The Cap’n is here to talk about his favorite subject: the beard! What else did ye expect? Comparative Philosophy? The Cap’n only has one philosophy – the philosophy of the beard. And the Cap’n loves to hear himself expound on that particular subject. Okay, in general the Cap’n loves to hear himself expound.
Today let’s raise our bottle of rum or our glass of dark brown ale and toast the beard and its long association with world history and culture. Below are some little-known historical factoids about yer best asset.
Tidbit 1: Did ye know that recently a humble music teacher from Surrey was entered into the Guinness book of world records? His beard clocked in at 7.7 feet. Can I get a hearty “Arrr!” for that?
Tidbit 2: Beards were thought to be an emblem of wisdom. Of course they are! Just look at the Cap’n. He’s got a beard and he’s wise. Okay, some people might disagree with that – but what do they know, ey? Socrates, Shakespeare, and Marcus Aurelius all had beards. Yup, we’re in good company.
Tidbit 3: Did ye know that in ancient Egypt, men would use their beards to denote their high stature in society? They’d gold plate their best asset and the whole world would make way for them.
Tidbit 4: Did ye know that throughout history beard taxes existed? That’s right! The scoundrels taxed men with beards. King Henry VIII of England (yes, he of the six wives – easily remembered by that little ditty “divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived”) who wore a very well-known and oft painted beard taxed his bearded subjects for the pleasure of wearing their best asset in public. Peter the Great wanted to bring his Russian society in line with Western Europe’s more clean-shaven style and, hence, levied a beard tax. Anybody who refused to pay said tax was in danger of being forcibly and publicly shaven by the police. Let the cannonballs fly, I say!
Tidbit 5: Alexander the Great commanded his soldiers to shave their beards, because he was concerned that they could present a disadvantage in hand-to-hand combat. Of course, later on, the beard became a symbol of power in battle. When the soldiers proudly presented their beards on the field of battle it’s as if they were tellin’ the enemy: “go ahead, just try to grab it – I’ll gut ye like a fish anyway.”
Tidbit 6: Sometimes kings were so proud of their best asset, that they’d add their beard hairs to their wax seals.
Tidbit 7: During the Middle Ages, if one bloke touched another’s beard, it was considered so offensive it was grounds for a duel.
Tidbit 8: And, lastly, ye may have heard of the CIA contemplating making Fidel Castro’s beard fall out to ruin his public image. Yeah, as plans go… well… But, hey, now that they can watch all of us through our TV sets, they don’t need to bother with anything as low tech as our best assets anymore.
Swashbucklers, these were the Cap’n’s beard tidbits. If ye know of any others not mentioned here, please fill us in. We’re always happy to hear from ye.