In a recent piece, The Atlantic draws a connection between modern uses of social media and the ancient graffiti at Pompeii.
The oldest known graffiti at Pompeii also happens to be among the simplest: Gaius was here. Or, more precisely, “Gaius Pumidius Diphilus was here,” along with a time stamp, which historians have dated to October 3, 78 B.C.
It’s a classic. Literally—as in, it is an artifact from classical antiquity—but it’s also a classic in the larger category of Things People Write on Walls. So-and-so was here (see also: Kilroy) has been one of the messages humans have scrawled, etched, and eventually Sharpied and spray painted onto public spaces for millennia.
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