In this video, YouTube: Did Ancient Romans Use Tattoos? @ 4:35, the presenter mentions some "taxes paid" tattoo or branding for slaves sold outside of the empire. Do we have any evidence of what these would have looked like, or what particular wording/abbreviations would be used for such?

My previous attempt to have this answered last year led understanding this was a publicani marking and more likely to have been a brand than tattoo. I would like the question reopened given the additional information that is here presented even if it was acquired from last year's question. Thank you.


1 Answer 1


I am afraid there is not a lot of information whatsoever regarding the wording or the way it looked.

I do recall reading once, i think it was on wikipedia under the page of Human branding that ancient Romans used mark runaway slaves with the letters FVG or FUG for fugitivus

Anyhow, i think you might find this helpful.

  • Welcome to the History Stack. We generally would not accept a wiki entry from a movie or game fan site as an authoritative source. Both of your links are also concerning branding of runaway slaves, while the topic here is tattoo or branding for slaves sold outside of the empire., not runaways. We also prefer answers to explain the relevance of any links made, usually including excerpts or quotes ,fully and appropriately documenting the source, and explaining the reason why the source (if necessary) and the information is significant to the answer of the question itself.
    – justCal
    Dec 25, 2022 at 19:14

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