Over on my Forbes blog, I explore the history of religious tattoos. This post stems from my interest in the use of various stigmas–legal, social, and even corporal–against marginalized individuals. Tattoos in Greco-Roman antiquity were often linked to servility, but could also advertise one’s religious convictions. I spoke with tattoo historian Anna Felicity Friedman about pilgrimage tattoos in Jerusalem and also chatted with Jordan Rosenblum (UW-Madison) about the old wives’ tale that tattooed Jews can never be buried in a Jewish cemetery. Overall, it is interesting to see the variant ways in which tattoos have been used since antiquity and to realize what a potent canvas the human body was and still is.
Published by sarahemilybond
I am an Associate Professor in the Classics Department at the University of Iowa. I am interested in Roman, late antique, and early medieval history, archaeology, topography and GIS, Digital Humanities, and the role of Classics in pop culture. I obtained a BA in Classics and History with a minor in Classical Archaeology from the University of Virginia (2005). My PhD is in Ancient History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2011). My book, Trade and Taboo: Disreputable Professionals in the Roman Mediterranean, is out now from University of Michigan Press (Fall, 2016) and looks at the lives of marginalized tradesmen like gravediggers and tanners. Follow me on Twitter @SarahEBond, read my Blog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. View all posts by sarahemilybond