By Melissa R. Phillips
Honor’s Thesis, Vanderbilt University, 2001
Introduction: Scholars of medieval history have long realized the key role Christianity played in the development of Europe. Not many, however, would suspect that hair played a role within Christianity by providing a clue into the religiousity of the era. Long hair indicates the different understanding of Christianity held by both the Merovingian kings and their clergy. Long hair meant different things to a Merovingian barbarian king and a Christian. It symbolized warrior values to medieval Gaul, among the first of the barbarian places to convert to Christianity. As the Germanic tribe leaders consolidated power, long hair came to represent the best warrior – the king. Thus, long hair identified the men of the Merovingian clan that ruled Gaulk from the fifth through the eighth century CE.