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Drawing on the medieval code of chivalry, countless books were devoted to the subject of education, conduct, politeness, and propriety–primarily because many crude men had risen to positions of wealth and power through commercial or military means.
All searched for the easiest way to become genteel.
The Renaissance man wanted, more than anything, to be recognized as a gentleman, the contemporary manifestation of the chivalrous knight.
There was honor to defend and women to impress – and it all had to be done in the proper manner.
Like women of the Middle Ages, the women of the Renaissance were denied all political rights and considered legally subject to their husbands.
Women of all classes were expected to perform the duties of housewife.
It is here in the dining room that a man’s refinement–or lack thereof–is most obviously on display.
In recent research, it was found that marriage rates have dropped among people generations before.A few tips: don’t gobble your food so greedily, Castiglione warns, as to give yourself hiccups or “some other unpleasantness”; don’t fill both sides of your mouth so full with food that your cheeks are bloated; don’t clean your teeth with your napkin, and still worse, don’t do it with your finger.Finally, Castiglione instructs, “when you rise from the table do not carry your toothpick in your mouth like a bird making its nest, or behind your ear.” In the category of “personal propriety,” the Renaissance man was given a number of rules of thumb: Castiglione’s final bit of instruction comes by way of the chessboard.Unlike what is regularly seen in other societies, it takes a far more subdued and indirect approach.Traditionally, in the case of a formal engagement, it has been perceived that it is the role of a male to actively "court" or "woo" a female, thus encouraging her to understand him and her receptiveness to a proposal of marriage.
During this time, much emphasis was placed on individual achievement in arts and sciences rather than on an army column’s performance on the battlefield.