Ivan the Terrible, the first “Tzar of all the Russians” from 1547 till his death in 1584, was a complex historical figure who may or may not have been a mad despot, but was, by all accounts, extremely bright and passionate. Here’s what he had to say about beards in shaping Russian society:
Of all these heretical customs (e.g., drinking and gambling) not one is more reprehensible than shaving the beard, a fault that all the blood of a martyr would not redeem. To shave the beard in order to please men is to violate all laws, and to make oneself the enemy of God, who created men in His image.
Whoa. That’s some image. And those are pretty strong words.
We’re not going to get into hyperbole, but we’re happy to let someone else do it for us.
And it turns out Ivan wasn’t the only person who thought of gods when he looked upon beards. Check out this bit from French writer Jacques Antoine DuLaure about beards and their place in history:
When I take a review of the most respectable relations of antiquity, of those celebrated heroes, and the number of wise and learned men that have made Rome and Greece famous, I feel myself penetrated with that admiration and respect which things sacred inspire; but when I figure to myself the noble aspect of these great men, when I perceive on their venerable faces that air of gravity, that character of virtues, which their long beards express, my imagination catches fire; they no longer appear to me as men, but Gods to whom we should bow down.
We liked that so much we made this image for sharing.
So whether you want to keep the image God gave you, become the gods and heroes DuLaure bows before, or just keep your facial hair itch-free and smelling great, we’ve got everything you need in our beard shop.
Filed under: Beards in History