2013, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 287-203
AbstractThe profession of hairdressing is, as it is the case in the present time, an important career like the rest of other professions in the ancient history of Iraq. The person who experienced this career was known as (Gallaba) a hair cut accompanied with hair rituals.
What is more, the barber was responsible for cutting the nails, besides cutting the hair. In these cases, there were special washing rituals during this process. The barber did not only practise this profession but he accompanied the physician i.e. the surgeon especially during the cases which required surgical treatment. There is a great similarity between the work of barbers and surgeons, and of course there are evidences which confirm this close relation. It is easy to find the legal texts mentioned both of them altogether or the mention of barbers comes immediately after the physician. The importance of barber in the old Iraqi society is very obvious because the barbers were mentioned in the cuneiform texts especially in the Code of Hammurabi. His obligations are known in that time especially concerning the slaves because the barber was responsible for putting a distinctive mark for the slaves in order to distinguish them from the free people and he was also responsible for removing such mark according to special orders. This activity required a skillful surgery and this work was considered as an important thing because the slave will be liberated from bondage. For this reason the ancient Iraqi legislators put very severe sanctions against any breach of such rules.
As it is the case in our modern time, there were some women who were engaged in this profession as is clear from many sources. In fact, there are some cuneiform texts which were discovered confirmed that there were some women who exercised this profession at that time. These texts also provided us with important information about what was used by the barbers as tools for their profession such as knives, lames and some other tools because models of them were found during the excavations. From the preceding, we can conclude that the hairstyle of the person in the history of ancient Iraq indicates his identity, his status, his importance and his social status. The priests had special hairstyle and they were always shaved ,the kings had also special hairstyle. In fact, all the social classes had hairstyles distinguishing them one from the other. Finally, because of the importance of this profession we can notice that Arab historians such as Ibn Mandhoor has mentioned it besides the Glorious Qu'ran and the Sunnah.
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