Man and beard; a tale as old as man itself. The beard has always been a symbol of prestige and a badge of honor for men.
Its journey from the first men who grew beards instinctively to it becoming a style statement for the gentlemen of today is indeed a fascinating one.
All around the globe, the beard has been revered for wisdom and ferocity. Yet there have also been times where men have been prohibited to grow their natural manes!
Want to learn more about beards throughout the years? Join us as we take a trip into history to discover all about it.
Prehistoric Times and The Beard Blanket
Even before history was properly documented, men have been growing beards (obviously!). But their beards served very different purposes to what we associate them with now.
Primitive men’s beards were primarily a way to show themselves as powerful figures and instill fear into their opponents. It also protected them from winter winds and served as a face shield in fights!
Beard Care in Ancient Cultures
With time, men realized their beards were more than a natural cover. It was the beauty of their face; something to be adorned.
The more affluent class in Egypt, such as the royalty, even dyed their beards and decorated them with gold ringlets.
In the eastern parts of the world, especially India, the beard was almost a sacred object. A man with a beard was considered wise, honorable, and well-respected.
Likewise, if one was supposed to be punished or humiliated, their beard would be shaved in public.
The Rise of Romans and The Fall of Beards
One of the greatest empires ever, the Roman rule extended far and wide. Their military wasn’t all they sent to various parts of the world; they also brought their culture along. Unfortunately, beards weren’t exactly a part of it.
The emperor didn’t wear a beard and thus, out of respect or duty, the public didn’t as well. It was only after the emperor grew a beard to hide his battle scars that the people followed suit.
The Queen Who Taxed Beards
Traditionally, in Britain, knights and people of valor were known to sport beards. Yet, Queen Elizabeth I disliked style for beards so much, she initiated a tax to keep people from growing beards!
Arabs in Europe
For a good part of a millennium, Muslim Arabs ventured across the globe and settled down in Europe too. They brought with them their men’s grooming habits and the beard quickly caught on.
From the Vikings who used their bearded demeanors to strike fear into the hearts of their opponents to WW1 soldiers who weren’t allowed to keep beards as they had to wear gas masks, the beard has always been a topic of interest in army history.
French troops assigned specific styles for men to differentiate their rank. They were so unique with their facial hair during the 18th and 19th centuries that they earned the name ‘poilu’ meaning the hairy one. The British army mandated moustaches during the same period.
The Leaders of 19th and 20th Centuries
This time saw more revolutions, wars, and social change than perhaps any period. Thus, many influential personalities also belonged to this time.
Many of them including Abraham Lincoln, Karl Max, and Napoleon III has one more thing in common: the beard of leadership.
There aren’t any taxes on beards today, nor are they mandatory.
Men now choose beards to upgrade their looks and emanate class — even celebrities follow the bearded path!