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Ancient Roman Social Media Posted by on Mar 31, 2021 in Latin Language, Roman culture

Throughout the month of March, I have been torn between writing about Ancient Roman social media, women, or graffiti. Then, I considered – why should I even choose? I can make all three topics fit.

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

These past two months we have been looking at the ever-lasting effect of graffiti and how graffiti has been used in politics and sports. Thus, this month’s post will look at what I am terming “Ancient Roman Social Media” with an emphasis on women.

Hence, women are often forgotten or mistold in history, especially ancient history. So, the examination of graffiti (in our case Pompeii graffiti) can lend insight into some of the daily life emotions and roles they had in society.

Pompeii Graffiti Examples of “Ancient Roman Social Media”:

  • IX.8.11 (triclinium of a house); 5251:
    • Restitutus has deceived many girls.
      Restitutus multas decepit saepe puellas.
  • I.10.7 (House and Office of Volusius Iuvencus; left of the door); 8364:
    • Secundus says hello to his Prima, wherever she is. I ask, my mistress, that you love me.
      Secundus Prime suae ubique isse salute. rogo, domina, ut me ames.
  • V.1.18 (House of Valerius Flaccus and Valerius Rufinus; right of the door); 4066:
    • Daphnus was here with his Felicla.
    • Daphnicus cum felicla sua hic.
  • V.5.3 (barracks of the Julian-Claudian gladiators; column in the peristyle); 4289:
    • Celadus the Thracian gladiator is the delight of all the girls.
      Suspirium puellarum Celadus thraex.
  • VIII.2 (in the basilica); 1881:
    • Virgula to her friend Tertius: you are disgusting!
    •  Virgula tertio suo indecens est.
  • I.10.4 (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.
      Nucerea quaeres ad Porta Romana, in vico Venerio, Novelliam Primigeniam.

And, it is clear through the snippets of graffiti written on physical walls – not virtual ones – that women were part to essential life or rather the gossipy portions of life. All of these writings deal with high emotions of lust, love, concern, or bragging rights. Thus, it sounds very much life Ancient Roman social media. Also, it should be noted there are quite some scandalous and crude “posts” that were not part of this blog, but are easy to find.

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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


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