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June 19, 2011 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Have there been any farts recorded in the annals of history?

Preferably a fart by a famous person at a famous event. eg. If it was recorded in the minutes of the Nuremberg Trials that Hermann Goering had peeled off a couple – that would be the Holy Grail.

But failing that, any sort of fart that was deemed worthy enough to be noted in a historical text.
posted by uncanny hengeman to Society & Culture (31 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Le Petomane, 1903!
posted by The White Hat at 11:04 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Apparently this is the book you want.
posted by inkyz at 11:05 AM on June 19, 2011

It's a bit tangential to your question, but you may be interested in Le Pétomane, a French flatutist famour for his performances at the Moulin Rouge in the late 1800s. Here's a recording of a Le Pétomane imitator called Mr Lefires from 1904, which must surely be among the earliest fart audio recordings.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2011

Ack, I am both slow and bad at typing.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:08 AM on June 19, 2011

Roland the Farter
posted by MighstAllCruckingFighty at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2011

From no less than the Chief Justice of New South Wales:
"At every point in the feudal system, there was a detailed list of services and obligations - many of which were commuted for cash payments. These were not only at the level of the monarchy. They were reflected right down through the feudal hierarchy. A bewildering variety of services in addition to or in lieu of a stipulated annual rent were attached to particular grants of land or leases.... Upon the solemn royal crown wearing of Christmas day, Rolland, the tenant of Hemingstone in Suffolk, was required to attend at court and perform - as the rhythmical Latin of his formal deed of title recorded - “Unum saltum et siffletum et unum bumbulum” namely he was obliged to make ‘a leap, a whistle and a fart’.".
The source is here. Is that close enough?
posted by Logophiliac at 11:14 AM on June 19, 2011

Is Rousseau good enough for you?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:14 AM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: From here:

John Aubrey, the diarist, tells a story about the Earl of Oxford. When the Earl made a low obeisance to the Queen, he happened to let go a fart, at which he was so ashamed that he left the country for 7 years. At his return the Queen welcomed him and said, "My lord, I had forgot the fart"!
posted by Urtylug at 11:17 AM on June 19, 2011 [9 favorites]

How about this oblique reference in Samuel Pepys' Diary?
posted by bcwinters at 11:22 AM on June 19, 2011

Well, some of W.A. Mozart's more obscure letters do enter Fartland, so one would suppose he had some first-eh ...hand experience with the matter. Apparently, Mozart also coined the bon mot "Aus einem traurigen Arsch kommt kein lustiger Furz" (out of a sad behind emerges no happy fart).
posted by Namlit at 11:32 AM on June 19, 2011

Do apocryphal farts count? In this fantastic book, a collection of Arab histories of the Crusades, there's a number of passages wherein an Arab historian explains the Frankish / Christian motivation for war and the strategy sessions which, of course, the Arab historian didn't actually witness. In at least one of these, the decision to invade was directly proceeded by the Frankish leader loudly passing gas. Whether or not such a fart actually occurred is, to me, somewhat beside the point - what I found fascinating is how farting was inserted as slander, to illustrate the poor, crass character of the invaders.
posted by EatTheWeek at 11:50 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Aristophanes is all about the fart jokes in "The Clouds," which is satire rather than historical record, but may be the oldest reference to farting you can find.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2011

I believe one of the early kings of Scotland was Kenneth McAlpin, surnamed The Fart.
posted by pentagoet at 11:55 AM on June 19, 2011

Benjamin Franklin has some considered opinions about farts, but alas, did not record any specific ones.
posted by jammy at 1:18 PM on June 19, 2011

"my kids" gave this book about farting in the Middle Ages to my husband for Father's Day today.
posted by kch at 1:28 PM on June 19, 2011

"Abstain from beans. There be sundry interpretations of this symbol. But Plutarch and Cicero think beans to be forbidden of Pythagoras, because they be windy and do engender impure humours and for that cause provoke bodily lust."
--Richard Taverner
From here.

[alas, did not record any specific ones

Edison may have recorded some, on the other hand, but it is difficult to tell because of the system-inherent background noise]
posted by Namlit at 1:30 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

James Joyce was a bit obsessed with farting. Previously (NSFW).
posted by smirkette at 1:39 PM on June 19, 2011

Bah, link fail. Take two!
posted by smirkette at 1:40 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: Judith Martin (Miss Manners) recounts a story about Elizabeth I on horseback that I seem only to be able to find referenced here:

“The Queen and another chief of state were reviewing troops on horseback when a loud fart came from her direction. She immediately apologized for her horse’s having broken wind, and her host graciously brushed it off but then added that had she not mentioned it, he would have actually thought the horse had done it.”
posted by tully_monster at 1:40 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Henry Ludlow farted in the House of Commons on 4 March 1607. This became the most famous fart in British parliamentary history, inspiring a popular poem, 'The Parliament Fart', which was endlessly copied and recopied, and was still in circulation at the end of the seventeenth century. Sir John Croke, whose speech was interrupted by the fart, took it as a personal insult. However, the diarist Robert Bowyer noted that Ludlow's father, Sir Edward Ludlow, had also farted during a committee meeting: 'So this seemeth Infirmity Naturall, not Malice'.

Keith Thomas's article 'Bodily Control and Social Unease: The Fart in Seventeenth-Century England', published last year, marks a major advance in the study of early modern flatulence. Thomas argues that attitudes to farting changed in the course of the seventeenth century, as people became increasingly preoccupied with bodily self-control, and public farting came to be regarded as shaming and embarrassing. Thomas's article adds new meaning to Peter Laslett's claim that there was a 'wind of change' blowing through seventeenth-century history.
posted by verstegan at 2:42 PM on June 19, 2011 [18 favorites]

Well, there's the famous fictional fart in Chaucer's The Miller's Tale. There was a surprising fart gag in Mao's Last Dancer.

I can't remember the link, nor will I search for it, but a decade ago I found a blog comprised almost entirely of the author's recorded farts.
(I was on dial-up at the time, and thinking that waiting for recordings of some dude's trouser trumpets to download might not have been an ideal use of my time.)
posted by scruss at 3:00 PM on June 19, 2011

I've always assumed this incident from Francis Osborne's 'Traditional Memoirs of the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I', was about farting:

I cannot forget one of the attendants of the King, that at a Feast, made by this Monster in excess [The Earl of Carlisle], eat to his single share a whole Pie reckoned to my Lord at ten Pounds, being composed of Amber-greece, Magesterial of Pearl, Musk, &c. yet was so far (as he told me) from being sweet in the morning , that he almost poisoned his whole Family, flying himself like the Satyr from his own stink.

Don't eat the ambergris pie- you'll clear the room!
posted by Flitcraft at 3:02 PM on June 19, 2011

Apologies for the haziness, but my Latin teacher told a very schoolboy-friendly story about how a Roman Senator (?) incurred the wrath of one of the more despotic Emperors (Caligula? Nero?) by returning from a session with the Emperor in one of the large open shared bathrooms that were apparently typical in those times with a quip along the lines of "Well, now I know why they call it the thunderbox!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:02 PM on June 19, 2011

I'm not going to search for the link but there is a video of Hillary Clinton farting. I think it was after she became Secretary of State.

I'm ashamed I know this.
posted by JohntheContrarian at 5:06 PM on June 19, 2011

Don't forgot about the famous Mike Walker fart (of National Enquirer fame), which was caught on mic while he was waiting for his appearance on the Howard Stern show.

posted by Sal and Richard at 7:33 PM on June 19, 2011

Cocteau did a good one, back then.
posted by ovvl at 8:28 PM on June 19, 2011

Didn't John Glenn fart in his spacesuit one time too many?
posted by growabrain at 8:57 AM on June 20, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. I really should BEST ANSWER all of these.

I saw the doco on Le Petomane. There was a classic line where his worried parents took him to the doctor about his condition. After the examination the doctor told him something like [say this next bit in a Monty Python French accent, just like the doco did] "I don't know what you're doing to get like this, but whatever it is, STOP IT. It is the work of THE DEVIL!"

ps: No one mentioned my witty pun in the question.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:10 PM on June 20, 2011

Response by poster: Well, there's the famous fictional fart in Chaucer's The Miller's Tale.

Was there a fart in Lord of the Rings? I seem to remember reading it ["ventilated his backside" IIRC] and thinking "was that necessary, Mr Tolkien?"

Hairy little fantasy creatures: fighting, yes; farting and fucking, no. Don't want to know about it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:18 PM on June 20, 2011

Best answer: Martin Luther used farting as a weapon against Satan.
posted by bubukaba at 9:59 AM on June 22, 2011

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