To the Germanics, hair length determined hierarchy in both military & societal arenas. In the military, long hair would be tied up in high knots on top of the head in order to make soldiers appear taller & more fearsome.
Within society, women wore their hair extremely long & freely flowing. They used these long tresses in a variety of ways to signify virginity, marital status, or availability.
2. For the Germanics, hair signified power, authority, beauty, acceptance.
The loss of hair was the ultimate humiliation. The heads & beards of slaves, criminals, and disgraced women would be completely shaved to signify submission and shame.
3. Germanic hair styles & customs became the foundation for successive empires. Kings wore long hair & beards. All those beneath him wore shorter hair & beards, the length becoming progressively shorter as they went down in rank.
In fact, kings who feared an overthrow by sons, nephews or other male relatives, would have the hair of the suspected perpetrators cut short. This would completely disqualify them to rule as king.
4. In the 8th century, the ruler Charlemagne created the Holy Roman German Empire in conjunction with the Pope of Rome. This changed the Germanic influence on hair by essentially bringing back Roman customs.
Hair became shorter as long hair began to be perceived as barbaric. In fact, the Pope of Rome issued an edict that men with long hair and beards, and women with excessively long hair, or long hair flowing freely rather than tied up, represented paganism.
5. By the 10th century, Christianity had overtaken Germanic styles & customs. The Catholic Church began dictating new rules for how good Christians must wear their hair. Veering from these dictates branded one a “heathen,” an outcast from a God-fearing society.
What significance does hair have for you?