How often did roman legionary soldiers get tattoos?
There is a common popular myth that Roman soldiers were given a tattoo of the letters S.P.Q.R on their arms to brand them as legionaries for life, but this is entirely false. S.P.Q.R stands for Senatus PopulusQue Romanus, which refers to the senate and government of Rome. In popular culture, such as in the film Gladiator, Roman soldiers are given this tattoo to brand them as soldiers within the army. In reality, however, there is no evidence to suggest that this ever happened in the Roman army. Tattoos were reserved for slaves and criminals, who were branded with tattoos in order to show their status and ensure they could always be identified.