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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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(p.273) Conclusion
Graffiti and the Literary Landscape in Roman Pompeii

Kristina Milnor

Oxford University Press

Plutarch and Calpurnius Siculus are two authors from the manuscript tradition who express the idea that reading graffiti is dangerous. This is because they emerge from a world in which the written word usually belonged to the elite and was contained and controlled. The combination of the low medium of graffiti with the high art of writing was as difficult for ancient writers to categorize ‘safely’ as it is for those in the modern day. For this reason, studying ancient graffiti gives us the opportunity to interrogate and reassess where we draw the boundaries of literary study in classics, as well as to draw a more comprehensive map of the cultural practices which gave meaning to the lives of the inhabitants of Roman Pompeii.

Keywords:   Plutarch, Calpurnius Siculus, popular culture, high art, graffiti, categories, cultural practices

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