The Dirt on Clean
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Clean facts

1. Napoleon and Josephine were fastidious for their time in that they both took a long, hot, daily bath. But Napoleon wrote Josephine from a campaign, "I will return to Paris tomorrow evening. Don't wash."

2. The ancient Egyptians went to great lengths to be clean, but both sexes anointed their genitals with perfumes designed to deepen and exaggerate their natural aroma.

3. The world's earliest known bathtub, from around 1700 B.C., was found in the Queen's apartments at the Palace of Knossos on Crete, and is made of painted terra cotta.

4. The Sybarites, a luxury-loving people who lived in southeastern Italy beginning in the 8th century B.C., invented the steam bath.

5. People rarely used soap to wash their bodies until the late 19th century. It was usually made from animal fats and ashes and was too harsh for bodies; the gentler alternative, made with olive oil, was too expensive for most people.

6. The Roman imperial baths were so gigantic that a single chamber — the hot room of the Baths of Caracalla — housed 20th-century productions of Aida that included chariots, horses and camels, as well as the cast and audience.

7. In Finland, where the sauna is a national institution, when government leaders cannot agree on an issue, they adjourn to the sauna to continue the discussion.

8. The accumulated sweat, dirt and oil that a famous athlete or gladiator scraped off himself was sold to their fans in small vials. Roman women reportedly used it as a face cream.

9. Recycling saintly secretions: St. Lutgard's saliva was believed to heal the sick, as were the crumbs chewed by another medieval saint, St. Colette. A man sent from England to the Netherlands for St. Lidwina's washing water, to apply to his afflicted leg. The water from St. Eustadiola's face- and hand-washing cured blindness and other illnesses.

10. Medieval Christians proved their holiness by not washing. A monk came upon a hermit in the desert and rejoiced that he "smelt the good odour of that brother from a mile away."

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