The study of the ancient tattooed Mediterranean people from Assyria (circa 3300 BCE-2100 BCE), Egypt (circa 2000 BCE-300 BCE) Nubia (circa 2000 BCE-300 BCE), Israel (circa 1500 BCE-1200 BCE), Greece (circa 510 BCE-323 BCE), and Rome (circa 510 BCE-323 BCE) comprises the interpretivist investigation into the social-scientific and critical spatial practices of the cultures in order to establish whether or not the tattooed individuals would have been othered because of their marks. This othering is investigated in terms of the body in space, as well as the body as space.
The social-scientific and critical spatial interpretation of the tattooing practices of the ancient Mediterranean cultures show that there are nine social values which are common to these cultures. These values are clothing, communicativeness, honour and shame, humility, nudity, ordering, prominence, social norms, customs, and laws (originally referred to as Torah-orientation), and wholeness. The analysis of these values as they are applied to each of the aforementioned cultures allows for the establishment of the social body as an entity within social space, as well as a spatial entity in itself. The critical spatial interpretation of the phenomenon of Thirding-as-Othering is applied in terms of how the tattooed individuals are othered within the social spaces they inhabit. Critical spatiality is further applied in order analyse the tattooed body in space, based on its social interaction within societal space, as well as to body as space which is analysed based on the individual who bears the tattoos, and the meaning, affect, and esteem that are imparted to that individual by virtue of his or her marks.
This study shows that there is a distinction between honourable and shameful tattoos, and that the othering which occurs based on the honour or shame of the tattooed individual either others the marked individual in the case of shameful tattoos, or, in the case of honourable tattoos, other the unmarked individuals by refusing them access and entry into elite communities, such as those of the military.
Finally, the study identifies four factors of the ancient Mediterranean tattooing process which may be compared, namely, whether or not the tattooing process is engaged in under the individual’s own volition, whether the tattooing process is only applicable to one or both sexes, whether the tattoos are honourable or shameful, and whether the tattoos are decorative, religious, military, or punitive and preventative.