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A beard is the collection of hair
Hair
Hair is a filamentous biomaterial, that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Found exclusively in mammals, hair is one of the defining characteristics of the mammalian class....

 that grows on the chin
Chin
In the human anatomy, the chin is the lowermost part of the face.It is formed by the lower front of the mandible.People show a wide variety of chin structures. See Cleft chin....

, cheek
Cheek
Cheeks constitute the area of the face below the eyes and between the nose and the left or right ear. They may also be referred to as jowls. "Buccal" means relating to the cheek. In humans, the region is innervated by the buccal nerve...

s and neck
Neck
The neck is the part of the body, on many terrestrial or secondarily aquatic vertebrates, that distinguishes the head from the torso or trunk. The adjective signifying "of the neck" is cervical .-Boner anatomy: The cervical spine:The cervical portion of the human spine comprises seven boney...

 of human beings. Usually, only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. However, women with hirsutism
Hirsutism
Hirsutism or frazonism is the excessive hairiness on women in those parts of the body where terminal hair does not normally occur or is minimal - for example, a beard or chest hair. It refers to a male pattern of body hair and it is therefore primarily of cosmetic and psychological concern...

 may develop a beard. When differentiating between upper and lower facial hair, a beard specifically includes the moustache, which refers to hair above the upper lip and around it.

Over the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom, sexual virility, masculinity, or a higher status; although beards may also be perceived to be associated with a lack of general cleanliness and a loss of refinement.

Biology


The beard develops during puberty
Puberty
Puberty is the process of physical changes by which a child's body matures into an adult body capable of reproduction, as initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads; the ovaries in a girl, the testes in a boy...

. Beard growth is linked to stimulation of hair follicles in the area by dihydrotestosterone
Dihydrotestosterone
Dihydrotestosterone is an androgen or male sex hormone. The enzyme 5α-reductase synthesises DHT in the prostate, testes, hair follicles, and adrenal glands...

, which continues to affect beard growth after puberty. Hair follicles from different areas vary in what hormones they are stimulated or inhibited by; dihydrotestostorone also promotes balding. Dihydrotestosterone is produced from testosterone
Testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands...

, the levels of which vary with season; thus beards grow faster in summer.

Difficulties in measuring beard growth have led to controversies concerning the effects of hormonal activity on short term pogonotrophy. For example, a physicist had to spend periods of several weeks on a remote island in comparative isolation. He noticed that his beard growth diminished, but the day before he was due to leave the island it increased again, to reach unusually high rates during the first day or two on the mainland. He studied the effect and concluded that the stimulus for increased beard growth was related to the resumption of sexual activity. However, at that time professional pogonologists reacted vigorously and almost dismissively.

How fast the beard grows is also genetic.

Evolution


Biologists characterize beards as secondary sexual characteristics because they are unique to one gender, yet do not play a direct role in reproduction. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 first noted a possible evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

ary explanation of beards in his work The Descent of Man, which hypothesized that the process of sexual selection
Sexual selection
Sexual selection, a concept introduced by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, is a significant element of his theory of natural selection...

 may have led to beards. Modern biologists have reaffirmed the role of sexual selection in the evolution of beards, concluding that there is evidence that a preponderance of females in the past found mates with beards more attractive than mates without beards.

Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

 explanations for the existence of beards include signaling sexual maturity and signaling dominance by increasing perceived size of jaws, and clean-shaved faces are rated less dominant than bearded. Some scholars assert that it is not yet established whether the sexual selection leading to beards is rooted in attractiveness (inter-sexual selection) or dominance (intra-sexual selection). A beard can be explained as an indicator of a male's overall condition. Amount of facial hairiness appears to influence male attractiveness. Presence of a beard makes the owner vulnerable in fights, which is costly, so biologists have speculated that there must be other evolutionary benefits that outweigh that drawback. Excess testosterone evidenced by the beard may indicate mild immunosuppression, which may support spermatogenesis.

Ancient and classical world



The highest ranking Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians grew hair on their chins which was often dyed or henna
Henna
Henna is a flowering plant used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather and wool. The name is also used for dye preparations derived from the plant, and for the art of temporary tattooing based on those dyes...

ed (reddish brown) and sometimes plaited with interwoven gold thread. A metal false beard, or postiche, which was a sign of sovereignty, was worn by queens, kings and sometimes cows. This was held in place by a ribbon tied over the head and attached to a gold chin strap, a fashion existing from about 3000 to 1580 BC.

Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

n civilizations (Sumerian, Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans and Medians) devoted great care to oiling and dressing their beards, using tongs and curling irons to create elaborate ringlets and tiered patterns.

The Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 were fond of long beards. In Travels by Adam Olearius
Adam Olearius
Adam Olearius , born Adam Ölschläger or Oehlschlaeger, was a German scholar, mathematician, geographer and librarian...

, a King of Persia commands his steward's head to be cut off, and on its being brought to him, remarks, "what a pity it was, that a man possessing such fine mustachios, should have been executed."

Ancient India


In ancient India, the beard was allowed to grow long, a symbol of dignity and of wisdom (cf. sadhu
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

). The nations in the east generally treated their beards with great care and veneration, and the punishment for licentiousness and adultery was to have the beard of the offending parties publicly cut off. They had such a sacred regard for the preservation of their beards that a man might pledge it for the payment of a debt.

Ancient Greece


The ancient Greeks regarded the beard as a badge or sign of virility
Virility
Virility refers to any of a wide range of masculine characteristics viewed positively. It is not applicable to women or to negative characteristics. The Oxford English Dictionary says virile is "marked by strength or force." Virility is commonly associated with vigour, health, sturdiness, and...

; in the Homeric epics
Homeric epics
In the field of classics, the term "Homeric epics" refers specifically to the Iliad and Odyssey, two epics attributed to the Ancient Greek poet Homer...

 it had almost sanctified significance, so that a common form of entreaty was to touch the beard of the person addressed. It was only shaven as a sign of mourning, though in this case it was instead often left untrimmed. A smooth face was regarded as a sign of effeminacy
Effeminacy
Effeminacy describes traits in a human male, that are more often associated with traditional feminine nature, behaviour, mannerisms, style or gender roles rather than masculine nature, behaviour, mannerisms, style or roles....

. The Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

ns punished cowards by shaving off a portion of their beards. From the earliest times, however, the shaving of the upper lip was not uncommon. Greek beards were also frequently curled with tongs.

Ancient Macedon


In the time of Alexander the Great the custom of smooth shaving was introduced. Reportedly, Alexander ordered his soldiers to be clean shaven, fearing that their beards would serve as handles for their enemies to grab and to hold the soldier as he was killed. The practice of shaving spread from the Macedonians
Ancient Macedonians
The Macedonians originated from inhabitants of the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios...

, whose kings are represented on coins, etc. with smooth faces, throughout the whole known world of the Macedonian Empire. Laws were passed against it, without effect, at Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 and Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

; and even Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 conformed to the new custom, unlike the other philosophers, who retained the beard as a badge of their profession. A man with a beard after the Macedonian period implied a philosopher, and there are many allusions to this custom of the later philosophers in such proverbs as: "The beard does not make the sage."

Ancient Rome


Shaving seems to have not been known to the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 during their early history (under the Kings of Rome and the early Republic). Pliny tells us that P. Ticinius was the first who brought a barber
Barber
A barber is someone whose occupation is to cut any type of hair, and to shave or trim the beards of men. The place of work of a barber is generally called a barbershop....

 to Rome, which was in the 454th year from the founding of the city (that is, around 299 BC). Scipio Africanus
Scipio Africanus
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus , also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic...

 was apparently the first among the Romans who shaved his beard. However, after that point, shaving seems to have caught on very quickly, and soon almost all Roman men were clean-shaven; being clean-shaven became a sign of being Roman and not Greek. Only in the later times of the Republic did the Roman youth begin shaving their beards only partially, trimming it into an ornamental form; prepubescent boys oiled their chins in hopes of forcing premature growth of a beard.

Still, beards remained rare among the Romans throughout the Late Republic and the early Principate. In a general way, in Rome at this time, a long beard was considered a mark of slovenliness and squalor. The censors L. Veturius and P. Licinius compelled M. Livius, who had been banished, on his restoration to the city, to be shaved, and to lay aside his dirty appearance, and then, but not until then, to come into the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

. The first occasion of shaving was regarded as the beginning of manhood, and the day on which this took place was celebrated as a festival. Usually, this was done when the young Roman assumed the toga virilis. Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 did it in his twenty-fourth year, Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

 in his twentieth. The hair cut off on such occasions was consecrated to a god. Thus Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 put his into a golden box set with pearls, and dedicated it to Jupiter Capitolinus. The Romans, unlike the Greeks, let their beards grow in time of mourning; so did Augustus for the death of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

. Other occasions of mourning on which the beard was allowed to grow were, appearance as a reus, condemnation, or some public calamity. On the other hand, men of the country areas around Rome in the time of Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro was an ancient Roman scholar and writer. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus.-Biography:...

 seem not to have shaved except when they came to market every eighth day, so that their usual appearance was most likely a short stubble.

In the second century AD the Emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

, according to Dion Cassius, was the first of all the Caesars to grow a beard; Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 says that he did it to hide scars on his face. This was a period in Rome of widespread imitation of Greek culture, and many other men grew beards in imitation of Hadrian and the Greek fashion. Until the time of Constantine the Great the emperors appear in busts and coins with beards; but Constantine and his successors until the reign of Phocas
Phocas
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. He usurped the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war.-Origins:...

, with the exception of Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

, are represented as beardless.

Celts and Germanic tribes


Late Hellenistic sculptures of Celts portray them with long hair and mustaches but beardless.

Among the Celts of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 men typically let their facial hair grow into a full circle of beard, and it was often seen as dishonourable for a Gaelic
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 man to have no facial hair.

Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 states that among the Catti, a Germanic tribe (perhaps the Chatten), a young man was not allowed to shave or cut his hair until he had slain an enemy. The Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 derived their fame from the great length of their beards (Longobards – Long Beards – Langbärte). When Otto the Great said anything serious, he swore by his beard, which covered his breast.

Middle ages



In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, a beard displayed a knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

's virility
Virility
Virility refers to any of a wide range of masculine characteristics viewed positively. It is not applicable to women or to negative characteristics. The Oxford English Dictionary says virile is "marked by strength or force." Virility is commonly associated with vigour, health, sturdiness, and...

 and honour
Honour
Honour or honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation...

.
The Castilian knight El Cid
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar , known as El Cid Campeador , was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat...

 is described in The Lay of the Cid as "the one with the flowery beard".
Holding somebody else's beard was a serious offence that had to be righted in a duel
Duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

.

From the Renaissance to the present day







In the 15th century, most European men were clean-shaven. Sixteenth-century beards were allowed to grow to an amazing length (see the portraits of John Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

, Bishop Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner was an English Roman Catholic bishop and politician during the English Reformation period who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I of England.-Early life:...

 and Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English Church from...

). Some beards of this time were the Spanish spade beard, the English square cut beard, the forked beard, and the stiletto beard. In 1587 Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

 claimed, in a figure of speech
Figure of speech
A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile,...

, to have singed the King of Spain's beard.

Strangely, this trend was especially marked during Queen Mary's
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

 reign, a time of reaction against Protestant reform (Cardinal Pole's beard is a good example).

In urban circles of Western Europe and the Americas, beards were out of fashion after the early 17th century; to such an extent that, in 1698, Peter the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 of Russia ordered men to shave off their beards, and in 1705 levied a tax on beards
Beard tax
A beard tax is one of several taxes introduced throughout history on men who wear beards.-In England:In 1535, King Henry VIII of England, who wore a beard himself, introduced a tax on beards. The tax was a graduated tax, varying with the wearer's social position...

 in order to bring Russian society more in line with contemporary Western Europe.

The popularity of the beard declined in western society, and during the early eighteenth century most men, particularly amongst the nobility and upper classes, went clean shaven. There was, however, a dramatic shift in the beard's popularity during the 1850s, with it becoming markedly more popular. Consequently, beards were adopted by many leaders, such as Alexander III of Russia
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

, Napoleon III of France, Frederick III
Frederick III, German Emperor
Frederick III was German Emperor and King of Prussia for 99 days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl known informally as Fritz, was the only son of Emperor William I and was raised in his family's tradition of military service...

 of Germany), as well as many leading statesmen and cultural figures, such as Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

, Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

, and Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

. This trend can be recognised in the United States of America, where the shift can be seen amongst the post-Civil War presidents. Before Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

, no President had a beard; after Lincoln until William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

, every President except Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 and William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 had either a beard or a moustache.

The beard became linked in this period with notions of masculinity and male courage. The resulting popularity has contributed to the stereotypical Victorian male figure in the popular mind, the stern figure clothed in black whose gravitas is added to by a heavy beard.

By the early twentieth century beards began a slow decline in popularity. Although retained by some prominent figures who were young men in the Victorian period (like Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

), most men who retained facial hair during the 1920s and 1930s limited themselves to a moustache or a goatee
Goatee
Goatee refers to a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man’s chin. The exact nature of the style has varied according to time and culture.Traditionally, goatee refers solely to a beard formed by a tuft of hair on the chin...

 (such as with Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu...

, Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, and Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

). In America, meanwhile, popular movies portrayed heroes with clean shaven faces and "crew cut
Crew cut
A crew cut is a type of haircut in which the hair on the top of the head is cut relatively short, graduated in length from the longest hair at the front hairline to the shortest at the back of the crown. The hair on the sides and back of the head is usually tapered short, semi-short or medium. A...

s". Concurrently, the psychological mass marketing
Mass marketing
Mass marketing is a market coverage strategy in which a firm decides to ignore market segment differences and go after the whole market with one offer. It is type of marketing of a product to a wide audience. The idea is to broadcast a message that will reach the largest number of people possible...

 of Madison Avenue was becoming prevalent. The Gillette Safety Razor
Safety razor
A safety razor is a razor that protects the skin from all but the very edge of the blade. These razors reduce the possibility of serious injury, which makes them more forgiving than a straight razor.-Cartridges introduced:...

 Company was one of these marketers' early clients. These events conspired to popularize short hair and clean shaven faces as the only acceptable style for decades to come. The few men who wore the beard or portions of the beard during this period were frequently either old, Central Europeans; members of a religious sect that required it; or in academia.

The beard was reintroduced to mainstream society by the counterculture, firstly with the "beatnik
Beatnik
Beatnik was a media stereotype of the 1950s and early 1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish depiction of the real-life people and the spiritual quest in Jack Kerouac's autobiographical...

s" in the 1950s, and then with the hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 movement of the mid 1960s. Following the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, beards exploded in popularity. In the mid-late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, beards were worn by hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

s and businessmen alike. Popular rock, soul and folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

ians like The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, Barry White
Barry White
Barry White, born Barry Eugene Carter , was an American composer and singer-songwriter.A five-time Grammy Award-winner known for his distinctive bass voice and romantic image, White's greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer and with the Love Unlimited Orchestra, crafting many enduring...

 and the male members of Peter, Paul, and Mary wore full beards. The trend of seemingly ubiquitous beards in American culture subsided in the mid 1980s.

From the 1990s onward, the fashion in the United States has generally trended toward either a goatee
Goatee
Goatee refers to a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man’s chin. The exact nature of the style has varied according to time and culture.Traditionally, goatee refers solely to a beard formed by a tuft of hair on the chin...

, Van Dyke
Van dyke beard
A Van Dyke is a style of facial hair named after 17th century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck. A Van Dyke specifically consists of any growth of both a moustache and goatee with all hair on the cheeks shaven...

, or a closely cropped full beard undercut on the throat. By 2010, the fashionable length approached a "two-day shadow". By the end of the 20th century, the closely clipped Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

 beard, often with a matching integrated moustache, had become relatively common.

One stratum of American society where facial hair is virtually nonexistent is in government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

. The last President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 to wear any type of facial hair was William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

, who was in office from 1909 till 1913. The last Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 to wear any facial hair was Charles Curtis
Charles Curtis
Charles Curtis was a United States Representative, a longtime United States Senator from Kansas later chosen as Senate Majority Leader by his Republican colleagues, and the 31st Vice President of the United States...

, who was in office from 1929 till 1933.

Beards in religion


Beards also play an important role in some religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s.

In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 and art Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 are always portrayed with beards, but Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 never is. A bearded Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

 was replaced with the more familiar beardless youth in the 5th century BC. Zoroaster
Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

, the 11th/10th century BC era founder of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 is almost always depicted with a beard.

Christianity


Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 is almost always portrayed with a beard in iconography and art dating from the 4th century onward. In paintings and statues most of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 Biblical characters such as Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 and Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and Jesus' New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

 such as St Peter are with beard, as was John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

. John the Apostle
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

 is generally depicted as clean-shaven in Western European art, however, to emphasize his relative youth. Eight of the figures portrayed in the painting entitled The Last Supper
The Last Supper (Leonardo)
The Last Supper is a 15th century mural painting in Milan created by Leonardo da Vinci for his patron Duke Ludovico Sforza and his duchess Beatrice d'Este...

by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 are bearded. Mainstream Christianity holds Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

 Chapter 50: Verse 6 as a prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 of Christ's crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

, and as so, as a description of Christ having his beard plucked by his tormentors.

In Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

, beards are often worn by members of the priesthood and by monastics, and at times have been recommended for all believers. Amish
Amish
The Amish , sometimes referred to as Amish Mennonites, are a group of Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches...

 and Hutterite
Hutterite
Hutterites are a communal branch of Anabaptists who, like the Amish and Mennonites, trace their roots to the Radical Reformation of the 16th century. Since the death of their founder Jakob Hutter in 1536, the beliefs of the Hutterites, especially living in a community of goods and absolute...

 men shave until they are married, then grow a beard and are never thereafter without one, although it is a particular form of a beard (see Visual markers of marital status
Visual markers of marital status
Visual markers of marital status, as well as social status, may include Clothing, hairstyle, accessories, jewelry, tattoos and other bodily adornments. Visual markers of marital status are particularly important because they indicate that a person should not be approached for flirtation, courtship...

). Many Syrian Christians
Syrian Christians
Syrian Christians may refer to*the Christian minority in Syria*in older publications, the Syriac Christians*in a South Asian context, the Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala....

 from Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 in India wore long beards.

In the 1160s, Burchardus, abbot of the cistercien monastery of Bellevaux
Bellevaux Abbey
Bellevaux Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1120 by Pons de Morimond, near the present-day Cirey, Haute-Saône, France. At that time it was in Franche-Comté. It was suppressed in 1790 and sold in 1791. Shortly afterwards the church was demolished. 1795 the buildings were bought by...

 in the Franche-Comté, wrote a treatise on beards. In his opinion beards were appropriate for lay brothers, but not for the priests among the monks.

Nowadays, members of many Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 religious communities, mainly those of Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 origin, use a beard as a sign of their vocation. At various times in its history and depending on various circumstances the Catholic Church permitted and prohibited facial hair ("barbae nutritio") for clergy. The vast majority of Roman or Latin-rite clergy are clean-shaven.

Although most Protestant Christians regard the beard as a matter of choice, some historically have taken the lead in fashion by openly encouraging its growth as "a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial" (C. H. Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a large British Particular Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the "Prince of Preachers"...

), or by banning shaving altogether, as in the case of some Presbyterian Churches. Some Messianic Jews
Messianic Judaism
Messianic Judaism is a syncretic religious movement that arose in the 1960s and 70s. It blends evangelical Christian theology with elements of Jewish terminology and ritual....

 also wear beards to show their observance of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

.

Diarmaid MacCulloch
Diarmaid MacCulloch
Diarmaid Ninian John MacCulloch FBA, FSA, FR Hist S is Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford...

 writes: "There is no doubt that Cranmer mourned the dead king (Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

)", and it was said that he showed his grief by growing a beard. But "it was a break from the past for a clergyman to abandon his clean-shaven appearance which was the norm for late medieval priesthood; with Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 providing a precedent [during his exile period], virtually all the continental reformers had deliberately grown beards as a mark of their rejection of the old church, and the significance of clerical beards as an aggressive anti-Catholic gesture was well recognised in mid-Tudor England."

Modern Mormon
Mormon
The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

 men are strongly encouraged to be clean shaven. Formal prohibitions against facial hair are given to young men entering their two-year missionary
Mormon missionary
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the most active modern practitioners of missionary work, with over 52,000 full-time missionaries worldwide, as of the end of 2010...

 service. Students and staff of the church-sponsored Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University is a private university located in Provo, Utah. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , and is the United States' largest religious university and third-largest private university.Approximately 98% of the university's 34,000 students...

 are asked to adhere to the Church Educational System Honor Code, which states in part: "Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable."

Hinduism



The ancient text followed regarding beards depends on the Deva
Deva (Hinduism)
' is the Sanskrit word for god or deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural beings. The devs in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devs are also the maintainers of...

 and other teachings, varying according to whom the devotee worships or follows. Many Sadhus, Yogis, or Yoga practitioners keep beards, and represent all situations of life. Shaivite
Shaivism
Shaivism is one of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas," and also "Saivas" or "Saivites," revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer,...

 ascetics generally have beards, as they are not permitted to own anything, which would include a razor. The beard is also a sign of a nomadic and ascetic lifestyle.

Vaishnava
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

 men, typically of the ISKCON sect, are encouraged to be clean-shaven as a sign of cleanliness. Vaishnavas of the Gaudiya tradition on the other hand generally keep beards and a shaven head (except a small tail called a shikha).

Islam



The Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 viewed growing a beard as sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

. Trimming the mustaches is one of the fitra
Fitra
Fitra, or fitrah , is an Arabic word meaning ‘disposition’, ‘nature’, ‘constitution’, or ‘instinct’. In a mystical context, it can connote intuition or insight...

. There are those who view it as a sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

and they may argue that it has an equivalent status to the nine other acts of fitrah, of the saḥīḥ aḥādīth
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

about the ten acts of fitrah, but this argument is considered weak by many at best.

In the Islamic tradition, God
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

 commanded Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 to keep his beard, shorten his moustache, clip his nails
Nail (anatomy)
A nail is a horn-like envelope covering the dorsal aspect of the terminal phalanges of fingers and toes in humans, most non-human primates, and a few other mammals. Nails are similar to claws, which are found on numerous other animals....

, shave the hair around his genitals
Pubic hair
Pubic hair is hair in the frontal genital area, the crotch, and sometimes at the top of the inside of the legs; these areas form the pubic region....

, and pluck his armpit hair.

Judaism




The Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 states in Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 19:27 that "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard." Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

ic tradition explains this to mean that a man may not shave his beard with a razor
Razor
A razor is a bladed tool primarily used in the removal of unwanted body hair through the act of shaving. Kinds of razors include straight razors, disposable razors and electric razors....

 with a single blade, since the cutting action of the blade against the skin "mars" the beard. Because scissors
Scissors
Scissors are hand-operated cutting instruments. They consist of a pair of metal blades pivoted so that the sharpened edges slide against each other when the handles opposite to the pivot are closed. Scissors are used for cutting various thin materials, such as paper, cardboard, metal foil, thin...

 have two blades, some opinions in halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (Jewish law) permit their use to trim the beard, as the cutting action comes from contact of the two blades and not the blade against the skin. For this reason, most poskim
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

 (Jewish legal deciders) rule that Orthodox Jews
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 may use electric razors to remain cleanshaven, as such shavers cut by trapping the hair between the blades and the metal grating, halakhically
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 a scissor-like action. Some prominent contemporary poskim maintain that electric shavers constitute a razor-like action and consequently prohibit their use.

The Zohar
Zohar
The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology...

, one of the primary sources of Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 (Jewish mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

), attributes holiness
Sacred
Holiness, or sanctity, is in general the state of being holy or sacred...

 to the beard, specifying that hairs of the beard symbolize channels of subconscious holy energy that flows from above to the human soul. Therefore, most Hasidic Jews, for whom Kabbalah plays an important role in their religious practice, traditionally do not remove or even trim their beards.

Also, some Jews refrain from shaving during the 30-day mourning period after the death of a close relative, known in Hebrew as the Shloshim (thirty) as well as during periods of the Counting of the Omer
Counting of the Omer
Counting of the Omer is a verbal counting of each of the forty-nine days between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot...

 and the Three Weeks
The Three Weeks
The Three Weeks or Bein ha-Metzarim is a period of mourning commemorating the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples...

.

Sikhism


Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh is the tenth and last Sikh guru in a sacred lineage of ten Sikh gurus. Born in Patna, Bihar in India, he was also a warrior, poet and philosopher. He succeeded his father Guru Tegh Bahadur as the leader of Sikhs at a young age of nine...

, the tenth Sikh Guru, ordained and established the keeping of unshorn hair as part of the identity and one of the insignia of Sikhs. Sikhs consider the beard to be part of the nobility and dignity of their manhood. Sikhs also refrain from cutting their hair and beards out of respect for the God-given form. Kesh
Kesh (Sikhism)
In Sikhism, Kesh is the practice of allowing one's hair to grow naturally as a symbol of respect for the perfection of God's creation. The practice is one of the Five Ks, the outward symbols ordered by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 as a means to profess the Sikh faith...

, uncut hair, is one of the Five Ks, five compulsory articles of faith for a baptized Sikh. As such, a Sikh man is easily identified by his turban and uncut beard.

Rastafari Movement


A male Rastafarian
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

's beard is a sign of his pact with God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 (Jah
Jah
Jah is the shortened form of the divine name YHWH , an anglicized version of the Tetragrammaton . The name is most commonly associated with the Rastafari movement or within the word hallelujah, although Christian groups may use the name to varying degrees. For example, Jehovah's Witnesses use a...

 or Jehovah
Jehovah
Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

), and his Bible is his source of knowledge. Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 21:5 ("They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh.") Likewise, it is not uncommon for a Rastafarian beard to grow uncombed, like dreadlocks
Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks, also called locks, a ras, dreads, "rasta" or Jata , are matted coils of hair. Dreadlocks are usually intentionally formed; because of the variety of different hair textures, various methods are used to encourage the formation of locks such as backcombing...

.

The "Philosopher's beard"


In Greco-Roman antiquity the beard was "seen as the defining characteristic of the philosopher; philosophers had to have beards, and anyone with a beard was assumed to be a philosopher." While one may be tempted to think that Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 and Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 sported "philosopher's beards", such is not the case. Shaving was not widespread in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 during fifth & fourth-century BCE and so they would not be distinguished from the general populace for having a beard. The popularity of shaving did not rise in the region until the example of Alexander the Great near the end of the fourth century BCE. The popularity of shaving did not spread to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 until the end of the third century BCE following its acceptance by Scipio Africanus
Scipio Africanus
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus , also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic...

. In Rome shaving's popularity grew to the point that for a respectable Roman citizen it was seen almost as compulsory.

The idea of the philosopher's beard gained traction when in 155 BCE three philosophers arrived in Rome as Greek diplomats: Carneades
Carneades
Carneades was an Academic skeptic born in Cyrene. By the year 159 BC, he had started to refute all previous dogmatic doctrines, especially Stoicism, and even the Epicureans whom previous skeptics had spared. As head of the Academy, he was one of three philosophers sent to Rome in 155 BC where his...

, head of the Platonic Academy
Platonic Academy
The Academy was founded by Plato in ca. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC...

; Critolaus
Critolaus
Critolaus of Phaselis was a Greek philosopher of the Peripatetic school. He was one of three philosophers sent to Rome in 155 BC , where their doctrines fascinated the citizens, but scared the more conservative statesmen. None of his writings survive...

 of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's Lyceum
Lyceum (Classical)
The Lyceum was a gymnasium and public meeting place in Classical Athens named after the god of the grove that housed the Lyceum, Apollo Lyceus...

; and the head of the Stoics
Stoicism
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early . The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions.Stoics were concerned...

 Diogenes of Babylon. "In contrast to their beautifully clean-shaven Italian audience, these three intellectuals all sported magnificent beards." Thus the connection of beards and philosophy caught hold of the Roman public imagination.
The importance of the beard to Roman philosophers is best seen by the extreme value that the Stoic philosopher Epictetus
Epictetus
Epictetus was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia , and lived in Rome until banishment when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece where he lived the rest of his life. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses...

 placed on it. As historian John Sellars puts it, Epictetus "affirmed the philosopher's beard as something almost sacred...to express the idea that philosophy is no mere intellectual hobby but rather a way of life that, by definition, transforms every aspect of one's behavior, including one's shaving habits. If someone continues to shave in order to look the part of a respectable Roman citizen, it is clear that they have not yet embraced philosophy conceived as a way of life and have not yet escaped the social customs of the majority...the true philosopher will only act according to reason or according to nature, rejecting the arbitrary conventions that guide the behavior of everyone else."

Epictetus saw his beard as an integral part of his identity and held that he would rather be executed than submit to any force demanding he remove it. In his Discourses
Discourses of Epictetus
The Discourses of Epictetus are a series of extracts of the teachings of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus written down by Arrian c. 108 AD. There were originally eight books, but only four now remain in their entirety, along with a few fragments of the others...

 1.2.29, he puts forward such a hypothetical confrontation: "'Come now, Epictetus, shave your beard'. If I am a philosopher, I answer, I will not shave it off. 'Then I will have you beheaded'. If it will do you any good, behead me." The act of shaving "would be to compromise his philosophical ideal of living in accordance with nature and it would be to submit to the unjustified authority of another."

This was not a theoretical in the age of Epictetus, for the Emperor Domitian
Domitian
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

 had the hair and beard forcibly shaven off of the philosopher Apollonius of Tyana
Apollonius of Tyana
Apollonius of Tyana was a Greek Neopythagorean philosopher from the town of Tyana in the Roman province of Cappadocia in Asia Minor. Little is certainly known about him...

 "as punishment for anti-State activities." This disgraced Apollonius while avoiding making him a martyr like Socrates. Well before his declaration of "death before shaving" Epictetus had been forced to flee Rome when Domitian banished all philosophers from Italy under threat of execution.

Roman philosophers sported different styles of beards to distinguish which school they belonged to. Cynics
Cynicism
Cynicism , in its original form, refers to the beliefs of an ancient school of Greek philosophers known as the Cynics . Their philosophy was that the purpose of life was to live a life of Virtue in agreement with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health, and...

 with long dirty beards to indicate their "strict indifference to all external goods and social customs"; Stoics occasionally trimming and washing their beards in accord with their view "that it is acceptable to prefer certain external goods so long as they are never valued above virtue"; Peripatetics took great care of their beards believing in accord with Aristotle that "external goods and social status were necessary for the good life together with virtue". To a Roman philosopher in this era, having a beard and its condition indicated their commitment to live in accord with their philosophy.

Civilian prohibitions


Professional airline pilots are required to be clean shaven to facilitate a tight seal with auxiliary oxygen masks. Similarly, fire fighters may also be prohibited from full beards to obtain a proper seal with SCBA equipment.

Isezaki city in Gunma prefecture, Japan, decided to ban beards for male municipal employees on May 19, 2010.

Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University is a private university located in Provo, Utah. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , and is the United States' largest religious university and third-largest private university.Approximately 98% of the university's 34,000 students...

 generally requires its students and employees to be clean-shaven. Brigham Young
Brigham Young
Brigham Young was an American leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and a settler of the Western United States. He was the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his death in 1877, he founded Salt Lake City, and he served as the first governor of the Utah...

 himself was often seen with beard, however.

The Eighth Circuit Court has found requiring shaving to be discriminatory.

Sports


The International Boxing Association
International Boxing Association
The International Boxing Association is a for-profit organization that sanctions professional boxing matches and awards world and subordinate championships.- Origins :...

 prohibits the wearing of beards by amateur boxers
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, although the Amateur Boxing Association of England
Amateur Boxing Association of England
The Amateur Boxing Association of England is the governing body of amateur boxing clubs in England. There are separate organisations for Scotland and Wales with boxing in Northern Ireland being organised on an All-Ireland basis. The Association was founded in 1880...

 allows exceptions for Sikh men, on condition that the beard be covered with a fine net. As a safety precaution, high school wrestlers must be clean-shaven before each match, though neatly trimmed moustaches are often allowed.

The Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are a Major League Baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are members of the National League Central Division. The club was established in 1882 as a charter member of the American Association and joined the National League in 1890....

 had a longstanding enforced policy where all players had to be completely clean shaven (no beards, long sideburns or moustaches). However, this policy was abolished following the sale of the team by Marge Schott
Marge Schott
Margaret Unnewehr Schott was the managing general partner, president and CEO of the National League's Cincinnati Reds franchise from 1984 to 1999...

 in 1999.

Under owner George Steinbrenner
George Steinbrenner
George Michael Steinbrenner III was an American businessman who was the principal owner and managing partner of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees. During Steinbrenner's 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death in July 2010, the longest in club history, the Yankees earned seven World Series...

, the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 baseball team had a strict dress code that prohibited long hair and facial hair below the lip; the practice has been continued under Hank
Hank Steinbrenner
Henry G. "Hank" Steinbrenner III is the part-owner and Senior Vice President of the New York Yankees, along with his brother Hal Steinbrenner....

 and Hal Steinbrenner
Hal Steinbrenner
Harold Z. Steinbrenner, known as Hal, is part owner of the New York Yankees with his brother Hank Steinbrenner, the co-chairperson, and a general partner for the Yankees...

 when control of the Yankees was transferred to them after the season. More recently, Willie Randolph
Willie Randolph
Willie Larry Randolph is a former Major League Baseball second baseman and manager, most recently the third base coach for the Baltimore Orioles...

 and Joe Girardi
Joe Girardi
Joseph Elliott Girardi is a former Major League Baseball catcher and current manager of the New York Yankees. During a 15-year playing career, he played from 1989–2003 for the Chicago Cubs, the Colorado Rockies, the New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals...

, both former Yankee assistant coaches, adopted a similar clean-shaven policy for their ballclubs: the New York Mets
New York Mets
The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League...

 and Florida Marlins
Florida Marlins
The Miami Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. Established in 1993 as an expansion franchise called the Florida Marlins, the Marlins are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Marlins played their home games at...

, respectively. Fredi Gonzalez
Fredi González
Fredi Jesus González is the current manager of the Atlanta Braves in Major League Baseball. Gonzalez is also the former manager of the Florida Marlins 2007–2010. For the four years prior to 2007, he was third base coach for the Atlanta Braves.-Biography:Gonzalez grew up in Miami, Florida, where he...

, who replaced Girardi as the Marlins' manager, dropped that policy when he took over after the 2006 season. Girardi is now the manager of the Yankees.

Playoff beard
Playoff beard
A playoff beard is the practice of a National Hockey League player not shaving his beard during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The player stops shaving when his team enters the playoffs and does not shave until his team is eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup. The tradition was started in the 1980s by...

 is a tradition common on teams in the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 and now in other leagues where players allow their beards to grow from the beginning of the playoff season until the playoffs are over for their team.

San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

 closer
Closer (baseball)
In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer , is a relief pitcher who specializes in closing out games, i.e., getting the final outs in a close game. Closers often appear when the score is close, and the role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. A small number of...

 Brian Wilson, who claims not to have shaved since the 2010 All-Star Game
2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 81st midseason exhibition between the All-Stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

, has grown a very dark black beard that has become popular in the MLB and with its fans. MLB Fan Cave presented a "Journey Inside Brian Wilson's Beard", which was an interactive screenshot of Wilson's beard, where one can click on different sections to see various fictional activities performed by small "residents" of the beard. The hosts on sports shows sometimes wear replica beards, and the Giants gave them away to fans as a promo.

Armed forces


Depending on the country and period, facial hair was either prohibited in the army or an integral part of the uniform.

Styles



Beard hair is most commonly removed by shaving
Shaving
Shaving is the removal of hair, by using a razor or any other kind of bladed implement, to slice it down to the level of the skin. Shaving is most commonly practiced by men to remove their facial hair and by women to remove their leg and underarm hair...

. If only the area above the upper lip is left unshaven, the resulting facial hairstyle is known as a moustache
Moustache
A moustache is facial hair grown on the outer surface of the upper lip. It may or may not be accompanied by a type of beard, a facial hair style grown and cropped to cover most of the lower half of the face.-Etymology:...

; if hair is left only on the chin, the style is a chin
Chin
In the human anatomy, the chin is the lowermost part of the face.It is formed by the lower front of the mandible.People show a wide variety of chin structures. See Cleft chin....

 beard.
  • Full – downward flowing beard with either styled or integrated moustache
  • Sideburns
    Sideburns
    Sideburns or sideboards are patches of facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline to below the ears and worn with an unbearded chin...

     – hair grown from the temples down the cheeks toward the jawline.
  • Chinstrap – a beard with long sideburns that comes forward and ends under the chin.
  • Donegal – similar to the chinstrap beard but covers the entire chin.
  • Garibaldi
    Giuseppe Garibaldi
    Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

     – wide, full beard with rounded bottom and integrated moustache
  • Goatee
    Goatee
    Goatee refers to a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man’s chin. The exact nature of the style has varied according to time and culture.Traditionally, goatee refers solely to a beard formed by a tuft of hair on the chin...

     – A tuft of hair grown on the chin, sometimes resembling a billy goat
    Goat
    The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

    's.
  • Junco – A goatee which extends upward and connects to the corners of the mouth.
  • Hollywoodian- A beard with integrated mustache that is worn on the lower part of the chin and jaw area, without connecting sideburns.
  • Reed – A beard with integrated mustache that is worn on the lower part of the chin and jaw area that tapers towards the ears without connecting sideburns.
  • Royale – is a narrow pointed beard extending from the chin. The style was popular in France during the period of the Second Empire, from which it gets its alternative name, the imperial or impériale.
  • Stubble
    Stubble
    Stubble is the regrowth of shaven hair, when it is short and has a rough, abrasive texture.-Facial:During the 1980s, facial stubble on men became fashionable, partly due to being popularized by the singer George Michael, as well as Miami Vice. This was also known as designer stubble and was...

     – a very short beard of only one to a few days growth. This became fashionable during the heyday of Miami Vice
    Miami Vice
    Miami Vice is an American television series produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. It ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984–1989...

    . During this time, a modified electric razor called the Miami Device became popular, which would trim stubble to a preset length.
  • Van Dyke
    Van dyke beard
    A Van Dyke is a style of facial hair named after 17th century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck. A Van Dyke specifically consists of any growth of both a moustache and goatee with all hair on the cheeks shaven...

     – A goatee accompanied by a moustache
    Moustache
    A moustache is facial hair grown on the outer surface of the upper lip. It may or may not be accompanied by a type of beard, a facial hair style grown and cropped to cover most of the lower half of the face.-Etymology:...

    .
  • Verdi
    Giuseppe Verdi
    Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

     – short beard with rounded bottom and slightly shaven cheeks with prominent moustacheNeckbeard (Neard) – Similar to the Chinstrap, but with the chin and jawline shaven, leaving hair to grow only on the neck. While never as popular as other beard styles, a few noted historical figures have worn this type of beard, such as Nero
    Nero
    Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

     and Horace Greeley
    Horace Greeley
    Horace Greeley was an American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, a reformer, a politician, and an outspoken opponent of slavery...

    .
  • Soul patch
    Soul patch
    The soul patch is a small patch of facial hair just below the lower lip and above the chin. It came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was a style of facial hair common among African American men, most notably jazzmen. It became popular with beatniks, artists, and those who frequented...

     – a small beard just below the lower lip and above the chin
  • Friendly Mutton Chops – long muttonchop type sideburns connected to a mustache, but with a shaved chin
  • Stashburns or the Lemmy – Sideburns that drop down the jaw but jut upwards across the mustache, leaving the chin exposed. Similar to "Friendly Mutton Chops", but often found in southern and southwestern American culture.
  • Monkey Tail – a Van Dyke as viewed from one side, and a Donegal + moustache as viewed from the other, giving the impression that a monkey's tail stretches from an ear down to the chin and around one's mouth.

Quotations regarding beards

  • "The beard is the handsomeness of the face, and a wife is the joy in a man's heart." – R' Akiva, Eicha Rabbah
    Lamentations Rabbah
    The Midrash on Lamentations or Eichah Rabbah , like Bereshit Rabbah and the Pesiḳta ascribed to Rab Kahana, belongs to the oldest works of the Midrashic literature. It begins with 36 consecutive proems forming a separate collection, certainly made by the author of the Midrash...


  • Leonato: You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
    Beatrice: What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him... -William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

     – Excerpt from Much Ado About Nothing
    Much Ado About Nothing
    Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy written by William Shakespeare about two pairs of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero....

    – Act 2, Scene I

  • "You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so" – Banquo, to the witches, in Shakespeare's Macbeth
    Macbeth
    The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...

    .

Early Christian attitudes

  • St Clement of Alexandria
    Clement of Alexandria
    Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

    • "The hair of the chin showed him to be a man." St Clement of Alexandria (c.195, E), 2.271
    • "How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at the mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them!...For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest—a sign of strength and rule." St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.275
    • "This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve
      Eve (Bible)
      Eve was, according to the creation of Abrahamic religions, the first woman created by God...

      . It is the token of the superior nature....It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness." St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.276
    • "It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man's natural and noble adornment." St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.277

  • St Cyprian
    Cyprian
    Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education...

    • "In their manners, there was no discipline. In men, their beards were defaced." St Cyprian
      Cyprian
      Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education...

       (c. 250, W), 5.438
    • "The beard must not be plucked. 'You will not deface the figure of your beard'." (Leviticus
      Leviticus
      The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

       19:27) St. Cyprian, 5.553
  • Lactantius
    Lactantius
    Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his religious policy as it developed, and tutor to his son.-Biography:...

    • "The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to distinguish the sex, or to contribute to the beauty of manliness and strength." Lactantius
      Lactantius
      Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his religious policy as it developed, and tutor to his son.-Biography:...

       (c. 304–314, W), 7.288

  • Apostolic Constitutions
    Apostolic Constitutions
    The Apostolic Constitutions is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenience is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch...

    • "Men may not destroy the hair of their beards and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the Law says, "You will not deface your beards." For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men." Apostolic Constitutions
      Apostolic Constitutions
      The Apostolic Constitutions is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenience is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch...

       (compiled c.390, E) 7.392. (1)

  • Augustine of Hippo
    Augustine of Hippo
    Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

    • "There are some details of the body which are there for simply aesthetic reasons, and for no practical purpose—for instance, the nipples on a man's chest, and the beard on his face, the latter being clearly for a masculine ornament, not for protection. This is shown by the fact that women's faces are hairless, and since women are the weaker sex, it would surely be more appropriate for them to be given such a protection." City of God (c. 410) book 22, chapter 24

See also

  • Barbatus (disambiguation), a common Latin name, meaning "bearded"
  • Beard Liberation Front
    Beard Liberation Front
    The Beard Liberation Front is a British interest group which campaigns in support of beards and opposes discrimination against those who wear them. It was founded in 1995 by socialist historian Keith Flett who continues to organise and represent the organisation...

  • Bearded lady
    Bearded Lady
    A bearded lady or bearded woman is a woman who has a visible beard. These women have long been a phenomenon of legend, curiosity, ridicule, and more recently, political statement and fashion statement. A small number of women are able to grow enough facial hair to have a distinct beard...

  • Facial hair
    Facial hair
    Facial hair is a secondary sex characteristic of human males. Men often start developing facial hair in the later years of puberty or adolescence, approximately between 17–20 years of age, and most do not finish developing a fully adult beard until their early 20s or even later...

  • Facial hair in the military
    Facial hair in the military
    Facial hair in the military has been at various times common, prohibited, or an integral part of the uniform.-India:In the armed forces of India, only Sikhs are allowed to wear beards as their religion expressly requires followers to do so. They are required to keep it neatly tied in a hairnet or...

  • Facial hair styles
    • Chin curtain
    • Moustache
      Moustache
      A moustache is facial hair grown on the outer surface of the upper lip. It may or may not be accompanied by a type of beard, a facial hair style grown and cropped to cover most of the lower half of the face.-Etymology:...

    • Sideburns
      Sideburns
      Sideburns or sideboards are patches of facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline to below the ears and worn with an unbearded chin...

    • Stubble
      Stubble
      Stubble is the regrowth of shaven hair, when it is short and has a rough, abrasive texture.-Facial:During the 1980s, facial stubble on men became fashionable, partly due to being popularized by the singer George Michael, as well as Miami Vice. This was also known as designer stubble and was...

  • Five o'clock shadow
    Five O'Clock Shadow
    Five O'Clock Shadow is an a cappella group from Boston, Massachusetts, that has been in existence since 1991. The band has performed on FOX News, A&E Network, ABC, ESPN and VH-1's "breakthrough" series. They have released 4 cassettes and 5 CDs, winning many Contemporary A cappella Recording...

  • Goatee
    Goatee
    Goatee refers to a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man’s chin. The exact nature of the style has varied according to time and culture.Traditionally, goatee refers solely to a beard formed by a tuft of hair on the chin...

  • Joseph Palmer
    Joseph Palmer (communard)
    Joseph Palmer was a member of the Fruitlands commune and an associate of Louisa May Alcott and other Transcendentalists.Palmer was a veteran of the War of 1812.Few men in the territory that became the United States wore beards after about 1720...

     defended himself from being forcibly shaved in 1830
  • Removal/shaping of facial hair: Shaving
    Shaving
    Shaving is the removal of hair, by using a razor or any other kind of bladed implement, to slice it down to the level of the skin. Shaving is most commonly practiced by men to remove their facial hair and by women to remove their leg and underarm hair...

    , Clean-shaven, Barber
    Barber
    A barber is someone whose occupation is to cut any type of hair, and to shave or trim the beards of men. The place of work of a barber is generally called a barbershop....

  • Women and facial hair: Bearded lady
    Bearded Lady
    A bearded lady or bearded woman is a woman who has a visible beard. These women have long been a phenomenon of legend, curiosity, ridicule, and more recently, political statement and fashion statement. A small number of women are able to grow enough facial hair to have a distinct beard...

    , Depilation
  • World Beard and Moustache Championships


Further reading

  • Reginald Reynolds
    Reginald Reynolds
    Reginald Arthur Reynolds was a British left wing writer.A Quaker, he was General Secretary of the No More War Movement 1933-1937....

    : Beards: Their Social Standing, Religious Involvements, Decorative Possibilities, and Value in Offence and Defence Through the Ages (Doubleday, 1949) (ISBN 0-15-610845-3)
  • Helen Bunkin, Randall Williams: Beards, Beards, Beards (Hunter & Cyr, 2000) (ISBN 1-58838-001-7)
  • Allan Peterkin: One Thousand Beards. A Cultural History of Facial Hair (Arsenal Pulp Press
    Arsenal Pulp Press
    Arsenal Pulp Press is a Canadian independent book publishing company, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company publishes a broad range of titles in both fiction and non-fiction, and is noted for founding the annual Three-Day Novel Contest .Authors who have been published by Arsenal Pulp ...

    , 2001) (ISBN 1-55152-107-5)
  • A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, David W. Bercot, Editor, pg 66–67.

External links