“Made in Rome”: A New Exhibition at Trajan’s Markets

A new exhibition is on display at Trajan’s Markets, which celebrates “brands” that were popular in Ancient Rome.

The exhibition, which has been called “Made in Rome”, illustrates how brands have played an important role throughout the history of Rome and even in ancient times. The exhibition is divided into two parts, highlighting the industrial aspects of branding (i.e., how Roman entrepreneurs, called officinatores, used it to mark buildings) and the use of “trademarks” on ancient products, such as marble and precious materials.

The display features rare archaeological finds that show the “trademarks” used by Ancient Rome and also highlights the important role that Roman women played in the Empire, as some of the named “trademark” owners, known as dominae, were women, as were some of the entrepreneurs, albeit only around 6%!

These trademarks, or marks of quality, also extended to medicines as, in Ancient Rome, all medicines had to have a mark of origin that gave a guarantee as to who had made the medicine, what it was made from and for what disease it was for. Drinks also had to carry a mark, particularly wine, which was often tested and checked for its quality, and then approved and branded.

If for many populations of the earth getting tattoos was a source of social distinction, of religious ritual or medicinal, for the Romans the tattoo symbol, the stigma, was a negative mark. For example, runaway slaves were tattooed with the mark FHE (fugitivus hic est). In the period of Late Antiquity, the legionaries could be branded with the symbol of the legion to prevent desertions.

The exhibition will be on display until 20th November 2016 (from 9:30 to 19:30) and tickets cost €14.

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