Beards, Moustaches and Facial Hair in History

Especially for Sir Paxman and his beard, here’s a reblog of a post I did a while ago on the history of beards. Enjoy. #Paxmansbeard

Dr Alun Withey

 (This is not me by the way)

Today in the town of Bad Schussenried, Germany, will be held the World Beard and Moustache championships. Attracting hirsute entrants from across the globe, competitors can enter in no less than eighteen categories, from chin beards to Imperial moustaches. The Germans seem to be particularly adept at this competition, and have fielded a number of champions in recent years. Men’s relationship with the beard has changed a great deal over time and it is interesting to see how wearing (or indeed not wearing) some form of facial hair can often be linked to broader social and cultural trends.

In the Renaissance, for example, beard-wearing was a sign of masculinity and almost a rite of passage. To be able to grow a beard represented the change from boy to man. As Will Fisher put it in his article on beards in Renaissance England,  “the beard made the…

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