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Wine, Women and Song? Diet and Regimen for Royal Well-Being (King Duarte of Portugal, 1433–1438)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins by providing some context first of all for King Duarte's ill health and his writings. It then argues that Duarte lived by a concept called contentamento, which is perhaps as close as one can get to a medieval sense of well-being. Finally, the chapter deals with the analysis of Duarte's complex relationship with food, drink and women, showing the close connections between his physical and spiritual well-being. Duarte's chosen regimen appears to have been more balanced, designed for a lifestyle where drinking late, staying up all night or getting up early were sometimes unavoidable duties. He followed Pseudo-Aristotle's observation that it was better to eat to live than to live to eat. For him, there was more pleasure in moderate and contented i.e. satisfied eating, than there was in eating purely for pleasure.

Keywords: King Duarte; lifestyle; plague; regimen



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