The Writing on the Wall


The walls of the houses in Pompeii are covered in a multitude of inscriptions, either electoral propaganda or general graffiti.

The electoral propaganda urged the citizens to vote for one candidate or another and were usually professionally written in red or black script. The sign writers, known as scriptores generally worked at night helped by a lanternarius who provided light.

These inscriptions were made to the order of trade corporations, districts or private individuals and were usually very simple and direct, requesting that a certain candidate be voted for a certain office, often accompanied by praises of his honesty or virtue. There are around three thousand such electoral inscriptions in Pompeii.

The graffiti, on the other hand, are the inscriptions made by the general populace, scratched out on the walls of the buildings.

They relate to a wide variety of subjects and paint an extremely vivid picture of life in Pompeii: they include jokes, as well as comments about a girlfriend or the pleasure experienced in one of the city's many brothels. They tend to be rather on the bawdy side, so those of a nervous disposition would be advised to avert their eyes and explore the rest of what this site has to offer.

Each inscription in the table below is generally accompanied by its location (
Region, Insula, Door No), a description of the location, and its reference number as stated in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Volume 4, the comprehensive reference for ancient Latin inscriptions.

I.2.20 Bar/Brothel of Innulus and Papilio 3932 Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!
I.2.23 Peristyle of the Tavern of Verecundus 3951 Restitutus says: 'Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates'.
I.4.5 House of the Citharist; below a drawing of a man with a large nose 2375 Amplicatus, I know that Icarus is buggering you. Salvius wrote this.
I.7.1 Vestibule of the House of Paquius Proculus
8075 The finances officer of the emperor Nero says this food is poison.
I.7.8 Bar; left of the door 8162 We two dear men, friends forever, were here. If you want to know our names, they are Gaius and Aulus.
I.10.2-3 Thermopolium of Prima 8258 Successus, a weaver, loves the innkeeper’s slave girl named Iris. She, however, does not love him. Still, he begs her to have pity on him. His rival wrote this. Goodbye. [Severus]
I.10.2-3 Thermopolium of Prima 8259 Envious one, why do you get in the way. Submit to a handsomer man and one who is being treated very wrongly and good looking. [Answer by Successus]
I.10.2-3 Thermopolium of Prima 8259 I have spoken. I have written all there is to say. You love Iris, but she does not love you. [Answer by Severus]
I.10.2-3Thermopolium of Prima
 8297 Word square:
R O MllA
O Ly I .M
M. I .L. O
A M Ol R

I.10.4 Near the rear entrance vestibule of the House of Menander 8356 At Nuceria, look for Novellia Primigenia near the Roman gate in the prostitute’s district.
I.10.4 Exterior of the House of Menander 8304 Satura was here on September 3rd.
I.10.7 House of the Cabinet Maker; left of the door 8364 Secundus says hello to his Prima, wherever she is. I ask, my mistress, that you love me.
I.12.3Caupona of Sotericus
I, Sotericus, ask that you make Aulus Trebius (Valens) aedile.
II.2.1 Caupona of Astylus and Pardalus 8408 Lovers are like bees in that they live a honeyed life.
II.2.3 Caupona of Athictus; right of the door 8442 I screwed the barmaid.
II.3.9 Pottery Shop or Bar of Nicanor; right of the door 10070 Lesbianus, you defecate and you write, ‘Hello, everyone!’

II.4.1 Shop; left of the door, near a picture of Mercury 8475 Palmyra, the thirst-quencher.
II.7 Gladiator Barracks 8767 Floronius, privileged soldier of the 7th legion, was here. The women did not know of his presence. Only six women came to know, too few for such a stallion.
II.7 Gladiator Barracks 8792 On April 19th, I made bread.
II.7 Gladiator Barracks 8792b Antiochus hung out here with his girlfriend Cithera.
III.2.1 House of Trebius Valens 8824 Valens, you call me a lady. Would to heaven I were a lady, Valens! We just ask for health.
III.4.2 House of the Moralist 7698a Let water wash your feet clean and a slave wipe them dry; let a cloth cover the couch; take care of our linens.
III.4.2 House of the Moralist 7698b Remove lustful expressions and flirtatious tender eyes from another man’s wife; may there be modesty in your expression.
III.4.2 House of the Moralist 7698c […] postpone your tiresome quarrels if you can, or leave and take them home with you.
III.5.1 House of Pascius Hermes; left of the door 7716 To the one defecating here. Beware of the curse. If you look down on this curse, may you have an angry Jupiter for an enemy.
III.5.3 On the wall in the street 8898 Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog.
III.5.4 Exterior of a small house 8903 Gaius Sabinus says a fond hello to Statius. Traveler, you eat bread in Pompeii but you go to Nuceria to drink. At Nuceria, the drinking is better.
V.1.18 House of the Epigrams; right of the door 4066 Daphnus was here with his Felicla.
V.1.26 House of L. Caecilius Iucundus 4091 Whoever loves, let him flourish. Let him perish who knows not love. Let him perish twice over whoever forbids love.
V.1.26 House of L. Caecilius Jucundus; peristyle
4087 Staphylus was here with Quieta.
V.3.9 House of Cosmus and Epidia; right of the door 6702 Aufidius was here. Goodbye.
V.5 Just outside the Vesuvius gate 6641 Defecator, may everything turn out okay so that you can leave this place.
V.5 Near the Vesuvius Gate 7086 Marcus loves Spendusa.
V.5.3 House of the Gladiators; column in the peristyle 4289 Celadus the Thracian gladiator is the delight of all the girls.
VI On the Street of Mercury 1321 Publius Comicius Restitutus stood right here with his brother.
VI.6.1 House of Pansa
139 The city block of the Arrii Pollii in the possession of Gnaeus Alleius Nigidius Maius is available to rent from July 1st. There are shops on the first floor, upper stories, high-class rooms and a house. A person interested in renting this property should contact Primus, the slave of Gnaeus Alleius Nigidius Maius.
VI.11 On the Vico del Labirinto 1393 On April 20th, I gave a cloak to be washed. On May 7th, a headband. On May 8th, two tunics.
VI.13.8In a bedroom to the left of the peristyle4456Only Marcus Terentus Eudoxsis always supports his friends - he keeps them and protects them and supports them in every way
VI.13.19 House of Sextus Pompeius Axiochus and Julia Helena; left of the door 4485 Hectice, baby, Mercator says hello to you.
VI.13.19House of Sextus Pompeius Axiochus and Julia Helena; left of the door.4477Daphnicus and his Felicula were here. Long live Daphnicus. Long live Felicula. All the best to both of them.
VI.14 On the Vico degli Scienziati 3042 Cruel Lalagus, why do you not love me?
VI.14.20 House of Orpheus 4523 I have buggered men.
VI.14.36 Bar of Salvius 3494 In one bar, a picture depicts two men playing dice. One shouts, "Six!" while his opponent holds up two fingers and says, "No, that’s not a ‘three’; it’s a ‘two’”. By the door of the bar, another picture shows a short man driving a group of men out. Above his head are the words, “Go on, get out of here! You have been fighting!”
VI.14.36 Bar of Salvius; over a picture of a woman carrying a pitcher of wine and a drinking goblet 3494 Whoever wants to serve themselves can go on and drink from the sea.
VI.14.37 Wood-Working Shop of Potitus 3498 What a lot of tricks you use to deceive, innkeeper. You sell water but drink unmixed wine.
VI.14.43 Atrium of the House of the Large Brothel 1520 Blondie has taught me to hate dark-haired girls. I shall hate them, if I can, but I wouldn’t mind loving them. Pompeian Venus Fisica wrote this.
VI.15.6 House of the Iron Hearth
4637 Rufus loves Cornelia Hele.
VI.16.15 Atrium of the House of the Ara Maxima
6842 If anyone does not believe in Venus, they should gaze at my girl friend.
VII.1.40 House of Caesius Blandus; in the peristyle of the House of Mars and Venus on the Street of the Augustales 1714 It took 640 paces to walk back and forth between here and there ten times.
VII.6.35 Brothel of Venus; on the Vico dei Soprastanti opposite the Vicolo del Gallo 1645 May Love burn in some lonely mountains whoever wants to rape my girl friend!
VII.2.18 In Vicolo del Panattiere, House of C. Vibius
3117 Atimetus got me pregnant.
VII.2.18 In Vicolo del Panattiere, House of the C. Vibius
3131 Figulus loves Idaia.
VII.2.44 Bar of Hedone (or Colepius) on the Street of the Augustales; on the corner towards the Lupanar 1679 Hedone says, 'You can get a drink here for only one coin. You can drink better wine for two coins. You can drink Falernian for four coins.'
VII.2.48 House of D. Caprasius Primus 3061 I don’t want to sell my husband, not for all the gold in the world.
VII.5.15On a painting of two gladiators on the facade between VII.5.14 and VII.5.15538May he who vandalises this picture incur the wrath of Pompeian Venus.
VII.7.5 House of the Calpurnii 4783 Crescens is sweet and charming.
VII.9 Building of Eumachia, Via dell' Abbondanza 2048 Secundus likes to screw boys.
VII.11.13Caupona; on the facade.813This is not a place to idle. Shove off loiterer.
VII.12.18-20 The Lupanar 2175 I screwed a lot of girls here.
VII.12.18-20 The Lupanar 2185 On June 15th, Hermeros screwed here with Phileterus and Caphisus.
VII.12.18-20 The Lupanar 2192 Sollemnes, you screw well!
VII.12.18-20 The Lupanar 2193 Here Harpocras had a good screw with Drauca for a denarius.
VII.12.35 Vico d’ Eumachia, small room of a possible brothel 2145 Gaius Valerius Venustus, soldier of the 1st praetorian cohort, in the century of Rufus, screwer of women.
VII.12.35 Vico d’ Eumachia, small room of a possible brothel 2146 Vibius Restitutus slept here alone and missed his darling Urbana.
VII.12.35 Vico d’ Eumachia, small room of a possible brothel 2163 The warmest hello to Saenecio Fortunaus, wherever he may go.
VII.13.8House of the Tetrastyle Atrium2060Romula hung out here with Staphylus.
VII.15.11-12 House of Verus; between the two doors of the house 4838 Secundus says hello to his friends.
VIII.1 Above a bench outside the Marina Gate 1751 If anyone sits here, let him read this first of all: if anyone wants a screw, he should look for Attice; she costs 4 sestertii.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1797 No young buck is complete until he has fallen in love.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1808 Auge loves Allotenus.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1811 A small problem gets larger if you ignore it.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1812 Caesius faithfully loves M[…name lost]
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1816 Epaphra, you are bald!
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1820 Chie, I hope your hemorrhoids rub together so much that they hurt worse than when they ever have before!
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1824 Let everyone in love come and see. I want to break Venus’ 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?
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1826 Phileros is a eunuch!
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1837 If you are able, but not willing, why do you put off our joy and kindle hope and tell me always to come back tomorrow. So, force me to die since you force me to live without you. Your gift will be to stop torturing me. Certainly, hope returns to the lover what it has once snatched away.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1842 Gaius Pumidius Dipilus was here on October 3rd 78 BC.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1852 Pyrrhus to his colleague Chius: I grieve because I hear you have died; and so farewell.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1863 Take hold of your servant girl whenever you want to; it’s your right.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1864 Samius to Cornelius: go hang yourself!
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1880 Lucius Istacidius, I regard as a stranger anyone who doesn’t invite me to dinner.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1880 The man I am having dinner with is a barbarian.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1881 Virgula to her friend Tertius: you are disgusting!
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1882 The one who buggers a fire burns his penis.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1904 O walls, you have held up so much tedious graffiti that I am amazed that you have not already collapsed in ruin.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1926 Epaphra is not good at ball games.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1928 Love dictates to me as I write and Cupid shows me the way, but may I die if god should wish me to go on without you.
VIII.2 In the Basilica 1951 Sarra, you are not being very nice, leaving me all alone like this.
VIII.5.33On the facade between VIII.5.33 and VIII.5.34. 64A copper pot went missing from my shop. Anyone who returns it to me will be given 65 bronze coins (sestertii). 20 more will be given for information leading to the capture of the thief.
VIII.7.6 Inn of the Muledrivers; left of the door 4957 We have wet the bed, host. I confess we have done wrong. If you want to know why, there was no chamber pot.
VIII.7.16 In the Gladiators' Barracks 4397 Celadus the Thracier makes the girls moan!
VIII.7.20On the south side of the corridor of the Theatre2457Methe of Attela, slave of Cominia, loves Chrestus. May Venus of Pompeii smile favourably on their hearts and let them always live in harmony.
IX.1.26 Atrium of the House of Sodom and Gomorrah 2409a Stronius Stronnius knows nothing!
IX.2.18 Tablinum of the House of Curvius Marcellus and Fabia 4993 Ampliatus Pedania is a thief!
IX.5.11 House of Poppaeus Sabinus; peristyle 5092 If you felt the fires of love, mule-driver, you would make more haste to see Venus. I love a charming boy; I ask you, goad the mules; let’s go. Take me to Pompeii, where love is sweet. You are mine…
IX.5.18 House of Hercules and Nessus; beside the door of house 5112 Learn this: while I am alive, you, hateful death, are coming.
IX.8.3 Atrium of the House of the Centennial 5213 My lusty son, with how many women have you had sexual relations?
IX.8.3 House of the Centennial; in the latrine near the front door 5243 'Secundus defecated here' three time on one wall.
IX.8.3 House of the Centennial; interior of the house 5279 Once you are dead, you are nothing.
IX.8.? Triclinium of the house 5251 Restitutus has deceived many girls.
Extramural Nocera Necropolis (on a tomb) 10231 Serena hates Isidorus.
Extramural Nocera Necropolis (on a tomb) 10241 Greetings to Primigenia of Nuceria. 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.
Herculaneum Bar/inn joined to the Suburban Thermae
0674 [a bar tab] …Some nuts …? coins; drinks: 14 coins; lard: 2 coins; bread: 3 coins; three meat cutlets: 12 coins; four sausages: 8 coins. Total: 51 coins
Herculaneum Bar/inn joined to the Suburban Thermae
10675 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 half sestertii most agreeably on whores.
Herculaneum Bar/inn joined to the Suburban Thermae
10677 Apelles the chamberlain with Dexter, a slave of Caesar, ate here most agreeably and had a screw at the same time.
Herculaneum Bar/inn joined to the Suburban Thermae
10678 Apelles Mus and his brother Dexter each pleasurably had sex with two girls twice.
Herculaneum On a water distribution tower 10488 Anyone who wants to defecate in this place is advised to move along. If you act contrary to this warning, you will have to pay a penalty. Children must pay [number missing] silver coins. Slaves will be beaten on their behinds.
Herculaneum House of the Gem
10619 Apollinaris, the doctor of the emperor Titus, defecated well here.

Home..........<<.Neighbouring Area .........The Writing on the Wall..........Dramatis Personae.>>..........Glossary