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A History of the Barbershop - 4/8

296 B.C., Ticinius Mena came from Scicily to Rome, where barbers had hitherto been unknown, and introduced shaving which soon became the fashion. The barber shop became the focal point for daily news and gossip and the free men of Rome often devoted several hours a day to their appearance. Roman ladies had a hairdresser among their slaves, whilst rich nobles had private tonsors (as the barbers were called). So highly prized were they that a statue was erected to the memory of Rome's first barber.

With the coming of Hadrian as emperor, beards once again came into fashion, when he grew one to cover the warts and scars on his face. The people of Rome followed suit.

Caesar's rise to power again shifted fashion to the beardless, as he was clean-shaven. As can be seen throughout history, state leaders were often the leaders of fashion and consequently, people were always ready to follow the prevailing style.

Many passages in the Bible refer to the barber's trade. As a health precaution, Moses commanded all those recovering from leprosy to be shaved. Whilst the prophet, Ezekiel, refers to the ancient custom - "Take thou a barber's razor and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thine beard." Contemporary razors were made of flint and oyster shell.


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