Beard History. Part 4: Ancient Rome October 16, 2014 16:58

House of Dionysiac relief,  depicting the bearded Roman God of wine Bacchus

Beards were widely grown during under the Kings of Rome and the early Republic.  Ticinius was the first who brought a barber to Rome, some 450 years  after the founding of the great city.  Shaving became quite popular soon  afterwards leading to almost all Romans being clean-shaven.  A clean-shaven chin and face became the sign of being Roman rather than Greek.

In latter times of the Republic  young Roman men shaved their beards only partially, trimming it into an ornamental form. Another form of Ancient Beard Oil was noted in history as pre-pubescent boys oiled their chins hoping to force early growth of facial hair.

Beards remained rare  throughout the Late Roman Republic. Unfortunately a long beard was considered a mark of poor personal hygiene.

The first formal shaving was seen as as the beginning of manhood, the first day on which shaving facial hair for a young man took place was celebrated as a festival.  At the same time young Romans assumed the Toga virillis.

The Romans of this time grew their beards  in time of mourning or public solemn occasions. Men outside the city of  Rome only shaved when they came to market every eighth day, so a short beard or stubble was the usual look outside Rome.

 Fresco of the Emperor Hadrian, reputed to have grown a beard to hide facial scars

In the second century AD the Emperor Hadrian of Hadrian's wall infamy, was reputedly the first Caesar to grow a full beard; reputed by history to hide scars on his face.  Rome copied Greek culture at this time, and many Roman men grew beards in flattering imitation of Hadrian and the in vogue Greek fashion.  Beards continued to be  hugely popular with the Roman emperors until Constatine. Constantine seems to have reversed the popular full bearded fashion trend and was clean-shaven.