The ancient Roman poem so explicit it wasn't published until the 20th century

By now, we've all seen that raunchy Roman bathroom graffiti that confirms that historical peoples were just as gross and juvenile as our contemporary friends and neighbors. The human inclination to write a dick joke on the walls of the stall are intrinsic to our species. Bringing a marker with you to the latrine and feeling compelled to scrawl with it right then and there is, it turns out, a base human instinct. Just as much as using teabagging your defeated opponent in a video game.

Or boasting of your sexual dominance as a means of establishing superiority over spiteful critics, and to boast about one's manliness, as poet Gaius Valerius Catullus so artfully wrote in Catullus 16. It reads, translated in full, without censure (parents, hire a sitter), as follows

I will sodomize you and face-fuck you,
bottom Aurelius and catamite Furius,
you who think, because my poems
are sensitive, that I have no shame.
For it's proper for a devoted poet to be moral
himself, [but] in no way is it necessary for his poems.
In point of fact, these have wit and charm,
if they are sensitive and a little shameless,
and can arouse an itch,
and I don't mean in boys, but in those hairy old men
who can't get it up.
Because you've read my countless kisses,
you think less of me as a man?
I will sodomize you and face-fuck you.

There's hardly any word-mincing here. This is a threat from an eloquent and pissed off poet, and one who writes in a respectable meter, at that. If you somehow missed exactly what he's meant to say here, read this articulate, modern interpretation of the prose from Micaela Wakil Janan.

Fuck you, boys, up the butt and in the mouth, you queer Aurelius and you fag Furius! You size me up, on the basis of my poems, because they're a little sexy, as not really decent. A poet has to live clean – but not his poems. They only have spice and charm, if somewhat sexy and really not for children – if, in fact, they cause body talk (I'm not talking in teenagers, but in hairy old men who can barely move their stiff bums). But you, because you happen to read about "many thousands of kisses," you think I'm not a man? Fuck you, boys, up the butt and in the mouth

Watch a theatrical reading of it here.

Is it art? Yes, scholars agree (Bloggers, too). Is it obscene? Literally, sure. But is it really obscene? What does that really mean in terms of expressing an idea, and in relation to the poet's word choice for self-expression? That's really up for debate. Either way, what an excellent, historically noteworthy "fuck you"!