There was a time when going to the Barber Shop was something all men did. They went there to get a haircut and also a nice clean shave. Nothing fancy, nothing more. That was before the time of unisex salons and the choice of more than one hairstyle.
The Barber’s trade is actually an ancient practice. Razors have been found among relics of the Bronze Age and are mentioned in The Bible by Ezekiel. Barbering was introduced to Rome from the Greek colonies in Sicily in 296 B.C. And barber shops quickly became very popular centres for daily news and gossip. All free men of Rome then had to be clean-shaven while slaves were forced to wear beards. A morning visit to the tonsor became part of the daily routine, as important as the visit to the public baths, and a young mans first shave (tonsura) was an essential part of his coming of age ceremony.
The barbers of former times were also surgeons and dentists. Most early physicians distained surgery, and therefor as well as haircutting, hairdressing and shaving. Barbers performed surgery of wounds, blood-letting, cupping and leeching, enemas and the extarcting of teeth. Thus they were called barber surgeons and they formed their first organization in 1094. Eventually the law stopped them from performing surgery and they were back to shaving and cutting.
The Story of Barbers
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