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Did Crusaders get Tattoos? Devotional Symbols and Practices in Medieval Europe and the Holy Land

Did Crusaders get Tattoos? Devotional Symbols and Practices in Medieval Europe and the Holy Land

Paper given by William Purkis

Given at the Museum and Library of the Order of St John on September 28, 2016

I explore what appears to be a largely overlooked aspect of devotional practice associated with the medieval crusading movement. Before I discuss the issue of tattooing itself however, I want to introduce the broader context for the topic of tonight’s lecture, by considering the symbol that defines the experience of crusading in the Middle Ages – the sign of the cross.

William Purkis is the Principal Investigator on the Bearers of the Cross project and Reader in Medieval History at the University of Birmingham. You can read his article “Did the Crusaders get Tattoos?” in Medieval Warfare Magazine VII:4

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