Articole despre Daci/Geţi, Dacia/Geţia (Articles with Dacians/Getae, Dacia/Getia)

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Constanta, Romania
OM dac/get mandru de stramosii lui ! (Proud Dacian OM); - studii: postuniversitare - masterat (master degree) Universitatea "Ovidius" Constanta; - hobby: muzica, tatuaje, istorie adevarata (music, tattoos, true history); Daca esti tolerant, tolereaza-mi intoleranta / If you are tolerant, tolerate my intolerance. "Prostul moare de grija altuia."

vineri, 2 aprilie 2010

Tattoo Origins at the Balkans

Ancient Balkan people the Ilyrians and Thracians knew the art of tattoo and were known to have practised it a lot. Many ancient authors wrote about it mentioning certain tribes and nations in these (and other) areas, and we can say that tattooing was wide spread. Sometimes it is difficult to find what it really was - scarification, burns, colouring the body or tattooing. Many suggestions but none are precise enough.

Some of the oldest evidence on existence of tattooing were left by Herodotus (500 BC) in his "Historia" where he described Thracians: "Stitching was their sign for an aristocrat and who has had no tattoos done - descend from ordinary people." 100 years later Plutarhus wrote "Thracians mark their wives with stitching..."

Dio Christotomus also wrote that "free women in Thracia were covered with signs and scars although they derived from a noble family." Roman poet Valerius Flacus (100 B.C.) wrote in his epic poem "Argonautica" that kidnapped Thracian girl was a participant at barbaric custom called "coloured and stigmatized arms." That should be connected with Thracian tradition to do tattoos, scars and burns.

Artemidos mentioned that Thracians were marking children from noble aristocratic families, but Goths were marking their slaves with tattoos. There is a note about one of the Thracian tribes the Agatirians. "All of the noble had a lot of tattooing on their faces and limbs." Roman geographer Pomponius Mela (100 B.C.) remarked "Agatirians particularly the noble ones colour their faces and limbs with colour which can not be washed away." We should almost be certain that those were tattoos.

Plinios (100 A.D.) wrote about barbaric people in his "Historia naturalis." Another Thracian tribe (the Dacians - they lived in the area of present Romania) is mentioned as their men were tattooed. And the same at the neighbouring tribe of the Sarmatians.

They did not do only the usual colouring of the body because Plinios reported that those marks and scars can be inherited from father to son for few generations and still remain the same - the sign of Dacian origin. It is a bit exaggerated but at the same time shows that those permanent signs were tattoos. We should believe it because later Hesychios wrote about tattooed men in those areas where among others lived also Dacians. All mentioned peoples were settled at the east of the Balkan peninsula. At the west there were Japodians and Ilirians. Strabo (100 B.C.) wrote about them in his book "Geographica." "Japodians mark themselves with stitching just like other Ilirians and Thracians." So the tattooing was widely spread among ancient balkan peoples and tribes.

Written evidence is completed with archeological discoveries. They found a mosaic picture of a Thracian girl Menada with "zig-zag" stripes on her legs; lines made of dots and a design of a flower. Archeologists explained it as a motive from real life. It represents an image of tattooed Thracian women and at the same time confirms written remarks of mentioned authors.


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