While many get tattoos for its aesthetic value, we can’t argue that many still get one to share a story. The common thing to do for these people are create designs based on unforgettable moments of their life. But what more can pay homage to these moments than the dates itself? We can simply remember the happiest moment of your life, but always remembering the date is something else. That is what a Roman numeral tattoo is for. Let’s face it, not everyone can actually remember some memorable dates, no matter how important the event was.
Roman numerals may be quite simple without any design to go with it. However, it can be versatile as another element to a design. You could add other subjects that complement your tattoo. Not only does this give the tattoo a more pleasing look, it also brings a new meaning to your ink.
Brief History of Roman Numerals
As the name suggests, this numeric symbol came from the Romans. These included graphic symbols to represent numbers. Today, the predominantly used symbol for Roman numerals are letters. This was used for almost 2000 years by the ancient civilization of Rome. In fact, almost the entire Europe adapted the system until Arabic numbers was introduced around 1300 A.D.
Roman numerals were still in use even after Ancient Rome fell. Though not as widely used as Arabic numbers, it is still used today. It has even become a popular tattoo design in the industry.
Roman Numerals Today
Besides being on the face of various old-style and expensive clocks and watches, Roman numerals are not something you encounter often. Sure, you might have learned them at school one time but it’s no surprise you and many others have mostly forgotten about them.
However, more people are researching about this numeric system, especially the ones that best represent certain dates and years. In truth, it is quite complicated and confusing. But once you get the hang of it, it will be easier to convert dates and numbers to Roman numerals. This will be important if you want a Roman numeral tattoo.
Why Get a Roman Numeral Tattoo?
If you are thinking getting inked, you would probably want to have a Roman numeral tattoo. This is a way to immortalize moments in your life through the dates. It can be the different birthdays of your kids, your parents or your significant other. It could be your birthday or your birth year. You can have a tattoo of your wedding date. There are lots of possible dates that you can include that is most memorable for you.
Apart from dates, you can also put numbers that mean a lot to you. It could be your lucky number. You can even have tattoos of your order as siblings. This is one of the most common design for families.
But apart from what it could mean, a Roman numeral tattoo is versatile in terms of where you can place it. You can have it almost anywhere on your body. However, certain places are getting more popular as placement ideas.
Placement Ideas for Roman Numeral Tattoos
Here are some placement ideas you can choose for your Roman numeral tattoo plus some common designs:
- Collar bone – The collar bone might be a painful place to get a tattoo. But it is getting more popular these days especially for clean, long tattoos. Roman numerals are perfect for both men and women and can add an ounce of charm and sexiness. A simple design is enough for this. You can either have your birthday or birth year or a certain date or number.
- Shoulders – You can also choose to put your tattoo on your shoulders. The space is enough for long tattoos such as quotes, numbers, and Roman numerals. Just like with the collar bone, there is a certain charm to a shoulder tattoo. It is also great for both men and women.
- Forearm – The forearm is another perfect place for longer tattoos. Since the space is bigger, you can add elements such as a clock, a tree or a tree branch, or an arrow. A tree usually means resilience while an arrow is moving forward or getting propelled forward. Adding these elements could adapt those meanings. You can make a tattoo design that would remind you of when you have moved forward or when your resiliency was most tested. Of course, the meaning could be entirely different and it is up to you.
- Arms – While the arms are usually the place for bigger sleeve tattoos, your Roman numeral tattoo could find a home there as well. You can put the birthdays of your children or loved ones.
- Chest or back – The chest and the back are two wide spaces that could make way for bigger tattoos. Most common design is a pocket watch with Roman numerals and gears. You can have it surrealistic or realistic style; depends on you really. You can also create more unique designs that best suits your personality.
- Ankles or wrist – Many put Roman numeral tattoos of their height on their ankles. It’s a nice way to be proud of who you are, even though you are merely 5 feet in height. One other design is transforming one side of the “V” into a flock of flying birds.
- Spine – Another sexy and attractive place to put long tattoos is along the spine. Although this is a painful place to get a tattoo, the pain is worth it.
More Roman Numeral Tattoo Ideas
The best tattoo designs are the unique ones that mean a lot to you. But really, it’s hard to be creative without a few ideas. So to help you out, here are some common designs that could inspire you to create a one-of-a-kind Roman numeral tattoo.
Crossed arrows and numerals – Crossed arrows usually signify friendship. The numerals can signify the date of when the friendship started. Others also use the crossed arrows to signify a relationship with their partner. The date could either be when they met or when they got married.
Roman numerals and swirls – The swirls are really just for improving the tattoo design. You can have it as a border or just one side. You can choose simple swirls or more complicated ones. Other elements like hearts and dots also make great decors.
Roman numeral and Arabic or worded counterpart – A simple Roman numeral tattoo is enough. But you can always level it up with its Arabic or worded counterpart. It’s also better if you don’t want to be frequently asked what your tattoo means.
Matching finger tattoo – This is great for couples. You can get an ink of the date of your wedding on your ring finger. It’s a nice little way to remember your special day besides your wedding band.
In white ink – While many use bold black ink, you can use white ink. It is often used for highlighting but it’s getting popularity because of its aesthetic value. It could be almost invisible on fair skin and a wonderful color on darker skin tones.
A different font – It’s almost like Times New Roman is the default font for Roman numeral tattoos. However, you can always experiment with the font and try new ones such as script and calligraphy types.
Numerals on rock – In the old days, they often use rocks to write. You can adapt this concept on your tattoo and create a 3D effect with the rock.
Watercolor style – A simple design to improve your Roman numeral tattoo is to add splashes of pastel color. You can do it in a watercolor style, something that resembles a brush or drip of watercolor on paper.
Roman numeral with a rose – Another perfect design for those in a relationship is one with a rose. Red roses as tattoos represent love and passion.
Birthday with heartbeat – If you wanted to have your birthday tatted on you, you can add heartbeat to signify the day you were born.
Roman numeral on infinity sign – You can have any number or date of your choice into an infinity sign. Usually, couples use this symbol as it represents infinite love, eternity, and perfection.
To prove that Roman numeral tats are popular, here is a list of celebrities with this type of tattoo. You can also gain inspiration from your favorite celeb.
David Beckham, a British athlete, celebrity and art lover has a tattoo of the number seven on the underside of his arm. This was his jersey number when he was a player for Manchester United. Justin Bieber, a Canadian pop star is often seen with a collar tattoo of the year his mom was born. Rihanna also had the same idea with a Roman numeral tat of her best friend’s birthday on her shoulders. Her friend also got a tattoo of Rihanna’s brithday on hers.
Translating Roman Numerals
If you want this type of tattoo, here’s the translation and how you can convert your birthday or your favorite year to Roman numeral. As said, Latin letters represent a certain number.
The letter “I” is equivalent to 1; letter “V” is equivalent to 5; “X” is equivalent to 10; “L” is equivalent to 50; the letter “C” is equivalent to 100; letter “D” is equivalent to 500; and the letter “M” is equivalent to 1000.
Now, these are just divisible by 10s and 5s. How about the other numbers? To form other numbers, you only need to combine the figures. For example for the number 3, it would be III. Nonetheless, IV is for 4. Sometimes, a figure can be done by placing a lesser figure before a higher figure. Doing this means that the lesser value is subtracted to the higher value.
That being said, I or 1 is subtracted to V which is 5 which is equivalent to 4. Another example is CM which is C for 100 subtracted from M which is 1000. This is then equivalent to 900.
Before Getting a Tattoo
If you have decided to ink a tattoo, there are a few things you first have to consider. You have to find a good tattoo artist to help you with the design if you still don’t have one. The design is also another thing you should consider.
Roman numerals are quite simple to do but very confusing if you are not familiar with it. That being said, research is very important. This is a must-do for every design you want to have. A permanent tattoo is something that stays with you for the rest of your life. You don’t want to have a design that you will soon regret having.
As for the tattoo artist, you’d want to find a person that can do the style you want. As with various artists, some people are better at certain styles. If you want a watercolor style tattoo, you would need to find a person who is confident with doing that certain style. The same goes with realistic or 3D tattoos or with tribal ones.
Another consideration for finding a tattoo artist is to ensure they prioritize your safety. They should have a clean parlor with a sanitizing equipment. It’s also important that they use new and unused needles for the tattoo gun.
The aftercare is as important as the initial steps of having a tattoo. In fact, this could be more essential as the aftercare can make or break your tattoo. Proper aftercare can make your tattoo look amazing and perfect. However, do something wrong and it could cause scarring and the destruction of your tattoo.
When you get home from the tattoo artist, they would likely put a cover over it. You might want to wait for at least 2 hours to 4 hours before taking off the bandage.
The ink is still setting on your skin so there would be excess ink. There would also be blood from the punctures of the tattoo gun. You can wash the area to clean it but use mild and fragrant-free soap. You’d also want to moisturize the area but use mild, fragrant-free and alcohol-free lotion.