Ancient Pompeii’s Social Media

Pompeii shadowed by Mt. Vesuvius courtesy of Wikimedia

Pompeii shadowed by Mt. Vesuvius courtesy of Wikimedia

The Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed and buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. The preserved city allows archaeologists, historians, and Classicists to examine materials far better preserved than a ‘traditional’ archaeological ruin.

The graffiti on the walls of Pompeii are famous for the content and vulgarity. However, scholars now believe they served another purpose: communication. Perhaps working as an early, non-tech, “social media.” Property owners may have had control over the political messages written on their walls.

“The current view is that any candidate could have chosen any location and have their ad painted on the wall. After looking at the contexts, this would not seem very likely. The facades of the private houses and even the streetwalks in front of them were controlled and maintained by the owner of the house, and in that respect, the idea that the wall space could be appropriated by anyone who wanted to do it seems unlikely.” - Eeva-Maria Viitanen

To learn more about the political ads and their role at the city of Pompeii, see the article posted at Scientific American.

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About Jennifer Carey

My name is Jennifer Carey and I am a student and educator of the human condition. I have long studied history, trained in archaeology, and found a passion in the field of education. As a long-time lover of technology (my father bought our family our first Apple IIe when I was three), I love technology and what it can bring to the classroom. I have taught at various Universities for many years as well as educating gifted teenagers through the Johns Hopkins program, the Center for Talented Youth. I am currently the Director of Educational Technology at the Ransom Everglades School (a secular independent school) in Miami, Fl. I also have a few educational podcasts on iTunes from my days teaching at TCU: The Ancient City of Rome, Classical Archaeology (2008), Classical Archaeology (2009), Introduction to Classical Myth, and Ancient Eats. They’re enhanced (so you get the PowerPoints along with the vocal), but please excuse the poor audio editing. Feel free to Email Me or follow me on twitter.
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9 Responses to Ancient Pompeii’s Social Media

  1. Part of that graffiti was mine. I remember writing: “I was here before the volcano blew.” :)

  2. norm says:

    Latin America still has a practice of painting political signs on the outside of their homes, our cultural roots run deep. Some signs are formal and at the behest of the owner and some are night time postings of the vulgar sort but all very political.

  3. Pingback: Europe Trip: Pompeii, Italy « MASCrapping

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