Leonardo [da Vinci] was also a master of dining etiquette, possibly inventing the first napkin (and the first twenty-foot rotating napkin dryer) after Sforza insisted on “tethering beribboned rabbits to the chairs of his table guests, that they may wipe their grease-ridden hands on the beast’s backs.” Leonardo had strong opinions on the manners of the court, chiding the courtiers for bad behavior:
- He should not place his head upon his plate to eat.
- Neither should he sit beneath the table for any length of time.
- He should not place unpleasing or half-chewed pieces of his own food upon his neighbor’s plate without first asking him.
- He should not wipe his knife upon his neighbor’s clothing.
- Nor use his knife to carve upon the table…
- He should not set loose birds upon the table.
- Not snakes nor beetles…
- And if he is to vomit then he leaves the table.
- Likewise if he is to urinate.
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