The Best of Pompeii Graffiti

You’re tired of partying. The heat of summer is stifling. Suddenly, people around you are screaming. You open your mouth, but you can’t breathe. Everyone around you collapses. All that’s left is blackness.

On August 24, 79 AD, the entire city of Pompeii was buried. Two thousand years later, the excavation of the ruins began.

Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!

That’s one way of coming out, I suppose.

We two dear men, friends forever, were here. If you want to know our names, they are Gaius and Aulus.

The best bromance ever. When I mean ever, I mean for-ever and ever. Maybe these two?

the Pompeii lovers (or were they brothers?)
Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates.

Boys, take notes. This is how you seduce a prostitute.

Lesbianus, you defecate and you write, ‘Hello, everyone!’

Defecating makes Lesbianus more sociable, I guess. Also, his name is Lesbianus?!

Floronius, privileged soldier of the seventh legion, was here. The women did not know of his presence. Only six women came to know, too few for such a stallion.

Six is too few?! I guess he should come back. Good reason to survive.

If anyone does not believe in Venus [goddess of love], they should gaze at my girlfriend.

Aww! Someone’s in lurrvveeee.

Probably not his girlfriend.
On April 20th, I gave a cloak to be washed. On May 7th, a headband. On May 8th, two tunics.

Yup, laundry’s just as boring as it’s always been.

A small problem gets larger if you ignore it.

Wise words, wise words. Too bad it didn’t save them from volcanic eruption.

Epaphra, you are bald!


Epaphra is not good at ball games.
Epaphra: Say that again. I dare you.
Let everyone one in love come and see. I want to break Venus’ [goddess of love] ribs with clubs and cripple the goddess’ loins. If she can strike through my soft chest, then why can’t I smash her head with a club?

Someone’s not having a lot of luck with the ladies. Maybe he should learn some lines from this guy:

I would wish to become a signet ring for no more than an hour, so that I might give you kisses dispatched with your signature.

I wonder if that worked.

The man I am having dinner with is a barbarian.

Finally, I am armed with the perfect insult for my dinner guests!

Once you are dead, you are nothing.

If you’re lucky, your desiccated corpse might be contorted in perpetual agony for all to gawk at. Good entertainment for your descendants. Get those shots!

Cruel Lalagus, why do you not love me?

Maybe because his name is Lalagus.

We have wet the bed, host. I confess we have done wrong. If you want to know why, there was no chamber pot.

No toilet? No problem.

Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog.

I disagree.

I don’t want to sell my husband, not for all the gold in the world.

Then don’t.

No young buck is complete until he has fallen in love.

Now go young bucks, put yourself out there!

O walls, you have held up so much tedious graffiti that I am amazed that you have not already collapsed in ruin.

Tedious it might be, but raunchy and hilarious too! Thank you oh graffiti, for giving us a glimpse of everyday life. Not much has changed in the two thousand years since you have departed.


Like what you read? Give Julia Zhao Xu a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.