Understanding the Common Roman Man Through Ancient Graffiti
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Deasy 2016 Autumn Research Fair ancient graffiti.pdf
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An analysis of ancient Roman graffiti was studied in the Italian cities Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Herculaneum. Unlike ancient literature written by upper-class Roman men, graffiti was the literary method of choice for the common, urban citizen. While the daily life of the common man is difficult to capture through literature written by societal elites, the preserved graffiti in these cities brings the common man and woman into history, where they are sometimes forgotten. I examined the language, form, and content of the letters in public spaces and houses in these cities to better understand ancient urban life through the eyes of the citizens. I explored facets of expression conserved from the Romans by comparing them to examples of modern graffiti in order to draw parallels between two very different, yet similar, societies. The interactive and spontaneous nature of the graffiti showcases the common man in raw and unembellished light. This project was made possible by funding from the Classics Department Sophomore Summer Travel Award.
Poster presented at the 2016 Autumn Research Fair at Franklin and Marshall College