Sydromachos had a backside “as big as a cistern.”
March 23, 2011 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Titas wuz here: Ancient graffiti begins giving up its secrets. [Via]
posted by homunculus (15 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorite bits when I see the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is seeing the hundreds' of years worth of graffiti that's also been carved on it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:38 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Walking through the tunnel at the Nemean Stadium (interesting in its own right, as a very early arch) and seeing the graffiti left by athletes thousands of years ago is one of the most direct connections I've had to ancient history. My understanding is that it translates as something like "Bob is totally hot!".
posted by freebird at 10:49 AM on March 23, 2011

Ein arsch wie ein Brauereipferd!
posted by moonbiter at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2011

They occupy the sharp end of a small but enthusiastic group of academics who argue that the “Great Men” approach to history has left a gaping hole in our understanding of the ancient world.

This group hasn't been small for decades.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:21 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I hope these small presses one day realize they'll make more money if they slash the prices of their ebooks.
posted by zzazazz at 11:23 AM on March 23, 2011

Well, you can get it new for $83 on Amazon, or pay $125 from someone who hasn't realized that second-hand books are usually cheaper than new ones. Shame, I'd probably pay about $20 for a printed copy but no more.
posted by mdoar at 11:31 AM on March 23, 2011

Not exactly graffiti, but just as neat: Roman-era curse tablets from the baths at...well, Bath. People would write messages to the gods on small sheets of lead or pewter and them either nail them to a wall or roll them up and throw them in the spring. They usually involved cursing people who had stolen clothing or money while their owners were bathing.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:41 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Some tweets translated. The level of literacy is amazing me even if a few were not written in classical latin.

"Arphocras hic cum Drauca bene futuit denario" has survived in a lot of public restrooms with just the name changed to this day.
posted by francesca too at 11:56 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

"I’m amazed, O wall, that you have not fallen in ruins, you who support the tediousness of so many writers."
posted by dirtdirt at 1:37 PM on March 23, 2011

Similar inscriptions can be found in the tomb of Maeshowe in Orkney, carved by Vikings who broke into the mound:

Ingigerth is the most beautiful of all women

Thorni fucked. Helgi carved.

Lif the earl's cook carved these runes

To the north-west is a great treasure hidden.

It was long ago that a great treasure was hidden here. Happy is he that might find that great treasure.

Hakon alone bore treasure from this mound

It is surely true what I say than treasure was taken away. Treasure was carried off in three nights before those
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:57 PM on March 23, 2011

II.4.1 (bar; left of the door, near a picture of Mercury); 8475: Palmyra, the thirst-quencher
posted by The Whelk at 2:06 PM on March 23, 2011

In the ancient Roman world, graffiti was a respected form of writing—often interactive – not the kind of defacement we now see on rocky cliffs and bathroom stalls.

Well considering that only a very few educated people could write, it was a pretty elite class that was able to deface walls.

Today even stupid people can spell which represents, by itself, a huge advancement over the ancients.
posted by three blind mice at 2:44 PM on March 23, 2011

Let's not forget the oldest known palindrome, found as a graffito at Pompeii:


(though the two oldest known examples, at Pompeii and Cirencester were backwards, starting with ROTAS)
posted by msalt at 3:10 PM on March 23, 2011

posted by A dead Quaker at 5:52 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

posted by atrazine at 4:49 AM on March 24, 2011

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