In Stone and Story

Early Christianity in the Roman World

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Chapter 1: Meaning

Class Activities

In conjunction with discussion question 1, source pictures of modern graffiti and use them interact with examples of graffiti from the Vesuvian towns. How does modern graffiti compare or contrast with the graffiti discussed in chapter 1?

Discussion Questions

  1. What can one surmise about life in Pompeii and Herculaneum from the graffiti given in chapter 1? How does the graffiti of Pompeii and Vesuvius differ from modern uses of graffiti? What mediums today perform the same functions expressed in the graffiti of Pompeii and Herculaneum?
  2. In several graffiti, a deity was invoked to aid the writer in his or her request. What might this say about how the deities were understood and utilized in the first-century context?
  3. Several graffiti discussed in chapter 1 mention the topic of “vetoed” love. What dynamics in the ancient world may have served to constrain romantic relationships?
  4. From the graffiti discussed in chapter 1, what strikes you about people from first-century Pompeii and Herculaneum? How familiar and/or different do they seem to be to people today?