Breaking Wind

gas maskSnippets 127.  Today’s quote is taken from Voyages to the East Indies, by Dutch explorer John Splinter Stavorinus (1798):

The king, who was addressed by the title of Touang Sultan, or My Lord the King, appeared to me to be a man of between forty-five and fifty years of age…

The king frequently broke wind upwards during his meal, and his example was assiduously followed by all the gentlemen in company, which afforded matter of no little surprise to me. But I afterwards was informed, that this custom, so contrary to European notions of decency, was an etiquette of the court of Bantam , and was affected, in order to show that one’s appetite was good, and the victuals tasteful, which was very pleasing to the king…

In the meantime, some large china bowls with boiled rice, and some dishes, of fish, which came from our table, were set before the nobles, who were at the end of the hall, and who speedily emptied them, with continual eructations, which echoed through the hall.

As this quote illustrates, passing wind has not been universally thought of in a negative manner throughout history.  Another example is Saint Augustine’s The City of God, which has the following tidbit of information:

We know, too, that some men are differently constituted from others, and have some rare and remarkable faculty of doing with their body what other men can by no effort do, and, indeed, scarcely believe when they hear of others doing… Some have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at pleasure, so as to produce the effect of singing. I myself have known a man who was accustomed to sweat whenever he wished.

If you enjoyed this “snippet” please consider sharing on Facebook or Twitter, to help other people find and enjoy Windows into History. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.


About Roger Pocock

Author of Co-writer on Administrator of
This entry was posted in 18th Century, Books, History, Humor, Humour, Snippets, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Breaking Wind

  1. Coral Waight says:

    Yes, my son has abilities in this area.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ged Maybury says:

    ‘Breaking wind upwards’ would surely mean ‘burping’?
    Latter in the extract the author uses the word ‘eructations’ – which *most definitely* means burping.

    Those chaps were NOT farting!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s