Tattoo Taboo? Exploring The History Of Religious Ink And Facial Tattoos

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 inContinue reading “Tattoo Taboo? Exploring The History Of Religious Ink And Facial Tattoos”

Even The Ancient Romans Had Fierce Debates Over Banning Assault Weapons

Hey, readers. How are you? I rarely speak to you directly, but I wanted to let you know that there are a few changes going on. While I will still be blogging here on my own site, I will also be posting links to the contributions that I am doing for Forbes.com. My first postContinue reading “Even The Ancient Romans Had Fierce Debates Over Banning Assault Weapons”

Martius Madness: On Manliness, Roman Gambling Laws, and NCAA Brackets

We are in the midst of the NCAA March madness tournament in the U.S., and, as NPR reported, the American Gaming Association boasted more NCAA Brackets than number of votes for the next president. Now, I identify as both a UVa Cavalier and a UNC Tar Heel, and so my entire household was glued to the screen yesterday. AsContinue reading “Martius Madness: On Manliness, Roman Gambling Laws, and NCAA Brackets”

Encouraging the PhDivas: My Top 5 Posts for Dorothy King

An anthology of posts I wrote while blogging for PhDiva.blogspot.com on everything from Caligula in modern film to the danger of death by roof-tile in antiquity.

Getting Sacked: Animals, Executions, and Roman Law

In my blogging, I have frequently discussed Roman approaches to crime and punishment (e.g., crucifixion and torture). However, as I sat prepping lectures for my Roman law course this week, I got distracted (it happens) and began to watch some clips from old James Bond movies (it happens a lot). After making a mental list of all the sharksContinue reading “Getting Sacked: Animals, Executions, and Roman Law”

Good Mourning: Roman Clothing, Courtrooms, and the Psychology of Color

Romans often reserved the dark colors of mourning for a trip to the courtroom. Usually it was the defendants who chose to clothe themselves in dark and ragged vestments–though some people broke with this habit. In a letter dated to 468 CE, the diplomat and bishop Sidonius Apollinaris discussed the treason trial of a friend and Praetorian prefect named ArvandusContinue reading “Good Mourning: Roman Clothing, Courtrooms, and the Psychology of Color”