Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/668

This page has been validated.

"The slaves had their hair cut short as a mark of servitude." We find it thus throughout America. "Socially the slave is despised, his hair is cut short," says Bancroft of the Nootkas. "The privilege of wearing long hair was rigorously denied" to Carib slaves and captives, says Edwards. The slavery that punished criminality was similarly marked. In Nicaragua "a thief had his hair cut off, and became a slave to the person that had been robbed till he was satisfied." And this badge of slavery was otherwise inflicted as a punishment. By the Central Americans a suspected adulterer "was stripped and his hair was cut (a great disgrace)." One ancient Mexican penalty "was to have the hair cut at some public place." And during mediƦval times in Europe cutting of hair was enacted as a punishment. Of course there follows a correlative distinction: long hair becomes honorable. If among the Chibchas "the greatest affront that could be put on a man or a woman was to have their hair cropped;" the assimilation to slaves in appearance was the obvious reason, the honorableness of long hair being an implication. "The Itzaex Indians," says Fancourt, "wore their hair as long as it would grow; indeed, it is a most difficult thing to bring the Indians to cut their hair." Long hair is a mark of distinction among the Tongans, and none are permitted to wear it but the principal people. Similarly with the New Caledonians and various others of the uncivilized, and similarly with semi-civilized Orientals, "the Ottoman princes have their beard shaved off, to show that they are dependent on the favor of the reigning emperor." By the Greeks, "in manhood, . . . the hair was worn longer," and "a certain political significancy was attached to the hair." In Northern Europe, too, "among the Franks. . . . the serfs wore the hair less long and less carefully dressed than freemen," and the freemen less long than the nobles: "The long hair of the Frank kings is sacred. . . . It is for them a mark and honorable prerogative of the royal race." Clothair and Childebert, wishing to divide their brother's kingdom, consulted respecting their nephews, "whether to cut off their hair so as to reduce them to the rank of subjects, or to kill them." I may add the extreme case of the Japanese mikado: "Neither his hair, beard, nor nails are ever [avowedly] cut, that his sacred person may not be mutilated," such cutting as occurs being done while he is supposed to sleep.

A parallel marking of divine rank may be noted in passing. Length of hair being significant of terrestrial dignity, becomes significant, too, of celestial dignity. The gods of various peoples, and especially the great gods, are distinguished by their flowing beards and long locks.

Domestic subordination, too, in many cases goes along with short hair; in low social states women commonly bear this badge of slavery. Turner tells us that in Samoa the women wore the hair short; the men wore it long. Among other Malayo-Polynesians, as