Tattoos have been popular in different civilizations for hundreds of years. This is the case, for example, for the Greek civilization. The Greeks tattooed different designs on their bodies and on those of their slaves.
They tattooed images of their gods, the names of their families and marked their slaves.
The Greeks learned their tattoo techniques from the Persians. Herodotus, a famous Greek historian, mentions the fact that the Persians tattooed their prisoners of war and their slaves with their names, as a mark of property.
The name of the Persian king Xerxes was tattooed on all persons considered as state property.
The Greeks first associated tattoos with barbarians. But over time, the tattoos were accepted in the Greek civilization, to identify those who had committed crimes. Plato, a Greek philosopher, indicated that those who had stolen from the temple should carry this marked crime on the head and on the hands.
The slaves who had been liberated in Greece were also marked on their faces, to indicate their former slave status and their present freedom.
Sometimes the Greeks also used the tattoo as fun. The Romans copied this practice and the Emperor Caligula tattooed the members of his court by diversion.
Meaning of Greek tattoos
This type of body art often has meaning. This one is sometimes religious. Some people tattoo biblical verses in Greek on the skin. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and its very first translation was made in Greek.
The tattoos of biblical verses in Greek therefore have deep religious roots. The images also have a meaning in the Greek tattoos. You can often see a dove as a basic motif. In Greek mythology, the dove represents peace and serenity.
In most of the compositions, this drawing shows a dove holding in its beak a strand of olive tree. This motif has great Biblical significance.
A Greek word can also be placed under the bird. The olive-tree dove refers to the story of Noah, who sent a dove to see if the water level had dropped and if the land was visible again. The olive branch indicated the presence of territories where to live, representing the hope for Noah and the whole of humanity.
Tattoos are often warriors. The Greeks have a lot of respect for their fighters and admire the bravery and patriotism that depress these figures. One of the most popular warriors as a tattoo subject is Achilles, the greatest fighter of ancient Greece.
Achilles is the hero of the Trojan War but also the main subject of Homer's Iliad. A tattoo depicting Achilles symbolizes courage, strength and patience. It also indicates that every man has a secret weakness – as is the case with Achilles and his heel. It's a tattoo full of movement and deep meaning.
The Greek tattoos also represent their gods and goddesses. The Greeks possessed a whole pantheon of gods whom they worshiped. These deities represented different elements of life and the earth. One of the most popular goddesses on the Greek tattoos is Aphrodite.
A drawing of Aphrodite represents beauty and love.
It means that the person who wears this tattoo wants to live a life full of meaning and happy relationships. There are many types of Greek tattoos. Continue reading to discover them.