What Was Fur Used for in Ancient Times?

Fur has been used by humans for centuries. It was an essential material that kept our ancestors warm in harsh winter conditions.

However, fur was not just used for its practicality; it was also a symbol of wealth and luxury. In ancient times, fur was a valuable commodity that was traded across regions and empires.

The Use of Fur in Ancient Times

Egyptian Civilization

The ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to use fur clothing extensively. They used lion, leopard, and gazelle skins for their clothing and accessories. The pharaohs wore elaborate headdresses made from the skins of various animals, including leopards, lions, and cheetahs.

Roman Empire

The Romans were known for their love of luxury and extravagance. They used fur extensively to make clothing, accessories, and even furniture.

One of the most popular furs used by the Romans was ermine, a type of weasel that had white fur with black spots. Ermine fur was reserved for royalty and high-ranking officials.

Viking Age

During the Viking Age (8th-11th centuries), fur played a crucial role in Norse culture. The Vikings used fur to make warm clothing that could withstand harsh winter conditions. They also used it to make footwear, hats, and gloves.

The Symbolism of Fur

In addition to its practical uses, fur was also a symbol of wealth and status in ancient times. Only wealthy individuals could afford to wear fur clothing or use it as an accessory.

Native American Culture

Fur played an important role in Native American culture as well. Different tribes used different types of furs for their clothing and accessories. For example, the Inuit people used seal skin for their boots because it provided excellent insulation in cold weather.

Medieval Europe

In medieval Europe, fur was a status symbol reserved for royalty and the nobility. Only the wealthiest individuals could afford to wear fur clothing or use it as an accessory. Fur was often used to trim the clothing of nobles and to line their capes and cloaks.

The Controversy Surrounding Fur

Despite its popularity in ancient times, fur has become a controversial topic in modern society. Many people are opposed to the use of fur because of concerns about animal cruelty and the impact on the environment.

Animal Welfare

Animal rights activists argue that trapping and killing animals for their fur is cruel and unnecessary. They believe that animals should not be used for fashion or other human purposes.

Environmental Impact

The production of fur clothing also has a significant impact on the environment. The chemicals used to process fur can be harmful, and there are concerns about waste disposal and pollution.


In conclusion, fur has been used by humans for centuries for both practical and symbolic purposes. While it was once a symbol of wealth and luxury, it has become a controversial topic in modern society due to concerns about animal welfare and environmental impact. Despite this controversy, fur remains a valuable material that continues to be used by some individuals for its warmth and beauty.