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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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Authorship, Appropriation, Authenticity

Authorship, Appropriation, Authenticity

Chapter:
(p.136) (p.137) 3 Authorship, Appropriation, Authenticity
Source:
Graffiti and the Literary Landscape in Roman Pompeii
Author(s):

Kristina Milnor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684618.003.0004

A collection of epigrams by a ‘Tiburtinus’ and a group of quotations from Pompeii’s basilica—where couplets from Ovid and Propertius are listed along with other, less recognizable, fragments—show the constructed nature of authorship in Pompeian graffiti. The aesthetic of appropriation which is displayed in the list from the basilica is more commonly the style of authorship employed in Pompeian graffiti. This can be seen expressed in the way that epistolary texts are represented in the corpus of wall writings, as even ‘personal’ letters are written using generic forms and phrases, and in certain widely-circulated and -repeated poetic sententiae found in multiple contexts and combinations throughout Pompeii and Herculaneum. All of these show that originality, which was certainly a prized quality among canonical poets, was much less so in the streets of the ancient city, suggesting contrasting and competing modes of authorship between elite and popular cultures.

Keywords:   appropriation, quotation, canonical poetry, graffiti poetry, Tiburtinus, letters, sententiae, graffiti fragments

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