Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

o, e i v v^N N w --- = ~ y | No Xf -----, - - | E CA - to To No re 2, vs. "

[ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]

WALL INSCRIPTIONS IN POMPEII.-Apparently remarks and opinions expressed by inhabitants, with reference to their fancies and favourites, in the circuses and at other public exhibitions.

[graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

bowers, and gentlemen's apartments. The hirer must apply to the slave of Cn. Alifius Nigidius, senior.” Both the Greeks and the Romans had on their houses a piece of the wall whitened to receive inscriptions relative to their affairs. The first called this Asixwuo, the latter album. Many examples of them are found in Pompeii, generally in very inferior writing and spelling. Even the schoolmaster Valentinus, who on his album, as was the constant practice, invoked the patronage of some high personages, was very loose in his grammar, and the untoward outbreak of Vesuvius has perpetuated his blundering use of an accusative instead of an ablative : “Cum discentes suos.” All the Pompeian inscriptions mentioned above were painted, but a few instances also occur of notices being merely scratched on the wall. Thus we find in one place, “Damas audi,” and on a pier at the angle of the house of the tragic poet is an Etruscan inscription scratched in the wall with a nail, which has been translated by a learned Neapolitan, “You shall hear a poem of Numerius.” But these so-called Etruscan inscriptions are by no means so well understood as we could wish, and their interpretation is far from incontestable. There is another on a house of Pompeii, which has been Latinised into, “Ex hinc viatoriens ante turri xii inibi. Sarinus Publii cauponatur. Utadires. Vale.” That is, “Traveller, going from here to the twelfth tower, there Sarinus keeps a tavern. This is to request you to enter. Farewell.” This inscription, however, is so obscure that another savant has read in it a notification that a certain magistrate, Adirens Caius, had brought the waters of the Sarno to Pompeii— a most material difference certainly. We are made acquainted with other Roman bills and advertisements by the works of the poets and dramatists. Thus at Trimalchion's banquet, in the “Satyricon,” Pliny mentions that a poet hired a house, built an oratory, hired forms, and dispersed prospectuses. They also read their works publicly,” an occupation in which they were much interrupted and annoyed by idlers and impertinent boys. Another mode of advertising new works more resembled that of our own country. The Roman booksellers used to placard their shops with the titles of the new books they had for sale. Such was the shop of Atrectus, described by Martial—

Contra Caesaris est forum taberna

Scriptis postibus hinc et inde totis

Omnes ut cito perlegas poetas
Illinc me pete.

* A. L. Millin, Description d'un Mosaique antique du Musée Pio. Clementin, a Rome, 1819, p. 9.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

I N the ages which immediately succeeded the fall of the

Roman Empire, and the western migration of the barbarian hordes, darkness and ignorance held paramount sway, education was at a terrible discount, and the arts of reading and writing were confined almost entirely to the monks and the superior clergy. In fact, it was regarded as evidence of effeminacy for any knight or noble to be able to make marks on parchment or vellum, or to be able to decipher them when made. Newspapers were, of course, things undreamt of, but newsmen—itinerants who collected scraps of information and retailed them in the towns and market-places—were now and again to be found. The travelling packman or pedlar was, however, the chief medium of intercommunication in the Middle Ages, and it is not hard to imagine how welcome his appearance must have been in those days, when a hundred miles constituted an immense and almost interminable journey. We know how bad the roads were, and how difficult travelling was in comparatively modern days, but we can form very little idea of the obstacles which beset all attempts at the communication of one commercial centre with another in the early Middle Ages. Everybody being alike shrouded in the darkness of ignorance, it is safe to assume, therefore, that written advertisements were quite unknown, as few beyond those who had written them would have been able to understand them. Nearly the whole of the laity, from the king to the villain or thrall, were equally illiterate, and once more the

« AnteriorContinuar »