17 March 2009

Marcus Aurelius

Can you believe it’s been nearly two millennia since Marcus Aurelius, the last of the five great emperors, was ruling Rome with a well-endowed mandible. A lot of beards have come and gone in the last 1,829 years, but few measure up to Marcus’ championing of the beard.

No, one need not know Koine Greek to meditate on this barba philosophy. Marcus has been lauded for his capacity “to grow a beard just as it was, not obscured by any consciousness of the presence of listeners or any striving after effect.” (Not that it would have mattered much, as his bust clearly displays a well-maintained face foliage.)

Certainly the beard inspired a great deal of stoicism. Some choice quotes:

We can’t be happy, but we can be bearded; let us therefore pretend that, so long as we are bearded, it doesn't matter being unhappy.

Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be bearded.