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What were sumptuary laws? How did these laws affect society in France?

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1. Sumptuary laws were those laws which imposed upon members of different layers of society through specified details the codes of behaviour.

2. These laws tried to control behaviour of those considered social inferiors, preventing them from wearing certain clothes, consuming certain foods and beverages (usually alcohol) and hunting game in certain areas.

3. In France, during the medieval period the item of clothing a person could purchase per year was regulated not only by income but also by social rank.

4. The material to be purchased for clothing was also legally prescribed.

5. Only royalty could wear expensive materials like ermine, fur, silk, velvet and brocade. Other classes were debarred from clothing themselves with materials that were associated with the aristocracy.

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