The graffiti of Pompeii


40 Responses to “The graffiti of Pompeii”

  1. RKTR ♫ says:

    What was the graffiti painted with?  Berries?  Ancient paint?  Taxidermied squirrel rattle cans?

    • Boundegar says:

       You may be shocked to learn this primitive ancient tribe actually possessed the secret of paint.  Since ancient implies low IQ, we can only assume it was given to them by Ancient Astronauts.

    • Some was painted. It’s not like they didn’t have ink, paints, and dyes back then. But a lot of it was scratched in. Pretty much like today’s bathrooms, but Romans didn’t have much of a taboo against writing stuff on public walls.

  2. Rich Keller says:

    And there was a little guy named Youtubulus Appelius who would transcribe all  of your graffiti into “Herpo derpo,  herpas derpas, herpamus derpamus…”

  3. chilero says:

    Wow, I just read a bunch of these. That Secundus really gets around. He’s in love with Prima but he also screws boys, and every time he defecates somewhere he takes note of it on the wall. 

  4. Melinda9 says:

    Re  ‘To the one defecating here…’: Looks like ‘passive-aggressive notes’ have been around a very long time.

  5. Jeremy Mesiano-Crookston says:

    II.7 (gladiator barracks); 8792: On April 19th, I made bread

    Don’t ever say that ancient romans didn’t know how to party.

  6. show me says:

    I looked for The Hidden History of Rome on Netflix and it’s nowhere to be found.

  7. A few of my favorites:

    Samius Cornelio suspendere (Samius Cornelio: go hang yourself)

    Miximus in lecto, fateor; peccavimus, hospes. Si dices quare — nulla matella fuit. (I confess, we have peed in bed; we have done wrong, innkeeper. If you ask why — there wasn’t a chamber pot)

    Vatiam aed. rogant Macerio dormientes universi cum… (Macerio, the United Slackers, together with… support Vatia for aedile)

    Vatiam aed. furunculi rog. (The petty thieves support Vatia for aedile)

    M. Cerrinium Vatium aed. O.V.F. seribibi universi rogant… (The United Carousers request that you voice support for M. Cerrinius Vatia for aedile)

    Marcellus Praenestinam amat et non curatur (Marcellus loves Praenestina and she doesn’t care)

    Well, if you don’t like my choices: Crucifigaris! (Go nail yourself to a cross)

  8. Considering the graffiti problem in Pompeii, it’s probably not surprising that there were so many “Beware of dog” signs there.

  9. Narmitaj says:

    Looking at the same sort of ground-up Roman life is Cambridge prof Mary Beard in her 3-part BBC “Meet The Romans” series, complete with occasional rude imagery and heartfelt and informative declarations on tombs. for info on one episode, Streetlife.

    She also did a programme called Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman Town . She also, naturally, publishes on the subject.

  10. Navin_Johnson says:

    I always like to refer folks who whine about graffiti or declining morals to these examples, as well as to images from the “Gabinetto Segreto” that contains many of the naughty art and objects from Pompeii.

    • digi_owl says:

      Reminds me that Romans had no issue with homosexuality as long as it was not flaunted (tho at least one emperor did just that).

      • hypnosifl says:

        The Romans didn’t really recognize a homosexual/heterosexual distinction, it was more of a penetrator/penetrated distinction, and the taboo was against a male citizen being in the “penetrated” category. See here or here for more info.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      I just like how every generation thinks the next one is corrupt and the ones previously were pure.

  11. Boundegar says:

    Not only dirty graffiti; Pompeii was decorated with absolutely filthy murals and mosaics.  My anarchist grandfather smuggled a book of them through customs in the 40s.

  12. Kaleberg says:

    There’s also some fascinating wall art in Pompeii.

    A friend of mine’s father was stationed in Pozzuoli, just outside Pompeii, during World War II, so he had to see the ruins. He was told, by his hosts, to make sure to ask the guide to see the balange, the balance or scale. Apparently this was a wall painting of a guy weighing his testicles against a weight of gold.

    One of the gyms in Pompeii had a mural of women in bikinis working out with hand weights. The New York Times used this – hey, public domain – to illustrate an article on fitness. A friend of mine saw it and said it had to be bogus. But no, it was real.

  13. lasermike026 says:

    And my favorite,  “Epaphra, you are bald!”

  14. Sagodjur says:

    Nos sunt adfigimur.

  15. IvonaPoyntz says:

    Grafitti in Pompei??

  16. brainflakes says:

    “Satura was here on September 3rd”

    Nice to see how far back the classics go :)

  17. As much as I enjoyed these, I question the authenticity. Especially when I read “Gaius Pumidius Dipilus was here on October 3rd 78 BC.” Was he a time traveller?

  18. Navin_Johnson says:

    (Bar of Salvius) By the door of the bar, another picture shows a short man driving a group of men out.  Above his head are the words, “Go on, get out of here!  You have been fighting!”

    A barkeep’s woes never change..

  19. Koocheekoo says:

    Ancient tweets and passive aggressive notes. Love the one where the fellow is sick of people pooping in his yard. :D Some things in human nature never change. I can SO see this posted on Twitter:  
     “The man I am having dinner with is a barbarian.”

  20. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    Nothing about “Bigus Dickus” of Judea?

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