Ah, the beard: since time immemorial, men have cultivated and sported them. Today, a man’s face forest is meant to give him a certain degree of distinction — a sense of scruff masculinity that no suit and tie can possibly compare to. Without further ado, we present you with the short history of beards: a story of beards through time!
… Certainly does not get any worms on it. On the contrary, ever since we grew from monkeys with hair all over to sabretooth tiger-hunting apes (with hair just in the right places), men have used their beards for survival. Back in prehistoric times, glorious, thick coats of face bushes were used by our ancestors for three primary reasons...
First, they were used to keep men’s faces warm, as beards provide a great source of insulation against the elements. Secondly, it was used to intimidate. How so, you may ask?
Well, we’re not talking about one caveman being the alpha of his tribe and such; we’re talking about using beards to make yourself appear larger – yes, larger – to ward off potential predators. After all, the girth a long, thick beard gives a man makes him look truly bigger than he really is.
Finally, there is the added protection a proper beard gave our forebears, in that those thick clumps of hair made sure that their faces don’t heat up too much from the sun; that they have a natural filter for dirt and sand blown by the winds; and that they have a portable bird’s nest right on their chin. Okay, everything but the last one.
During the time of Pharaohs, pyramids, and sphinxes, the beard’s function went from necessity to luxury. At this point in human history, the pharaohs and other Egyptians of royal blood used facial hair as a status symbol, which they did through the use of false beards.
These accessories were made of various metals, ranging from bronze to gold, depending on how its wearer rolls. They then tied these things from the chin, around to the top of their heads (you know, like a reverse party hat). If you ask us, though, using a false beard instead of growing one is a copout. Come on, Egypt, get it together.
Now going to the Middle East, and at a time that was from before Egyptians started faking their facial hair (scoff!), there were the Mesopotamians. Now, these guys knew how to groom.
Want to know why? Simple: they were one of the first civilizations ever recorded to have made use of products specifically made for beards. And with that, we’re talking about none other than their use of ancient beard oil made from the most essential of oils.
I guess not much has changed since then because Norse Growth Oil uses the very same all-natural oils. Mesopotamian manliness doesn’t end there: these guys were one of the first civilizations known to actually style their beards, and in intricate ways at that. They used curling techniques, brushes, dyes, and all sorts of methods to shape and mold their face forests back when other peoples of the world thought that rain comes from the piss of a giant in the sky. Now, that is an advanced group of humans! And if you’re wondering why they went through all the trouble, that’s because Mesopotamians held beards in high esteem: as symbols of upstanding, wise men in their community, much like how the ancient Indians and Greeks did it.
When Greece and all its city-states were at the top of their game, most men didn’t shave their facial hair. So much so, that these Mediterranean marks of manliness were only shorn as a form of punishment for when you’ve done a crime. Yes, that’s how serious ancient Greeks took their face forests: it’s a matter of honor! That all came to an end one day, though…
By the time Greece had fallen into the hands of the Romans, with Alexander the Great at its head, beards then started to go out of fashion. Especially if you’re a Roman legionnaire – or even a mere hoplite – beards are a definite no-no. But why all this facial hair hate?
Alexander the Great’s reasons for banning beards among his soldiers had fair reason when you look at it: he feared that these long, full masses of facial hair would give enemies an advantage in combat, in that they could easily take a soldier by the beard. Rome’s anti-facial hair crusade didn’t end there.
By the time that they’ve established their empire, it has become common for most men to have clean-shaven faces. But don’t get us wrong: the Romans didn’t exactly outlaw it; it just went out of style.
On the other hand, Philosophers – the weirdos that they are – continued the beard-growing tradition and went against all sense and public opinion by not following what was in at the time. So, hindsight’s 20/20: philosophers are the rebels we need.
It wasn’t until centuries later, at a time when Christianity had gotten a strong foothold in Europe, that beards were outright banned. Well, that is if you’re a part of the clergy.
Regardless, the influence of the church on England’s royalty made the latter follow suit, opting instead for meager moustaches instead of lush beards. By the time the 9th century rolled in, England itself had outlawed beards throughout the land, and it wasn’t until the crusades that the ban got lifted.
Remember the crusades? One of the probable reasons that beards were allowed during this time was because it was a time of war and, as we mentioned, beards give you a +50 in intimidation.
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