They must have smelled terrible. But the ocean in which they swam was the odor of rank sweat, or fresh sweat. So I think they were quite used to it. In the Middle Ages, St. Bernard said, "We all stink. No one smells." I think that sums up their tolerance for it.
We had an enormous tolerance for cigarette smoke 20 years ago. Every indoor space was filled with it. I never smoked, but I never noticed it particularly. Now, I actually checked into a hotel room on a smoking floor by mistake last week in Montreal, and I thought it was the worst thing ever. But 20 years ago, I wouldn't have even noticed it.
Read the whole thing here.
(By the way we can't wait for January, when smoking will be phased out in all restaurants in Germany!)