I was recently reading a work where I became (re)acquainted with the fact that the middle finger can be referred to as the digitus impudicus -- the "shameful finger" -- in Latin.

My question is whether we have classical attestations, anecdotal or otherwise, of the middle finger having the same meaning as it does in many cultures today.


The middle finger is mostly known from Greek comedy, but it is also mentioned in some Latin sources.

Martial's Epigram 28, lines 1–2:

Rideto multum qui te, Sextille, cinaedum
Dixerit et digitum porrigito medium.

"Laugh at the man who calls you a faggot, Sextillus, and extend your middle finger."

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