When Pompeii was covered in pumice and ashes from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (A.D. 79) it became frozen in time and left undisturbed until its accidental rediscovery in 1749. When archeologists starting sifting through the ashes they discovered thousands of inscriptions and graffiti all around the city. This led to the formation of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum in 1853 and the organization’s ongoing and painstaking work of recording every known piece of graffiti. Here are some of the examples they’ve found in Pompeii. (note: The number after the location in parentheses is the catalogue number of the inscription – not the date) – (Volume 4):
- (Bar/Brothel of Innulus and Papilio); 3932: Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!
- (House of the Citharist; below a drawing of a man with a large nose); 2375: Amplicatus, I know that Icarus is buggering you. Salvius wrote this.
- (In the vestibule of the House of Cuspius Pansa); 8075: The finances officer of the emperor Nero says this food is poison
- (Near the rear entrance vestibule of the House of Menander); 8356: At Nuceria, look for Novellia Primigenia near the Roman gate in the prostitute’s district.
- And the still popular graffiti – found on the exterior of the House of Menander; 8304: Satura was here on September 3rd