For time before time, the beard has always had its mark from caveman days prehistorically speaking to the days of a modern caveman on the Harley.
Forever in history, we have seen this man hair on the face as a fashion statement or as a statement of manliness and virility, or as part of religious expression and as a sign of rebellion or social conformity. However, the reason for a beard these days can simply be for the beard wearer to just not be bothered to shave or putting effort into the well-groomed stylish look that sets the heart racing of the observer.
Beards in the prehistoric times and early civilisations were appreciated by Anthropologists as a difficult task finding the means to shave and hence the strengthen the look on the jawline made one’s appearance more intimidating to opponents as it also pillowed the effect of a blow to the face during combat. Oh! and it also provided warmth and protection from the elements.
Ancient societies beards were a sign of honour for man but beards of a prisoner or those who crossed the societal rules often had their beards cut off (for punishment).
Warriors in ancient times were a symbol of strength and fearlessness. Alexander the Great in circa 345BC declared that all his soldiers should be clean-shaven as he feared that an enemy could grab their beards and overpower the Greek army, one by one.
The beards of the Egyptians were a symbol of power and were worn by all ruling class males. From 3000BC plus Egyptian kings wore metal ‘beards’ as a postiche (and female rulers did also). This type of beard was held in place by a string and a gold chin strap held it firmly in place.
The Assyrians of the same time wore beards as a fashion style but only within the upper class where they also dyed with beards, hair and eyebrows with black colouring could have been black squid ink or a charcoal ‘paint’.
The wealthier of that region used gold dust and gold threads, spices, and ribbons to decorate the hair and beard on festive occasions. And, for ancient Indian and Turks, the long beard on a man showed great wisdom. The Turks took men into slavery and shaved them routinely to indicate their submission and sub servitude.
Greeks and Roman Empires had beards as a fashion – the Greeks curled with beards while the Romans were fussily neatly trimmed and thought the Greeks were very ‘female’ in approach to their styling. After this era beards only really belonged to the wise philosophers as the Roam Empire Lucius Tarquinius Priscus encouraged shaving in the name of hygiene.
Then, in the times of the Celtic tribes in Europe, the beard was so fundamentally as the man’s identity and even made the solemn oath of swearing by his beard! The King Otto the Great of Saxony started this practice. And by the Middle Ages, the beard was thought to be an important symbol of being a man and was a huge insult to even touch a man’s beard.
However, as time ticked over, the Barbarians, which became ‘Barba’ now ‘Barber” as Latin for the word BEARD.
The spread of Christianity into the British Isles around the seventh century as Anglo-Saxons were had beards and the priests and monks yet were shaving as so the fashion spread to the ear of the Norman Conquest where all English princes wore Moustaches. King William outlaws this practice. And the Crusades brought the fashion back again possibly because being away on military campaigns the beards just grew.
By the time of the crusades and through the renaissance (mid 16th Century) there was such a mix – beards, clean-shaven, and moustaches – all socially acceptable. But the beard was the winner in number due to King Henry VIII who sported one. It was about that time grooming beards was “a thing”. Up to the 19th Century, President Abraham Lincoln of the USA carried a full beard in his style which became the staple of design for the normal man in America.
As time passed today we see the same – clean-shaven, bearded, short, and long, moustaches and all these styles curves in the fashion cycles. The urban hipster has popularised the full-beard look. The latest statistics are that about 33% of US men have some form of facial hair, the figure worldwide is 55%. Women have found men with full beards to be two thirds attractive as those with no hair. Men with beards are thought to be more respectable, more powerful than their clean-shaven counterparts. 51% less cheerful and 38% less generous than those without beards. 98% of men on the Forbes 100 of the world’s richest individuals are clean-shaven.
Did you know 98% of the world’s warriors, lumberjacks, and ‘badasses’ have beards? Having written this from a stat not sure exactly from what percentage data that is gathered LOL.