« AnteriorContinuar »
more.”" This something more is probably the “quidquid
post oscula dulce” of Secundus, but is sufficiently vague to be anything else, and certainly promises much more than the “will be rewarded" of our own time. So far with the Greeks and their advertisements. . Details grow more abundant when we enter upon the subject of advertising in Rome. The cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, buried in the midst of their sorrows and pleasures, their joys and cares, in the very midst of the turmoil of life and commerce, and discovered ages after exactly as they were on the morning of that ominous 24th of August A.D. 79, show us that the benefit to be derived from publicity was well understood in those luxurious and highly-cultivated cities. The walls in the most frequented parts are covered with notices of a different kind, painted in black or red. Their spelling is very indifferent, and the painters who busied themselves with this branch of the profession do not appear to have aimed at anything like artistic uniformity or high finish. Still these advertisements, hasty and transitory as they are, bear voluminous testimony as to the state of society, the wants and requirements, and the actual standard of public taste of the Romans in that age. As might be expected, advertisements of plays and gladiators are common. Of these the public were acquainted in the following forms, **.
AEDILIS . FAMILIA . GLADIATORIA . PUGNABIT
* Apuleius, Book vi. + That is, “The troop of gladiators of the aedil will fight on the 31st of May. There will be fights with wild animals, and an awning
Such inscriptions occur in various parts of Pompeii, sometimes written on smooth surfaces between pilasters (denominated albua), at other times painted on the walls. Places of great resort were selected for preference, and thus it is that numerous advertisements are found under the portico of the baths at Pompeii, where persons waited for admission, and where notices of shows, exhibitions, or sales would be sure to attract the attention of the weary lounger. Baths we find advertised in the following terms,
which of course means “warm, sea, and fresh water baths.” As provincials add to their notices “as in London,” or “à la mode de Paris,” so Pompeians and others not unfrequently proclaimed that they followed the customs of Rome at their several establishments. Thus the keeper of a bathing-house near Bologna acquainted the public that— IN . PRAEDIS C. LEGIANNI VERI BALNEUM . MORE . URBICO . LAVAT. OMNIA COMMODA . PRAESTANTUR.
to keep off the sun.” Wind and weather permitting, there were awnings over the heads of the spectators; but, generally, there appears to have been too much wind in this breezy summer retreat to admit of this luxury. “Nam ventus populo vela negare solet,” says Martial, and the same idea occurs in three other places in this poet's works (vi. 9; xi. 21 ; xiv. 29). Sometimes, also, the bills of gladiators promise sparsiones, which consisted in certain sprinklings of water perfumed with saffron or other odours; and, as they produced what was called a nimbus, or cloud, the perfumes were probably dispersed over the audience in drops by means of pipes or spouts, or, perhaps, by some kind of rude engine.
At his establishments there were baths according to the fashion of “the town,” besides “every convenience.” And a similar inscription occurred by the Via Nomentana, eight miles from Rome—
IN . PRAEDIS . AURE
Those who had premises to let or sell affixed a short notice to the house itself, and more detailed bills were posted at the “advertising stations.” Thus in Plautus's “Trinummus,” Act v., the indignant Callicles says to his spendthrift son, “You have dared to put up in my absence, and unknown to me, that this house is to be sold "– (“AEdes venales hasce inscribit literis”). Sometimes, also, the inscription, “Illico aedes venales” (“here is a house for sale”) appears to have been painted on the door, or on the album. An auctioneer would describe a house as “Villa bona beneque edificata” (a good and well-built house), and full details of the premises were given in the larger placards painted on walls. In the street of the Fullers in Pompeii occurs the following inscription, painted in red, over another which had been painted in black and whitewashed over,
Which has been translated, “On the estate of Julia Felix, daughter of Spurius Felix, are to let from the 1st to the