Types of Texts

Most wall texts found in Pompeii were inscribed rather than painted, and were spontaneous expressions of an individual's feelings. The subjects of graffiti are just as numerous as the graffiti themselves, including everything from personalized insults and greetings to words of wisdom. Many examples of graffiti concern love, whether these be laments over unrequited love or announcements of one's sexual prowess. Some graffiti even serve as tavern reviews, such as this example from a bar and inn near the baths at Herculaneum:

"Two friends were here. While they were, they had bad service in every way from a guy named Epaphroditus. They threw him out and spent 105 and a half sestertii most agreably on whores."

 Dipinti were slightly more formal writings, as they were often advertisements for gladiatorial matches or notices asking passersby to vote for a particular political candidate. One example of the latter can be found on a wall of the Pompeiian Caupona of Sotericus. It reads, "I, Sotericus, ask that you make Aulus Trebius aedile." However, within one "O" of the text, a patron of the caupona scrawled his own proclamation: "I screwed the barmaid." This pairing of texts clearly shows that every Pompeiian had his or her own agenda in coming to the cauponae!