The Romans were a fairly earthy lot, so please don’t read on if you are easily offended…
A selection of graffiti to be found on the walls of Pompeian buildings:
Fortunatus you sweet little darling you great fornicator, someone who knows you writes this.
Figulus loves Idaia
G. Julius Promogenius was here on time, what’s keeping you?
Jarinus had a girl here with Athetus
You’ve had eight jobs; now it only remains for you to double the list and make it sixteen. You’ve been a pub-waiter, you’ve made pottery, you’ve dealt in salted fish, you’ve done bakery, you’ve been a farmer, you’ve made small bronze oddments, you’ve been a street-hawker, now you make little flasks. If only you’ll hire yourself out to the ladies, you’ll have fun the whole gamut.
The petty thieves ask you to elect Vatia as city magistrate
Macerio and those who sleep a lot ask you to elect Vatia as city magistrate
All the late drinkers ask you to elect Marcus Cerrinius Vatia as city magistrate
Secundus says hello to his Prima, wherever she is. I ask, my mistress, that you love me.
Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!
The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
Chie, I hope your hemorrhoids rub together so much that they hurt worse than when they ever have before!
Floronius, privileged soldier of the 7th legion, was here. The women did not know of his presence. Only six women came to know, too few for such a stallion.
Antiochus hung out here with his girlfriend Cithera.
On April 19th, I made bread
I admire you wall, for not having collapsed at having to carry the tedious scribblings of so many writers
Butterworth & Lawrence (2005) Pompeii, the living city. Orion Books Ltd, London
Lindsay. J. (1961) Ribaldry of Rome. Paul Eleck Ltd London
McKeown, J., (2010) A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities. OUP