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25 Pompeii graffiti that are raunchy, bawdy and totally hilarious

Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


Someone once said, “Historians first learn to write on the walls.” 

This statement is most accurate for the ruins of Pompeii, located at the foothills of Mount Vesuvius near Rome. 

In 79 A.D., Mt Vesuvius erupted, destroying the whole town of Pompeii and killing around ten thousand people. 

The city remained buried under volcanic ash till a surveying engineer discovered it in 1748. 

One of the first things that struck the excavators was graffiti on the walls of the Pompeii houses. 

Now that it has become a tourist destination welcoming 2.5 Million visitors annually, travelers also look forward to the graffiti. 

There are two kinds of graffiti on Pompeii’s houses and other establishments – electoral propaganda and general graffiti.

We can further categorize General graffiti as philosophies of life (sometimes poetic!) or offending scrawls and insults.

Electoral propaganda at Pompeii

The electoral propaganda was written in red or black ink and usually goaded the people of Pompeii to vote for one candidate or the other. 

Writing election slogans was the job of signwriters, also known as scriptores, and they worked alongside lanternarius, the lantern-bearers, because slogan writing was a night task. 

So far, excavators have found over three thousand such electoral inscriptions in Pompeii.

General graffiti at Pompeii

However, the general graffiti appeals more to the tourists visiting Pompeii because it conveys that the people living there weren’t different from us. 

This graffiti paints a vivid picture of life in Pompeii before the volcanic eruption destroyed everything, including jokes, comments on girlfriends, announcements about the writer’s sex life, etc. 

Just in case you are wondering, the people of Pompeii had a very active sex life.

We have handpicked 25 of the most interesting graffiti found on the walls of Pompeii.

We have also mentioned where you can find the graffiti amongst the Pompeii ruins.

Let’s start with a conversation between two young Pompeii men, only via wall graffiti.

Visual Story: 13 must-know tips before visiting Pompeii

Conversation between Successus and Severus

Graffiti at Thermopolium of Prima - First
Graffiti at Thermopolium of Prima - Second
Graffiti at Thermopolium of Prima - Third

Seems like Gladiator Barracks got a lot of action

Stallion graffiti at Gladiator Barracks
Graffiti at Gladiator Barracks

Some were preachy too

Graffiti on the House of the Moralist
Graffiti on the House of Menander
Graffiti above the bench

Bars seemed like a good place to pick up partners

Graffiti on Suburban Thermae
Graffiti on Caupona of Athictus

Hygiene in Pompeii seemed to be secondary

Graffiti on Inn of Muledrivers
Graffiti on House of Pascius Hermes
Graffiti at the Vesuvius Gate

Recommended Reading: Interesting Pompeii facts

Being in a relationship was cool

Graffiti in the Pompeii Basilica
Graffiti on the house of Ara Maxima
Cabinet House graffiti

Love was given first preference

Graffiti on the house of Caprasius Primus
Caupona of Astylus and Pardalus graffiti

Recommended: Must-see attractions of Pompeii

Graffiti on theatre corridor

In Pompeii, it was OK to boast about your sex life

Graffiti in the Brothel

Being gay was cool too

Graffiti at the Brothel of Innulus and Papilio

Friendship was important

Graffiti to the left of the Bar's door

In Pompeii, some were always jealous

Graffiti on the wall in the Pompeii street
Graffiti at the Tavern of Verecundus

And finally someone thanked the walls of Pompeii for holding so much graffiti

Graffiti in the Basilica

Have you heard of the masturbating man of Pompeii?

Some tourists visit both Herculaneum and Pompeii on the same day. Herculaneum is said to be better preserved than Pompeii.

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