A history of beards
Beards arrive uninvited at puberty marking a celebrated progression into manhood, but whether they are permitted or even obliged to grow has, until the 20th century, been determined by class, religious beliefs, community, precedent, and occupational status. The ancient Egyptians, for instance, viewed hairlessness as an indication of divinity. Only the poor manifested any signs of scruffiness, but that didn’t prevent the upper crust from putting on fake beards when the occasion called for it. Periodically in European history, beards were taxed and forcibly removed if one were not upper class or spiritual enough to support one.
Over the span of 5,000 years, chin growths have been purchased, elaborately adorned, dyed, and even deracinated as a form of torture.The variety of combinations of mustaches, sideburns, soul patches and beards are virtually endless, as worn by modern men of all classes and ages and social afflictions. Not since the Victorian times have male faces been so adorned.*