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The history of etiquette: the main stages of development

Being in a society, we cannot but obey certain rules and principles, because this is the key to comfortable coexistence with others. Almost every inhabitant of the modern world is familiar with such a word as "etiquette". What does it mean?

The first sources of etiquette

Etiquette (from the French. Etiquette - label, inscription) - these are accepted norms of behavior of people in society, which should be adhered to in order to avoid embarrassing situations and conflicts.

It is believed that the concept of "good manners" arose even in ancient times, when our ancestors began to unite in communities and live in groups. Then it became necessary to develop a set of rules that would help people control their behavior and get along together without resentment and disagreement.

Women respected their husbands-miners, the younger generation was brought up by the most experienced members of the community, people worshiped shamans, healers, gods - all these are the first historical roots that laid the meaning and principles of modern etiquette. Before its appearance and formation, people were disrespectful to each other.

Etiquette in Ancient Egypt

Even before our era, many famous people tried to come up with their most diverse recommendations on how a person should behave at a table.

One of the most popular and famous manuscripts in the III millennium BC, which came to us from the Egyptians, became a collection of special tips called “Teachings of Cochmin”, written to educate people in good manners.

In this collection, tips for fathers were collected and described, recommending to teach their sons the rules of decency and good taste, so that they behave in a proper manner in society and do not tarnish the honor of the family.

Already at that time, the Egyptians considered it necessary to use cutlery during lunch. It was required to eat beautifully, with his mouth closed, without making unpleasant sounds. Such behavior was regarded as one of the main advantages and advantages of a person, and was also an important component of the cultural component.

However, sometimes the requirements for observing the rules of decency reached the point of absurdity. There was even a saying: "Good manners make the king a slave."

Etiquette in Ancient Greece

The Greeks believed that it was necessary to wear beautiful clothes, to behave with family, friends and just acquaintances restrained and calm. It was customary to dine in a circle of close people. To fight only fiercely - not to retreat a single step and not beg for mercy. It was here that the first table and business etiquette was born, special people appeared - ambassadors. They were given documents on two cards folded with each other, which were called "diploma". Hence the concept of "diplomacy".

In Sparta, on the contrary, a sign of good taste was a demonstration of the beauty of their own bodies, so residents were allowed to walk naked. An impeccable reputation demanded dining out.

Age of the Middle Ages

In this dark time for Europe, a decline in development in society began, nevertheless, people still adhered to the rules of good manners.

In the X century BC e. Byzantium bloomed. According to the code of etiquette, the ceremonies here were very beautiful, solemn, magnificent. The task of such an exquisite event was to blind ambassadors from other countries and demonstrate the power and greatest power of the Byzantine Empire.

The first popular teaching on the rules of conduct was the work The Discipline of Clericals, published only in 1204. Its author was P. Alfonso. The teaching was intended specifically for the clergy. Taking this book as a basis, people from other countries - England, Holland, France, Germany and Italy - published their etiquette manuals. Most of these rules were the rules of behavior at the table during meals. Questions on how to conduct small talk, receive guests and arrange events were also highlighted.

A little later, the word etiquette arose. He was introduced into constant use by the well-known Louis XIV - the king of France. He invited guests to his ball and handed out to everyone special cards - “labels”, where the rules of conduct for the holiday were written.

Knights appeared with their code of honor, a huge number of new rituals and ceremonies were created, where initiations took place, took vassal dependence, and entered into an agreement on serving the lord. Then in Europe, a cult of worship of beautiful ladies arose. Knightly tournaments began to be held, where men fought for the chosen one, even if she did not reciprocate.

Also in the Middle Ages arose and to this day there are such rules: a handshake at a meeting, removing a headdress in greeting. Thus, people showed that they did not have weapons in their hands and that they were inclined to peace negotiations.

Land of the Rising Sun

In Japan and China, the rules of good manners were considered the same as the law. Here, attention was paid even to the smallest details: gestures, movements, eyes.

For example, a refusal from a mug of water or a sidelong glance could entail a whole war of clans, which could last for years until one of them was completely destroyed.

Chinese etiquette has more than thirty thousand different ceremonies, ranging from the rules of tea drinking to marriage.

Era of the renaissance

The development of countries is characteristic of this time: their interaction with each other improves, culture flourishes, painting develops, and the technical process steps forward. The concept of the effect of body cleanliness on health is also emerging: people begin to wash their hands before eating.

In the 16th century, table etiquette stepped forward: people began to use forks and knives. The splendor and festivity are replaced by modesty and humility. Knowledge of the rules and norms of etiquette becomes a hallmark of elegance and extravagance.

The history of the development of etiquette in the Russian state

From the Middle Ages to the reign of Peter I, Russian people studied etiquette according to the book of the monk Sylvester "Domostroy", published under Tsar Ivan IV. According to its charter the man was considered the head of the family, which no one dared to argue. He could decide what was good for his loved ones and what was bad, had the right to punish his wife for disobedience and beat the children as educational methods.

European etiquette came to the Russian state during the reign of Emperor Peter I. The artillery and maritime education originally created by the ruler was replaced by a special school where they taught secular manners. One of the most famous was the work on the etiquette "Youth an honest mirror, or Testimony to the everyday routine", written in 1717, which was repeatedly copied.

Unequal marriages between people of various classes were allowed. People now had the right to marry those who were divorced, with disheveled monks and clergymen. Previously, this could not be done.

It was strictly forbidden to marry young people who did not graduate from school, so that they could not leave military service.

The rules and norms of behavior for women and girls were most complicated. Bans haunted the female sex from the cradle. Young girls were strictly forbidden to dine at a party, talk without permission, show their skills in languages ​​or any other field. However, they should have been able to blush shyly at some point, suddenly faint, and smile charmingly. The young lady was forbidden to go out alone or be alone with a man for even a couple of minutes, despite the fact that he could be her good friend or fiancé.

The rules instructed the girl to wear modest clothes, speak and laugh only in a muffled voice. Parents were obliged to monitor what their daughter reads, what kind of acquaintances she makes, and what entertainment she prefers. After marriage, the etiquette rules for the young woman softened a bit. However, she, as before, did not have the right to receive male guests in the absence of her husband, to go out alone to social events. After marriage, the woman tried very carefully to monitor the beauty of her speech and mannerisms.

Events for the upper world at the very beginning of the 19th century included both public and family invitations. Be sure to have been held various balls and masquerades during all three months of winter, because this was the main place for dating between potential wives and husbands. Visits to theaters and exhibitions, fun walks in parks and gardens, roller coaster slides during the holidays - all these diverse entertainments have become more and more common.

In the Soviet Union, such a phrase as "social life" was abolished. People of the upper classes were exterminated, their foundations and customs were ridiculed and distorted to the point of absurdity. Special rudeness in dealing with people began to be considered a sign of the proletariat. At the same time, all sorts of bosses moved away from subordinates. Knowledge and possession of good manners were now in demand only in diplomacy. Solemn events and balls began to organize less and less. The best form of leisure was a feast.

Now, instead of the word “you”, “you” has become more often used to completely eradicate intelligence and show that in the Soviet state everyone is equal and significant to the same extent. Gradually, the rights of men and women began to equalize.

Currently, the concept of "etiquette" includes regularity of rules and norms that have formed at different historical intervals. Each nation was able to make its own amendments to it, which arose as a result of the specific structure of each state.

The homeland of world etiquette is considered the western world. In the 21st century, during a long and careful selection of the results of life experiences of all countries and peoples of the world, the code of etiquette included only the most demanded and the best of them. However, it cannot be considered fully completed. We are developing, society is improving, and everywhere certain rules and norms of behavior are required. Etiquette will be introduced and intensified more complicated further, becoming more complete and significant.

You will learn more about etiquette in the next video.


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