Sexual themes in Greek and Latin graffiti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Most common graffiti have the simple but eloquent function of communicating in a range of subject matter such as inventories and shopping lists. Mingled in with all of these are many hundreds of graffiti with sexual content, ranging from blunt messages using primary obscenities to more elaborate texts that poetically meditate on desire and love. Greek and Latin graffiti can be used as evidence for what people did and where they did it-but only in a qualified way. Men’s appreciation of both male and female beauty is a common theme. Greek pederastic ideals, for example, inform graffiti that publicly praise young men’s beauty, while Latin graffiti illustrate the concrete specificity of the Latin sexual vocabulary, with its attention to the question of who penetrates whom and how, and above all with its noticeable preoccupation with oral sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781118610657
ISBN (Print)9781405195720
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Greek graffiti
  • Greek pederastic ideals
  • Latin graffiti
  • Latin sexual vocabulary
  • Sexual themes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual themes in Greek and Latin graffiti'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this