Ancient Roman ‘homophobic graffiti’ found in unearthed Pompeii snack bar: ‘Nicia cinaede cacator’

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12/28/2020

Archaeologists who have been excavating an Ancient Roman snack bar in Pompeii, Italy, have discovered “homophobic” graffiti scrawled on the walls. According to a press release from Pompeii Sites, the colourful Thermopolium of Regio V was one of the snack bars at Pompeii, and it has finally been revealed in its entirety by archaeologists. After years of work, they discovered paintings, food residue, animal bones, skeletons of victims of the volcanic eruption and, surprisingly, some homophobic graffiti. On the last side of the snack bar’s counter to be excavated, above a painting of a dog, an ancient vandal has carved the words: “NICIA CINAEDE CACATOR.” Nicias was likely to have been a freedman from Greece and the owner of the bar, while “cinaede cacator” translates as “catamite s**tter”. The word “catamite” does not have a modern-day equivalent, but referred to a teenage boy who was the sexual partner of a young man. The context around these relationships is debated by historians, with some arguing the practice was equal to paedophilia, and others saying that the teenage boys were the same age that women would have been when they were married.

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