Strangest Hygiene Practices From The Middle Ages

Samson and Delilah. Credit: New York City Public Library

29. French Royalty Never Cut Their Hair

There is a story originating from the 6th century in Paris, France about two princes who were going to ascend to the throne. They were kidnapped, and the queen consort was given the choice: Allow her grandson’s hair to be cut, or let him die with his luscious locks intact. She chose the sword over scissors. One of the princes escaped, cut his own air, and became a monk. In modern times, that sounds crazy. But back then, men who had long hair showed their power and wealth. According to The Byzantine poet historian Agathias (c.532-c.582), “It is the rule for Frankish kings never to be shorn; indeed their hair is never cut from childhood on, and hangs down in abundance on their shoulders…their subjects have their hair cut all round and are not permitted to grow it further.”