8 Famous Beards Throughout History

Sep 20, 2022

Statue of Karl Marx.

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Beards have gone in and out of style since the beginning of time. Prehistoric men wore them for warmth and to intimidate others. In other times, they represented wealth and status. Today, they’re mainly grown as a personal fashion choice. 

Though a lot of historical men grew out their facial hair, some beards were more famous than others. 

Here’s what to know about eight famous beards throughout history.

1. Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is famous for many things, including his art, studies and inventions. Another notable feature is his luscious beard.

Da Vinci took pride in his beard. He grew his facial hair past his sternum and reaching shoulder-width.

Statue of Leonardo Da Vinci.

2. Erik the Red

Erik Thorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red, is one of the most famous Vikings in history. He created Greenland’s first settlement and is the father of Leif Erikson.

The exiled Viking got his “Erik the Red” thanks to his bright red flowing beard and hair. That name recognition makes his beard one to remember.

3. Abraham Lincoln

Before Abraham was president, facial hair was scarce among leaders in the White House. Keeping with the trend , Lincoln didn’t grow his famous beard until he received a curious letter.

An 11-year-old girl mentioned he should grow a beard since his face was thin. Honest Abe took the advice to heart and grew out the famous whiskers history pictures him with.

Black and white picture of Abraham Lincoln.

4. Otto the Great

Otto the Great’s beard isn’t known for its length or color but for its power. The multi-national united Germany and lead the Holy Roman Empire.

His beard was of such great importance to him that he would swear on it, as if swearing on his mother’s life. That turned his whiskers into a mighty beard.

5. Charles Darwin

Most known for his theory of evolution, naturalist Charles Darwin wore a full beard.

There’s speculation as to why the scientist grew his flowing gray and white whiskers, but it was a staple of his appearance in his later life that carries with his legacy.

Statue of Charles Darwin.

6. John Knox

A leader of the Protestant Reformation and founder of the Scottish Presbyterian Church, you don’t have to be religious to appreciate John Knox’s beard-growing skills.

Knox had a lengthy black beard that famously flowed along his chest that he lived with famously until his death. History says the striking beard only had a few gray hairs.

7. Hans Langseth

Hans Langseth may be one of the only people famous for their beard.

The Norwegian American immigrant began growing his beard for a contest when he was 19. He never shaved it off. Langseth earned the world record for the longest beard in the world in 1922 when it reached 17 feet long.

8. Karl Marx

The German economist famous for his Marxism theory had quite a beard to remember.

What his beard lacked in length, it made up for in volume. People admired his bushy beard for his fluffiness. He maintained the beard before shaving in the last year of his life.

Statue of Karl Marx.

Historical Beards

Throughout history, men wore beards for a variety of reasons. For these eight men, their beards became associated with both name and image.

Men today can look to the men of the past for style inspiration and appreciation.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.