Today marks the anniversary of a truly abhorrent piece of legislation…a tax on beards.
Tsar Peter I (who should never, ever be called “Peter the Great”), in a craven, sycophantic, Leonard Zelig-like frenzy, outlawed beards on all but priests and peasants. He allegedly did this so his countrymen would appear more modern and western, but I see only the work of a madman.
Bearded folk could pay the tax and wear the bronze token pictured above as a way to show they were not only gorgeously plumed, but also in full compliance with the most odious legislation in the world.
Viva the beard!