On this day - September 5th

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russian beard_token

Beard Tax in Russia

On September 5th 1698, Emperor Peter I (Peter the Great) of Russia instituted a beard tax to bring Russian society in line with Western European models. To enforce the ban on beards, the tsar empowered police to forcibly and publicly shave those who refused to pay the tax.
Resistance to going clean shaven was widespread with many believing that it was a religious requirement for a man to wear a beard. The tax levied depended upon the status of the bearded man: Those associated with the Imperial Court, military, or government were charged 60 rubles annually; wealthy merchants were charged 100 rubles per year while other merchants and townsfolk were charged 60 rubles per year; Muscovites were charged 30 rubles per year; and peasants were charged two half-kopeks every time they entered a city.

Beard token

Those who paid the tax were required to carry a "beard token". This was a copper or silver token with a Russian Eagle on the reverse and on the obverse the lower part of a face with nose, mouth, whiskers, and beard.

Which English King had tried (probably unsuccessfully) to introduce a beard tax?

Click here for the answer

In 1535, King Henry VIII of England, who wore a beard himself, introduced a tax on beards

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