ATTENTION – QUESTION!
The vain and gullible 17th century French poet Henri Poissonnier was cruelly deceived by his friends.
At their instigation, he stood for hours at the blazing fireplace, painfully getting used to its heat.
Why did he do this, my God ?! And what word was born because of this?
The answer is a little later.
The roots of this terrible case should be looked for in the fact that Henri Poissonnier, as befits him by country and time of residence, was a loyal subject of His Majesty the King of France, in this particular case – personally the “Sun King” Louis XIV!
The German historian Johann Christian Lunig wrote about the kings of those times most clearly and judiciously, who believed: “Since the rulers are the image of the Almighty on earth, it is necessary that they resemble him as much as possible … and the more the bearers of his earthly image strive to resemble him , the more you need to maintain order in your own affairs”.
In his opinion, the crowd looks up rather to the example of its ruler than to the laws. If she finds a useful order in his way of life, she will follow him, and this is what reinforces the well-being of the whole country. If she only reveals confusion in something, then she judges that such a ruler is a fake copy of the original (the Creator).
Lunig frightens that then veneration will disappear, and countries may become victims of chaos. That is why the rulers have created the rules, which are supposed to follow, and to which they themselves adapt. Naturally, they adapt their subjects even more actively – why bother with them!
As soon as a bosses got up among the people who had the ability to order all other people to shut up and not complain, literally immediately among these bosses Lunig’s ideas became popular and close. For example, the Egyptian pharaohs were simply delighted with them.
Literally right after their conquest of the relevant powers, they decided that simpler people can only call them a magnificent and not very meaningful title “Great House”. We do this to this day, because in ancient Egyptian it sounded like “per-o”, and we say “pharaoh” because we borrowed this word from Hebrew with its amazing phonetics.
This, by the way, seemed not enough to the pharaohs – well, the House, well, the Great, and how can you humiliate your interlocutor somehow? Therefore, the pharaohs prescribed, in addition to this title, to invariably refer to them “ankh, uda, sneb”, that is, “life, health, strength”. If you do not say so – they will throw you to crocodiles or something else. What to do?
Another thing, seemingly invented by the pharaohs, is to make their daily hygiene procedures part of the ritual: washing, dressing, combing. Without violating his own ideas about decency, the pharaoh did all these procedures in front of the especially trusted courtiers, who received instructions from him and were sweetly thrilled with high honor.
FROM ROME TO BYZANTINE
After the death of the pharaoh, it was customary to declare a deity, and how are the Roman emperors worse? They are clearly better, so already the fourth of them, Caligula, ordered himself to be called Dominus (this translates as “Lord”), thereby declaring that his power is equal to the power of God over mortals or the master over slaves.
You will say that only a pagan emperor could have done this, but what about the later rulers, the absolute Christians Arkadius and Honorius? Their decree reads: “And all those who, in sacrilegious daring, dare to oppose our divinity, will lose their place and property”. I would say: “My God!”, But I don’t know which one …
Free Macedonians were still able to refuse Alexander the Great in proskynesis – bowing to the ground with kissing his feet: a riot almost began, and the issue was hushed up. And the Roman emperor Diocletian had already ordered to greet himself in this way – and no one dared to utter a word!
Before the emperors, it was required to prostrate themselves. If someone did not want to do it – he was helped, like the ambassador of the king of Italy: when he saw the emperor on a golden throne under a golden tree, on which golden birds were singing, and golden lions roared on his sides, he was amazed and prostrated himself before the throne, which immediately rose up with the emperor … But he didn’t want to prostrate himself …
To observe such a complex ceremony, they created court ranks – separately for the “bearded” (these are just ordinary people), separately for women, separately for eunuchs. Only eunuchs could occupy at least ten high positions – they knew how to bow low!
And in what countries else could such Chinese ceremonies be adhered to? Of course, in China – the idiom itself suggests. The unifier of China, Qin Shi Huangdi, seemed to have died from them – it was strictly forbidden to go to the emperor against his will, so they decided to open the door when it began to smell ( he died) but they could have saved the emperor!
However, in those ancient times there was still more freedom – under the Manchu dynasties something began that you would not believe! China was declared the sovereign and head of everything, some conversations with other peoples were conducted only if they recognized themselves as its tributaries.
When in 1793 the Mother England sent a mission led by Lord McCartney to establish relations with China, they wrote on her ships in hieroglyphs: “Tribute bearer from an English country”, and the answer to George III ended with the famous words: “Trembling, obey and do not show negligence ! “
The Chinese emperor demanded that the ambassadors perform koutou in front of him – they fell to their knees three times and beat their foreheads nine times. Dissenting ambassadors were not admitted to an audience. But when China lost the “opium wars” to the Europeans in disgrace, the koutou was abandoned.
SECRETS OF THE MADRID YARD
At the other end of Eurasia, in the Spanish Empire, the ceremonies were also such that they seem to be invented out of sadism in order to deliberately annoy the Spanish kings and make their life as difficult as possible. Why the kings themselves did not abolish them – that is the question!
On November 22, 1604, King Philip III was warming himself by the fireplace. The fire broke out in it, but a special nobleman, who could close the flap or move the royal chair, went somewhere. While they were looking for him, the king was badly burned, but did not budge – he could not do it according to the rules!
A little later, Queen Marie-Louise, wife of Charles II, while riding, fell off her horse and caught her foot on the stirrup. She could have been torn to pieces, but two brave officers caught up with her and rescued her – and immediately were sent to exile: for touching the queen, they faced the death penalty!
Philip IV’s bride Maria-Anna suffered no less severely – when, on her way to her husband, she received a dozen pairs of silk stockings produced there as a gift in one of the Spanish cities, the majordomo shouted at the awkward donor: “Queens have no legs!” I’m afraid she decided that her legs were about to be chopped off …
History has preserved a description of a properly dressed Spanish king paying the queen a conjugal visit. “Slippers are on my feet, and a black silk robe is thrown over my shoulders. In the right hand there is a naked sword, in the left – a night light. From the left wrist hangs on a ribbon a bottle, which is not used for drinking, but for a completely different need”. Whoever sees this at night will clearly not be alive …
HEGEMON OF EUROPE
But, perhaps, the strictest, senseless and merciless, cleaner than the Russian revolt, was etiquette at the court of the most prestigious monarchy of its time – the French kingdom under the “Sun King” Louis XIV, a monarch who has no idea that something can be impossible for him …
The courtiers imitated him in everything. When the surgeons cut out a purulent fistula from him, it is indecent to say where, the courtiers tortured the surgeons with requests for the same operation on them. To the doctors’ timid questions about where their fistula was, they only offered more money – they really wanted to …
Delivering any trouble to the king was a shame that only death can atone for. The great culinary expert François Vatel, fearing that the fish would not be brought up in time to the feast with the participation of the “Sun King,” rushed to his sword so as not to experience such situation (by the way, the fish was soon brought up).
Such a system is inconceivable without hierarchy, and it was in everything. For example, only the king sat in an armchair, the queen and princes – on chairs, and very noble ladies could sit on stools (they were called “stools”). There were also “half-stools” – they could sit during the day, but not in the evening.
But everyone was eager to go to the royal court, any court position was happiness for a nobleman, and its absence was a miserable vegetation. Positions, even the most worthless ones, were worth money, and it was a great joy to be allowed to buy a place of the giver of slippers to the king.
CAUTION – CORRECT ANSWER!
Poor Henri Poissonnier – he really was cruelly deceived! He was told that if he trained to endure the brutal heat of the fireplace, shielding him from it with his body, he would be allowed to buy the position of His Majesty’s Fireplace Screen!
So he tried to be noticed in zeal … And much later the story about this got into the dictionary compiled by the French Academy, to explain the origin of the word “hoax”!
CLOSER TO US
Of course, it would be good to say that these are all things of bygone days, not to mention the legends of deep antiquity. But back in 1880, at the end of the 19th century, the Queen of Siam, Sunanda Kumariratana, before she reached twenty, drowned with her little daughter, because their boat capsized, and it was impossible to touch the queen!
Here is another example of the influence of etiquette on life: the wife of Franz Joseph, Empress Sissi, did not sit at the table, because she was on a diet, and if the Empress got up, the rest of them could not continue to eat! The courtiers scattered to local restaurants and ordered a fashionable dish that appeared there, which was called tafelspitz – “the end of the table”.
But now the norm of kings’ etiquette is to be like everyone else. Harald V of Norway, married a commoner, a saleswoman from a clothing store, for four years persuaded his daddy, and then his son generally found a waitress with an illegitimate child, whose father was serving time for drug addiction, in some eatery … And after all, she will be a queen!
However, it was even harder for the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, in the military school – few of his fellow students refused the opportunity, many years later, among friends, to recall, as it were, by the way: “Oh, our king … I gav him a thick ear – he just flew upside down!” So let there be more equality, and less complicated etiquette.
WELL AND FOR END
Correct etiquette frees you – no need to think for a long time what to do in this or that case. Wrong etiquette fetters – and that is not allowed, and it is not worth doing, but what? Don’t confuse them!
The pharaohs and Roman emperors had to observe etiquette – they established this business. So what, did it help them? Every single one is extinct!
The Chinese emperor forced the European ambassadors to bow to him. They got tired of this, and they began to beat his army. I wonder if that’s what he wanted?
The stricter the terrifying Spanish etiquette was, the worse things were in Spain itself. Is there a causal relationship?
Louis XIV was reputedly a polite and well-mannered man. Is it difficult to become famous for politeness and upbringing, when everyone around him is afraid to open their mouths so as not to blurt out something that the king does not like? Why did he devalue his dignity?
Stupid gullibility and immoderate ambition, of course, hurt Henri Poissonnier. But the world received a new word – “hoax”! Even from not very good circumstances, as you can see, you can get some benefit, which is what I wish to all of you …