Greetings in the Middle Ages

Is Covid throwing us back to the Middle Ages? Greeting in the Middle Ages was much more personal than it is in our current situation. How, when and where people greeted or kissed each other can be found here!

⏰⏰ TOPICS ⏰⏰

0:00 Intro

0:26 How are we allowed to greet, what has changed in the last thousand years?

0:57 The meaning of the greeting and its function

1:41 The etymology of the word “to greet”

2:22 Informationen und Gebärden im Grußritual / Information and gestures in the greeting ritual

3:27 Example: Greeting protocol between king and emperor

4:09 The greeting as a sign of peace

4:52 Different ways of greeting and non-verbal communication

5:48 The handshake and its meaning

6:24 The kiss and the hug

8:05 The proskynesis

8:43 The genuflection

9:03 Drawing the hat

9:29 Vocal greetings

10:34 The farewell

10:44 Summary

11:16 Outro



In one year, Covid has changed our greeting behaviour more than the last thousand years. Who you greet and how you greet them is becoming more and more relevant. It is currently unthinkable to hug old friends, to celebrate birthdays or other festivities in large numbers, or even to simply greet one’s friends with a kiss on the cheek. But where does our greeting behaviour come from, and what was it like back then? 


In the Middle Ages, the meaning of the greeting was much more relevant than in the present. It contained information about a person’s status, their intentions or even whether they belonged to a group or a collective. Depending on the situation and the position of the greeters, the greeting could have an influence on their entire life.


But where do our greeting gestures come from? You can find out more about shaking hands, kissing and hugging, proskynesis and genuflecting, pulling a hat, verbal greetings and goodbyes in this video!


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