I'm beginning to learn about vulgar latin and I came across the following verses which is one of the graffiti preserved by the lava.

Quisquis ama valia, peria qui nosci amare. Bis tanti peria quisquis amare vota

I found a few variations of this texts (such as versions using "tanto" instead of "tanti" etc), so I decided to search for an actual image of that inscription, but the only thing I could find was the following image, which seems to be written a more classical latin.

enter image description here

Now I am confused, is this the only actual inscription? If that's the case, why is it used as an example of vulgar latin? And where can I find sources for "facsimiles" of the graffiti?

1 Answer 1


You are looking at two versions of the same distich -- one in Classical, the other in Vulgar Latin -- that were both found in Pompeii. This allows for a fascinating comparison (this book, for example, considers such Vulgar Latin inscriptions a rare "glimpse of what was really going on in the spoken language").

There is a very important piece of information in your source: "C.I.L. IV 4091". This means that the inscription is documented in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, a multi-volume reference work of ancient Latin inscriptions (still continuously being expanded, currently containing around 180,000 inscriptions), and that it is found in volume IV, and the inscription number is 4091.

Now the CIL started publishing in 1862 and is mostly a printed work; parts have been digitalised and are available online. Here is an overview of the volumes.

As you can see, volume IV consists of the original volume IV and four supplements in even more actual books. Inscription 4091 happens to be in the second supplement published in 1909, which happens to be available online. It's probably best to download the PDF for maximum resolution, but you can view it in your browser here (not sure how to link to a particular page, but no. 4091 is under Graphio inscripta > Reg. V, on page 511.

excerpt from the CIL

The Vulgar Latin version also has a CIL number, it is CIL IV 1173, found in the original volume IV on page 69. The entry features no facsimile, and the inscription generally seems much less well preserved and less readable.

enter image description here

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