‘Slaap je, Brutus?’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 131, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This paper discusses the discrepancy between the literary sources that describe how in Rome graffiti criticized men of power and voiced political dissent, and the virtual lack of such surviving graffiti in smaller Roman towns, primarily Pompeii. Who wrote political graffiti and for what public? And how can we explain the ubiquity of political graffiti in Rome (according to the literary sources) and the absence of such graffiti from Pompeii? It is argued that this lack of graffiti does not reflect harmonious political relations in Pompeii but rather our difficulty in understanding ancient wordplay as well as the loss of nearly all texts written in charcoal and chalk.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): electoral programmata; graffiti; political dissent; Pompeii; Roman politics
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