Ayberk Kozan
Ancient History
Material Type:
High School
Creative Commons Attribution

Roman Jokes


This is a simple text regarding the writings on the walls of Pompeii.

Roman Jokes

The walls of the houses in Pompeii were found to be covered in a wide range of inscriptions, regarding electoral propaganda or general grafitti.

The electoral propaganda tended to urge citizens to vote for one candidate or another, and were more professionaly made, specifically in red or black script. The sign writers, scriptores, worked at night helped by a man who provided light at night.


These inscriptions were ,in order, made of trade corporations, districts or private individuals and were usually very simple and direct, requesting that a certain candidate be voted for a certain office, often accompanied by praises of his honesty or virtue. There are around three thousand such electoral inscriptions in Pompeii


The graffiti, however, are the inscriptions made by the general populace, scratched out on the walls of the buildings.

They relate to a wide variety of subjects and paint an extremely vivid picture of life in Pompeii: they include jokes, as well as comments about a girlfriend or the pleasure experienced in one of the city's many brothels. They tend to be rather on the bawdy side, showing the spirit of the common people of Pompeii.


Here are such examples:

The finances officer of the emperor Nero says this food is poison.

Lesbianus, you defecate and you write, ''Hello, everyone!''

To the one defecating here. Beware of the curse. If you look down on this curse, may you have an angry Jupiter for an enemy.

If anyone does not believe in Venus, they should gaze at my girl friend.

Phileros is an eunuch!