S.P.Q.R.

A

Anonymous

Guest

When ever I have watched documenteries on ancient Rome. I have seen the the initials S.P.Q.R. in regards to Roman soldiers. Does anyone have any idea what these initials are and what they mean.
Thank for any help.
 

kitak

New Member

sholzinger dixit:
When ever I have watched documenteries on ancient Rome. I have seen the the initials S.P.Q.R. in regards to Roman soldiers. Does anyone have any idea what these initials are and what they mean.
Thank for any help.
They stand for senatus populusque Romae

Literally: The Senate and People of Rome

The Q is for the que in populusque, it means and, it's just tacked onto the end of a word instead of being a separate word, which i found really wierd when i started studying latin.

SPQR was engraved on all kinds of public property, civic buildings etc. i don't know if it was really tatooed on roman soldiers like in Gladiator?
 

Akela

sum

  • Princeps Senatus

kitak dixit:
i don't know if it was really tatooed on roman soldiers like in Gladiator?
I wonder about this too. I've never heard of this. I guess I should research if/what tattoos were common in Rome.
 

kitak

New Member

Check out : "Stigma:Tattoing and Branding in Graeco-Roman Antiquity,"
Journal of Roman Studies 77 (1987) 139-155

According to CP Jones in the above article, Romans did in fact practise branding and tattoing, mostly gladiators, slaves and criminals and usually to denote ownership of individual. Amongst free Roman citizens it was most common in military but not an established practise and mostly amongst non-Italian soldiers especially as the Empire grew. Citizens tended to shun tattooing though, and apparently there was a booming trade in tattoo removal.

so yeah, he could have had the SPQR tattoo but unlikely for a general, more common amongst lower ranks. Definately wasn't institutional army procedure though. they make it look like every soldier gets one as soon as he enters army.
 
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