are also very busy on HP. Keep up your writing and great work. :)

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