Ancient Graffiti in Context by Jennifer Baird, Claire Taylor

By Jennifer Baird, Claire Taylor

Graffiti are ubiquitous in the historic global, yet stay underexploited as a sort of archaeological or historic proof. They comprise an outstanding number of texts and photographs written or drawn in and out constructions, in private and non-private areas, on monuments within the urban, on gadgets utilized in everyday life, and on mountains within the nation-state. In each one case they are often visible as actively attractive with their surroundings in a number of methods. Ancient Graffiti in Context interrogates this cultural phenomenon and via doing so, brings it into the mainstream of old background and archaeology. targeting diverse methods to and interpretations of graffiti from a number of websites and chronological contexts, Baird and Taylor pose a chain of questions no longer formerly requested of this proof, corresponding to: What are graffiti, and the way do we interpret them? In what methods, and with whom, do graffiti converse? To what volume do graffiti symbolize or subvert the cultural values of the society during which they happen? via evaluating issues throughout time and area, and viewing graffiti in context, this booklet offers a chain of interpretative suggestions for students and scholars of the traditional global. As such it is going to be crucial examining for Classical archaeologists and historians alike.

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Yet this cluster of graffiti, as well as other examples from Pompeii, suggests that women may not have been completely shut out from participating in this act of written communication. The analysis of these graffiti so far has been confi ned essentially to their content and has therefore focused on the types of names these women bear. Matteo Della Corte hypothesized that Quartilla was freeborn and a relative of the homeowner, while the other women named in the graffiti, with names common in the Greek world (Nicopolis, Euplia, Anthis and Cypare), were slaves (Della Corte 1965: 331–2).

With the visibility of the message, which could greet anyone who ventured into the atrium, the wish seems intended both for inhabitants and for visitors to the house. That sentiment of welcome may also explain the clustering of graffiti drawings surrounding it. The drawings are found to the right, to the left, and below the inscribed message. Perhaps there was a desire to be close to that positive message and statement of approval, especially if it represented the will of the paterfamilias. In any case, the clustering of figural graffiti here, when only one other example is found in the entire house, would seem to be connected to the textual graffito in the centre of the wall.

Interpuncts furthermore stand between each word and serifs cap every letter, elements that bestow a formal appearance on the inscribed text. The individual who inscribed this graffito was in no way struggling to form his or her letters. This message was composed in sure, elegant form by someone who was familiar with writing and who knew the conventions of formal, public inscriptions. The message reads: quos • L • V • P • amat • valeant (may those whom LVP loves fare well), and offers an adaptation of a popular epigram that appeared throughout Pompeii.

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