Greek Graffiti from Izmir

Yet another one from Hurriyet which leaves us asking for more:

A rich Greek graffiti collection has been found in the İzmir agora during excavation work in the area. The graffiti shows daily life in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

The graffiti is estimated to date back to the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. Experts have said the graffiti was the richest Greek graffiti collection in the world. Besides writing and paintings done with paint, there are also dozens of carvings on the wall.

The graffiti shows that İzmir was very tolerant even in ancient times. The writings on the wall mention the names of different cities, showing tolerance of other cultures.

There are many different figures in the graffiti, from trade ships to gladiators. There are also confessions; one read, “I love someone who does not love me.” One inscription read, “The gods healed my eyes, this is why I dedicate an oil lamp to the gods.” Another piece of graffiti read, “The one who ensouls,” which symbolized Jesus Christ in early Christianity. There are also riddles that have not yet been solved on the walls.

Professor Cumhur Tanrıver said İzmir had the most Greek graffiti in the world. “There are some pieces of graffiti under the plaster as well that we cannot prepare yet. We are having talks with Swiss experts to uncover them without damaging the ones on the top layer.”

The article is accompanied by a photo which is presumably an example of the graffiti, which seems to be a gladiatorial scene. Seems kind of ‘sketchy’ for graffiti … I couldn’t track down any other photos:

DHA photo via Hurriyet

Social Networks at Pompeii?

Another one from the AIA shindig/LiveScience/Stephanie Pappas … since most of our readers will be aware of Pompeii political graffiti, we’ll jump to the end of this one about the work of Eeva-Maria Viitanen from the University of Helsinki:

[…] The first find was that politicians wanted an audience. The campaign ads were almost invariably on heavily trafficked streets, Viitanen reported Friday (Jan. 4) at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle.

The second, more surprising, discovery, was that the most popular spots for ads were private houses rather than bars or shops that would see a lot of visitors.

“Bars were probably more populated, but could their customers read and would they vote?” Viitanen said.

Some 40 percent of the ads were on prestigious houses, she said, which is notable because there were only a third as many lavish homes as there were bars, shops and more modest residences. Clearly, candidates were vying for space on the homes of the wealthy.

That discovery makes Viitanen and her colleagues think the ads reveal early social networking. It seems likely that candidates would need permission from the homeowner to paint their ads, suggesting the graffiti is something of an endorsement.

The research is preliminary and not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal, and Viitanen said there is much more work to do to map the social networks revealed on the ancient walls.

“So far, we have barely scratched the surface on this,” she said. “There are hundreds of texts and locations, and it takes a lot of time to go through them all.”

Erotic Fresco (and Graffiti) From the Colosseum

Kind of surprised this isn’t getting more coverage … via AFP:

Italian archaeologists have found brightly coloured fragments of frescoes depicting heroic and erotic scenes inside a corridor of the Colosseum in Rome, along with samples of ancient graffiti.

“We have found traces of decorations in blue, red and green,” Rossella Rea, director of the 2,000-year-old amphitheatre, told AFP.

The fragments “seem to depict the glory of the gladiator world, with laurels, arrows, victory wreaths and even erotic scenes,” the Repubblica newspaper said.

The frescoes were found in a corridor currently closed to the public while archaeologists were working to restore an area between the second and third floor of the Colosseum, which has fallen into disrepair in recent years.

“We have also found writing dating back to the 17th century as well as the signatures of spectators and foreign visitors” who had come to watch the Colosseum’s famed gladiatorial contests and mock sea battles, Rea said.

“We hope to be able to find other traces in this corridor but that depends on the funds available to continue with the restoration,” she added.

The frescoes are located in an area covering several square feet in a corridor which is around sixty metres long, and should be open to the public by summer 2014, Rea said.

The Colosseum, which was completed in 80 AD by the Roman emperor Titus and is now one of the most visited sites in the world, is in a pitiful state.

Bits of stone, blackened by pollution, have fallen off in previous years, and some experts have voiced concern that the foundations are sinking, giving the amphitheatre a lean.

The number of visitors to the Colosseum, which measures 188 metres (620 feet) by 156 metres and is 48.5 metres high, has increased from a million to around six million a year over the past decade thanks mainly to the blockbuster film “Gladiator”.

… no photos yet … then again, there really isn’t much coverage of this one yet. One would suspect the fresco was to ‘encourage’ the gladiators in regards to what success might bring?

The coverage finally arrived: