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[Tidbits] Pogonotrophos


Greek… for Man With A Beard… which at one time or another also
came to mean Philosopher.

It’s In The Beginning time. We’re scurrying about… catching
rabbits… killing mammoths… wrestling mastodons… and letting our
beards grow as nature intended. Besides… women liked to gaze upon
our hairy faces whilst skinning a saber-tooth in order to make a
handsome dress for the big bash this weekend.

And then came taxes. Yup. You got it folks. It is because of taxes
that we gave up our beards. I ask you this as an aside… is there a
species as nuts as the humans? Here’s what happened.

Because beards continued to grow after trimming… they were
considered to be of divine origin. And so it was considered unlucky
to cut it lest the clippings fall into the wrong hands… like the
devil himself for instance. As time passed as it is wont to do
…beards began to be powdered and perfumed for gala affairs. And
gold was often intertwined for that oh so mod look of wealth.

And then came Elizabethan England and a queen who devised a quaint
way of creating additional income for her coffers. By George… with
all those beards on the faces of all those men… it was time to tax
the bloody things. That’s right. You got hair on your face… you pay
taxes pal. I find it a wonder that she didn’t extend her inspections
and tax any and all hair on the body. But that aside… frugality
reigned… and rather than pay a levy for facial hair… men began to
shave. Three cheers I say. Three cheers for another maddening march
to ridiculousness.

In Mesopotamia… beards were considered a sign of strength and
masculinity… and so only the kings were allowed to grow long ones.

In the eleventh century… a fellow by the name of Saint Paul came
along and said: "If a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him."
This little statement promoted a new practice in which attacks were
suddenly foisted upon innocent passers by who then had their beards
hacked off.

It was an on and off thing… this business of facial hair. Francis I
of France grew a beard in order to hide a scar on this face… and
the fad took off… and soon everybody was sporting facial hair.

Peter the Great of Russia felt a little differently. He ordered an
edict proclaiming that anyone sporting a beard in public without
being able to show a tax receipt would have his beard cut off on the
spot. Shave your face… save your rubles. On the other hand… if
you’re a Sikh… you are forbidden to shave or cut any body hair. On
the other hand… Saint Wulfstan–Bishop of Worchester–commanded all
to shave their beards or go to hell.

In Basque they say–and I tend to understand this thinking–they
warn to beware of men without beards and women with them.

And then there’s the practical side to shaving… instituted by
Alexander the Great–I suspect this is the true reason men shave–
dear old Alex ordered his troops to shave their beards in order to
ensure the enemy could not grab the men by the hairs of their chinny
chin chins… and to further ensure that the enemies inability to
grab one’s facial hair would make it more difficult for said enemy
to decapitate said soldier.

And so… as I end my refrain… leaving you with the comfort of
knowing that many of you now know more about beards than you had
ever hoped to know before… I bring your attention to a golden
brooch of … of… yup… you guessed it… a man with a beard. It’s
quite attractive you know. Absolutely worth a look-see.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Current Tidbits… and then click on it in order to view…

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark


This is a textured and sculpted yellow gold brooch of a bearded
man’s head designed by Eric de Kolb. Value: $400.00


Thank you Benjamin Mark for your entertaining expatiation on the
subject of beards. There is a sub-category of facial hair, namely
the moustache, which inspires its own wildly varied collection of
crackpot folklore and, no doubt, taxation, religious prohibitions or
promotions, fashion trends and so forth.

There is a Spanish saying to the effect that “A kiss without a
moustache is like an egg without salt!”

Heaven forbid!

Marty the moustachioed in Victoria.