25 Pompeii graffiti that are raunchy, bawdy and totally hilarious

Image: Canmandawe

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 had 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 is the graffiti on the Pompeii houses’ walls. 

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

There are two kinds of graffiti on the walls of Pompeii’s houses and other establishments – electoral propaganda or 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 got 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 more than 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 who lived in Pompeii weren’t any different than us. 

These graffiti paint a vivid picture of life in Pompeii before the volcanic eruption destroyed it all, including jokes, comments on girlfriends, announcements about the writer’s sex life, etc. 

Just in case you are wondering, 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 said graffiti, amongst the Pompeii ruins.

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

Conversation between Successus and Severus

Seems like Gladiator Barracks got a lot of action

Some were preachy too

Looks like prostitutes in Pompeii were popular

Bars seemed like a good place to pick up partners

Hygiene in Pompeii seemed to be secondary

Recommended Reading: Interesting Pompeii facts

Being in a relationship was cool

Love was given first preference

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

Being gay was cool too

Friendship was important

In Pompeii, some were always jealous

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

Have you heard of the masturbating man of Pompeii?

Jamshed V Rajan: He is a two-faced traveler, who enjoys both the hustle-bustle of an urban holiday and the serenity of a break from the rest of the World. During some of his vacations, he is a resort hopper, and on others, he barely spends time in his hotel. He loves to try mouth-watering local cuisines, especially non-vegetarian dishes. Favourite Cities: Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Dublin, Prague, Vienna

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