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A History of the Barbershop - 3/8

As early as the 5th century B.C., barbers came to the fore in Greece. Statesmen, poets and philosophers came to have their hair and beards trimmed as the role of the barber became an art form. The barber shops of ancient Greece turned into centres for social, political and sporting news. The importance of the tonsorial art in Greece is shown by the defeat of a prominent Greek because his beard did not match that of his opponent!

A tweezer-like device, the 'bow-shears' appeared in Messina around 500 B.C. and was used effectively in Egypt, Greece and Scicily to trim short both hair and beards.

Around 334 B.C., Alexander the Great influenced grooming practices by showing the absence of a beard, explaining that it gave his Macedonian warriors an advantage by not allowing their Persian enemies the ability to grasp their beards in hand-to-hand combat. This was as a direct result of the Mecedonians under his leadership having lost several battles to the Persians who had grabbed their beards and speared them. The civilians followed suit and shaved off their beards, too.


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