Thursday, 15 September 2011

A question about graffiti

I'm writing a book about ancient and medieval graffiti for middle school/high school students. I'm hoping that one of the chapters will be about the graffiti of Pompeii, but I'm having difficulty finding books with photos or drawings of the graffiti, with translations.
Any suggestions?

Toni Rhodes
Stone Mountain, GA


Rob Brown said...

Try Alison Cooley's book Pompeii: A Sourcebook
This has a very good accounting of the graffiti with translations and CIL references.

Sarah Court said...

Thanks to Sue McLeod for her reply originally posted on Facebook:

Hi Toni Re: your graffiti question. Most of the standard general books on Pompeii will mention the graffiti and often have pictures (don’t forget the illustrated books for children like those of the British Museum and the Met which often have great illustrations to use even with older students and also tourist guidebooks) Try the sites and both of which have great pictures of graffiti in situ. The heavy duty spot for inscriptions of any kind is the good old Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (known as CIL to its friends) volume IV is devoted to Pompeii but you will probably need access to a university library or similar to get access to a copy. Helen Tanzer’s book ‘The common people of Pompeii. A study of the graffiti’, Nicholas Horsfall’s ‘Culture of the Roman plebs’, James Franklin’s ‘Pompeis difficile est’ and Jerry Toner’s ‘Popular culture in ancient Rome’ all discuss the graffiti specifically. A lot of the Pompeian graffiti will really engage your students – its rude to very rude .. like Paul Simon says much of it is single worded poems composed of four letters (or the equivalent in Latin!) but most of it is lists, election posters, ads for coming attractions and there is certainly lots of it – though sadly much is fading away now. Some of it reveals quite a high standard of literacy – one of my favourites is ‘fullones ululamque cano non arma virumq(ue)’ – ‘of fullers and the owl I sing not of arms and the man’ (a play on words with the first line of The Aeneid), some of it is cute – there is one which is apparently kids keeping score in a game (like rounders or baseball) – and one just says ‘admiror parie(n)s te non cedidisse ruinis qui tot / scriptorium taedia sustineas’ – ‘I stand amazed, oh wall, that you have not fallen into ruins, bearing so many tedious writings’ (CIL IV 1904) Hope this helps! (I originally sent it via Blogging Pompei but it wouldn't let me post it there)

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