O wall

The Romans covered their public spaces with writing: advertisements, announcements, election endorsements, and just plain personal comments.

One of my favorites comes from the basilica in the forum of Pompeii. It’s a tiny poem on the topic of graffiti.

It reads as follows:

admiror, paries, te non cecidisse ruina,
qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas. (CIL 4.2461)

Which means:

“Wall, I’m surprised you don’t fall to pieces,
since you bear the dronings of so many writers.”

There’s a pun in “sustineas” which means both “put up with” and “hold up” (the English word “sustain” is a derivative). “taedia” is related to the english word “tedium”.

Gladiator Graffito

Gladiator Graffito by MrJennings

Sketch reproducing an ancient Roman graffito of a gladiator, originally from Pompeii.

When I went to Capua in 2004, the Gladiator Museum had an exhibit of replica gladiator graffiti, originally found on the podium of a tomb in the necropolis outside the Nucerian Gate of Pompeii. Many of the graffiti show drawings of gladiators.

Another Flickr user identified this type of gladiator as a Thraex = Thracian.

(original photo by me)