Daniel of Beccles was a medieval author and also a knight in King Henry II’s court. At the end of the 12th century, he wrote a very interesting book of manners called The Book of the Civilized Man – also known as Urbanus Magnus –, which is actually a 3.000 lines poem teaching men and boys how to behave properly in court society. It seems that this was the first manual of etiquette written in English.
The Book of Civilized Man has advice for typical social situations that have to do specially with social hierarchy, self-control and sexual morality in medieval times. For example, the lines about social hierarchy usually address those men who want to be part of the nobility, and Beccles advises them:
“Dining at a rich man’s table, say little.”
When it comes to self-control, one of Beccles suggestions is that it is better for a man to keep his thoughts to himself by advising:
"Be careful to whom, what, why and when you speak".
And finally, advice about sexual morality teaches how men should behave with their own wives, with other men’s wives and with prostitutes. Beccles advises his readers that if a lord’s wife makes a sexual proposition to a man, for example, the best solution for this man is to pretend to be ill.
These were the sites I researched at:
Posted by Fernanda Pedrecal