Barbatoria

To Shave or not to shave.

There is a before and an after when a man can trace the moment he started needing a shave. Our ancestors went through the same change. Romans called it the BARBATORIA. The first shave.

Generally around age 12, the very young men were going through some sort of ceremony. Some offered the first cut to the Gods… then the Barbarians came… and carried on until Charlemagne.

As early as in Tacitus, a rite of passage was described with the chieftain/father/foster father: a shield and sword was handed to the young man. Did boys grow a moustache at 12? Was it a gentle rubbing of the cheek or a full trimming? Let us not forget that shaving in 500 AD was not exactly the safe exercise our days know with the electric shaver.

Greeks, Romans and Germanic tribes were all for a clean shaved teenager. We know that tombs of known Saints could be the objects of the gift of said hair! Franks, Visigoths, Byzantines pronounced prayers at this special time of the life of a man. (Bearing in mind, we are probably describing the barbatoria of a young aristocrat/prince). Foster fathers held such ceremonies.

Charlemagne father Pippin was given a luxurious ceremony. Pippin grand sons would not enjoy such treats: but would go through the original Germanic rite: the sword gift.

A much bigger razor.Image

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