I am yours for 2 coppers

I’ve just found a wonderful 1973 study on the psychoanalysis of graffiti that discusses how unconscious desires might be expressed through public scrawlings.

It has a completely charming table that compares graffiti from A.D. 79 Pompeii with 1960’s Los Angeles to demonstrate the similarity of themes across the centuries.


The author concludes that “aggressive-destructive and incorporative wishes are similarly satisfied by the wall writer at the expense of the wall owner” although overtly sexual images should be considered as definitely expressing sexual themes.

Link to locked 1973 study the psychoanalysis of graffiti.


  1. Posted November 5, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Not sure about the psychoanalytic gloss but it’s pretty hilarious. “The risen flesh…” one is a classic. (Literally).

  2. June
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    In 1973, when I was a junior in high school, my Latin teacher read a similar article to our class. For several weeks, we did a methodical study of the hallways and desks of the school, collecting graffiti, and compared the best ones to their Roman ancestors. We got the same themes over and over.

    I don’t remember much Latin, but COGITO ERGO DOLEO will be with me forever.

  3. Brett Ellis
    Posted November 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    If we are discussiing ancient graffiti Vaughan then this is my choice (nothing to do with your average Mindhacks topic – sorry)

    CENTURION: What’s this, then? ‘Romanes Eunt Domus’? ‘People called Romanes they go the house’?

    BRIAN: It– it says, ‘Romans, go home’.

    CENTURION: No, it doesn’t. What’s Latin for ‘Roman’? Come on!

    BRIAN: Aah!

    CENTURION: Come on!

    BRIAN: ‘R– Romanus’?

    CENTURION: Goes like…?

    BRIAN: ‘Annus’?

    CENTURION: Vocative plural of ‘annus’ is…?

    BRIAN: Eh. ‘Anni’?

    CENTURION: ‘Romani’. ‘Eunt’? What is ‘eunt’?

    BRIAN: ‘Go’. Let–

    CENTURION: Conjugate the verb ‘to go’.

    BRIAN: Uh. ‘Ire’. Uh, ‘eo’. ‘Is’. ‘It’. ‘Imus’. ‘Itis’. ‘Eunt’.

    CENTURION: So ‘eunt’ is…?

    BRIAN: Ah, huh, third person plural, uh, present indicative. Uh, ‘they go’.

    CENTURION: But ‘Romans, go home’ is an order, so you must use the…?

    BRIAN: The… imperative!

    CENTURION: Which is…?

    BRIAN: Umm! Oh. Oh. Um, ‘i’. ‘I’!

    CENTURION: How many Romans?

    BRIAN: Ah! ‘I’– Plural. Plural. ‘Ite’. ‘Ite’.

    CENTURION: ‘Ite’.

    BRIAN: Ah. Eh.

    CENTURION: ‘Domus’?

    BRIAN: Eh.

    CENTURION: Nominative?

    BRIAN: Oh.

    CENTURION: ‘Go home’? This is motion towards. Isn’t it, boy?

    BRIAN: Ah. Ah, dative, sir! Ahh! No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! Ah! Oh, the… accusative! Accusative! Ah! ‘Domum’, sir! ‘Ad domum’! Ah! Oooh! Ah!

    CENTURION: Except that ‘domus’ takes the…?

    BRIAN: The locative, sir!

    CENTURION: Which is…?!

    BRIAN: ‘Domum’.

    CENTURION: ‘Domum’.

    BRIAN: Aaah! Ah.

    CENTURION: ‘Um’. Understand?

    BRIAN: Yes, sir.

    CENTURION: Now, write it out a hundred times.

    BRIAN: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.

    CENTURION: Hail Caesar. If it’s not done by sunrise, I’ll cut your balls off.

    BRIAN: Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar and everything, sir! Oh. Mmm!


    ROMAN SOLDIER STIG: Right. Now don’t do it again.


    MAN: Hey! Bloody Romans.

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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