Program

ACLS Fellowship Program , Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars

Project

The invention of domesticity: gender, politics, and private life in the early Roman Empire

Project

Poetic Practices in Roman Pompeii: The Literary Graffiti and their Contexts

Department

Classics

Location

For residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies during academic year 2008-2009

The invention of domesticity: gender, politics, and private life in the early Roman Empire

Poetic Practices in Roman Pompeii: The Literary Graffiti and their Contexts

This study concerns the fragments of textual graffiti which survive on the walls of the Roman city of Pompeii. In particular, it focuses on those writings which either quote canonical authors directly, or show the influence—in diction, style, or structure—of elite Latin literature. While previous scholarship has described these fragments as popular distortions of well-known texts, this study argues that they are important cultural products in their own right, since they are able to give us insight into how ordinary Romans responded to and sometimes rewrote works of canonical literature. Additionally, since graffiti are at once textual and material artifacts, they give us the opportunity to see how such writings gave meaning to, and were given meaning by, the ancient urban environment.