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Graffiti and the Literary Landscape in Roman Pompeii$
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Kristina Milnor

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684618

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684618.001.0001

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Poetic Politics, Political Poetics

Poetic Politics, Political Poetics

(p.97) 2 Poetic Politics, Political Poetics
Graffiti and the Literary Landscape in Roman Pompeii

Kristina Milnor

Oxford University Press

Pompeian programmata (election notices) sometimes use literary forms to support the aspirations of the candidate. This is striking because graffiti poetry is overwhelmingly represented in our historical texts from the Roman Empire as critical of elite politics. Although there certainly are some examples from Pompeian walls of disparaging political epigrams—generally found among the scratched rather than painted texts—literary forms are used to champion as much as to attack the political status quo. This chapter concludes with a discussion of a set of texts found well inside a large house on the Via dell’Abbondanza which illustrate the way in which political poetry could be and was marshalled for use in different contexts and to serve different ends in the ancient urban environment.

Keywords:   Roman politics, programmata, political poetry, election notices, elite literature, popular poetry

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