You thought graffiti
was a recent invention? Well it's not! It's been around for many millennia
and probably won't go away anytime soon. Graffiti provides a window into the commoners of a civilization
Roman graffiti gives us messages of love "Helena amatur a Rufo" (Helen is loved by Rufus) and "Venus es" (You are Venus) to paranoia "Stonnius nil scit" (Stonnius knows something) to jokes at another's expense "Quid agit tibi dexter ocellus?" (How is your right eye?) greetings "Io Saturnalia". They wrote laundry lists, stories, the alphabet, and advertisements on walls.
Such things give us an intimate look at daily life in Rome. They tell us things that history books and records kept by scribes can't: they tell us about the character of a people that have long since passed into history.