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  • Writer's pictureJP Kenwood

Inscribed ‘gifts’ in ancient Rome

Inscribed pieces of jewelry, both the objects themselves and the words carved into the materiality of the objects, have always been recurrent plot ‘tokens’ in my storytelling. I’m drawn to the idea of the inscribed gift. The permanence of sentiments and identifiers scratched into art fascinates me. In fact, the first gift I ever gave to the only person I’ve ever loved romantically was an inscribed token to express my blossoming affection. Sheesh, this really does go way back.

Then there’s the variety of inscribed objects that have already popped up in the Dominus saga…

Allerix’s slave collar and fugitive tag. Words of ownership.

Lucius’s inscribed bracelet gift to Bryaxis for the Saturnalia. Words of devotion.

Simon’s gold bangles. Baubles without words. Meaningless adornment?

gold inscribed bracelet found at Pompeii

Here’s an interesting article on a famous bracelet from Pompeii connected, by virtue of the inscription, to Roman master/slave relationship(s). The permeance and elusiveness of words scratched into art. And the complexities in trying to understand Roman sexual slavery.

Scroll down the linked page to read. No need to sign up or connect via social media sites. Warning for academic babble.


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