Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How did early Franks wear their hair

Clovis, second king of France (481-511)
The hair is one part of the human body that got the most attention during centuries of history.
Even today grooming our hair is a daily routine, taking anyway from one minute to over an hour, depending on how much emphasis one put on it.

From ancient egyptians, who used wigs and fake beards, to 18th century nobilities who created skyscrapers powdered wigs, the decoration of the head was taken beyond anyone’s imagination.

In this post I will tell you about the hairstyle of early franks.

Let’s start with a short description that Sidoine Apollinaire (a gallo-roman writer, who lived between 430 and 486 A.D.) made about franks, referring to men.

“They tied up their flexen or light-brown hair above their foreheads, into a kind of tuft, and then made it fall behind the head like a horse’s tail. The face was clean shaved, with the exception of two long mustaches” (Medieval Life, Paul Lacroix, Arcturus Publishing Ltd, 2011, p. 514). So, they used to make, what we now call it, a ponytail in top of their head and then pair it with moustaches. However, they did not cut their hair and the longer the hair the wealthier the person. Accordingly, the length of the hair was a indicator of one’s social status.

The kings and other nobles of the Franks wore their hair parted in the middle and falling over the shoulders sometimes sprinkled with gold-dust. The hair was plaited with bands that were sewn with precious metals and stones.

Franks loved and treasured their hair so much as to swear on it or cut it to present it as a symbol of trust, politeness and appreciation.

On the other side, touching someone’s hair with a razor was an insult and cutting it was a punishment.